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How Self-Management makes your Sprint Retrospective More Effective (48)

December 7, 2023

We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of blog posts we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, and we covered the Scrum Values.

Now that we understand that we need trust, which is built up by living the Scrum Values, to bring transparency and as such have a good basis to inspect and adapt, we can have a look at the self-managing aspect of the Scrum Team.

👉 Self-managing, meaning the team internally decides who does what, when, and how.

During each of the Scrum Events, and throughout the Sprint itself, the Scrum Team takes decisions, making it self-managing.

Allowing to take more decisions = more mandate = more autonomy = higher motivation =  higher effectivity.


Now what can the Scrum Team decide during each of the Scrum Events?


Let’s have a look at the Sprint Retrospective.

The Scrum Team discusses the last Sprint with regard to all its different elements (e.g. people, interactions, practices, tools, …) and identifies what went well and what problems it ran into.

  • Based on what they learned from this inspection, they agree on the problems and opportunities they want to improve on.
    And so they decide on what
  • For the selected items to improve they discuss and agree the actions they want to take - actions they believe should bring a positive impact.
    And so they decide on how.
  • Together they agree which actions they are going to take up in the next Sprint, making sure it are actionable items. In the next Sprint - action.
    And so they decide on when.
  • As a team they agree who will collaborate on the different actions.
    And so they decide on who.
  • PS. They also decided how, when, and where to do their Sprint Retrospective.


These are only a few examples of what a Scrum Team can decide during the Sprint Retrospective.


Self-managing is about having a mandate to take decisions.
During the Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team decides on what, how, when and who​.

Note: without a clear (Product, Sprint and Quality) goal, without clear accountabilities, and without a clear boundaries, self-management will not occur.​

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate how self-management can be improved during your Sprint Retrospective.

Also think about what additional insights or input the team would benefit from others outside the team about purpose and goals, the team's accountabilities and the boundaries they have to work within.

I hope you find value in these short posts and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

If you want to take a deeper dive into the core concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.

Don't want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the professional Scrum foundations series weekly in your mailbox.

Self-management during Sprint Retrospective

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