Year-End Holiday Agile Retrospective: Celebrating Success and Planning for the New Year

As the end of the year approaches, it’s a great time for agile teams to celebrate their accomplishments and prepare for the challenges ahead. This is a perfect time to recognize successes, learn from past experiences, and plan enthusiastically for the following year.

I’ve designed this End-of-Year Holiday-Themed Retrospective to leverage the festive spirit of the celebrations in order to foster engagement within the team, offering a unique and joyful approach to this Scrum Ceremony.

As we approach the end of the year, it’s a fantastic opportunity for agile teams to celebrate their achievements and gear up for the challenges that lie ahead. This period offers the perfect chance to acknowledge successes, draw insights from the experiences of the past year, and eagerly plan for the year to come.

Duration

Plan for a duration of 60 to 90 minutes for this retrospective. This flexible time frame allows each activity to unfold naturally and encourages a dynamic pace without feeling rushed. Feel free to adjust the duration of each section based on the specific needs and dynamics of your team.

Image of Free Ready-to-Use Miro Board for End-of-Year Scrum Retrospective
Free Ready-to-Use Miro Board for End-of-Year Scrum Retrospective

Materials and Setup

For in-person retrospectives, a physical whiteboard is ideal, while remote teams can utilize a Miro Board as an interactive space. Enhance the atmosphere with festive decorations such as garlands, lights, and stars, whether in a physical or virtual setting. The link to the Miro template (also compatible with Klaxoon and Draft.io) is provided at the end of this article.

Icebreaker: Tree of personal Success (15 min)

Start this Sprint retrospective with a creative and collaborative activity. Draw a large tree on your Miro Board. Then invite each team member to write a personal highlight of the year on a Post-it note and place it on the tree. But let’s go one step further: encourage everyone to decorate the tree with images, GIFs or other festive visual elements.

This approach adds an interactive and personalized dimension to the activity. By decorating the tree together, team members not only share their personal successes, but also help create a collective work that represents the spirit and values of the team. It is a fun and engaging way to start the session, which promotes creative expression and strengthens team cohesion.

Success Tree Image for End-of-Year Scrum Retrospective, Icebreaker, and Online Team Building

Retrospective: The Year's Achievements and Challenges (30min)

The retrospective is based on a review and analysis of the team’s successes and challenges over the year. The aim of this stage is to promote a global understanding of the experience and pave the way for continuous improvement.

This retrospective template consists of two columns/areas:

  • Team Successes : Encourage each member to reflect on the year’s successes and key positive moments for the team. These successes can include goals achieved, successful projects and releases.

Success Section Image for End-of-Year Scrum Retrospective, Featuring Team Achievements, Available for Miro, Klaxoon, Draft.io Import
  • Challenges: Similarly, ask the team to consider the main obstacles and difficulties encountered. What were the challenges, failures or lessons learned? These reflections should be noted in the “Challenges” section, forming the basis for future action plans.

The analysis of successes and challenges is essential for a balanced understanding of the past year. It fosters a culture of continuous learning and development, laying the foundations for an even more successful year ahead.

Success Section Image for End-of-Year Scrum Retrospective, Featuring Team Achievements, Available for Miro, Klaxoon, Draft.io Import
End-of-Year Scrum Retrospective Success Section: Highlighting Team Achievements on Miro, Klaxoon, Draft.io

Action Plan - Resolutions for the Coming Year (20 min):

In this last section of the Retrospective, we introduce a third column, “Greeting Cards for the Year Ahead”. Here, the team will transform the challenges discussed above into concrete commitments for the New Year.

Each team member will be invited to write a card symbolizing a goal or resolution they wish to achieve. These cards will serve as visual and inspiring reminders of both collective and individual objectives, strengthening team spirit and determination to progress together towards a successful year.

Image of Scrum Retrospective Resolution Section: Team Members Writing Objectives for the New Year

Conclusion - End of Year Celebration (10 min) :

Conclude with a festive celebration to honor the past year. Share positive hopes and aspirations for the upcoming year, strengthening the team’s optimism and unity. Express gratitude to all participants, emphasizing the significance of each individual’s contribution to the team’s collective success.

Image of Free Ready-to-Use Miro Board for End-of-Year Scrum Retrospective

Online Miro Board Template for Retrospective Facilitation

To simplify the retrospective process, I’ve prepared a Miro board for you to use. It includes all the necessary sections, such as a success tree, a summary of achievements and challenges, and space for greeting cards for the upcoming year.

You can customize this board with festive decorations to create an engaging atmosphere.

Here’s the link to the image that you can import into your Miro, Klaxoon, or Draft.io board (ready-to-use, high-resolution image, 6000x3375px):

Discover Our Other Retrospectives Templates

We invite you to browse our blog to explore a variety of other creative and engaging retrospective templates. Find inspiration to energize your agile ceremonies and maximize your team’s continuous improvement:

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Ahmed BEN SALEM

Strongly involved in Agile methodologies, I have held the roles of Scrum Master, Product Owner and Release Train Engineer for SAFe, Scrum and DevOps projects. My approach focuses on people and stakeholder collaboration, creating environments conducive to innovation and performance.

Since 2016, I have successfully led several Agile software development projects for companies of all sizes, including Odigo, Orange and PSA. My solid experience in Agile methodologies, in particular Scrum and SAFe, has enabled me to work with multicultural teams from countries such as the USA, India, Vietnam and Morocco.

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