An End of Year Retrospective Template

From agile retrospectives to a personal retrospective

As a person who has published a book on agile retrospectives, you might be convinced I know two or three things about them 😅. I find the agile retrospective practice essential for building high-performing teams and organisations. When you create space to look at events, you notice patterns that maybe you didn’t notice before. You may also feel differently about events with the passing of time, as you’ve had more opportunity to separate your feelings from a situation and more time to process them. Agile retrospectives help teams amplify practices that work well, and create a safe space to explore experiments to improve how a team works.

We can, and absolutely should, use the idea of a retrospective and apply them to help as individuals. People name this as a personal retrospective. Unlike a team retrospective, we may not benefit from new or different perspectives. But a personal retrospective gives us an opportunity to be more deliberate in noticing detail, or connections we may miss in a rush to move on to “the next important thing.” Use personal retrospectives to acknowledge, to celebrate and create an opportunity to reinforce healthy behaviours, or consider changing or adding new behaviours.

I tend to run more ad hoc version of personal retrospectives through the year. But the end of a calendar year feels different and somehow more significant. The passing of a calendar year warrants a slightly more structured, or what some of you may consider a slightly more formal approach.

Preparing a structure

I like to change the format of my end of year retrospective from year to year. Changing activities for agile retrospectives keeps them feeling fresh, so I use this approach to keep each year feeling different. And 2020 was certainly different. I asked on twitter if people would like to see the template I’ve planned for this year.

The responses seemed extremely positive ☺️

A template for an end of year personal retrospective

I’ve made this year’s template in the form of a Google Doc. If you have a Google Account, you can make a private copy and add it to your own drive. If you don’t have a Google Account, you should be able to download it as a Word, Open Document, RTF, or other file to work with it.

I wouldn’t normally have so many instructions included as part of the template, but I’ve added more concrete instructions which I hope will help you understand the intent behind each section and activity. I’ve enabled comments on the template file in case you have any specific suggestions or feedback.

Get the end of year retrospective template here and enjoy 🎉🥳


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