The Starfish Retrospective Template

The star of all retrospective templates! The Starfish is an excellent technique to foster thinking about actions and ideas that generate value.
Starfish Retrospective Illustration for Neatro
Starfish Retrospective Template in Neatro

What is the Starfish retrospective technique?

This retrospective's level of difficulty is medium
Difficulty Level

Designed by Patrick Kua, the Starfish retrospective technique helps teams assess the value generated by their own actions. Then, team members are invited to share new ideas to maximize value.

Rather than simply listing what went well, what didn't go well, and what the team could improve during the next work cycle, Starfish brings a brand new perspective rooted in the value delivered by the team.

Starfish also stands out from other retrospective ideas with its very comprehensive approach. And as proof, five columns shape this exercise.

First, the participants will discuss current techniques and practices operated by the team. The key here is to differentiate elements that bring value from those that do not. Then, participants will share their feelings on what the team should stop or start doing to optimize the value provided.

Maximize value the easy way with Starfish! ⭐

The 5 elements of the Starfish template

Retrospective Column Keep Doing in Neatro
Keep Doing
Things we are doing well and that we consider valuable.
e.g., having Sprint Retrospectives to "reflect & adapt".
Retrospective Column Less of in Neatro
Less Of
Things we do that bring a limited value.
e.g., some of our monthly meetings might be perceived as unproductive.
Retrospective Column More of in Neatro
More Of
Things we do, which will maximize value if done even more.
e.g., do more user testing to validate our hypothesis.
Retrospective Column Stop doing in Neatro
Stop Doing
Things that are not bringing value anymore.
e.g., stop working design and development phases in silos.
Retrospective Column Start doing in Neatro
Start Doing
New actions or ideas to get more value.
e.g., encourage flexible working.

Why & when should you use the Starfish retrospective?

Starfish is the perfect activity to give your team members the space they need to take stock of their practices and actions, and then democratically decide what needs to be changed or added to maximize the value delivered.

This technique will flawlessly fit into your Sprint retrospectives. Therefore, we suggest you use this model occasionally in your Sprint Retrospectives.

However, Starfish is a broad activity with no fewer than 5 axes of introspection. New teams might struggle with such an exercise. Therefore, we recommend you choose a more straightforward and shorter template if you tackle a retrospective for the first time with your team. In this case, Start Stop Continue or What Went Well would be good picks for you.

Starfish also works for project post-mortems. Event retrospectives are also good candidates for Starfish.

Where can I find the Starfish retrospective?

The Starfish retrospective template has been used - and loved - by thousands of Agile teams since 2006! It is time you experience the potential of this activity with your team ;)

You can try the Starfish model with your team for free by signing up for Neatro. No credit card is required. Note that participants do not need to create accounts to join an online retrospective in Neatro.

Discover Neatro's retrospective templates