Prep Time:
Time to run:
30 min

Sailboat retrospective template

Reflect on a journey of completing a project from start to finish

Courtesy of our friends at

Use the sailboat retrospective template to assess how well a project has been executed and identify areas for improvement. It allows team members to reflect on their progress and make changes as needed so that they can continue to improve their work process.

Sailboat retrospectives use a sailboat voyage as a memorable metaphor for the journey of completing a project or initiative from start to finish.

The sailboat retrospective template helps you:

  • Recognize what went well in a project and why
  • Identify potential risks or problems coming up in a project
  • Reflect on problems faced and how to fix them
  • Align with teams on a shared goals and upcoming milestones

How to use the sailboat retrospective template

1. Warm up the team

Start off the activity with an icebreaker or warmup to get the team members engaged and ready to collaborate.

2. Introduce the sailboat framework

If teams are new to this framework, introduce each section of the template and what it means.

The four basic components of a sailboat retrospective are:

  1. The wind in our sails (what is helping to move your project along?)
  2. The anchor (what is holding your project back?)
  3. The beacons (what outcomes are on the horizon that you're working toward?
  4. The barriers (what blockers are there in the way of realizing your project's goals?)

3. Start adding sticky notes individually

Start a timer for 5-10 minutes and give team members enough time to individually add sticky notes in each section of the whiteboard canvas

4. Review the sticky notes

Go by each section and review the ideas. Group common topics together to identify recurring themes.

5. Identify the top priority

Discuss and vote on the most important themes to address. What’s slowing down the team or causing the most frustration?

6. Define next steps and action items

Take the topics the team voted on and start identifying ways to fix them for future sprints in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Tips for running a sailboat retrospective meeting

  • Use Mural’s private mode to allow participants to add feedback anonymously to ensure even sensitive topics get visibility
  • Start a voting session with stakeholders to prioritize efforts and align the team
  • Make sure to cluster related sticky notes together to help you identify trends and common themes

How to create a Sailboat retrospective template

Use Mural's unique features make sailboat retrospectives a breeze

Conduct brainstorming and ideation, collect feedback, create workflows and get aligned on common goals and challenges in real-time with Mural.
Tags on sticky notes

Tags on sticky notes

Customizable labels make it easy to find, organize, and categorize your work in a mural.

Private mode

Private mode

Avoid groupthink and get authentic feedback by allowing collaborators to add content privately.

Real-time collaboration

Real-time collaboration

Add more productivity and engagement to meetings and calls with features to guide collaboration.

Easy sharing

Easy sharing

There are no barriers to collaboration with the ability to safely and securely share murals with others.



Keep collaboration moving forward with a timer to structure and time-box activities.

Anonymous voting

Anonymous voting

Gain consensus and reach alignment quickly, either in real time or asynchronously.

Sailboat retrospective template frequently asked questions

What is a sailboat retrospective?

How is the sailboat retrospective different from other agile or sprint retrospective methods?

What are the four main questions to ask in a sailboat retrospective?

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