Closing the Cycle – Retrospective Agenda and Template on Mural

10 Nov 2020 | Mural, Remote, Retrospective

Please find below a sequence of activities for a retrospective for a team that have just finished a cycle of work and is about to start the next one. On this post, I also share a Mural template I used for facilitating this remote retrospective.

1. Context Set-up

This cycle is over (from June 1st to September 30th). Let´s have a retrospective to share how we felt about it and to talk about the learnings as we are now starting the work on the next cycle.

2. Prime directive

I copied/pasted the retrospective prime directive and added it to the board.

Retrospectives Prime Directive: ‘Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.’

3. Draw your feelings (Check-in activity)

Draw your feelings is a great check-in activity for helping people express feelings for a retrospective meeting. Drawing enables people to express their emotions. Thus, it is a good starter before the main course activity, where participants typically will write notes and verbalize things and actions for the given context.

The main idea behind “draw your feelings” is to express a specific emotion, feeling or situation that you can’t normally express with words. Drawing it helps people later verbalize the reason behind it. Therefore, it is a great check-in activity, for two reasons: (1) allow the individual to first express feelings via drawings, before writing about it, and (2) make it visible about how the group is feeling before entering the main activity.

4. The Peaks and Valleys timeline (Retrospective activity)

The Peaks and Valleys timeline provides a simple visual language for sharing individual’s views on the ups and downs for a given timeline. It is an effective way for a large group to visualize and uncover events and its interconnections. At the end of this activity the whole group will have a view of several Peaks and valley timelines. It is a good activity for getting the participants to open up for further conversation.

Below is a sample result for this activity.

5. FLAP retrospective (Retrospective activity)

Let’s use the following quadrants for self-reflection and for sharing with each other.

  • Future directions: Please write down the future directions regarding the project.
  • Lessons learned: Please write down the key lessons and takeaways from the phase that is over.
  • Accomplishments: Please write down the key accomplishments for the phase that is over.
  • Problem areas: Please write down the problematic areas experienced throughout the specified phase.

6. Tell and Cluster (Filtering)

Tell and Cluster is an easy and effective way to get individual notes clustered on affinity groups.

Each participant read one of their notes, clustered whenever appropriate. Then the group had a quick chat about it, before moving to the next participant note until all notes were talked about (or the time for the activity ends).

7. One word before leaving (Check-out activity)

The One word before leaving is a check out activity used to verify the feelings before closing the retrospective. Typically it is a great moment for people sharing their feelings, especially when they have had great enthusiasm from the retrospective.

Remote retrospective

I used for selecting activities and thinking about the agenda. I used Mural as the visual collaboration tool.

Please find below the Mural template for the ´Closing the Cycle Retro Agenda´.


Retro – Cycle ends a new one starts – same team Template by MURAL

Open to create a mural from this template in your workspace. Powered by MURAL


Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .
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