Looking Back to Accelerate Forward

MODULE INTRODUCTION (2:25) The Retrospective module is set up to help teams integrate their learnings into active management.

About This Module

imagePrep: 30 min | Module: 2 hrimageTeam: 5-10

The Retrospective module helps a conservation team pause and reflect on a completed or in-progress strategy, project, or body of work, and identify what can be learned from the experience. The goal is to integrate learnings into active management to improve future work.

The Retrospective module is typically completed early in the planning process, so that learnings from past work can be carried forward into current strategies. However, teams may complete this module at any stage. For example, this module can complement annual strategy reviews, or help with the onboarding of a new team member.  

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    • Documentation of successes and barriers.
    • A set of recommended actions based on insights.
    • A shared team understanding of the strategy or project, including what worked and why, what didn't work, and what can be done differently.
    • How can we brief new team members on past work and align all team members to move this work forward?
    • How can we pause, gather learnings from past work, and use those to propel our work forward?
    • How can we make space to celebrate successes from past work and use that motivation to help move our work forward?
    • The primary participants are the core planning team. The ideal group size is 5-10 people to incorporate multiple perspectives while also enabling all participants to fully engage. While it is not necessary for this particular module, teams may choose to use a facilitator from outside the planning team who has completed the self-paced training on this module.

    • Feedback can be obtained from additional TNC staff and interested parties to ensure the core team considers a range of perspectives. 

  • The module consists of one 2-hour workshop session. The strategy team lead and facilitator should plan for an additional 30 minutes of prep and wrap-up time.

  • Nothing is required other than a readiness by all participants to engage and learn.

  • This module follows a four-step process.

    1. Set expectations, define scope, and establish a constructive environment.

    2. Build a timeline of milestones of past work and reflect on successes and failures.

    3. Pivot to thinking about future work and building on learnings. 

    4. Identify clear, actionable next steps. 

Retrospective Module Documents

What documents are included in this module?


Module Summary


Facilitator's Guide


Participant's Overview


Mural Virtual Workspace



“The Retrospective module has effectively responded to our need to work as a team to document, reflect, learn, and adjust our work to accelerate our impact. It is applicable to different contexts (e.g., projects, programs), agile, effective, and incorporates fundamental elements of Conservation by Design such as equity."

"The Retrospective module also helped bring back fond memories and awaken the passion for our work, while strengthening our team’s learning culture and cohesion”

— Juana Figueroa,
Conservation Planner,
TNC Colombia


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