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Using a Learning-Themed Retrospective to Strengthen Learning Culture & Reduce Learning Debt

Software development teams traditionally use the retrospective ceremony to reflect on their results, performance and processes. But the software team retrospective can – and should – periodically focus on team-level concerns beyond these traditional themes.

In a talk delivered at Lead Dev New York in March of 2023, I shared my experience of leading a learning-themed retrospective, which encouraged my teammates to reflect on their personal beliefs about on-the-job learning, our team’s learning culture, and the ways in which these beliefs and culture can both encourage and discourage engagement in on-the-job learning and upskilling activities.

Through this exercise, my team began to identify the strengths and weaknesses in our learning culture, as well as if, how and why we were accumulating personal and team-wide learning debt.

The following resources and references are shared here as an extension of that talk. Please feel free to use and adapt them however you like. My only ask is that if you run a learning-themed retrospective with your team, you reach out to me via LinkedIn and let me know how it went!


Learning-Themed Retrospective Template
Download PDF • 3.14MB



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