A colleague asked me some time ago for retrospective ideas. Life got in the way and I never got back to her. Today, when I was looking for an idea for our team’s next retrospective, I finally got around to share my list of retrospective ideas. I have not tried all of them. Some ideas seem amazing and I would love to try them with the right team and in the right circumstances. Others seem a bit Pete and repeat. I have added a * to my favorites. Let me know what you like or has worked well for you.
6 Thinking Hats *
The team discusses the previous period since the last retrospective from different specific roles and perspectives.
Candy Love *
Place a package of M&Ms, or another colorful candy in a jar. Ask a participant to pick a candy from the jar, and then share something about him/herself according to the candy color.
Comprehensive Team Health Check
Find out what the team thinks of many aspects of the current agile processes in less than 15 minutes.
DAKI – Drop, Add, Keep, Improve
Drop what bothers the team; Add to improve the process; Keep doing what works; Improve something the team is already doing.
Do you think what I believe you think of me? *
The team members rate each other’s most important contributions to the team and what behaviors or skills impact the team negatively. This exercise requires a very high level of trust and safety.
ESVP – Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer, Prisoner *
This is a short activity to measure participants’ engagement for the meeting at hand.
Good, Bad, Better, Best
Good: Things that went well; Bad: Things that didn’t work well; Better: Opportunities for improvement; Best: Things that deserve recognition
Happiness Index is an agile retrospectives tool, which measures the happiness of the agile team.
How Good are our estimates? Should we care? *
A 20-minute retrospective to get insight into the quality of the team’s estimates.
Imagine a Failure: a pre-mortem retrospective *
Creativity and openness from all team members to express their concerns when their project is still in the planning phase. Teams can get ideas and actions on areas that if implemented well could increase the chances of success.
The Good, The Great, and The Amazing
When your retrospectives are only focused on how to improve they may become a drag. This retrospective focussing only on what goes well.
KALM – Keep, Add, Less More
KALM focusses the conversation on the current activities and the perceived value. It helps team members to understand each other’s perceived value on such practices.
“ in the beginning, or at the end of retrospectives (it’s your choice), you deliver Kudo cards to people that you want to thank for their behavior during the Sprint.”
Using Lean Coffee, participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking.
4 Ls – Liked, Learned, Lacked, Longed For
Liked – things you really liked; Learned – things you have learned; Lacked – things you have seen the team doing, but consider what could be done better; Longed for – something you desired or wished for.
Mad, Sad, Glad
Issues, changes or observations made during a sprint are listed by all participants and then categorized as either Glad, Sad or Mad.
One Word Retrospective *
The One Word is a simple check-in activity that allows the participants to share their feelings before getting into the data and details for the meeting itself. Depending on the mood coming out of the words this may become the retrospective itself.
- What did we do well, that if we didn’t discuss we might forget?
- What did we learn?
- What should we do differently next time?
- What still puzzles us?
PMI (plus, minus, interesting) is a retrospective activity that encourages participants to look at an idea from more than one viewpoint.
Simple data gathering activity based on two questions: What to repeat? What to avoid?
Retrospective By Dice Game
The dice game allows you to engage introverted/quiet people without calling them out and can be easily adjusted to focus on different aspects.
Sailboat / Speedboat
This exercise helps teams to define a vision where they want to go; it helps them to identify risks during their path and allows them to identify what slows them down and what helps them to achieve their objectives.
Speed Car: Parachute, Engine
Speed car is a simplified version of sailboat:
Engine: What has been pushing us forward and making us move faster?
Parachute: What have been slowing us down?
Get a good overall picture of what’s going on within a team, what is working and what is not working. Ideas, observations, and issues from the previous period are classified as Keep Doing, Less Of, More Of, Stop Doing, and Start Doing.
Start – Stop – Continue
The start items are things a team member thinks the team should add to its process. Items on the stop list are things that someone on the team thinks are inefficient or are wasting time. The continue list contains items the team would like to continue to emphasize but that are not yet habits.
The Twitterspective – agile retrospective
“If you were to express your opinion on a social media channel about the last Sprint (or any predetermined topic) what would you say”
The wheel of change
The wheel represents four actions your team will apply to their behavior – for the positive traits create and preserve and for the negative ones – eliminate and accept.
The Timeline Retrospective is a useful way to look back at key events over multiple sprints or months, identify pain points, and develop action plans.
Three Little Pigs
What barely work, what is OK and what is rock solid?
Token of appreciation
Foster and recognize teamwork.