Seasons of the Year retrospective

Sprint retrospective idea – Live each season as it passes

What are the Seasons of the Year retrospective?

The seasons have been referenced by creatives for thousands of years in order to help support their expression of emotions.Monet’s celebration of the colour and beauty of spring was a popular theme in his paintings; Shakespeare referenced a “summer’s day” when attempting to describe the love for his beloved in a sonnet; autumnal backdrops in movies can hint at a theme of change (think “Dead Poets’ Society”, “Remember the Titans”, and “Good Will Hunting”); and “Winter is coming” was leveraged as a dire warning in Game of Thrones.

The Seasons of the Year retrospective is a way of gauging how your team felt about the various elements of the last iteration. Using the seasons as a barometer for people to share their perspective on the sprint presents participants with an agreed and therefore safe vocabulary with which to express how they feel.

Seasons of the Year retrospective format


Participants identify what is starting to grow or blossom. What ideas are starting to take hold and progress? What’s new? What has commenced? What challenges have started to thaw?


Participants are encouraged to list what sizzled or shone in the last sprint. What amazing outputs were delivered? Who went above and beyond? What made people feel warm and relaxed?


This is a category that allows participants to share the elements of the sprint they feel may have been coming to an end. What changes were observed? Has there been a shift in the team mood? What has been cool and calm?


This is a space where participants identify elements of the sprint that are slowing. What came to an end? Did any participants have an icy perception of any element of the sprint? Where did we have to double down or take cover?

Suggested Icebreaker questions for Seasons of the Year retrospective

  • What’s your favourite season of the year and why?
  • Which season represents how you feel right now?
  • What would your ideal season be like?

Retro Rehearsal

Invite your team to rehearse the retro referencing something they would drink.

For example, in what way/s is your coffee like spring, summer, autumn or winter?

Ideas and tips for your Seasons of the Year retrospectives

  • Have people group themselves based on their favourite season of the year and ask them what they love and hate about that season.

  • Make brainstorming anonymous to allow people to feel safe when contributing their thoughts. People will feel more engaged when they feel like they can air what they need to.

  • To help kick off the ideation process, ask them to think about their top 5 activities that they did in the last sprint and add those in. They can then drag and drop them into the right column based on the work that they have been doing and how they felt it went according to each element of the season.

  • Use the way teams vote to manage culture. You’ll get interesting insights when people vote individually. Is everyone voting only for the Winter and are struggling to get out of a pessimistic view. Are conversations being spread across the board more evenly so that there is a breadth of discussion that allows everything to progress as needed.

  • A thank you goes a long way. Give a shout out to the team at the end of the meeting.

  • Follow up with an action list that you will check off at the start of the next team retro.

How to run a Seasons of the Year retrospective in TeamRetro

Start Agile Retrospective

Start your retrospective in a click
Log into TeamRetro and choose your sprint retrospective template.

Invite Your Team
Invite your team easily – no separate accounts needed
Send an email invite, a link or add to your Slack channel to get people started quickly. SSO options are also available.
Agile Retrospective Brainstorm
Time to brainstorm
Each team member can now brainstorm individually under each topic. This avoids group think and allows everyone to have their say. They can indicate when they have finished, or you can set a timer so that you know when to move onto the next stage.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Group related ideas
Drag and drop  related ideas to combine them for easier voting. TeamRetro can also automatically suggest ideas that are similar, saving you and your team valuable time.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Vote independently to avoid anchoring
Each team member votes on what they would most like to discuss further. The results won’t be displayed to everyone until you advance to Discuss.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Discuss the most important things first
You and your team discuss the top voted ideas and can capture deep dive comments.  Presentation mode allows you to walk your team through ideas one-by-one and keep the conversation focused.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Review and create actions

Easily facilitate discussion by bringing everyone onto the same page. Create action items, assign owners and due dates that will carry through for review at the next retrospective.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Share the results
Once you have finished your retro, you can share the results and actions with the team. Your retro will be stored so you can revisit them as needed.

Congratulations! You’ve just run a retro like a boss.
Want more? Read on.