Start-Stop-Improve: A simple workshop for your next retrospective meeting

Read time: 2 minutes

I’ve started using a new process for helping a group look at their current situation and brainstorm actions.

My go-to framework for retrospective meetings, also known as retrospectives or post-mortems, has always been the Team Review Workshop.

Today I’ll show you a different process that gets even better results so you can use it with your teams.

The framework is called Start > Stop > Improve and helps you facilitate a culture of learning, collaboration and continuous improvement.

The benefits include:

  • Help identify areas for improvement and learn from successes and failures.
  • Give team members a voice, empowering them and fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.
  • Encourage open communication, leading to better collaboration and stronger relationships within the team.
  • Help address problems promptly, minimizing their impact on future work.
  • Recognize and celebrate successes, boosting team morale and motivation.

Let’s dive in.


All you need is a flip chart, Post-it notes and pens for this one.

Add to that a willing team looking to run a retrospective meeting and you’re good to go.


Step 1 - Think

Start by asking your group to consider the current situation.

Ask them to think about things we should Start doing as a team, Stop doing and continue doing with Improvements.

Give them 5 minutes max. Thinking only → No talking. We don’t want them to form any consensus at this stage.

Step 2: Write for “Start”

Invite them to write down their thoughts on the Start question.

What are the things we need to START doing as a team?

One thought per Post-it note. Put them up in the Start column.


Step 3: Write for “Stop”

Repeat Step 2 for the Stop question.

What do we need to STOP doing as a team?


Step 4: Write for “Improve”

Repeat for the Improve question.

What are the things we need to IMPROVE doing as a team?

The key to this step is not only to identify WHAT needs improving but also to include ideas on HOW to improve each one.


Step 5: Theming & Consensus Building

Challenge your group to work together to collect the thoughts into themes.

Encourage them to move the Post-its around, putting similar ones together. They can draw rings around the themes and name them.

It’s really important it’s them doing this and not you / the facilitator.

The second you play an active role, you start taking ownership of their ideas, and that’s not what you want to happen.


Start > Stop > Improve is an elegant framework to build consensus on their current situation.

  • Start: What are the things we need to START doing as a team?
  • Stop: What do we need to STOP doing as a team?
  • Improve: What are the things we need to IMPROVE doing as a team?

I hope you’ll give it a spin.

That’s it for today.

I hope you enjoyed it.

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About the Author

Nick Martin helps leaders & consultants improve team results with resources, advice & coaching through