How to handle a retrospective in the beergarden?

Creating the timeline on the fly while telling the story
Creating the timeline on the fly while telling the story

Can you create a useful and reasonable retrospective in the beergarden?


I made one with some fantastic storytelling, where everybody hang on every word of our team member leaving and where we had deep connections between the participants.


In my opinion the retrospective was really awesome!

How to handle & prepare a retrospective in the beergarden?

That was the question I asked myself, when I planned a retrospective combined with the leave of one of my team members from the project, who was also the first project team member two years ago.


I had several other things to consider

  • The team was also disbanded with the end of the sprint
  • The future of several team members was not clear.
  • Some people will come later, so the first ones would have already drunk some beer.

My ideas were:

  • looking back to the events and high- and lowlights of the team and of the project
  • offering appreciations to foster positive thinking
  • me being prepared, but not enforcing the retro
  • focusing on communication not on measures

Methods prepared

  • Timeline
  • Love Letters
  • Drawing a joint picture

The timeline

The timeline is very good method for longer retrospective timescale. I never use the timeline in Sprint retrospectives (2-week Sprints).

The benefits are that a timeline enables story telling and builds a strong connection between the participants of the retro.


Love Letters

Well I am not sure, if this is "the real name" of the method.

Write one thing you appreciate about <teammember> on a post it, fold it and write the name of the <teammember>. Hand it over to the team member.


Draw a joint picture

An optional backup. Just get some paper and colored markers.

E.g. draw something regarding the future of the team member leaving or the team or the project.


Some variants

  • The timeline is made by the long time project member who leaves the team. Other participants add additional insights later.
  • Only do appreciations to the team member leaving (who may definitely answer the appreciations with beer)
  • Do a more team related timeline (e.g. with shorter timescale)
  • Look into the future with the timeline (similar to a futurespective)


The timeline with lots of ups and a few (short) downs
The timeline with lots of ups and a few (short) downs

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Nils Bernert, Agile Coach & LeanStartup enthusiast,
Nils Bernert, Agile Coach & LeanStartup enthusiast,

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