Scrum Agile Project Management

Free Retrospective Tools for Distributed Scrum Teams

Even if Agile approaches favor collocated teams, distributed Scrum teams 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 tools that can be used to facilitate retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams.

You will find in this article only 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 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 IdeaBoardz, Fraankly, Fun Retro, Metro Retro, Pointing Poker, Postfacto, Retrospected / Retro-Board, Retrospect.team, ScatterSpoke, Scrum Toolkit, Sensei, Sprint Boards, Stormboard.

Updates

August 11 2020: added Fraankly, Metro Retro, Postfacto
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

Reetro

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.

Web site: https://www.reetro.io/
Registration is required.

IdeaBoardz

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.

IdeaBoardz Retrospective Tool

Website: https://ideaboardz.com/
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

Fraankly

Fraankly is a free retrospective tool that gives every team member a voice. Scrum team member can write down their cards without getting distracted by cards of other team members. You can them make the cards visible, explain them and group cards with similar topics together into clusters. Finally, the team can vote, discuss the most pressing issues and create action items.

Fraankl Retrospective Tool

Website: https://www.fraankly.com/
No registration required but it is possible to register and login on Fraankly with a social account

Fun Retro

Fun Retro is an open source tool based on Node.js that provides a retrospective board. An online version exist also where you can directly use the tool. Fun Retro provides a basic template that you can then customize by adding additional columns or changing the name of them. You can have multiple people involved by simply sharing the url. There is no explicit saving mecanism, but the you can come back to your board using its url. You manage the retrospectives topics and actions using simple colored cards. A “like” button on each card allows participant to express their opinion on its content. You can also export the retrospective items and their votes in a simple text format.

Fun Retro online retrospective tools

Website: https://github.com/funretro/distributed
No registration required

Metro Retro

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.

Website: https://metroretro.io/
Registration account

Parabol

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.

Website: https://www.parabol.co/

Pointing Poker

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.

Pointing Poker Retrospective Tool

Website: https://www.pointingpoker.com/
No registration required but it is possible to register

Postfacto

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.

Website: https://github.com/pivotal/postfacto

RemoteRetro

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.

Websites: https://github.com/stride-nyc/remote_retro, https://remoteretro.org/

Retro Rabbit

Retro Rabbit is a commercial retrospective tool with a free version that allows unlimited retrospectives with up to 10 team members. This solution 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.

Website: https://retrorabbit.io/

Retrospected / Retro-Board

Retro-Board is an open source retrospective idea board that works on the simple “what works fine / what could be improved / brillant idea” feedback approach. This javascript tool is used to power the retrospected.com website where you can use it without registration.

Websites: https://github.com/antoinejaussoin/retro-board, https://www.retrospected.com/
No registration required

Retrospect.team

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.

Retrospect.team free online retrospective tool for Scrum teams

Website: https://www.retrospect.team/
Registration required with an external account (Microsoft, LinkedIn or Google); free plan with limited feature

ScatterSpoke

ScatterSpoke is a online retrospective board that work in a simple way with free and paying plans. You register and then you can create a board that contains the three basic questions of a Scrum retrospectives: “What went well?, What didn’t go well?, What needs change?” You can create item and team members can vote on them. You can send invite to form your team through emails. Different options exist to sort the retrospective items.

Website: http://www.scatterspoke.com/
Registration required; free plan with limited features

Scrum Toolkit

Scrum Toolkit is a online tool for distributed retrospective. Only one person of the Scrum team is required to register at Scrum Toolkit. The team members can join a retrospective session without registering. Retrospectives are called “games” in the Scrum Toolkit. You can choose between two models of retrospectives: the “What went well? & What can be improved?” or “Start doing, Continue doing, Stop doing”. After the board is created, you simply share its specific url to the other participants. Each participants can add items that are then grouped in “buckets”. Participants can then upvote the three items which are most important to address in the next sprint. The ScrumMaster can monitor if everybody voted.

Website: https://www.scrum-toolkit.com/
Registration required; free plan with limited features

Stormboard

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

More material on retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams

Facilitating Distributed Team Retrospectives

Sprint Retrospective Exercise for Remote Scrum Teams

Running Scaled Retrospectives

Distributed Retrospectives

A Checklist for a Distributed Retrospective

Retrospective for distributed teams, here’s how….

Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great!

Retrospectives in Remote Teams

A Trello based Retrospective for distributed teams

Distributed Software Team Communications: Tripping Over Words

Online retrospective — a way for continuous improvement

40 ideas to spice up your retrospective

Making Sprint Retrospectives Work

24 Comments on Free Retrospective Tools for Distributed Scrum Teams

  1. Interesting list of tools, but the functionnalities are somewhat limited. Are there commmercial tools for distributed scrum retrospectives with more features?

    • Yes it would… if you hadn’t to pay to use it , as this article discusses only FREE tools. I think this specificity is mentioned somewhere in the title and the beginning of the article… ;O)

  2. i’m using slice from wbrain.me. it’s free, no account required and has a fast board and remote timer setup.

  3. Hi, metroretro.io is also a free retrospective tool, unlimited retros and team members. Probably the most fun I’ve had in an online retro.

  4. Hi! yesterday we released a free retrospective tool with some special features:

    🙈 Anonymous, no login required​
    🔗 Invite your colleagues by just sharing the url​
    ⏱️ Real-time​
    🆓 Free and open source​
    📱 Mobile/tablet friendly​

    Check it out: https://retrotool.app

    Thanks!

  5. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your site.

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