How do participants feel at the retro: Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer, or Prisoner? Source: Agile Retrospectives
Prepare a flipchart with areas for E, S, V, and P. Explain the concept:
Explorer: Eager to dive in and research what did and didn't work and how to improve.
Shopper: Positive attitude. Happy if one good things comes out.
Vacationer: Reluctant to actively take part but the retro beats the regular work.
Prisoner: Only attend because they (feel they) must.
Take a poll (anonymously on slips of paper). Count out the answers and keep track on the flipchart for all to see. If trust is low, deliberately destroy the votes afterwards to ensure privacy. Ask what people make of the data. If there's a majority of Vacationers or Prisoners consider using the retro to discuss this finding.
Written brainstorming levels the playing field for introverts Source: Prof. Bernd Rohrbach
Pose a central question, such as 'What actions should we take in the next iteration to improve?'. Hand out paper and pens. Everybody writes down their ideas. After 3 minutes everyone passes their paper to their neighbour and continues to write on the one they've gotten. As soon as they run out of ideas, they can read the ideas that are already on the paper and extend them. Rules: No negative comments and everyone writes their ideas down only once. (If several people write down the same idea, that's okay.) Pass the papers every 3 minutes until everyone had every paper. Pass one last time. Now everyone reads their paper and picks the top 3 ideas. Collect all top 3's on a flip chart for the next phase.
Asking and answering go around the team circle - an excellent way to reach consensus Source: Agile Retrospectives
Everyone sits in a circle. Begin by stating that you'll go round asking questions to find out what you want to do as a group. You start by asking your neighbor the first question, e.g. 'What is the most important thing we should start in the next iteration?' Your neighbor answers and asks her neighbor a related question. Stop when consensus emerges or the time is up. Go around at least once, so that everybody is heard!
Team members write appreciative postcards for later delivery Source: Philip Rogers
Hand out blank postcards. Each team member silently writes a postcard to another team member, thanking them for something they did. They can write as many postcards as they like, and they can address them either to individuals or to multiple people. Collect all postcards. Consider using envelopes with the name on for privacy. Deliver the cards throughout the next iteration to make someone's day.
Variation: Use normal paper and let participants fold the paper into little cranes for some origami fun. (Suggestion by Virginia Brassesco)