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The 4 Soils - Sprint Retrospective

April 2, 2020

Scrum is like a house, where the team can be safe and self-organize. They will build trust and continuous improvement. Respect Scrum team as an ecosystem will help the team evolve and build up teamwork, and the values will come day by day, sprint by sprint.

In every Sprint, Sprint Retrospective is an excellent chance to inspect and adapt the way of working. There are many formats to help Scrum Master facilitates the Sprint Retrospective. But I always think about the format that can focus on the team environment, the ecosystem. I keep thinking and uphold that idea, and I found the inspiration from the "Parable of the Soils”. Borrow that parable; I create the Sprint Retrospective format “The 4 Soils”. The meaning of this format is to focus on how to help the Scrum team define what is the good/bad impact to the Scrum house. From that, the team will have the action or change to improve/maintain the ecosystem.

The 4 Soils - Sprint Retrospective

​The format is simple (image):

  1. The Birds: The impediments can harm and impact to the self-organization of the Scrum team.
  2. The Rocky Ground: What Scrum team thinks it would be useful for the team to do the work better but still missing. Or anything they need to remove as it prevents the evolution of the team.
  3. The Thorns:  Focus on Team issues, like - team conflicts, lacking commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect.
  4. The Good Soil: The good things the team should keep and uphold.

This format will help the Scrum team, sprint by sprint, notice the harmful impacts, maintain the environment, and keep the "Good Soil"

I hope this format will help your Scrum team to have an effective Sprint Retrospective. How do you think? I welcome to get the feedback to improve this format. Please share it by comment.

You can download the artwork above then try to apply the format here:
Link download Raw Artworks (Ver 1.0)



Many people requested us to produce a printable beautiful version rather than the hand-drawn in the original post. Therefore today, we are happy to release the new version of The 4 Soils - Sprint Retrospective. ​

The 4 Soils - Sprint Retrospective ver 2.0 (Printable file updated)


Scrum on!


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