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The 8 Wastes Retrospective

New Retrospective - 8 Wastes of Lean Software Development

On a few occasions since I began creating retrospectives, I've rightly received the challenge that not everyone wants themed retrospectives. For some people, work is just that, work. A serious endeavour. They would rather focus on honing their craft.

Sometimes, all that is needed is an open, honest conversation about where the team can improve.

Interpreted from the original 7 lean wastes developed by Toyota Production, the 8 wastes of lean software development by Mary & Tom Poppendieck has inspired this retrospective. You can learn more about their work in the 2003 book "Lean Software Development.

Retro number #89 in my collection is the 8 Wastes of Lean Software Development retrospective.

To browse my full back catalogue of retro templates categorised by theme, click here;

Access the Miro and image templates below, plug & play into your own instances and let us know how you get on!

Why use this retro?

Break the ice; Invite the team to share the biggest waste affecting their own work. If scaling this retrospective to the organisation, you can then affinity map these wastes and spot systemic impediments.

𝙂𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨: Use the 8 wastes of lean software development to challenge the team to identify their own wastes, and the next experiment that may help reduce their wastes.

Empower the team to dot vote and select the top 3 wastes affecting the team before using prompts related to the 8 wastes to generate insights.


  • Task Switching -Where are we struggling with context switching? What would enable us to better focus as a team?

  • Partially Done Work - Where do we have too much work in progress? What could enable us to stop starting and start finishing?

  • Unused Talent - Where are we under using our skills and experiences as a team? How could we unleash our teams potential?

  • Extra Features - Where are we investing in low value features? What features of our product aren't used and should be removed?

  • Defects - Where are we struggling with defects in our work? How could we reduce our number of defects or catch them earlier?

  • Delays - Where are we being held up by things outside of our control? How could we shorten feedback loops with those we work with?

  • Extra Processing- What are we doing that isn't adding value? What bureaucracy or admin could we cut down on?

  • Hand-offs - Where are we wasting time and energy with handoffs? How could we reduce the handoffs in our ways of working?

Retro the retro: Inspect & Adapt the retro itself by rating how much value it brought you & the team using the fist of five scale. Retros themselves should also be subject to continuous improvement

I of course claim no ownership to any of the copyright materials displayed in the template


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Don't stop believin' folks

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