Here is a description of a fun, Wild West themed retrospective.
Which movie best describes the last sprint? – Set the stage
Think about the last sprint as a movie plot
Give everyone a couple of minutes to think about a movie plot that best describes the last sprint. Do a quick round where everyone states their choice and one sentence why they picked this specific movie.
The good, the bad and the ugly – Gather data
Collect aspects from the last sprint that evoked different emotions
As a variation of ‘Mad Sad Glad‘, put up three sections labeled ‘The good’, ‘The bad’ and ‘The ugly’. Give everyone a few minutes (~5 mins) to think about one or more things per category from the last sprint. Let them note them on post-its. One aspect per post-it. When the time is up, have everyone stick their post-its to the appropriate labels. Cluster as you collect if possible.
Identify the hero and the villain – Generate insights
Pick a negative and positive aspect to improve upon
Everyone picks the positive and negative aspect they think is most important to improve on. Give everyone a few minutes to pick and note down their favorites. Try to identify the boss of the bad guys (root cause). Think Joe, not Averell Dalton from Lucky Luke. Then everyone explains their choice to the group. Collect the choices in a hero and villain section. If there is no clear winner after everyone presented, have a quick vote (e.g. via dot voting).
Duel – Decide what to do
Formulate a plan of action to improve a positive and a negative aspect
Assuming there are two (or more) topics you want to improve, let the group split and form sub-groups around the topics. Tell them to choose the topic they care most about. In the sub-groups give them some time (~15 min) to come up with (SMART) actions to improve their chosen topic in the next sprint. When they are done, each sub-group presents their action plan to the whole group. The others try to – constructively – shoot holes into it (e.g. why it’s not SMART enough). Adjust the action plan accordingly.
Ride off into the sunset – Close the retrospective
Leave with positive thoughts for the next iteration
Give everyone a couple of minutes to gather why they think the future for the team is going to be bright?
I play wild west movie theme music in the background while people collect their thoughts on post-its.
For more inspiration on what to do in your next retrospective and to mix and match this with other activities, check out the awesome Retromat.
Cover photo by Jon Toney