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 retrospective tools that can be used to facilitate retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams.
You will find in this article only online 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 IdeaBoardz, Fraankly, Fun Retro, Metro Retro, Pointing Poker, Postfacto, Retrospected / Retro-Board, Retrospect.team, ScatterSpoke, Scrum Toolkit, Sensei, Sprint Boards, Stormboard.
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
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.
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
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.
No registration required but it is possible to register and login on Fraankly with a social account
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.
No registration required
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Registration required; free plan with limited features
Scrum Toolkit is an 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.
Registration required; free plan with limited features
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
More material on retrospectives for distributed Scrum teams