11 Seasonal Retrospective Ideas for Team Improvement | Parabol Skip to main content

11 Seasonal Retrospective Ideas

Find the perfect retro idea for spring, summer, autumn, or winter!

parabol-seasonal-retrospective-ideas

Whether it’s Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter, the different seasons offer changing perspectives, moods, and feelings. In the same way the seasons change our mood and feeling, seasonal retrospective ideas can provoke a different type of conversation. 

So instead of running the same old start stop continue, or mad sad glad, why not try one of Parabol’s seasonal retrospectives?

Jump to the seasons you’re looking for with this handy contents list:

Spring retrospectives

Spring is a time for new beginnings, spring cleaning, and personal growth. These retrospective templates capitalize on those themes to help you and your teams make improvements as winter ends. 

Marie Kondo retrospective

With her famous KonMari method, Marie Kondo promises everyone the clean, fresh, serenely organized living space of their dreams. 

Decorative image showing a neatly organized bento box

What better time for some spring cleaning than the end of winter. This retrospective format helps your team evaluate their existing processes and decide what needs clearing out or upcycling. 

Is there a process that’s no longer bringing joy to your team? Use the Marie Kondo retro as an opportunity to get rid of it and replace it with something fresh. 

  • What sparks joy? – What processes, tools, and skills are serving you well?
  • Thank you and goodbye – What do you want to stop doing, having, using, or just stop from happening?
  • Things to upcycle – What could serve you well if it was changed or improved?

✨ Read more about the Marie Kondo retrospective template

Easter retrospective

Bunnies, chicks, chocolate eggs, and new life! Easter offers a chance to think about reinvention, growth, and breathing new life into your working processes.

  • Easter eggs – What was hidden from sight or caught you by surprise? What did you learn or find out?
  • Seeds – What new processes would we like to cultivate? Is there something that faded away that we should bring back?
  • Hope – What did you hope for? What are you hoping for next?
  • Chocolate – Who deserves some kudos or a word of thanks?

Holi retrospective

Holi festival usually begins with a bonfire to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and ends with an explosion of color, dancing, and fun! 

Be warned, Holi can get pretty messy so expect to be covered in colorful paints if you attend! Thankfully in this retro, the only colors we’ll play with are metaphorical. 

The Holi retro format builds on the celebration of Holi and the coming of Spring to help your team make continuous improvement. So let’s take a look at its prompts:

  • Colors What color represents our recent work? Why?
  • Music Are we all dancing to the same rhythm? Where were we in sync? When did we fall out of sync?
  • Dance – What big wins make us want to dance? What moves or actions should we try next?
  • Sweets Who deserves something sweet, kudos, or a word of thanks?

Rose Thorn Bud retrospective

Spring is a time when new life is born and the natural world begins to wake up from winter. What better signifies the mood of Spring than a beautiful blooming flower on a dewy field? 

Decorative cover image showing a single rose in a glass case

Try a Rose Thorn Bud retrospective this season to reflect on your development and growth as a team. 

Just like a rose-bud, what parts of your work are fully blooming, and what parts are still undeveloped? 

We all know roses have thorns, so also be sure to ask your team what thorns are preventing them from doing their best work or reaching their goals?

  • Rose – What went well? Which of our current practices or skills are strong?
  • Thorn – What challenges or difficulties did we run into?
  • Bud – What are our opportunities for growth and improvement?

✨ Read more about how and when to do a Rose Thorn Bud retrospective

Summer retrospectives

During summer, you might find that a lot of your team are out on vacation. You could end up with just a few people at work, but that shouldn’t stop you running regular retrospectives with the folks who are left. 

Summer also covers the half year period. Use the mid-year point to reflect on the year to date. 

Midsummer retrospective

The Scandinavian festival of Midsummer (commonly spelled Midsommar) is all about spending time with friends and family, celebrating, dancing around the maypole, making beautiful wreaths and indulging in some jordgubbstårta – a delicious and traditional strawberry cake!

What better time to reflect than at the exact half-way point of the year, where the days are longest and the nights are shortest! 

Want to join in the Midsommar celebrations? Try this retrospective.

  • Wreaths – What processes and practices are binding us together and making us stronger?
  • Schnapps – What’s been hard to swallow, admit, or realize about our work?
  • Longest day – What feels like it took too long or was never-ending?
  • Strawberry cake – Who deserves some kudos or a word of thanks?

Highlights and Lowlights

The highlights and lowlights retrospective helps you think about ways to create more of your highlights, and avoid the lowlights in the future. 

As Charles Dickens famously wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

That’s not just great literature, it’s science!  

According to American Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, the best and worst times really are the ones we remember the most. In this agile retrospective, we’ll apply that thinking to your team’s experience. 

Summer is a good time to take stock and reflect over a longer period of time and dig into what went well and what didn’t go well over the first half of the year.

  • Highlights – What was great or exceeded expectations?
  • Lowlights – What didn’t go well or made us feel down?
  • Kudos – Who helped you or deserves some appreciation?

✨ Read more about how and when to do a Highlights and Lowlights retrospective

Energy Levels

Our personal energy and team energy changes throughout the year. For example, in Winter, we might feel like we’re in hibernation mode, whereas in Summer we’re ready to take on new challenges.

Energy levels retrospective

Use the energy levels retrospective template to take advantage of the fabled summer slump and have an honest conversation about what tasks are giving the team energy and which are taking it away. 

You can use the energy levels retrospective to help reassign responsibilities to the people who have energy for them, and identify early signs of burnout so you can mitigate it!

You can run this retrospective for your last sprint or iteration. Or try reviewing a longer period of time, like a quarter or half a year.

Remember to put together action items for how you’re planning to re-energize each other.

  • Fully Charged – What energized you?
  • Low Battery – What depleted you?
  • Sprint Energy – What’s your energy level going into the next Sprint? 

✨ Read more about the Energy Levels retrospective and how to run it

P.s. This is one of the most popular templates among Parabol users!

Autumn retrospectives

Leaves crunching underfoot, chill air, and cozy nights indoors. The most visible change of seasons is a perfect opportunity to think about how your team can change too. Try one of Parabol’s autumn-themed retrospective activities this fall.

Halloween retrospective

If you love zombies, free candy, and agile retrospectives, then we’ve got a trick (or treat) for you.  

Welcome to a fun, seasonal halloweenspective to make your October retro a little more special.

Sitting through exactly the same retrospective meeting month after month can become boring. 

That’s where retro ideas like this one come in. You’ll brainstorm on familiar topics like wins and project blockers, but they’re all dressed up in spooky and exciting costumes. 

So grab your witch’s hat, pour some hot chocolate, and get ready to scare yourselves with how awesome your next sprint can be. 

  • Ghosts 👻 – Boo! What projects or issues caught us by surprise?
  • Zombies 🧟– What feels slow? What are we dragging our feet on?
  • Brains 🧠– What did we learn? What do we need to learn?
  • Candy 🍬– Who deserves candy? What went well? Who do you want to give kudos to?

✨ Read more about the Halloween retrospective

Thanksgiving retrospective

In a Thanksgiving retrospective you can consider workplace traditions old and new, think about what should stay in the past, and end by sharing gratitude for your team, your work, and each other. 

Giving thanks helps us feel happier, more resilient, and more connected to others. There’s even some evidence it can make us physically healthier

So why not bring gratitude to work? Work is a huge part of our lives — in-person or virtually, we’re there day in and day out. 

Work with US and Canadian colleagues? Make sure to schedule your retro for the different dates Thanksgiving falls on!

  • Old Favorites 🦃– What tried-and-true practices or habits are serving us well?
  • New Traditions 🍟– What new things did we try or learn?
  • Left on the Table 🐌 – What do we wish we’d left behind, or should leave behind from now on?
  • Gratitude 🍰 – What are you thankful for?

✨ Read more about the Thanksgiving retrospective

Diwali retrospective

During Diwali, millions of people clean their homes, light small oil lamps, and create vibrant Rangoli artworks to welcome the goddess Lakshmi and celebrate good fortune, joy, and prosperity. 

Celebrated across the world by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains during the lunisolar month of Kartika, Diwali – also known as Deepavali – is a festival of lights, all about the triumph of good over evil. 

The lamps, or diyas, transform the earthly substance of oil into warmth and light, so they’re a beautiful metaphor for regeneration and new beginnings. They’re often accompanied by firecrackers, amazing food, and plenty of time spent with friends and family.

And not only is the Diwali festival a major winter event, it marks the beginning of India’s fiscal year! That makes it an especially apt time for scrum teams to check in and celebrate with a Diwali-themed retro.

  • Diyas – What do we need to guide us forward or help us find our way?
  • Rangoli – What practices or processes are bringing positivity?
  • Lakshmi – What do we need to tidy or clean up? What processes or backlog items need purifying?
  • Ravana – What demons, projects, or problems are cursing us?

✨ Read more about the Diwali retrospective

Winter retrospectives

Winter doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom! Instead, it’s a great time to reflect on the whole year, share some good cheer with your team, and take a well earned rest before the winter holidays.

Since winter straddles the end of one year and the beginning of the year, many of our Winter retro templates reflect back and look forward.

Christmas retrospective

There’s more to Christmas than cozy sweaters, hot chocolate, and opening presents. Sure, Christmas is a time to relax and enjoy some sweet treats. But it’s also a chance to reflect on the past year, step back from the chaos of daily life, and think about what really matters. 

an illustration of a christmas tree on a purple background

That’s what Charles Dickens was going for with his classic novella A Christmas Carol, featuring Ebenezer Scrooge and the famous ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

In the novella, the ghosts prompt Scrooge to reflect on the past, appreciate the present, and dream about what the future could hold. 

That’s not so different from what we do in agile retrospectives!  

  • Christmas Past 👻 – What’s your biggest regret about the year? What do you wish you could have changed?
  • Christmas Present 🎄 – What are you grateful for? Who has helped you? What processes, skills, or tools make work better? Share some kudos!
  • Christmas Future ⭐ – What are your personal or team aspirations for the year ahead?
  • All I want for Christmas is… 🎁 – What’s your Christmas wish for the team? What would make your work easier or relieve a burden?

✨ Read more about the Christmas retrospective

New year retrospective

New Year’s is a time to look back, but also look forward. It’s an ending, but it’s also a fresh start. And for many of us, it’s a time to set some exciting goals. 

Put simply, it’s the perfect time of year for a new year’s themed agile retrospective. 

Classic New Year’s resolutions are all about personal growth, and aspiring to evolve as people. Even though it’s designed for professional and agile teams, this retrospective has a similarly human feel. 

You and your colleagues will reflect on the journey you’ve taken together in the year, and imagine where it might lead in the future. 

You’ll connect over the high points, appreciate how far you’ve come, and get inspired about what comes next. 

  • Growth & Wisdom 🌱– Looking back, how did you grow and what did you learn as an individual or as a team?
  • Greatest Hits 🏆– Looking back, what were your or the team’s greatest accomplishments
  • Resolutions 🗓️ – Looking ahead, how can we improve? What things can we work on or commit to for the future.

Read more about the New Year Retrospective

Lunar new year retrospective

The Lunar New Year is celebrated all around the world to mark the beginning of a new year according to the Chinese calendar. It’s a time where families get together, exchange hongbao – red envelopes filled with money – eat together, and set off fireworks.

Here’s a retrospective template you can use to usher in the lunar new year with your team!

  • 🧧 Hongbao – Who deserves a red envelope with kudos and some words of appreciation?
  • 🎊 Couplets – What important messages should we remember for guidance?
  • 🧨 Firecracker – What caught us by surprise or gave us a fright?

Try a different template each season

Why not mark the changing of the seasons with your team by periodically running one of these seasonal retrospectives. And try starting each meeting asking team members a seasonal icebreaker question as well!

The benefits of switching up your template run deeper than entertainment.

These templates may help members of your team share a bit of their culture. And changing the retrospective activity prompts people to reflect on their work in different ways.

Why don’t you try one of these templates? It might even help your team feel more connected to one another.

Want more retrospective ideas?

Here’s some further reading with more template ideas and top tips for running great retros.

Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies

Gareth is a growth marketer at Parabol. He has spent his career helping people and organizations around the world communicate better. He likes learning languages, cycling, and journalling. He originally hails from Wales, but lives and works in Munich, Germany.

Fun Retrospectives with Less Prep Time

92% of users agree that Parabol improves meeting efficiency