Starfish Retrospective is a reflection method that enables participants to express feedback about shared activities and gather ideas for improvements. It's named starfish because it has five key areas:
- Start – What should we start doing?
- Stop – What should we stop doing?
- More – What should we do more of?
- Less – What should we do less of?
- Keep – What should we keep doing?
Step 1: Explain the Starfish Retrospective
Explain the five key areas of the Starfish Retrospective using simple language. You can also use additional questions to make it easier for participants to visualize what they might add to starfish. Below you find some good questions to ask.
- Start – "What should we start doing? Is there something on your mind, that you think would be valuable to start implementing? Have you seen something somewhere else, that would be great for us to copy?"
- Stop – "What are we doing, that is more work than it's creating value? What things slow us down, that we should better stop doing?"
- More – "What are we doing right now, that we should double down on? What things should we go deeper on?"
- Less – "What is important to keep, but works better if we do less of it? Where is the effort higher than the output we get with it?"
- Keep – "What is already going well, that we should keep doing? What has proven valuable in the past? What should we at all cost try to keep up?"
Step 2: Give participants time to fill out the Starfish Retrospective
Give participants time to fill out the five key areas at once. Let them start with Keep ("What should we keep doing?") and instruct them to go clockwise around the starfish. That way they start on a positive note before they come to the "Less" and "Stop" part of the Starfish Retrospective.
A good example of a Starfish Retrospective is to do the method as part of a quarterly team planning meeting. The five key areas allow the team to reflect on their practices and activities in the past quarter and to get a good overview of what the team collectively values and would like to change.
Below, you see an example of what such a Starfish Retrospective could look like at the end. As you can see, this provides almost a 360 vision of everything that seems to be important for the team.