Michael Hackett provides seven distinctions between retrospectives and post-mortems.
Let’s look at a few distinctions between the two process improvement practices that make all the difference in their usefulness for making projects and job situations better! An extreme way to look at the goals of these practices is: what makes your work easier (retrospective) versus what did someone else decide is best practice (post-mortem)?
First, look elsewhere for a “how-to.” There are many published materials on how to do a sprint retrospective and a post-mortem. We are looking at the differences in the mindset. To look at how post-mortems and retrospectives are different, let’s go back to the approach and foundation for these meetings. The following distinctions between the Agile and traditional software development mindset loom large in the mindset entering retrospectives and post-mortems.