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Time Capsule (#132)

Make long-term progress visible by storing impediments in a time capsule
Source: Katrin Dreyer
It’s hard to see progress when you chip away at your challenges but in hindsight the improvements are impressive. Set your team up to realize how much it has improved in half a year. This activity will also broaden the team’s perspective to bigger topics beyond everyday improvements.

Caution: Do not use this activity if you suspect there are big unspoken issues.

Hand out pens and fancy paper. Tell participants to complete the following two sentences:
  • ’I think our biggest impediment right now is: …’
  • ’What I want to try to get rid of it: …’
Afterwards, each person reads out their impediment and plan of action. Some issues and plans might stir discussion. If needed, use Lean Coffee (#51) to dot-vote and structure which issues to discuss. If somebody wants to adapt their plan of action or if the entire team wants to commit to an action item, that’s okay. (But nobody can tell anyone else that their impediment isn’t “valid”.)

When the discussion dies down, put all papers into the bottle and close it well. Now bury it or put it into the back of your cabinet. Put a reminder in your calendar in 6 months time.

When you open the bottle with the team in half a year, check which impediments are gone. How did you do it? With the action plan you’d written down or something else? Celebrate!


Retromat contains 127 activities, allowing for 8349005 combinations (25x30x22x22x23+5) and we are constantly adding more.

Created by Corinna Baldauf

Corinna wished for something like Retromat during her Scrummaster years. Eventually she just built it herself in the hope that it would be useful to others, too. Any questions, suggestions or encouragement? You can email her or follow her on Twitter. If you like Retromat you might also like Corinna's blog and her summaries on

Co-developed by Timon Fiddike

Timon gives Scrum trainings. He mentors advanced scrum masters and advanced product owners. Human, dad, nerd, contact improv & tango dancer. He has used Retromat since 2013 and started to build new features in 2016. You can email him or follow him on Twitter. Photo © Ina Abraham.