Retrospective Prime Directive in many languages

PrimeDirectiveThe retrospective prime directive is a sentence that is used by facilitators to establish safety in a retrospective meeting. Safety is crucial if you want people to speak up and be open, which is an important precondition to reflect and learn; that’s what agile retrospectives are all about.

Last week I was at the 2015 Retrospective Facilitators Gathering (#rfg2015). This is a yearly invitation only event where people from all around the world come together to share their experiences from doing agile retrospectives and sharpen their facilitation skills. I can highly recommend this event to everybody who does retrospectives, if you are interested then I suggest to take a look at the wiki at

Being together with many experienced facilitators reminded me how important it is to create safety when doing agile retrospectives. Norman Kerth described the retrospective prime directive in his book Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews. In our book Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives we referred to the prime directive as an effective way to establish safety.

Since our book is being translated into many languages we now have translations of this unique and important statement. You can find them below (in alphabetical order):


Незалежна ад таго, што мы высвятляем, мы павiнны разумець i шчыра верыць, што кожны робiць усе магчымае, улiчваючы вядомую iнфармацыю, яго (яе) навыкi i магчымасцi, даступныя рэсурсы, а таксама абставiны, якiя склалiлiся на дадзены момант.

中文 (Chinese)



Unabhängig davon was wir entdecken werden, verstehen und glauben wir aufrichtig, dass in der gegebenen Situation, mit dem verfügbaren Wissen und Ressourcen und unseren individuellen Fähigkeiten, jeder sein bestes getan hat.


Regardless of what we discover, we must understand and truly believe that everyone does the best job he or she could, given what was known at the time, his or her skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.


Independientemente de lo que descubramos, debemos entender y creer de verdad que todo el mundo hace el mejor trabajo que él o ella podría, dado lo que se sabía en ese momento, sus habilidades y capacidades, los recursos disponibles y la situación actual.


Peu importe ce que l’on découvre, nous devons comprendre et vraiment croire que chacun a fait le meilleur travail qu’il ou elle peut selon ce qui était connu à ce moment, ses aptitudes et capacités, les ressources disponibles et le contexte du moment.


Indipendentemente da ciò che scopriamo, dobbiamo capire e credere davvero che ognuno fa del suo meglio, rispetto alle conoscenze attuali, alle sue competenze e abilità, le risorse disponibili e la situazione corrente.

日本 (Japanese)



Ongeacht wat we ontdekken, moeten we begrijpen en er op vertrouwen dat iedereen het uiterste heeft gedaan om zijn of haar werk te doen, binnen de grenzen van de kennis van het moment, zijn of haar vaardigheden en capaciteiten, de beschikbare middelen en de situatie zoals die was.


Niezależnie od wniosków do jakich dojdziemy, rozumiemy i wierzymy, że każdy wykonał swoją pracę najlepiej jak mógł w zastanej sytuacji, dysponując swoją wiedzą i umiejętnościami.

русский (Russian)

Вне зависимости от того что будет обнаружено, мы должны понимать и искренне верить, что каждый из нас выполнил свою работу настолько хорошо, насколько мог, с учетом знаний, доступных на тот момент, его или её умений и возможностей, имеющихся ресурсов и текущей ситуации.

I want to, again, thank Norman Kerth for coming up with the prime directive for retrospectives. It aims to help teams to establish safety in the retrospective meeting; the provided translations make it possible for teams to do just that in their local language.

A big thanks to all the teams of volunteers that have translated our book into many languages, you rock! Thanks also to Konstantin Razumovsky, Professional Scrum Trainer at for the Belarusian translation.

Please share this post to help teams doing agile retrospectives all around the world!

(This post has been updated on August 18, 2015: Belarusian and Russian translations added).

Ben Linders

I help organizations with effective software development and management practices. Active member of several networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer.

This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. This is great! I wasn’t aware that it exists!

      Thanks for sharing this Fabrice 🙂

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