In this article, we will help you to understand how the facilitator runs a retrospective.

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Retrospective Process


The facilitator of a retrospective is the one who is responsible for making a retrospective valuable for all the team members. From planning a retrospective to accumulating feedback the facilitator does everything. In this article, you will learn about the roles and responsibilities a retrospective facilitator possesses using the Glad Sad Mad template. Note: The working of all the different templates will be the same and only the visualization remain different.

Retrospective Process

The different phases of a retrospective process are:

  1. Icebreaker
  2. Ideate
  3. Group
  4. Vote
  5. Discuss
  6. Feedback


The first step of a retrospective process is an Icebreaker. It is an activity designed to welcome the members and start a conversation with the members.


When the retrospective members start submitting their responses, then the facilitator can view the responses in the form of a graph. To keep an eye on the number of members that have voted, the facilitator can view the responses in the Summary tab.

For every step, the timer starts automatically. If you stop the timer or when it becomes zero and red, the next step Ideate gets activated.


The second step of a retrospective process is to Ideate. In this step, the facilitator explains how a retrospective works on the chosen template. The role of the facilitator is to make sure that the entire team is aware of the procedures and that everyone wishes to continue the process.

By clicking on the Add icon in the different columns, team members and the facilitator can add cards to the retrospective. They can also Edit and Delete a card as per the requirement.


The facilitator has the ability to drag and adjust the width of the column while team members can only view the width of a column increasing or decreasing.


  • In the ideate step, you cannot drag and drop cards from a column.
  • If you choose 4L’s template, then there are four columns, Liked, Learned, Lacked, and Longed For. So, add cards to the respective columns.


The next step of a retrospective process is Group. When the team members are done adding their cards then the facilitator comes into action and checks for similar or related cards. If the facilitator finds any related cards then combine them into groups so that it becomes easier to discuss. To group cards, the facilitator will start to drag and drop cards on top of each other in their respective columns. Note: The cards cannot be dragged and dropped from one column to another column.


In the Group step, zoom levels can be changed as per the requirement. Once the facilitator has grouped the cards then the card is highlighted as a Group card and has navigation arrows to navigate between different cards in a group.

From the overflow menu, the facilitator can set a particular card as the cover card with the “Set as cover” option.  If the facilitator wants to view multiple groups then click the Expand column icon.

Note: Once the card is part of a group, it cannot be modified.


The fourth step of a retrospective process is the Vote. At the beginning of the retrospective process, the facilitator assigns votes for every team member based on the need. all you need to do is hit the Thumbs up icon on the card for which you want to add votes. The voted card will be highlighted with a green Thumbs up and will have the count of votes added to it. Thus, the card with the highest number of votes is taken up for discussion. Well, you don’t need to worry as NimbleRetro organizes the cards based on the votes when you select the Auto allocate feature.  Not only does it organizes the cards but also helps you to save time in manual calculations.

Note: Once the vote is applied to a card, it can no longer be modified.

The facilitator can view the increase in the number of votes and card movement while the team members are voting. If you reach the vote limit then you will be notified by a snack bar notification. Once the timer reaches zero, the facilitator drags cards to the Cards to be Discussed column or uses the Auto Allocate option to view the most voted cards.


The fifth step of a retrospective process is Discuss. From the voting results, the facilitator picks a few issues to be discussed and starts adding action items to address the issues. This step includes the 5 Whys activity to find the root cause of the selected problem.


On the right panel, the “Discussion and action items” panel will be visible. In the “For Discussion” section, the facilitator picks a card and starts the discussion. The selected card will be highlighted for the team members. On the left panel, the facilitator adds a problem statement, and the 1st Why. The facilitator can also edit the 1st Why. Up to 5 Whys can be added by the facilitator by clicking on the add icon present on the card’s top right corner.

A problem statement is incomplete with a root cause. So, from the overflow menu click the √ Add root cause.

In the “Action Items” section, the facilitator can add an action item by clicking on the ADD ITEM icon. Then, add the title and assign the action item to the respective team members. Enter Due Date and set Priority.


The last step of a retrospective process is feedback. In this step, the facilitator accumulates the outcomes received from the team members and takes input as to how to improve.

On the right panel, the facilitator can view the comments given by the retrospective members and can also pin the comments.

Once the feedback is done, the facilitator can check the Summary tab if all members have submitted their results. Then, click the FINISH RETRO button to end the retrospective.

To know more about the actions that a facilitator can perform during a retrospective meeting, click here.

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