Gauge participants' satisfaction with the retro on a scale from 1 to 5 in minimum time Source:
ALE 2011, Corinna Baldauf
Put sticky notes on the door with the numbers 1 through 5 on them. 1 is the topmost and best, 5 the lowest and worst.When ending the retrospective, ask your participants to put a sticky to the number they feel reflects the session. The sticky can be empty or have a comment or suggestion on it.
Let team members appreciate each other and end positively Source:
Agile Retrospectives who took it from 'The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond'
Start by giving a sincere appreciation of one of the participants. It can be anything they contributed: help to the team or you, a solved problem, ...Then invite others and wait for someone to work up the nerve. Close, when no one has talked for a minute.
Prepare 3 flip chart papers titled 'Helped', 'Hindered', and 'Hypothesis' (suggestions for things to try out). Ask participants to help you grow and improve as a facilitator by writing you sticky notes and signing their initials so that you may ask questions later.
Divide a flip chart in 3 sections titled 'More of', 'Same of', and 'Less of'. Ask participants to nudge your behaviour into the right direction: Write stickies with what you should do more, less and what is exactly right. Read out and briefly discuss the stickies section-wise.
Gauge participants' satisfaction with the retro in minimum time using smilies Source:
Draw a ':)', ':|', and ':(' on a sheet of paper and tape it against the door. When ending the retrospective, ask your participants to mark their satisfaction with the session with an 'x' below the applicable smily.
Listen to others talk behind your back - and only the good stuff! Source:
Form groups of 3. Each group arranges their chairs so that 2 chairs face each other and the third one has its back turned, like this: >^<. The two people in the chairs that face each other talk about the third person for 2 minutes. They may only say positive things and nothing that was said may be reduced in meaning by anything said afterwards. Hold 3 rounds so that everyone sits in the shower seat once.
Each participant notes 1 thing they like and 1 thing they'd change about the retro Source:
Prepare a flip chart with 2 columns: Head them with 'Plus' and 'Delta'. Ask each participant to write down 1 aspect of the retrospective they liked and 1 thing they would change (on different index cards). Post the index cards and walk through them briefly to clarify the exact meaning and detect the majority's preference when notes from different people point into opposite directions.
Create a big scale (i.e. a long line) on the floor with masking tape. Mark one end as 'Great' and the other as 'Bad'. Let participants stand on the scale according to their satisfaction with the retrospective. Ask people what they notice.
Psychologically, taking a stand physically is different from just saying something. It's more 'real'.
See activity #43 on how to begin the retrospective with the same scale.
Place a circle or sphere in the middle of a free space. Let the team gather around it. Explain that the circle is the center of approval: If they agree to a statement they should move towards it, if they don't, they should move as far outwards as their degree of disagreement. Now read out statements, e.g.
We talked about what was most important to me
I spoke openly today
I think the time of the retrospective was well invested
I am confident we will carry out our action items
Watch the constellations unfold. Ask questions about people's observations, such as which constellations were surprising. This can also be an opening activity (#53).
Check satisfaction with retro results, fair distribution of talk time & mood Source:
Prepare a flip chart with a co-ordinate plane on it. The Y-axis is 'Satisfaction with retro result'. The X-axis is 'Equal distribution of talking time' (the more equal, the farther to the right). Ask each participant to mark where their satisfaction and perceived talking time balance intersect - with an emoticon showing their mood (not just a dot). Discuss talking time inequalities (and extreme moods).
What's the probability of action items getting implemented? Source:
Let everyone draw an emoticon of their current mood on a sticky note. Then draw a scale on a flip chart, labeled 'Probability we'll implement our action items'. Mark '0%' on the left and '100%' on the right. Ask everyone to place their sticky according to their confidence in their follow through as a team. Discuss interesting results such as low probability or bad mood.
Stand in a circle. Explain that you will collect good wishes for the next iteration, building on each other's blessings. If you do it for the first time, start the activity by giving the first blessing. Then go around the circle to add to your blessing. Skip over people who can't think of anything. When your losing steam, ask for another blessing and start another round. Continue until no one can think of blessings anymore.
Example: You start with 'May we finish all stories next iteration'. Your neighbor continues with 'And may they delight our customers'. Their neighbor wishes 'And may we be able to automatically test all new features'. And so on until ideas for additions to this blessing run out. Then someone else can start a new round, e.g. with 'May we write beautiful code next iteration'.
Recognize the efforts of teammates and self-improve a little Source:
Put up 2 columns on a white board: 'Thank you!' and 'My action'. Ask everybody to write one sticky per column: Something they want to thank another teammate for doing; and something they want to change about their own behavior in the next iteration. It can be something really small. Once everyone is finished, do a round for each person to present their stickies and post them to the board.
Thinking back about the discussions, everybody writes a reminder for her- or himself about a change in their own behaviour they want to try during the next iteration. It's for quiet self reflection and is not shared with the group. They take their respective sticky notes with them to their desktop and put it in a place they will look at often.
Team members write appreciative postcards for later delivery Source:
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)
Acknowledge what's awesome about your team Source:
Give each team member a piece of paper and ask them to write down the following text: 'My team is awesome because _______________ and that makes me feel __________________'
Everyone fills out the blanks for themselves and signs below. When everyone is finished, put up the sheets on a wall. A volunteer reads out the sheets and the team celebrates by cheering or applausing. Take some time to review and share observations. Take a picture to remind the team how awesome it feels to be part of the team.
If the retrospective was a meme or gif, which would it be? Source:
Usually devices are frowned upon during a retrospective. In this activity the participants get to whip out their laptop or smart phone in order to find the meme or gif that best represents the retrospective.
Give participants 3 minutes to find the meme and then go around the circle. Each participant shows their meme and briefly says why they chose it.
A good debriefing deepens understanding, learning and sharing. Preparation: Download and assemble the Debriefing Cube and cards.
During the retrospective, roll the cube. Then draw a card from the category it shows and use it to prompt a discussion. Repeat as time permits.
This will broaden your debriefing options and is especially great for groups without a facilitator to enable them to effectively debrief on their own.