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Mad Sad Glad Retrospective – Simply Explained

Mad Sad Glad Retrospective – Simply Explained

The traditional corporate culture makes employees keep their emotions hidden in the workplace. However, this practice can be more troublesome for Scrum teams. A Scrum team works in units and meets frequently to evaluate the progress. 

So, if they are feeling disappointed, frustrated, or angry, then it can impact their productivity and product deliveries. This is where the Mad Sad Glad retrospective exercise comes into action.


Mad Sad Glad is a widely used agile retrospective technique that enables employees to express their emotions effectively. In this article, we will have a closer look at what is a Mad Sad Glad retrospective technique, how it works, and what are its benefits/outcomes?

What is a Mad Sad Glad Retrospective?

Mad Sad Glad retrospective is an exercise that is practiced during the sprint retrospective session where the team discusses their emotional journey during the previous sprint.

Team members are asked to share what parts of the sprint journey made them annoyed or frustrated (mad), upset (sad), and proud or happy (glad). This way, they can collaboratively see what went well or bad during the previous sprint so that they can improve team morale, satisfaction and avoid those bad attributes from happening again in the next sprint.

How to Run a Mad Sad Glad Retrospective?

It is quite easy to run a mad sad glad retrospective. During a sprint retrospective meeting, use the predefined fraankly template Mad, Sad, and Glad. If you are using a traditional whiteboard, draw three columns. Afterward, tell your team to take time and write about things that made them:

·      Mad: Time wasters, issues, unpleasant surprises, etc.

·      Sad: Things that did not go as planned, attitudes of members, etc.

·      Glad: Happiest moments or achievements that gave an energy boost.

Either directly in fraankly using the cards or if using a whiteboard via sticky notes.

This way, all members will write down what they felt during the previous sprint and stick those notes on the whiteboard. Afterward, members are asked to come and discuss what they wrote on the notes and why they wrote it. Once done, the team discusses the major issues identified from this exercise and sets a plan to avoid them in the next sprint.

Within Trune you can use the voting phase to get an insight into which topics are the most important/pressing ones for your team.

Examples of Mad Sad Glad Retrospective

Following are some examples of how Mad Sad Glad looks like:


·      Members arriving late at stand-up meetings.

·      Plenty of meetings.

·      Delays in feedback response on new crucial features.


·      Don’t know whether my work is valuable.

·      A hefty number of tickets.

·      Extra churn in team members.


·      Knowing about the product vision in the sprint review meeting was energizing.

·      New hardware is very efficient.

·      Team collaboration is going amazing.

Benefits/Outcomes of Mad Sad Glad Retrospective

Mad Sad Glad retrospective is an effective practice that makes Scrum teams turn their disappointments and frustrations into valuable metrics. Members can express their emotions openly in a more ethical and structured manner, which results in pressure release and a better chance to reach a solution (actionable items) before the start of the next sprint.

Picture of Matt