lean-coffee-retrospective-2What is Lean coffee?

It is a meeting format where people build an agenda at the beginning of the meeting and they start talking about each item on the agenda. Conversations are direct and productive because the meeting agenda is democratically generated. After this small description about the format, you should have a better idea how the retrospective goes. The main idea is to move the agenda items to three different statuses: “to discuss”, “discussion”, and “discussed”.

To avoid long and unnecessary discussion, I added few rules:

  • 5 min to build the agenda.
  • 10 min time box for each item. After the 10 min, the team decides if they really need to continue the discussion or if they were able to get some action items and end the discussion. If the team wants to continue, they continue for 10 min more. Maybe, the team is not able to get action items for some subjects (it is ok).
  • By the end of the meeting, we evaluate all actions items and together we choose 2 (max 3) to work on during the next sprint.
  • If we come up with a lot of subjects to discuss, then the team will vote which ones that are to be discussed (dot vote works great for example).

With these simple rules, we are able to run a fantastic retrospective with the full team engaged and motivated in every discussion. At the end of the meeting, the team gave me the feedback, and they liked it, but something was missing in the meeting and they didn’t understand the name very well:

  • The coffee and the donuts?

So I learned that the next time I call “lean coffee” our retrospective, I have to bring coffee and donuts for the full team.

Here few pictures of the result:



Did I miss something? Are you using it in your retrospectives? If you have any feedback/comment, please post it!!!



Virtual lean coffee

About the author

Omar is an agile practitioner and lover. Certified Scrum master. Agile Coach & Agile Leader. He believes it is important to continually be learning and growing. His dream is to be a lifelong learner; growing each day. He is also passionate about leadership development and seeing people reach their full potential. He is also a good husband & father (his wife says that time to times). He has a wonderful wife and 2 fantastic kids. In his free time, if he does not have any plan ahead, he tries to apply agile methodologies at the family level :). He enjoys a lot to travel with his family and discovers new places for them.