19 Retro Questions to ask for What? So What? Now What?

What? So what’? Now What? is reflective technique that allows people to evaluate shared experiences or recent events to identify ways to improve or act. It was named It is a fundamental Liberating Structure that encourages us to take a step back and think about what is going on.

It is the basis for agile retrospectives and lessons learned sessions that project teams have at the end of a project or agile teams have at the end of a sprint.

Retrospective Models

There are many frameworks for reflective thinking. Knowing about these frameworks can help you get the most out of whatever encounter. This is because these frameworks help you analyze experiences systematically, ensuring that you ask the right introspective questions at each level.

Examples of these include the following:

  • Driscoll model
  • Schön
  • Kolb
  • Johns’ Model for Structured Reflection
  • Gibbs
  • Brookfield
  • ERA
  • Difficult, but important

Below is a review of a few methods of reflective thinking.

Rolfe Reflection Model

The main advantages of the Rolf model are clarity and simplicity. According to Rolf’s own letter, it is essential not only after an incident but also at the time of the incident to reflect on it, so prompt corrective actions can be taken. For agile teams this could be process improvement to how team work together

The three-stage model encourages analysis of what happened, the effects, and the consequences of future actions. The adjustments in behavior or approach resulting from introspection can be analyzed, and further modifications can be identified.

As seen earlier in this article, the Rolfe reflective method of thinking is quite simple and efficient. Many people today use this method. It includes the what so what now what questions. Here is a review of each of them.


The first level is used to describe and learn about what happened and the experience you wanted to learn about.

So, what?

After carefully completing your description, think about what this experience and scenario might mean to you. To fully understand the subject, you should consult books and peers. Because otherwise, you will have to rely only on your own opinion.

Now what?

It’s good to think about the steps you need to take to get hands-on and benefit from your early experience. You should create a concise action plan containing essential details about what you will achieve and how you will determine your actions have progressed.

Examples of What? So What? Now What?

Examples of What So What Now What Questions

Here are some further examples of what, so what, and now what questions.

1. What

  1. What is the problem or issue that we are facing?
  2. What did you notice?
  3. What was everyone’s reaction to the event?
  4. What did you learn?
  5. What part of the experience did you find challenging?
  6. What did you find surprising?
  7. What positive and negative aspects do you observe?
  8. What part of the experience did you find exciting?

2. So What?

  1. Why is it important? What critical questions does this information cause us to ask?
  2. What did this experience make you feel?
  3. What conclusions can be made from this experience?
  4. What did you learn about yourself?
  5. What did you learn about others?
  6. What emotions does the event evoke? How does it make us feel?

3. Now What?

  1. How will this experience change your community in the future?
  2. What do you need to do to address any challenges that arose during this experience?
  3. What would you like to learn about this experience?
  4. How will this experience contribute to your career?
  5. How will you apply what you have learned from this experience?

Driscoll Method

John Driscoll’s reflective model is a reflective model that can be transformed into a structured thought process. There are many reflective models to choose from, so it’s essential to select a model that is appropriate to you.

Driscoll linked the questions what? So what? and Now what? at a stage in the experiential learning cycle. Then he included some trigger questions that require answers to complete the reflection cycle. This model is one of the most basic reflection models available to date.

By answering the three questions, you can analyze and learn from your experience.

First, you must describe the situation or experience. Understanding the context is very important.

This allows the person to better understand what is going on. This is achieved by thinking about the “what” question. Do you need to introduce something new? What did you gain from the experience?

The user is prompted to consider the action taken based on the reflection of the last step. Should you change your behavior? Or does it mean that the current state is good enough that no changes are required?

Bain’s 5R’s

the 5rs reflective method retrospective

An excellent method to reflect on past experiences is to use a framework that stimulates deep and meaningful thinking about what happened. Learning through experience is just as much about interpreting what has occurred as it is about how we participate in it. Reflecting on past experiences and re-evaluating them is essential for professional and personal growth. One such framework is the 5Rs of reflection. They are Reporting, Reconstructing, Responding, Reasoning, and Relating.

FAQ on Reflection Methods

Conclusion on Reflective Methods

These are only a few of the many reflective models available. You might find one that suits you, or you might find that none of them is for you. These models can be a good place to start, but reflecting is a personal experience, and everyone approaches it differently.

It would be best to take some time to experiment with several methods until you find one that suits you. As you develop skills as a reflective practitioner, you may find that you attempted several strategies that suit your present situation. The most important thing is that it works; you may need to try something else if it doesn’t.

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