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Rose Thorn Bud Retrospective

A mindfulness-inspired retro to help your team blossom

Decorative cover image showing a single rose in a glass case

What is a Rose Thorn Bud retrospective?

Every rose has its thorn. It’s an 80s anthem, but Rose Thorn Bud is also a surprisingly deep way to structure a retrospective! 

The Rose Bud Thorn template is perfect for when you want to keep things nice and simple. This retrospective idea focuses on the beautiful things your team created, the painful moments, and the areas for growth.

Instead of just talking about the highs and lows of your last sprint, you’ll use a familiar metaphor – a beautiful, fragrant rose, complete with prickly thorns and rosebuds waiting to bloom. 

It also has the added benefit of reminding your team members that challenges are to be expected, along with their wins. 

So celebrate your blossoms, but don’t be scared of those thorns. They’re a natural part of the beautiful flower that was your last sprint, project, or few weeks of work. 


What do you want to celebrate as you look back? Whose hard work deserves to be recognized? What successes, practices, or skills are you really proud of? 

Give an opportunity for each team member to take center stage and share their own rose. 

Example: Rhonda and I communicated so well as we brought things to the finish line. I really felt like we were on the same page. 


As you look back, ask your team what felt inconvenient, stressful, or just plain got in the way during this project. What next steps could you take to prevent them from happening again in the future?

Pricking your finger on a rose is annoying, and a little bit painful. But just like the challenging parts of a sprint, it’s all part of the experience. 

Example: I wish I’d had more time to get used to our new project management tool before starting the project. At times, I felt like I was in over my head.


What is your team looking forward to, or hoping to focus on more heavily? What did you learn that could help you improve going forward?

This is also a great time to brainstorm. Ask if anyone has ideas to share, then build off each other’s inspiration. 

A bud is a potential rose – it just needs the right conditions to blossom! 

Example: The day I didn’t check email was really productive. Maybe we should all pick times to give that a try. 

When to do a Rose Thorn Bud retrospective

Regularly during your sprints or at the end of projects

Because it’s short, yet powerful, this template is great for regular rotation in your retrospectives. 

Thanks to the buds, it also has an element of futurespection. That makes it ideal for regular retrospectives.

To keep things uplifting

Since roses have a poetic, symbolic quality, this template can be a nice way to foster a mindful, contemplative spirit among your team. 

It can also make talking about your challenges a little less scary. Try it when you know people have thorns to get into, and you want to make that discussion a little bit gentler. 

Remember, there’s always time to slow down, get contemplative, and smell the roses. 

How to run a Rose Thorn Bud retrospective in Parabol

First of all, jump into Parabol. If you’re a Scrum Master or the team meeting facilitator hit the vibrant Add New Meeting button.

Select the Rose Thorn Bud retrospective template

Jump into Parabol and select Retro Meeting with the arrows, then use the dropdown to select the Rose Thorn Bud template. This is where you’ll find Parabol’s library of 40+ retrospective ideas. 

The template picker library in parabol showing the rose thorn bud prompts

Feel free to copy and customize your template to add a “Kudos” column if you want to celebrate the work of your team. 

Every Parabol retrospective begins with an optional icebreaker. This box is checked by default. You don’t have to do one, but we recommend it. 

Start your Rose Thorn Bud retro with an Icebreaker

If you’re doing an icebreaker, you’ll have a random question to answer. You can refresh it if you want another option, and of course you can create your own if you want.

After the icebreaker you’ll move on to the reflect stage. This is where your team will do all their ideation and brainstorm in silence using the prompts above. All reflections are kept anonymous at this stage to prevent groupthink.

Icebreakers in Parabol

All Parabol sprint retrospectives can be run synchronously or asynchronously. Functionalities such as the timer, voting and multiplayer grouping help you make your retrospective exercise a success and make facilitation easier.

Reflect, Group, and Discuss topics based on the Rose Thorn Bud prompts

Team members can all leave comments together, or do it at a time that works for them. Also, reflections are anonymous, and no one can see them until you’re done working on them.

After the reflect phase, you’ll vote on issues to discuss, talk about the most voted on items, and set action items for each process improvement so you can make it a reality.

Parabol will send a summary of the retro when you’re done so nobody needs to take notes. 

Of course, you can do this retrospective in person, with a whiteboard or sticky notes. But it’s even easier in Parabol, especially if you’re an asynchronous or distributed team.

Discover 35+ Retrospective Templates in Parabol!

92% of users agree that Parabol’s free online retrospective tool improves meeting efficiency. What’s more, Parabol gets your team talking and takes the effort out of running retrospectives.