The KALM – Keep, Add, More, Less retrospective is a popular retrospective meeting activity in the Agile world. This sprint retro format is focused on boosting conversations in the team about current, ongoing initiatives and what value they are bringing to the process as a whole. It helps team members understand each other’s perceived value of these practices, which in turn improves communication and understanding among them.
You can do the KALM retrospective format in many ways and use various types of visualizations. The most common one is to divide your whiteboard or canvas into four sections referred to as the Keep, Add, Less, and More quadrants. Give each team member a stack of post its and ask them to write down their ideas about process improvement for each of the areas.
● Keep: In this category, participants should documents the parts of the process they consider value-adding. These are the practices that work well and the team would like to continue doing consistently in the long-term.
● Add: Team members are encouraged to document new ideas for process improvement or reference process practices they have seen working well elsewhere and would like to bring to the table. These could be suggestions to help the team accomplish their goals in a more streamlined way.
● Less: This area will gather the team’s suggestions for things that are currently being done but do not drive as much value and could be done less frequently. These things may hold value in some areas but hold the team back in others.
● More: The More quadrant is for the team to visualize process practices that they are already doing and would like to do more of. The team believes that these activities will bring more value if done more frequently. These might be actions that are helping the team be more efficient and can be used in other areas of their work.
This retro format is a great way to spot best practices already operating within the team and enhance them, as well as identify wasteful activities and discuss how to reduce them. This is also recognized as a common exercise for data gathering. It is an alternative to keep the team engaged while slightly changing the format of the usual Stop, Start, Continue template. It’s easy to explain to participants and you can also run it with a remote team online, so nothing stops you from trying it right after your next sprint! As a result, you will get a more streamlined process optimized for efficiency and value generation.