Even if Agile approaches favor collocated teams, distributed Scrum teams with remote work are more common that what you might think. Many Agile software development teams are based on a virtual organization. This article presents some free online retrospective tools that can be used to facilitate retrospectives for distributed and remote Scrum teams.
You will find in this article only online Scrum retrospective tools that are supposed to be used for free in the long term. We do not list tools that offer only a free trial based on duration or the number of retrospectives. We will also only mention the tools that have features specifically dedicated to Agile and Scrum retrospectives. There are many other tools that Scrum teams might use, from video conferencing platforms to online whiteboard software. Mentioning all these tools will result more in a book than an article. If you want to add a tool that fits these requirements to this article, just let us now using the contact form. Free retrospective tools for distributed scrum teams listed in this article are Retro Cadence, RetroTeam, Reetro, IdeaBoardz, Metro Retro, Pointing Poker, Postfacto, Retro Cadence, Retrospected / Retro-Board, Retrospect.team, Scrumlr, Sprint Boards, Stormboard, Swift Board.
December 5 2022: added Miro, RetroTeam, Swift Board
January 17 2022: added Retro Cadence, Scrumlr;
removed FunRetro (open source tool archived), Fraankly, Retro Rabbit, ScatterSpoke (no free plan anymore), Scrum Toolkit (not available anymore)
September 13 2021: added GoRetro, Retro tool , SpeedBoard
August 11 2020: added Fraankly, Metro Retro, Postfacto, TeleRetro
April 6 2020: added Reetro; removed Sensei (end of life June 1 2020), Sprint Boards (no more free option)
March 3 2020: added Parabol, RemoteRetro, Retro Rabbit
June 3 2019 : added Retrospected / Retro-Board, Retrospect.team; removed goReflect
February 28 2018: added Sensei, Sprint Boards
January 10 2017: added goReflect, ScatterSpoke, Scrum Toolkit
July 19 2016: added Fun Retro
RetroTeam is an online retrospective tool that lets you seamlessly run Scrum retrospectives with small to large Agile teams. It offers both free and paid plans. You can choose between a variety of retrospective formats. Depending on what works well for your team, you can choose a from Start, Stop Continue, 4L, Went Well, Improve Action or even a custom format. While you conduct a retrospective, you can view how many participants you have by clicking on the user Icon. If you have a private board, you can choose to remove a user from a board or invite the user again. Invite participants by sending out an invitation by email or by dropping a link for your team to join. Continuous improvement is not complete without a follow up on action Items. This is why RetroTeam allows you to export your board to a PDF format. This summary is a simple, informative record of a team’s progress, that you can save for your own tracking or forward to other stakeholders.
Registration is not required.
Reetro is an online agile retrospective tool. It simplifies the process of planning, managing and executing retrospectives. Reetro offers a variety of features from very simple user experience, automation and analytics. Reetro is 100% free and makes it easier for the teams to engage, innovate and collaborate during remote retrospectives. ou can create a fully customizable retrospective board. You can choose from predefined retrospective formats, or can create your own format. You can set all the comment cards to be added as anonymous. You can invite single or multiple team members to join your retrospective board. You can set your retro board as public(shareable) or private. If you set the board as private. No one except the added team members can access the board. Once a board is set as public, just copy the code and send it, Now anyone with this link can add comments on the board.
Registration is required.
TeleRetro is an online tool for running sprint retrospectives for distributed Agile teams. TeleRetro is simple and easy to use, and it stands out with its appealing design. It has been built to allow unimpeded critical discussions, and to support teams where they need it most – collecting feedback; capturing, tracking & reviewing actions; preparing proven sprint retro formats; generating automated retro statistics; and being fully customisable, even down to the background image. TeleRetro helps to set the tone for the retro with ‘Ice-breakers’ which lets facilitators play music or video directly from the board with tools such as YouTube and SoundCloud. Once a board is created, anyone can participate via a retro link without the need to sign in. TeleRetro offers both free and paid plans.
No registration is required, instead you can sign in with Google SSO or email
IdeaBoardz is a free online team collaboration tool. It allows teams to collectively gather inputs, reflect and retrospect. It is especially useful for distributed teams. For Scrum retrospectives, you can create two types of boards: standard or starfish. More board options are available (pros & cons, to-dos) that could be also useful. You can edit the titles of the sections of your board. The interface seems very intuitive, but sometimes I ended up in some situations where I didn’t know how to exit gracefully, for instance when I focused on one sticky note to vote or update it. The updating process works however fine, so you will not loose your updates if you have to take an “emergency exit” from your board. The IdeaBoardz board have some filtering and ordering features if there is too much information on it. You can export the information of your board to a pdf document or to Excel. You can involve people in a board by simply sharing a link to its url through e-mail, twitter or a Slack channel.
No registration required but it is possible to register and login on IdeaBoardz with a Google account if you want to find your boards more easily
GoRetro is a free retrospective tool that aims at making the entire retrospective process seamless, simple, fun, colorful and productive. Among its features, GoRetro allows creating teams and add/invite unlimited developers, managers, and team leaders to collaborate on the GoRetro boards; creating unlimited retro boards with your dev team using 10 preconfigured templates or customize your own, making a board public or private with specific teammates. You can also vote on the retrospectives cards and export your board in different formats.
Metro Retro is a free online scrum tool that allows Agile teams that are remote or co-located to run productive, engaging and fun retrospectives. You can choose from an existing template then use Build Mode to edit the board to suit your needs. You can also export your board data to various formats for archival in your wiki or on disk.
Although being a broader online tool providing many features for team collaboration and meeting facilitation, Miro offers a specific template to identify successes and failures with your Agile team to improve everyday practices. With Miro’s Retrospective Template, you can discuss current issues and brainstorm new ideas. freemium account is limited to 3 editable boards.
Parabol is a commercial retrospective meeting app for agile teams that offers free account up to two teams. It is designed to put in-person and remote participants on equal footing. Every phase of the meeting can be done together, and brainstormed items always remain anonymous to encourage full disclosure. Parabol automatically generates a meeting summary delivered to all stakeholders via email or Slack, which details what has been discussed, and who is accountable for what. It integrates with Atlassian Jira and GitHub seamlessly export tasks for easy follow-through on improvements.
Pointing Poker is a tool that allows you to share online planning poker and retrospective sessions. You don’t need to register and the tool comes with a little “twist”: when you navigate away from the session’s page, the information about your planning or retrospective disappears. Even if you register, there is no way to save the results of your session. Both the planning poker and the retrospectives work in a simple way. You start a session and you can invite other to participate. You then have the possibility to discuss things that you want to start, stop or continue doing. You can switch between “Entry” and “Review” modes.
No registration required but it is possible to register
Postfacto is an open source tool that lets you run an agile retrospective even when your team is distributed across the world. Your retros will live update across all your devices so each participant can follow along on their device. Easily set up Postfacto to work with Google OAuth so users can sign up with their Google accounts. Alternatively, you can control access to your instance with the admin dashboard. You can create private retro boards for your team that are password protected or choose to leave them public so that anyone you give the link to can access them. Participants can add and vote on items from their mobile devices, so it is easy to run a retro without everyone in the group having a laptop nearby. This works well for retros where some people are in the room and some are remote.
RemoteRetro is an open source retrospective tool. It aims to provide a collaborative, real-time, facilitator-driven retrospective through idea generation (invite ideas (happy, sad, confused) from participants), mute mapping (participants group ideas into categories without speaking), labeling + voting (participants vote on categories for discussion and root-cause analysis), action item generation (participants generate and assign action items), action item distribution (facilitator distributes action items via email to all retro participants). You have to register with a Google account.
Retro Cadence is a free online retrospective and meeting facilitation application that provides unlimited participants, unlimited boards, unlimited themes, and enterprise SSO ready, all on a secure cloud infrastructure. The retrospectives are based on a Kanban style retro board. Add, delete, edit, and like cards under any column. You can create your own boards with columns unique to your team or use one of the prebuilt ones. Retro Cadence allows to easily clone your board for next retro. Anonymous participation is allowed as login is not required to participate, just share the link with you team.
Retro tool is an open source retrospective tool that aims to provide a simple and effective way to perform retrospectives for remote Agile teams. You can collaborate with your remote team to improve what you do, guided by a simple workflow.
Retrospected / Retro-Board
Retrospect.team is a simple online retrospective and collaboration tool. It o You can create a board, share it publicly or privately with your Scrum team members, add cards and take action. You can build any type of list you need, task list, list of resources, idea list and then share with the world for real-time collaboration. You can start a retrospective board with one of five standard templates: Retrospect, Star Fish Retrospect, Six Thinking Hats, ToDo’s or Pros and Cons. Then you can customize them to meet your own needs. You can invite distributed Scrum team members using a specific url for the board. The pro version allows tayloring permisions. People can add retrospective items and vote for them. Boards can be exported in PDF format for documentation purpose.
Registration required with an external account (Microsoft, LinkedIn or Google); free plan with limited feature
Scrumlr is an open source tool and a webapp for collaborative online retrospectives hosted on scrumlr.io. This project is written in React on top of the Parse Platform. Different types of retrospectives (“Start, Stop, Continue”, “Mad, Sad, Glad”, etc.)
SpeedBoard is a free tool for distributed real-time retrospective that allows managing unlimited users and retrospective boards.
Stormboard is a commercial online brainstorming and collaboration tool. It offers a free plan with limited features for team that have up to five members. Stormboard provides many specific templates for different Agile and Lean boards (you can have a Scrum sprint or a Kanban board for instance) and has two templates specifically for Scrum retrospectives. The interface is rich with a good help system. As the interface, the card system is quite sophisticated compared to the tools that have only a free offer. A card can contains plain text, a video, a document or an index card. You can six different colors give additional meaning to your cards, for instance identifying which person or team created it. You can vote for every card on the board.
Web site: https://stormboard.com/
Registration required; free plan with limited features
Swift Board is a free online all-in-one tool to brainstorm, retrospect, collaborate. It offers template for both retrospectives, brainstorming or team management. Anonymous team feedback is the best way to get real answers. Swift Board is anonymous so you can be 100% honest. It is fully customizable to be as minimal or as powerful as you need it to be. You can fully control everything on the board. Swift Board allows to Work with your distributed Agile software development team in real-time from wherever you are, whenever you want!
No registration required
More resources on retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams