How can you make your Retrospective more interesting?
I’ll show you some of the formats that were useful to me when answering this question. If you have any other suggestions, please share them! Please notice that the ideas marked with an asterisk have a description borrowed from Corinna Baldauf’s Retromat book.
1. The Game of Feedback
The feedback game provides insight into your own personality and can be used to initiate a more in-depth discussion regarding your partner’s attitude and behaviour. You’ll be able to find answers to queries like these by employing 140 cards with various properties.
What distinguishes me?
What do other people think of me?
2. Talk about the team’s mission.
A cause for something being done, made, or existing is referred to as a purpose. A clear, motivating, and ambitious purpose will motivate the team to keep improving. The team is at risk of becoming Scrum zombies who merely “mechanically” attend the Retrospective if they don’t have a purpose.
3. The Constellation Game
Gather the squad around a spherical in the centre of free space. The sphere symbolizes the point of agreement. If you agree, move toward the centre; if you disagree, move outwards. Statements to read out loud include:
In this Retrospective, I believe I may speak freely.
I’m pleased with the quality of our code and consider myself to be a member of the best team ever.
After that, inquire as to which constellations surprised you.
4. What are the Benefits of Retrospectives?
Return to the beginning of the Retrospective by posing the question, “Why are we having Retrospectives?” Make a list of all the answers and then post them for everybody to see. You could be pleasantly surprised.
Each team member receives a sheet of paper with two parts on the top half that is blank on the lower half and has two sections on the lower half:
What my teammates may look forward to from me
What I’m looking for from my teammates
Fill up the top half of the form for yourself. They hand over their paper to the left and go over the sheet they were given. They write what they individually expect from the author in the lower half, sign it, and pass it on. Review and discuss expectations after each round.
6. Writing the Unspeakable
Are there any unspoken taboos that are preventing the team from moving forward? Confidentiality should be emphasized. Declare that the action will be conducted in silence and that all “proof” will be deleted thereafter. Give each member a piece of paper on which to jot down the company’s or team’s largest unspoken taboo. When everyone is finished, they deliver their papers to their neighbours on the left. Neighbours may read them and make suggestions. Papers are forwarded until they are returned to their authors for final evaluation. The pages are then ceremonially shredded. Use at your own risk!
7. Keep in Mind the Future
Introduce the following scenario: “Imagine being able to travel back in time to the end of the following iteration. You discover that it was the most successful and productive iteration yet! What would your future selves say about it? What do you think you’re seeing and hearing?” Allow the crew some time to think about it and jot down some keywords. After that, have everyone explain their ideal iteration. “What modifications did we make that resulted in such a productive and satisfying future?” follow up. For the next phase, write down the answers on cards.
8. Concern & Circle of Influence
Make a flip chart with three concentric circles, each large enough to hold a few sticky notes. From the inner to the outer circle, label them as follows:
Controls by the team – direct action
Persuasive activity by a group of people
Action – response system
Sort your previous phase’s insights into the circles. Participants jot out potential actions in pairs, preferably addressing challenges within their sphere of influence. They keep track of their actions by placing them next to the relevant topic. Decide which plans to try, for example, by assigning three votes to each participant.
9. Follow Through
On a sticky note, have everyone create an emoji that represents their current mood. Then, on a flip chart, make a scale labelled “Probability we’ll implement our action items.” On the left, write “0 per cent,” and on the right, “100 per cent.” Assign each person a sticky to their level of confidence in the team’s ability to follow through. Discuss unusual outcomes, such as a low probability or a negative mood.
10. Decide on a new location
Changing the placement of the Retrospective could be beneficial. For a change, get out of the workplace. As a site, consider a coffee shop, a public park, or even a boat. The team benefits greatly from a completely new setting when it comes to brainstorming and identifying out-of-the-box concepts.
11. Enlist the help of someone else to lead the retrospective
Although the Scrum Master should encourage the team to improve on a regular basis, this does not imply that (s)he is always the Retrospectives facilitator. I’ve had good luck asking other team members to come up with Retrospective format ideas and host the session. It keeps the Retrospective from turning into a “Scrum Master Show” and allows you to act more like a team member from within.