The stop start continue retrospective is an action-oriented retrospective style, generating an immediate list of practical ideas for continuous improvement. This retrospective technique hones in on the plus/delta aspects and is a must have tool for any scrum master or project manager.
A great way of introducing the start stop continue thinking style is to use the metaphor of a car at a traffic light (green for start, red for stop and orange for continue). This exercise allows you to reallocate time and resources to where it matters the most.
- Stop – List ideas that are not delivering results or might be driving people a little crazy – such as unnecessary bureaucracy.
- Start – List ideas that the team should be doing but are not doing, innovative ideas worth discussing to address current problems.
- Continue – List ideas that are creating value or should not be dismissed yet because the outcome is not yet known.
As best practice, remember to set the stage and ensure that people are reminded that is not a process of blame, but for identifying areas for change. If you have run this retrospective method several times before, you should see greater fidelity of ideas. If there are recurring items, this should be a treated as a red flag.