5L Retrospective Technique

March 06, 2015

"Looking for a new retrospective technique to try with the team this sprint?  There's a common Agile retrospective pattern called the 4 L's, which was made popular by ebg consulting. If you want to read the original version, check out this link 4 L's The original technique focuses on four words starting with the letter L, hence the 4 L's. You'll need sticky notes, a white board, and some dry erase markers. Write the categories on the board, describe them, and provide an example of something that might fit into that category. Give the team 10-15 minutes to come up with their own topics that fit within those categories and then put them up together. The Scrum Master (SM) should then read the topics within the categories one at a time and spur up conversation. The SM should record any action items on the board as the group discusses.

4L's Retrospective

  • We liked it when a good thing took on a life of its own.
  • We learned that it really resonated with many folks.
  • We lacked sharing the full understanding of the technique.
  • We longed for more sharing.

Before running this retrospective with my team I took a step back and tried to come up with personal examples for the 4 L's. I could easily identify with the first three L's, but I was confused when comparing the difference between lacked and longed for. So I decided I would come up with my own fourth L. After some thought I came up with two new categories, both starting with the letter L, and hence force this retrospective technique will be known as the 5L's.

5L's Retrospective

  • Something you liked about the sprint, team, project, etc.
  • Something you personally learned
  • Something the sprint, team, project, etc. lacked
  • Something considered a liability, such as risks, tech debt, etc.
  • Praise, shout-outs, or also known as lauded

Try out this new technique with your team for your upcoming retrospective and let me know what you think. I always enjoy positive and constructive feedback."

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