Blog Posts Business Management

Rose Retrospective – A Rose by any other Name

Blog: Agile Adoption Roadmap

Many Retrospectives in the Agile world tend to follow the “what went well”, “what problems did we encounter”, followed by actions for improvement. I call this the WWW (what went well) retrospective. While this serves as a practical retrospective, did you know that there is no one specific retrospective practice expected by Agile? The Agile principle only asks that “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”  Even Scrum is not specific.  Per the Scrum Guide, it suggests that a retrospective “is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness”.

If you are applying the “what went well” type of retrospective, would you like to experience something new, a more adventurous retrospective? Allow me to introduce you to “A Rose by any other Name” Retrospective or Rose Retrospective.  

This is a botanical approach that uses the parts of the rose to explore how things are going and what you can do to improve. The parts of the rose that we explore during this retrospective are the Flower, the, Thorn, and Bud. To put some color to these parts, here are some definitions:

How might you implement a Rose Retrospective?  Let’s step through the preparation and steps through conducting a retrospective. 

Prepare the space 

Whether a physical room or a virtual room, create a space to (e.g., white boards, etc.) to add Flower, Thorn, and Bud. 

Determine what cohort of people will participate. It is best to invite those that were actually engaged in the topic (e.g., the team that did the work).

Conduct the session 

Start by explaining the process of the Rose Retrospective and the meaning of the flower, thorn, and bud. Advise them on what they will be reflecting on (the recent sprint, project, time period, etc.). 

Begin with Flowers. Give everyone 5 minutes to brainstorm their flower(s). Everyone shares their flowers. The intent is boost morale and make people feel proud of their activities and progress. The result is to visualize as a bouquet of flowers on a rose bush.
Continue with Thorns. Give everyone 5 minutes to brainstorm their thorn(s).  Everyone shares their thorns with the intent is to share challenges. The result is to visualize the thorns of a rose bush. 

Finally, the group discusses the buds. Reviewing the Thorns, consider what can be improved and actions for improvement. Provide time to consider the root cause, brainstorm new ideas, and suggesting solutions. Also consider other ideas that may need a boost in areas that are ripe with infusing extra effort to turn the bud into a flower. Prioritize ideas and solutions and focus on the top 2 or 3 actions. The result is to visualize a group of buds that may blossom with some extra effort. 

Work on the actions 

Once the session is over, the next steps are to add the actions to your backlog of work, marking them as high priority. Then work on the actions to turn the buds into bouquets of flower. 

Leave a Comment

Get the BPI Web Feed

Using the HTML code below, you can display this Business Process Incubator page content with the current filter and sorting inside your web site for FREE.

Copy/Paste this code in your website html code:

<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto" width="100%" height="700">

Customizing your BPI Web Feed

You can click on the Get the BPI Web Feed link on any of our page to create the best possible feed for your site. Here are a few tips to customize your BPI Web Feed.

Customizing the Content Filter
On any page, you can add filter criteria using the MORE FILTERS interface:

Customizing the Content Filter

Customizing the Content Sorting
Clicking on the sorting options will also change the way your BPI Web Feed will be ordered on your site:

Get the BPI Web Feed

Some integration examples