Reflection in agile retrospectives

Yanti Andriyani, Rashina Hoda, Robert Amor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A retrospective is a standard agile meeting practice designed for agile software teams to reflect and tune their process. Despite its integral importance, we know little about what aspects are focused upon during retrospectives and how reflection occurs in this practice. We conducted Case Study research involving data collected from interviews of sixteen software practitioners from four agile teams and observations of their retrospective meetings. We found that the important aspects focused on during the retrospective meeting include identifying and discussing obstacles, discussing feelings, analyzing previous action points, identifying background reasons, identifying future action points and generating a plan. Reflection occurs when the agile teams embody these aspects within three levels of reflection: reporting and responding, relating and reasoning, and reconstructing. Critically, we show that agile teams may not achieve all levels of reflection simply by performing retrospective meetings. One of the key contributions of our work is to present a reflection framework for agile retrospective meetings that explains and embeds three levels of reflection within the five steps of a standard agile retrospective. Agile teams can use this framework to achieve better focus and higher levels of reflection in their retrospective meetings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming
Subtitle of host publication18th International Conference, XP 2017 Cologne, Germany, May 22–26, 2017 Proceedings
EditorsHubert Baumeister, Horst Lichter, Matthias Riebisch
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319576336
ISBN (Print)9783319576329
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventConference on Agile Software Development 2017 - Cologne, Germany
Duration: 22 May 201726 May 2017
Conference number: 18th'aa_experience_report)~sources~(~'XP2017))~searchTerm~'~sort~'name.sort~sortDirection~'asc~page~1)

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
ISSN (Print)1865-1348
ISSN (Electronic)1865-1356


ConferenceConference on Agile Software Development 2017
Abbreviated titleXP 2017
Internet address


  • Agile retrospective meeting
  • Agile software development
  • Levels of reflection
  • Reflection
  • Reflective practice
  • Teams

Cite this

Andriyani, Y., Hoda, R., & Amor, R. (2017). Reflection in agile retrospectives. In H. Baumeister, H. Lichter, & M. Riebisch (Eds.), Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming: 18th International Conference, XP 2017 Cologne, Germany, May 22–26, 2017 Proceedings (pp. 3-19). (Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing; Vol. 283). Springer.