Many Scrum teams are based on a distributed organization where members are in different locations, countries or time zones. How could these Agile teams perform their retrospectives? Some companies have developed online tools that can be used to facilitate retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams.
This article presents only online commercial tools that can be used to facilitate Agile retrospectives, as we have already produced a list of free retrospective tools for distributed Scrum teams. We mention only tools that have features specifically dedicated to Scrum retrospectives. If you want to add a tool that fits these requirements to this article, just let us now using the contact form.
September 9 2019: added: Parabol, Sprint Board, Retro Rabbit, RetroTime, TeleRetro; RealtimeBoard renamed as Miro
goReflect is a free online retrospective tool that is based on the starfish model for retrospectives using Start, More, Continue, Less and Stop. You can create as many boards and invite as many board members as you like. You can also be invited to other boards by other goReflect users. When creating a board you can choose from one of three predefined templates or create your own with the custom template option. Once a board is created, it’s template cannot be changed. Each board requires a title, and since the board is perpetual, using the team’s name is often a good choice, but the choice is yours. goReflect wants to promote a continuous and real-time approach to retrospectives so that a board is always active so it spans multiple sprints, iterations, etc.
inRetro is an online tool that allows to anonymously gather insights, create actions, and assign responsibility with your Scrum team. All ideas added to the meeting are presented anonymously and you can upvote ideas you think require action. You can create action items that can be assigned to a point person.
Miro (formerly RealtimeBoard) aims to provide engaging collaboration for distributed and co-located teams regardless of locations and time zones. There are many preset retrospectives formats like “start/stop/continue” or the 4L (liked/learned/lacked/longed for). You can vote on ideas with a special plugin. The tool offers also other features besides retrospectives, like story mapping or UX research (customer journey map). You can create and discuss anything together just like you are in one meeting room standing in front of a whiteboard. You can invite people through email or slack. There is an unlimited free version with limited features up to 3 editable boards for unlimited teams members.
Parabol is a retrospective meeting app for agile teams or anyone interested in creating continuous improvement. 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. There is a free version up to two teams.
When you signup, you are automatically placed in a free trial plan and your first 30 days of using Retrium are free. You start by creating a list of what went well (or not). Then you can group the items and vote for them. Finally, it is time to create some action list for improvement.
RetroTime is a online tool that allows creating a retrospective and invite your team, and start your retro. Once your team has completed feedback, show the comments and start the conversation on how to improve. Whether you want to respect privacy or ensure new and independent thoughts, RetroTime Hidden Comments will allow you to collect feedback while keeping your team anonymous. RetroTime basic version is free.
Retrospectus is an online tool to give and receive feedback among team members. It helps you visualize what made participants happy, confused or sad. There is an unlimited free version with limited features up to 3 teams members. You have to login with another id (github, google, facebook or twitter).
Retro Rabbit tries to solve issues with other tools. For instance with Retro Rabbit teams can continuously submit notes for their upcoming retrospective from day one. Anonymous note submission allows every voice on the Scrum team to be heard equally and fairly. Retro Rabbit has a feature for asynchronous retros can cut out the entire submission process and cut your meeting time. There if a free version of Retro Rabbit allows unlimited retrospectives with up to 10 team members.
Sprint Boards is a online tool for Scrum retrospectives. This tool is built with Bootstrap 4 and Vue and pays special attention to keyboard shortcuts that developers should appreciate. There are keyboard shortcuts for adding and saving cards, and a double-click shortcut to quickly edit a card. When you have finished your retrospective, you can lock your board to prevent somebody to make further changes. This is great for Scrum masters that need to review past retros.
TeamRetro is an enterprise-ready online agile retrospective meeting tool for agile coaches, scrum-masters and teams. Retrospectives can follow multiple formats (Start Stop Continue, Anchors & Engines, Starfish, Mad Sad Glad, 4Ls). It offers multiple ways to invite members to retrospectives. All your actions are created in a single list that you can track from meeting to meeting. Team members get a gentle reminder before actions are due. Tick off completed tasks and show some love at your next retro. The trial period is based on 3 retrospectives.
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.