DAKI Retrospective

· 3 min read ·

DAKI Retrospective

There are a lot of retrospective formats that exist today. Their end goal is the same. You might sometimes question why we need so many when one can do the job 😀 . Recurring meetings can often become a drag and fatigue might set into the team. Different formats enable organizers to switch things up a bit. When you ask the same questions in different ways you get new information. By trying different formats you can find the one that works best for your team.

DAKI(Drop-Add-Keep-Improve) is a great exercise for any team to evaluate the value that their current processes and practices are providing them. It consists of four categories across which users evaluate their last sprint. Let’s look at each of them:


Anything that is not working for the team and having a negative impact on the outcome of the project and morale of the team is added here. These things need to be dropped from the sprint. It could be a process, behavior or something else. Some examples of drop are:

1.Too many review meetings each week. We need to consolidate them and drop the ones that are no longer needed.
2.Large stories are being brought into the sprint. They need to be broken down further.


Incremental improvements are the backbone of agile development. And sprint retrospectives are a great way to introduce change in your sprint. This is a place for you to introduce new ideas to the group that can improve the health of the sprint. It could be something you read or a practice you followed with your earlier team. Some ideas that I have seen come up in sprint retrospectives:

1.Making it mandatory for everyone to add agenda to meetings invites they send. I get so many invites and half of them I’m not sure if I should attend and there is no information in them to help me make that decision
2.One of my friends told me that their team did a remote team lunch. Food was ordered for the entire team from their usual hangout place and they sat together on zoom and ate it. I know its sounds a bit weird but definitely worth a shot since we are all remote now
3.Add a design review before a feature is released. We have had some releases go out where there were minor changes to UX without consultation with designers


Did you make a change in the last sprint that has had a positive impact? It is also a reminder of all great things that the team is doing that makes it possible for it to achieve its goals. If you loved something a teammate did and would like to thank them for it this is the place for it. A retrospective is never complete with shoutouts and kudos. In DAKI this is the place for them. Examples of Keep:

1.The paired programming sessions were big hit. Need to roll it out to the entire team.
2.We have been pretty good at triaging and prioritizing bugs and not letting them hang around aimlessly in jira. Let’s keep it up.
3.The home baked cupcakes were a great moral booster for the team. Thanks Stephanie. Keep ‘em coming!


Some things are not providing the desired outcome. You expect them to work better. But they aren’t. These are things that are important  and necessary and you can’t just drop them. This is the place for identifying these items and suggesting ways to improve them so that they work as intended. Some examples of improvements are:

1.Our daily standup has been getting longer. Need to work on keeping it to the minimum.
2.Too many bugs were found during the sprint. Need to ship cleaner code!

A fun way to make your retrospective more interesting is by starting it with an icebreaker question. Icebreakers break the ice..lol. They help get people talking and warmed up to the idea of sharing with the group. Here are some examples of icebreaker questions:

1.What’s the most awkward thing that happens to you on a regular basis?
2.If you had $1M, but couldn’t spend a penny of it on yourself, what would you spend it on?
3.If you were setting off to Mars and could take only one luxury item with you, what would it be?
4.If you could have an animal sidekick, what animal would it be?

Need more icebreaker questions? Checkout the complete list of over 300 icebreaker questions.

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