Start Stop Continue Restrospective: a Complete Guide

by Julian in January 18th, 2021

Have you ever done an agile sprint retrospective like Start Stop Continue with your team?

A Start Stop Continue Restrospective presents a great team bonding opportunity and is one of the most straightforward project review techniques. 

This lets you create practical notes on your processes and have a following team discussion on what you should implement in your next action plan or what to remove in your current workflows.

To make the process even simpler, you can run it through an asynchronous platform like ScrumGenius that lets your colleagues do Start Stop Continue at their own time - more on that later. 

First, let us take a closer look at what the exercise entails and how to run it effectively.

What is Start Stop Continue Retrospective?

A Start Stop Continue Retrospective is a simple but effective exercise. From content marketing to sales to devops, teams can use this retrospective to look back at their past experiences and determine what things need to be changed as they move forward.

Start Stop Continue activity includes breaking up all of the team actions into three lists: Start, Stop, and Continue. Simple enough, right?

Start. List activities that the team is going to begin doing in the next cycle. You can look at both behavioral and technical aspects and search for activities that:

  • Reduce waste
  • Improve processes
  • Have a positive impact on the team operation

Stop. Look back at the previous cycle and reflect on things that didn't work and should be stopped. These should be technical or behavioral activities that you should cease in the future, as they:

  • Are inefficient
  • Have a negative impact on the way things work or the way people feel
  • Waste time and resources

Continue. Identify things that have worked in the past cycle and be included in the team's core activities. Once the activities become part of the way things are done, you can remove them from the Continue list and add them to procedure checklists and manuals.

The Start Stop Continue Retrospective can be run during an in-person meeting, in a shared document, or remotely on chat using ScrumGenius.

You can create a Stop Start Continue template using the tool and get it automatically sent to your team members without you having to follow up on them manually.

We recommend automating the process with ScrumGenius to keep it running smoothly: it is an excellent tool for agile sprint retrospectives, as it lets you customize the timeframe and questions and even create an automated Start Stop Continue document.

Benefits of Start Stop Continue Retrospective

Start Stop Continue Retrospective could be a great addition to your arsenal of project review methods and team-building activities:

  • It is one of the most straightforward project review techniques out there: it does not require any special knowledge or equipment to complete.
  • It makes it easier for teams to identify and clarify issues, estimate the impact of ideas, and find consensus based on shared priorities.
  • Start Stop Continue provides teams with an opportunity to look back at their past performance and identify improvement areas for the future.
  • It empowers the teams to implement changes and improvements in the way they work continuously.
  • It is an action-oriented exercise, where each item on the list leads to a behavioral change. As such, it is a great tool to increase the energy and momentum of the team.

Start Stop Continue is a straightforward method, which makes it suitable for a wide range of applications, including:

  • Program reviews
  • Executive reviews
  • Project teams
  • Personal performance evaluations

How to Run Start Stop Continue Retrospective

All you need to run an effective Start Stop Continue Retrospective is your ability to facilitate group discussions. It requires no specialized skills or equipment and is usually done with sticky notes, whiteboards, or even using your chat platform. 

If the team members are scattered in various locations, online tools may be the best way forward. ScrumGenius allows you to automate various aspects of the retrospective, such as sending the templates at a particular time and getting a summary report of each participant's answers.

Regardless of whether the retrospective is performed in-person or online, it follows the same necessary steps:

#1 Brainstorm

The first step involves getting all the team members to think about various activities and actions to start, stop, and continue performing as a team. 

This can be done either individually or in smaller groups and later combined to determine the outlook of the entire team.

This step's main idea is that all items should represent specific activities rather than general statements. Make each action accessible to the entire group to be discussed and clarified as needed.

#2 Group

Combine all the individual contributions, group similar or duplicate actions, and discard those out of scope.

#3 Vote

Once all the action items in all three lists are finalized, the team can vote on the most critical actions moving forward.

Allocate each team member one or several votes to distribute across the lists according to their priorities. They can place either one or multiple votes per action. As a result, you will receive a prioritized list of what actions the team should start, stop, and continue in the upcoming cycle.

#4 Share

Compile and distribute a report outlining the outcomes of the session. If you are running your Start Stop Continue Retrospective in ScrumGenius, you will automatically receive a visually appealing report and action plan for distribution, saving you time and effort, and to have an overview of the participation rate for the exercise.

Automate Start Stop Continue Retrospective with ScrumGenius

Sprint retrospectives like Start Stop Continue are a crucial part of any agile organization, as they let teams meet at regular intervals and look back at the progress made and plan for the future at the same time.

Suppose you are looking to make your life easier. In that case, Start Stop Continue Retrospective is precisely what you need. This exercise is straightforward to perform, yet it yields a prioritized list of action items ready to be implemented in the next period. 

To simplify the process further, you can automate the retrospective with ScrumGenius to accommodate remote employees and generate automatic reports. Sign up for ScrumGenius today and try it for yourself!

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