Four L's Retrospective

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Very useful for iteration and project retrospectives as well as for retrospection of training and conference events."

Length of time:

30-60 mins

Short Description:

"Many moons ago we wanted some variety in eliciting feedback, collectively sharing that feedback and exploring action possibilities. We decided to create a variation of World Café whereby areas of the room are used to focus on a specific retrospective topic. "


Post-it notes, flip chart paper, pens etc.


1. Hang four posters, one for each L, around the room, titled appropriately. 2. Ask people to individually jot down what they Liked, Learned, Lacked, and Longed For – one per sticky note. When the time is up (3-4 minutes), they silently place their notes on each poster. 3. Divide the group into four subgroups; assign an “L” poster to each subgroup. They read all the notes, cluster as appropriate and identify themes. 4. Each team reports out on the themes. 5. The entire group decides how they might use the data. For example, ask, “How can we satisfy the ‘lacked’ or ‘longed for’ items?

Variations you can try

  • Use color stickies, one color per “L”.
  • Select a subset of the L’s, but remember the power of “longed for”.
  • At step 2: Instead of each person writing their own 4 L’s, split group into 4 teams and assign each team to one of the L’s. Each team collectively identifies, discusses and writes points. (Plan for more time to allow for discussion.) *After posting their items onto their assigned “L” poster, ask teams to rotate to each of the other 3 posters, adding items that occur to them.
  • After step 3: Facilitate a “gallery walk around” whereby people walk around and read what’s on the 3 other posters.


EBG Consulting: The Four Ls Retrospective