Start/ Stop/ Continue Retrospective Template
Get feedback on what your team wants to Start, Stop, and Continue doing.
About the Start Stop Continue Template
What is Start Stop Continue?
Giving and receiving feedback can be challenging and intimidating. It’s hard to look back over a quarter or even a week and parse a set of decisions into “positive” and “negative.” The Start Stop Continue framework was created to make it easier to reflect on your team’s recent experiences. It’s a simple but powerful tool that empowers individuals and teams to decide what to change going forward.
To use the Start Stop Continue framework, teams or individuals divide their activities and decisions into three categories: things they should start doing, things they should stop doing, and things that should continue to form a part of your processes.
Why use the Start Stop Continue template?
The Start Stop Continue Retrospective allows everyone to review the actions they've taken in the past, and determine which ones are worth stopping or continuing. Also, people can think about new actions they should begin doing. Each item results in behavioral change.
When should you use the Start Stop Continue template?
Many teams use the Start Stop Continue Retrospective template at the end of an agile sprint, but others find it is most useful at the end of an entire project, quarter, or event.
The 3 elements of Start Stop Continue
1. Start - What should you start doing? These are activities and behaviors that might improve your processes, reduce waste, and have a positive impact on the way your team functions. Think about technical and behavior elements that might fall into this category. What tools should you start using? Is there a communication style that might work better for your team?
2. Stop - What should you stop doing? These activities and behaviors might be inefficient, wasteful, or have a negative impact on the way your team functions. Again, it’s important to consider both technical and behavioral elements. Is your team using a tool that doesn’t work for you? Is there a meeting style or a communication method that isn’t working?
3. Continue - What should you keep doing? These are activities and behaviors that you’ve tried out and liked, but that aren’t yet part of your core processes. Take stock of the tools and methods you’ve experimented with since the last review cycle. What would you like to continue?
When schedules get hectic, “learning by doing” becomes the default way to learn. So make time for your team to learn in other valuable ways — by reflecting and listening. Led by “learners,” (team members who share with the rest of the team), a meeting reflection lets teammates share new information about a client’s business or an internal business initiative, offer problem-solving techniques, or even recommend books or podcasts worth checking out. Meeting reflections also encourage colleagues at all levels to engage in each other’s professional development of their teammates.
Parking Lot Matrix
When the creative energy is flowing, a workshop or meeting will yield a lot of new ideas — but not all are on-topic or currently feasible. Roll them right onto a parking lot matrix, a simple, effective tool for separating the best ideas from those that are promising but could use more research or discussion. This template will let you easily make your own parking lot matrix, which will come in especially handy during long meetings (and when you have teammates who tend to go off-topic).
What makes a great meeting (other than donuts)? It’s appreciating everyone’s skills, resources, and time by making the very best use of them. That’s what the Lean Coffee approach is designed to do. Great for team brainstorms and retrospectives, Lean Coffee breaks the meeting into three basic stages: what to discuss, what’s being discussed, and what’s been discussed. This template makes it easy for you to collect sticky notes and to update the columns as you go from topic to topic.
To-do lists are simple, yet effective tools that can break down large tasks into smaller, concrete steps. They can range from individual daily tasks to broader group goals. You can make a to-do list for any project or deliverable that your team is responsible for. Breaking down tasks into concrete steps helps your team reach your goals with ease. With the To-Do List template, you can customize your to-do list to include photos, images, videos, color-coding, and documents.
The entire team meets to review the day before and discuss the day ahead. These daily meetings, also known as “scrums,” are brief but powerful — they identify roadblocks, give each team member a voice, foster collaboration, keep progress on track, and ultimately keep teams working together effectively. This template makes it so easy for you to plan daily standups for your sprint team. It all starts with picking a date and time, creating an agenda, and sticking with the same format throughout the sprint.
So you just completed a sprint. Teams busted their humps and emotions ran high. Now take a clear-eyed look back and grade the sprint honestly—what worked, what didn’t, and what can be improved. This approach (4Ls stand for liked, learned, lacked, and longed for) is an invaluable way to remove the emotion and look at the process critically. That’s how you can build trust, improve morale, and increase engagement—as well as make adjustments to be more productive and successful in the future.