Car Retrospective

What Kind of Car Are We? What Kind of Car Do We Want to Be?

One of the most interesting challenges for the Scrum Master is to determine which retrospective format will best help the team at that particular moment in time.

For a team that has been together for a little while and it’s not clear if the team has any urgent issues/problems to discuss, the “car retrospective” can help team members think about the current state and desired future state of the team.

It starts with a question to the team: “If we are a car, what kind of car are we?”

Team members write their answers on sticky notes. Some answers may be positive (e.g. Lamborghini), whereas other may be negative (e.g. Edsel).

The next part of the discussion is about each team’s member’s choice of car – “why do you consider the team to be a <car named>?” Positive comments can help to reinforce best practices that the team is successfully leveraging. Negative comments will point to areas for improvement.

The next question for the team is: “What kind of car do we want to be?”

Once again team members name cars and put them on sticky notes, and the ensuing discussion is around why each car was suggested. The ensuing discussion here can be nuanced. For example, some team members may prefer cars that are dependable and reliable rather than cars that seem to go fast but are prone to breaking down. The cars named here can reveal the team’s desired character.

The team then chooses which one of the suggested cars it wants to be.

The next question for the team is: “In order to become a <car chosen>, is there anything we need to do differently or better?” This is an additional opportunity to identify areas for improvement.


  • Mixing up the format of retrospectives is essential for the team to reinforce successes and identify new areas for improvement.
  • The car format can be used occasionally but not too often. Once a team has used this format it typically isn’t used again for awhile.