Start Stop retrospective

Retrospective Idea – Get straight to the point and decide on what is worth and not worth doing.

What is the Start Stop retrospective?

The Start Stop retrospective is a simple agile tool designed to throw a spotlight on a team’s processes. Participants define the actions they should start doing and those they should stop. They then go on to shape their next steps with these in mind.

Like the more detailed Start Stop Continue retrospective, the Start Stop retrospective is an action-focussed exercise. It aims to create an action list of practical steps to support a team’s continuous improvement.

The Start Stop retrospective is particularly helpful for teams that are new to agile. It’s easy to use and helps generate very clear action items.

Start Stop retrospective format


What should we start doing? What ideas do you have to address current problems? What have you seen work with other projects?


What should we stop doing? What isn’t delivering value? What roadblocks can’t be negotiated?

This style of retrospective can be used when your team is having trouble completing a task. Having the ability to see what has been slowing you down and what you have achieved despite this, can be helpful in providing confidence when trying to complete a difficult task.

Suggested icebreaker questions for the Start Stop retrospective

  • What have you recently (deliberately) stopped doing and why?
  • What do you think is easier – starting something or stopping it?
  • If you could go back in time, where would you go and what would you start doing?

Retro Rehearsal

Apply the Start Stop retrospective to your personal finances. What should you start and stop doing?

With the input in mind, will you change your habits?

Ideas and tips for your Start Stop Retrospective

  • Rotate the Scrum Master. This will change the voices that are heard and give people a chance to contribute to the retrospective in a different way.
  • Use a Return on Time Invested (ROTI) tool to monitor the effectiveness of your meeting.
  • Looking for a way to disrupt groupthink or not let a good idea go to waste? Why not give an asynchronous retrospective a try! As well as offering your team a platform to focus on the project priorities, it allows team members space to contribute their own thoughts in their own time.
  • Keep your team agreements in view during your retrospective. Remember you can add to them at any time.
  • Seeking to support a psychologically safe space? Switch up your retrospective to allow participants to offer their input anonymously – all voices will be heard at the same volume and ideas rather than the person who suggested them will be the focus.
  • Make the most of your presentation mode and drill down into ideas at the brainstorming, grouping as well as discussion stages of your retrospective. This will let those who contributed the input the chance to explain and feel heard.

How to run an Start Stop retrospective in TeamRetro

Start Agile Retrospective

Start your retrospective in a click
Log into TeamRetro and choose your sprint retrospective template.

Invite Your Team
Invite your team easily – no separate accounts needed
Send an email invite, a link or add to your Slack channel to get people started quickly. SSO options are also available.
Agile Retrospective Brainstorm
Time to brainstorm
Each team member can now brainstorm individually under each topic. This avoids group think and allows everyone to have their say. They can indicate when they have finished, or you can set a timer so that you know when to move onto the next stage.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Group related ideas
Drag and drop  related ideas to combine them for easier voting. TeamRetro can also automatically suggest ideas that are similar, saving you and your team valuable time.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Vote independently to avoid anchoring
Each team member votes on what they would most like to discuss further. The results won’t be displayed to everyone until you advance to Discuss.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Discuss the most important things first
You and your team discuss the top voted ideas and can capture deep dive comments.  Presentation mode allows you to walk your team through ideas one-by-one and keep the conversation focused.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Review and create actions

Easily facilitate discussion by bringing everyone onto the same page. Create action items, assign owners and due dates that will carry through for review at the next retrospective.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Share the results
Once you have finished your retro, you can share the results and actions with the team. Your retro will be stored so you can revisit them as needed.

Congratulations! You’ve just run a retro like a boss.
Want more? Read on.