Imagine being an experienced sea captain. Each voyage you embark on, across the rough seas and unpredictable winds, is a project filled with challenges and opportunities.
After each voyage, do you just dock your ship and forget about it? Or do you retrace your journey, examining the route you took, the decisions made, and the storms weathered? This reflection and review are what you know as an agile retrospective.
Much like seasoned captains, software and product teams can’t just drop anchor once the software is deployed or the project is wrapped up. A pivotal part of this journey is the retrospective: navigating the highs, the lows, and the waypoints for future expeditions. And to do this, you need the right compass and maps, or in other words, the right retrospective tools.
Stay tuned as we delve into the world of retrospectives and their indispensable navigational aids.
What Should You Look For in Retrospective Tools?
When searching for the ideal retrospective tool, there are several key features that project managers, software developers, and development teams should keep an eye out for:
- Collaboration: A good online agile retrospective tool should foster collaboration in the workplace, especially for remote teams. Look for features that make it easy for your team to communicate, contribute, and work together, such as real-time editing, commenting, and voting functionalities
- Flexibility: Retrospectives aren’t one-size-fits-all. Online retro tools should be adaptable to your team’s needs, with customizable retrospective templates and the ability to modify retrospective formats for optimal sprint retrospective efficiency
- Ease of Use: Your online retrospective tool should be user-friendly and intuitive. The last thing you want is for your team to spend precious time figuring out how to use the tool instead of focusing on the retrospective itself
- Integration: A great retrospective tool should seamlessly integrate with all the tools you already use for project management. This allows you to easily correlate retrospective feedback with specific tasks, projects, or sprints
- Anonymity: To ensure honest feedback, look for a retro tool that provides an option for anonymous comments. This can help team members feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns and drive continuous improvement
- Actionable Insights: The tool should facilitate turning feedback and discussion points into actionable tasks or stories for future sprints. This way, you’re not just identifying problems—you’re solving them
- Data Security: Last, but certainly not least, a good retrospective tool should offer solid security measures to protect your team’s conversations and data
The 10 Best Retrospective Tools to Use in 2023
It’s time to turn our spyglass toward the horizon where tools for agile retrospectives reside. In this section, we’ll explore the 10 best retrospective tools that can serve as the trusty compass, guiding your team through storms and calm waters alike.
These tools are your able crew, each with its unique skill set, ready to take on the challenges of your voyage. They empower your retrospectives, enable learning, and steer your projects toward success. Remember, it’s not just about having any and all retrospective tools on board; it’s about having the right ones.
Much like the captain’s reliable nautical chart and astrolabe, ClickUp provides a detailed map to success, with goal-setting features and milestone tracking acting as the guiding stars. An impressive, multifunctional project management and productivity tool, ClickUp serves as a robust asset for agile teams to run effective retrospectives.
This retrospective tool offers a wide array of features that are tailored to meet the dynamic and evolving requirements of teams that adopt the agile mindset, promoting efficient collaboration and clear communication within your team.
Among its innovative solutions, ClickUp provides goal-setting capabilities, milestone tracking, and a specialized template for sprint retrospective brainstorming—making agile management more streamlined and effective than ever.
ClickUp best features
- ClickUp’s Goals feature allows your team to define, track, and manage objectives directly within the platform. It’s ideal for translating insights from retrospectives into actionable goals and ensures that these goals are constantly visible and tracked
- ClickUp Milestones help in breaking down complex projects into manageable parts. This feature is particularly beneficial for tracking progress post-retrospective meetings, giving you and your team a clear view of what has been accomplished and what lies ahead
- Visually express the outcomes of retrospective meetings with ClickUp Whiteboards. They enable team members to create an assortment of diagrams, notes, and sketches to encapsulate vital insights and future plans
- Leverage ClickUp’s Docs to create, share, and store retrospective meeting minutes and action plans, maintaining an easily accessible knowledge base for all retrospective documentation
- Following retrospective meetings, various tasks, and actions need to be delegated. Use assign comments to conveniently assign these tasks within the meeting notes themselves—ideal for remote teams
- Due to its rich assortment of features, some users might find that the learning curve to get ClickUp up and running is steeper than that of more basic online retro tools
- Free Forever
- Unlimited: $7/month per user
- Business: $12/month per user
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing 👉If you need a full software suite to handle your Enterprise workloads and processes, we’d love to help set you up for success! Please contact Sales when you’re ready.
ClickUp ratings and reviews
- G2: 4.7/5 (2,000+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,000+ reviews)
Bonus: Resource Management
2. Sprint Boards
Sprint Boards is an online retrospective tool that makes sailing through retrospectives smooth by simplifying common tasks with keyboard shortcuts. Like a loyal shipmate, it coordinates with Slack, Trello, and Jira to ensure everyone is on the same page. And it’s a completely free retrospective tool!
It also enables your other team members to review past retrospectives with the teamwide Board History view. But beware of the hidden reefs. While it’s efficient, it offers a basic interface without much customization.
Sprint Boards best features
- Keyboard shortcuts for common tasks
- Invite team members to join via Slack
- Easily merge duplicate cards
- Trello and Jira integration for easy card export
- Teamwide Board History view
- Free retrospective tool with premium features
Sprint Boards limitations
- Data can only be downloaded in a CSV format
- No option for voting on individual topics
- Basic interface without customization
- Limited features compared to other options
Sprint Boards pricing
- Forever free
Sprint Boards ratings and reviews
- G2: 4/5 (1 review)
- Capterra: N/A
Another contender in the realm of free online retrospective tools is Reetro, an online retrospective tool that captures and tracks key metrics about your team’s performance like a well-tuned barometer. The tool offers retro board formats that make it easy to facilitate and manage comment cards and action items.
This retrospective tool is completely free, which means it lacks more advanced capabilities and only offers some basic features. Be prepared to sail without a Kanban board, backlog management, or a project prioritization feature.
Reetro best features
- Captures key team performance metrics
- Offers configurable board formats
- The retrospective process can be automated
- Enables conversion of comments into action items and progress tracking
- One of the few free retrospective tools on this list
- No export option to PDF
- No backlog management
- No prioritization feature
- Forever free
Reetro rating and reviews
- No reviews yet on G2 or Capterra
ScatterSpoke is like a detailed sea chart, providing AI-driven insights and analysis of retrospectives. This online retrospective tool allows the creation of anonymous, color-coded cards, and integrates with Slack, Trello, and Jira. The drag-and-drop option is a breeze to move cards between various retrospective board columns.
ScatterSpoke best features
- Provides detailed analysis of retrospectives by themes
- Fully integrates with Slack, Trello, and Jira
- Allows creation of anonymous, color-coded cards so even the shiest team members can provide feedback (without being influenced by others)
- Manage the voting options in several ways, including resetting all votes, blocking other team member votes until everyone enters feedback, and setting a maximum number of votes per person
- No retrospective automation process for better time management
- No separate option for voting on individual topics
- Everyone has to sign-up for the tool if they want to participate in a retro meeting
- Free: $0 for up to 15 users
- Business: $6/month per user (free trial)
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
ScatterSpoke ratings and reviews
- No reviews yet on G2 or Capterra
RetroTool is like a quick dinghy, setting up a retro board in mere seconds and providing a range of ready-to-use templates. Three clicks, and you’re ready to hit the ground running with your first online retro meeting.
Be prepared for occasional bugs that cause some team members to lose their cards and a lack of PDF export functionality.
RetroTool best features
- Quick board setup and one-click note export
- Flexibility in creating default or custom retros
- Ready-to-use templates like start stop continue templates and more
- Add sticky notes with an intuitive drag-and-drop feature
- Provides a private section for each participant in every column
- No PDF or Excel export functionality, only text
- The design is a bit dated compared to other online retrospective tool options
- Can’t assign action items to team members
- Some users have noted that occasional bugs cause team members to lose their cards
- Anonymous: Free forever
- Individual: $10/month per team (free trial available)
- Company: $20/month per team
RetroTool ratings and reviews
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (6 reviews)
Neatro provides a treasure chest of over 30 templates, offers ease of use, and automatically highlights incomplete action items. Monitor recurring trends and create a safe space for your team with anonymity features.
Keep in mind that your journey with Neatro might be hindered by the lack of Slack integration and limitations in the export features.
Neatro best features
- Over 30 templates to choose from
- Easy to use and intuitive
- Highlights incomplete action items from previous activities
- Maps out common topics so you can identify recurring trends and address them with the team
- No Slack integration
- Some users reported difficulties with the export to Jira feature
- Free trial available, but no free option
- Premium: $23.20/month per team
- Pro: $31.20/month per team
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
Neatro ratings and reviews
- G2: 4.9/5 (5 reviews)
goReflect is a retrospective tool that keeps your team’s contributions unbiased with anonymous posts, and it’s always ready for continuous improvement with permanently available retrospective boards. Drag-and-drop options also allow you to seamlessly move between retro board columns.
goReflect best features
- Anonymous posts for unbiased feedback from retrospective tool
- Download both cards and action items into Excel
- Permanent retrospective boards for continuous improvement
- Expresses thoughts through GIFs, memes, videos, and images
- Requires account creation for all contributors
- Share link lasts only 24 hours
- Basic interface with few features compared to competitors
- No visibility into pending action items
- $2.67/month per user
goReflect ratings and reviews
- G2: 3.8/5 (2 reviews)
GoRetro offers a clean interface, and customizable boards, and transforms lists into actionable items. This retrospective tool even spices up retrospectives with humor through GIFs. But if you have too many items to display, managing the long columns can get tedious in this online retro tool.
GoRetro best features
- Anonymous feedback feature so everyone can express their thoughts free of inhibitions
- Sprint Analyzer feature highlights potential risks
- Offers a touch of humor through GIFs
- The Joker feature provides data-driven insights to stir discussions and move the needle on sprints
- Capacity planning allows you to assign tasks to team members with enough bandwidth for smooth workload management
- Free forever option or start a free trial
- Some users have reported compatibility issues with browsers
- Some functions are hidden and hard to find in the retrospective tool
- Reviewers have found that GoRetro can become tedious to manage with too many items
- Free forever
- Premium: $29 per team/month billed annually
- Sprint Pro: $49 per team/month billed annually
- Organization: Contact for pricing
GoRetro ratings and reviews
- G2: 4.6/5 (90+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (5 reviews)
Parabol an online retrospective tool, offers an abundance of retro templates, customization options, and an excellent Jira integration. It ensures your retrospectives are as smooth as sailing in the Caribbean.
The ice-breaker feature is a great tool to get everyone to relax and participate in your retros. However, Parabol might leave you wishing for a central repository for past retrospective meeting summaries.
Parabol best features
- Anonymous features to ensure everyone adds their two cents
- Ice-breakers set an open and inviting tone for the upcoming retrospective and get the team talking
- A rich library of templates to choose from for different retrospective formats
- Fully customizable retrospective board for agile retrospectives
- Straightforward member invitation process for private and public boards
- Retro tool has no central repository for past meeting summaries, only an email digest
- Some users have reported difficulty viewing retrospectives for specific teams
- Starter: Free forever for up to two teams
- Team: $6 per user/month (free trial)
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
Parabol ratings and reviews
- G2: 4.6/5 (50+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (10 reviews)
Echometer is like a good ship’s surgeon, analyzing your team’s psychological health with integrated health check questions to support the work of Scrum team members and Scrum masters. This young software is still under development, so it’s not as intuitive and feature-rich as its counterparts.
Echometer best features
- Surveys for preparatory questions and topics
- A helpful archive showing team development over time
- Quick Retro Preparation using multiple retrospective templates
- Integrated Health Check questions to help you keep a finger on the pulse of your team’s morale and maturity
- Some users have pointed out the inconvenient handling of the whiteboards
- Under development, with room for more functionality
- Free for up to 12 users
- Team Developer: $8/month per user
- Agile Enterprise: $12/month per user
Echometer ratings and reviews
- G2: 4.8/5 (5 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (2 reviews)
ClickUp, Your Guide Through the Retrospective Waters
ClickUp is the solution to steer your ship toward success. With its robust sprint features, it is an ideal fit for agile teams, agile developers, and project managers seeking to take their retrospectives from good to great.
ClickUp goes beyond being just a retrospective tool; it becomes your first mate, sharing the burden of command, providing clarity amidst the chaos, and pointing the way forward. With ClickUp, you can anticipate challenges, recognize achievements, and make course corrections effectively. Dock into a harbor of efficiency, improved communication, and productive retrospectives.
As captain of your team, it’s time to upgrade your compass, leverage ClickUp, and chart your course to a successful voyage.