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Varying your retrospective formats - Pimp my retro (2/2)

Photo by Ross Sneddon

Organizing a retrospective for your team is a chore? At the end of each sprint, you randomly choose a format without much conviction? You have trouble identifying improvement actions for the next iteration?

In the previous article of the series, I showed you how to structure a retrospective to pinpoint organizational dysfunction and identify specific ways to correct it. Now, I will give you the tips I use to make these ceremonies more interactive and involve my teams.

  1. The foundations of a successful retrospective
  2. Varying your retrospective formats

If the team has been working together for a long time, it can get tired of classic retrospectives. Renewing activities, format, etc will help motivate the participants to remain engaged and ensure that the ceremony remains a relevant exercise.

Varying activities

  1. Repurpose a board game

The materials of board games are a good source of inspiration to vary from the sacred post-its: the cards of the Dixit game to stimulate new ideas among participants, Pictionary to guess the blockages encountered during the iteration, the game Blanc Manger Retro that takes the principles of Cards Against Humanity... You will surely find a good reason to introduce your favorite game to your team.

  1. Repurpose a movie, a series

The Empire of Star Wars against the Rebel Alliance, the families of Game of Thrones, the houses of Harry Potter... Pop culture can inspire you to transpose classic activities into a different universe and renew them.

  1. Inspire yourself from the seasonality

Evergreen content (redundant and considered not very interesting journalistic subjects) or current events can be a source of inspiration to bring freshness and renewal to your teams. As the end of year holidays approach, for example, you can adapt a speed boat for Santa's sleigh or illustrate your retrospectives On refait le match with the latest matches during the World Cup. By looking carefully, I'm sure we can find ideas to make a special Covid retrospective.

  1. Repurpose online tools

A meme generator, motivational posters, gifs, Martine covers... Don't hesitate to use various resources to allow team members to break the mold.

Specifying a focus

Repeating the same retrospective to discuss overall issues encountered during the sprint can become redundant.

The scrum master can also propose a focus for the team to concentrate on improving a specific aspect of its organization. Why not have a retrospective on the retrospective itself?

However, if some participants feel frustrated by this format because they came with specific things they wanted to address, the scrum master can prepare an open retrospective in the next sprint and remind them to bring up those points if they forget to mention them.

Changing the facilitator

One of the scrum master's responsibilities is to ensure that ceremonies take place. But they do not necessarily have to be the facilitator of all meetings. After all, one of their goals is to become unnecessary?

A way to vary the retrospectives is to vary the facilitators. When they take the initiative, team members can bring new ideas and concepts from their previous experiences and their own personal interests.

Step out of the office

To stimulate team members, allow them to come up with innovative solutions, you can leave your office and hold your retrospective elsewhere, in a café, a park... It will probably require a little more logistics and anticipation than usual, or even a Plan B if it rains, but the conviviality generated will also be a good way to strengthen social ties within the team.

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