The Retrospective is a meeting for the team to gather information about their work and improve.
Retrospectives are mandatory elements in Scrum and XP.

For making an open and honest talk possible, the facilitator of the retrospective has to lay ground for a safe space and respectful conversation. I recommend to settle on working agreements. The two points I am asking for is the Vegas Rule:

„What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.“

and the Prime Directive:

„Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.“
–Norm Kerth

and I ask the participants for any other ground rules they want to base their retrospective on.

Ester Derby and Diana Larsen’s book about retrospectives „Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great“ separates the meeting into 5 phases:

  1. Open the stage
  2. Gather data
  3. Generate insights
  4. Decide what to do
  5. Close the retrospective