How do I participate in a Sticky Note retrospective

Learn how the phases of a sticky note retro work from the participant's point of view.

The most traditional and well-known retrospective style is one where team members add sticky notes to labeled columns.  A Retrium retrospective works in the same way. A facilitator will move your team through the 5 different phases of this retrospective activity. 


  • Before you start, the facilitator will have the option to modify the column titles and descriptions. You will see them edit this information in real-time, but you cannot make edits as a participant. 

  • When instructed to do so, each person gets a chance to add their thoughts by clicking the "create a note" button under each column header.

  • You'll be able to see your notes, but the notes of team members will be blurred out. This is to minimize groupthink and allow everyone to brainstorm without the influence of others.

  • When the team is done adding notes, the facilitator will progress the retrospective to the next phase. 

Think Phase for Participants


  • During grouping, everyone can drag and drop notes that fit together into themes, topics that should be discussed together, or topics that show disagreement (grouping across columns).  You should add titles to card groups to help stay organized.   

  • Participants can drag and drop cards in the same column or across columns. 
  • When the team is ready to move on, the facilitator will progress the retrospective to the next phase.

Group Phase Participants

VOTE Phase

  • Retrium uses dot voting during this phase. The number of votes each participant gets is based on the number of groups that were created in the previous phase. For example, if three topics were created during the Group phase, each participant has two votes. √3 topics = 2 votes. 

  • Each person will get the same number of votes and select how they would like to distribute their votes among the themes or notes on the board. Click on the plus sign above a card or group of cards to vote. If you'd like to remove a vote, click on it again.

🗒️ We are releasing an "Abstain from voting" button that will be rolled out throughout the next 30 days and available to all users on April 14, 2021. This allows anyone in the retrospective to opt out of voting if they don’t want to influence the vote or don’t have enough information to participate.

  • Participants can see how many votes each participant in the retrospective has left, but you cannot see who votes for which groups. This is done to preserve the psychological safety of the votes. 
  • When the team is ready to move on, the facilitator will progress the retrospective to the next phase.

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  • The columns will disappear when entering the Discuss phase, and the topic or card with the most votes will appear first.  The topics are automatically ordered based on the number of votes (from most to least), and the team can choose how many they would like to discuss depending on the time allotted to the retro.

  • The facilitator may set a timer to keep the discussion on track as you begin to ask each other questions or realize takeaways. It will show up as a green bar at the bottom of the screen.

  • During the discussion, the facilitator may capture action items on behalf of the team. Once the action item is created, all participants will see it in the action plan and be able to edit it if needed.

  • When the team is ready to move on, the facilitator will progress the retrospective to the next phase.

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  • The wrap-up phase is intended for participants to rate the retro they just completed. 

  • Participants will have one vote to cast a rating on a scale of 1-5, answering the question, "Was this retro worth our time?" These votes are anonymous. 

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  • The facilitator will select "Reveal results" and participants can view the average rating.