Retrospective Keep Drop Start: The Complete Guide to Boosting Your Scrum Team

The “Keep Drop Start” retrospective (or sometimes called “Keep Stop Start”) is a popular model widely used by Scrum teams around the world. It’s an effective way of stimulating the continuous improvement process within your team.

And what’s even more exciting is that we’ve prepared a free Miro template to make it easy for you to implement this retrospective!

Keep Drop Start retrospective scrum Retrospective Keep Drop Start: The Complete Guide to Boosting Your Scrum Team

The Keep Drop Start retrospective model is designed to help your Scrum team identify what’s working well (Keep), what needs to be stopped (Drop) and what could be added or improved (Start) in the next sprint. This method is effective for highlighting positive aspects while identifying opportunities for improvement. What’s more, it fosters a culture of continuous learning and reinforces team spirit.

How to host a Keep Drop Start retrospective?

Running a Keep Drop Start retrospective is fairly straightforward, requiring just three steps.

Preparation

Before the retrospective, prepare a table with three columns: Keep, Drop and Start. This can be done easily on a whiteboard, a wall with post-it notes, or with the help of a Miro template.

Discussion

Start with the “Keep” column and ask each team member to share what they think worked well and should be saved for future sprints. Then move on to the “Drop” column and ask what needs to be stopped or avoided. Finally, in the “Start” column, team members are asked to propose new ideas or improvements for implementation.

Fence

At the end of the retrospective, review the ideas and discuss the actions to be taken. It’s important to assign responsibility for each action to ensure follow-up and implementation.

A Free Template for the "Keep Drop Start" Retrospective on Miro

If you’re ready to launch your first “Keep Drop Start” retrospective, Miro offers an excellent template to get you started. It’s an easy-to-use online collaborative tool with intuitive features to stimulate interaction within your team.

Miro is particularly popular among Scrum Masters for its ability to facilitate retrospective sessions. Its whiteboard functionality enables team members to participate actively and share their thoughts and ideas seamlessly.

This image-based “Keep Stop Start” template, which can be downloaded and used on Miro, is designed to help structure the conversation, offering separate spaces for each category of discussion. It also provides tools for point voting, enabling your team to prioritize actions for the next sprint. Download this Miro/Klaxoon template by clicking on this link. Then click on the share and download buttons in the top right-hand corner.

What’s more, if you’re looking for another easy way to set up your next retrospective, you can use and adapt this other free template from Miro.

Popular variations of the Keep Stop Start retrospective

The “Keep Drop Start” retrospective is a valuable tool for a Scrum Master, but it’s also important to know that there are other variations of this model that can help you stimulate continuous improvement in your Scrum team.

The “Start Doing, Continue Doing, Stop Doing” retrospective

This variant of the “Keep Drop Start” retrospective is very similar. Team members need to identify what they should start doing, keep doing, and stop doing. In the next section, we’ll discuss why I prefer the “Keep Drop Start” order to “Start, Continue, Stop” or any other possible order.

The “Mad Sad Glad” retrospective

With this approach, team members are asked to reflect on what made them mad, sad or happy during the sprint. This format can help evoke emotions and feelings, an aspect often overlooked in technical discussions.

The “What Went Well, What Didn’t Go Well” retrospective

This model is fairly straightforward: it simply asks team members to discuss what went well and what didn’t. The main difference between this retrospective model and the Keep Stop Start model lies in their approach and implementation.

“Keep Stop Start” focuses more on the evolution of the team’s behaviors and practices, while “What Went Well, What Didn’t Go Well” focuses on the team’s positive and negative experiences during the sprint.

The Sailboat or Speed Boat retrospective

The “Sailboat” asks team members to think of their project as a boat. The anchors represent the problems that slow them down, and the wind represents the things that help them move forward. We have a whole article devoted to this retrospective template. Click here to learn more about the retro Speed Boat!

Each retrospective variant has its strengths and may be better suited to certain teams or situations. However, the “Keep Stop Start” model remains a popular choice because of its simplicity and efficiency.

equipe scrum en retrospective sprint Retrospective Keep Drop Start: The Complete Guide to Boosting Your Scrum Team

Why prefer the "Keep Drop Start" model to "Start Stop Continue"?

In the “Start Stop Continue” model, the final question is “What should we continue to do? in the other variant, “Start Doing, Continue Doing, Stop Doing”, the final question is“What should we stop doing? This
not an effective guide to the phase of proposing new actions
. With the “Keep Drop Start” model, on the other hand, the final question is “What should we do? start making ?”. This encourages teams to think actively about new improvements, which can lead to more innovative and effective results.

Conclusion

Finally, “Keep Drop Start” retrospectives are an essential continuous improvement lever for any Scrum Master. It’s a structured approach that focuses on the dynamics of your team and identifies which practices to perpetuate, which to eliminate and which new ones to adopt.

In this article, we’ve gone through the ins and outs of this method, detailing the flow of a typical session and emphasizing the importance of animation for the success of the exercise.

We also discovered the possibilities offered by collaborative tools such as Miro, which make it easy to structure and run online retrospectives, with free templates to download.

In addition, we explored the popular variants of this model, “Start Stop Continue” and “What Went Well, What Didn’t Go Well”, highlighting the importance of question order. We’ve explained why “Keep Stop Start” stands out for its proactive focus on action and change.

In a spirit of constant improvement, don’t hesitate to experiment with different models and adapt them to your team’s needs and mindset. The important thing is always to keep in mind the main objective of a retrospective: to help your team grow, improve and work more effectively together.

Feel free to use our free Miro template to facilitate the implementation of this retrospective in your Scrum team.

Happy retrospecting!

This post is also available in: French

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Ahmed BEN SALEM

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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