Following Up on Action Items is used for organizing an action item list. Lack of accountability for action items is a common complaint about retrospectives. This activity provides a simple and direct way to follow up on previously identified items.


Running the activity:

  1. Open the list of action items.
  2. Add newly identified items.
  3. Update the status for each item on the list. These are the possible status for the items on the list:
    * Closed – completed action items.
    * Added – newly added action items to the list.
    * Pending – things previously identified, but not completed yet.
    * Dropped – things that have been dropped. It clearly identifies an action item that has not been closed and will never be. Possible reasons: (1) the owner has left the team and no one else picked it up, or (2) the owner states that the item will not be worked upon and no one else decides to pick it up.

The sample table  shows a possible format for following up on action items. Each team will have a different tool for tracking their action items. Some examples: sticky note on the team wall, a shared Excel document, Trello, Evernote.

Many teams have been following action items vigorously. Others have been complaining by not following it. Having this as a checkout activity and planned in the retrospective agenda acknowledges its importance. Although important, this should be used with caution, because of its inherent status reporting style.


Remote-team advice: This activity works well for remote teams. Use the tool of your choice to share and track the items.

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