What is the What, So What, Now What Retrospective?
If Dr Spock was to conduct a retrospective, it’s likely he’d choose the What? So what? Now what? template.
Designed to bring a neutral pragmatism to the review of a sprint, this retrospective format helps your team suspend emotion and side-step bias in order to create a safely objective space to conduct your retro.
That objectivity doesn’t come at the cost of time as there’s no beating around the bush with this retrospective. Its format helps your team succinctly define what happened during your last sprint (What?), the consequences of those happenings (So what?), and shape logical next steps (Now what?).
This is a great format if you are looking for a way to liberate your team from pre-existing bias or groupthink. What happened isn’t categorised as either good or bad – just a fact!
The What, So What, Now What Retrospective format
What? – How would you describe the situation? What happened? What was observed? What did you do to contribute? What was predicted? What was unpredicted?
So What? – How does this affect us? What value was delivered? What was learnt?
Now What? – What do we need to do to move forward? What can be repeated? What is to be avoided?