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Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template

Identify the positive outcomes and the challenges ahead with the simple yet effective Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template. Apply this popular design thinking retro and improve your processes.

About the Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template

H&R Block created this template to better understand internal processes, what’s working, and areas for improvement. Like any other retro, the Rose, Bud Thorn Retrospective can be used at any point of your project, so you and your team can iterate, move faster, and innovate to reach your goals.

What’s the Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template?

The Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective is a great exercise for getting feedback, finding opportunities, and knowing for sure what’s working within your project or organization.

This technique is derived from design thinking methodologies, and the template frame is divided into three main areas: Rose (success), Thorn (challenges) and Bud (potential).

Each of these areas helps you identify all aspects of your problem, project, or topic you want to approach with the rose, bud, thorn exercise.

Benefits of the Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template

Retrospectives are a great tool to help teams identify what’s working and what needs improvement in any project, sprint, or overall process. The Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template, in particular, is very simple but effective, designed to help you easily identify the positive aspects of your project, the challenges, and future opportunities.

This approach to retros comes from design thinking methodology, which allows teams to iterate faster and identify challenges quicker. The rose, bud, thorn exercise brings agility to teams, allowing people to clearly see their projects’ positive and most challenging aspects.

How to use Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template

This template helps you facilitate a retrospective. Follow the steps below when running this exercise:

  1. Select the ready-made Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template and add it to your board.

  2. Identify the focus area. It can be a problem, a project, or a process.

  3. Explain what each area of the template means.

  • Rose: positive outcomes and what’s working well.

  • Thorn: challenges and difficulties.

  • Bud: potential and future opportunities.

4. Set the timer and give people time to fill in each area.

5. Cluster the stickies by similar topics, identify patterns, and give names to the clusters.

6. Gather learnings and, if needed, reach out to people privately.

Pro tips:

  • Set time for this retro depending on the number of participants. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

  • Create a safe space for people to feel comfortable and transparent about their feelings and opinions. Avoid calling out on individuals, and schedule 1:1 sessions later if needed.

  • Share the board so people can refer back to it.

  • Schedule a follow-up session to check if people implemented changes and if progress was made.

Rose, Bud, Thorn FAQs

What is Rose Bud Thorn in design thinking?

Rose, bud, thorn is one of the many design thinking exercises. Design Thinking methodology is based on testing assumptions and prototypes, and the rose, bud, thorn retro helps people to quickly find out what’s working and what should be reconsidered.

What is the purpose of Rose Bud Thorn?

The purpose of the rose, bud, thorn retro is to mainly assess the challenges of any given project, problem, or process. This retrospective is designed to find out not only the weaknesses but also the strengths of a project so that people can leave this retrospective feeling inspired and with insights.

Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective Template

Get started with this template right now.

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