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How’s your battery? (#143)

Check in on everybody’s well-being
Source: Anh Bui
If your phone battery runs low you look for a charger. With human beings it is harder to tell when they need to recharge. That’s why we use this activity to ask explicitly: Prepare a flipchart by outlining one battery per participant.

Ask each participant to color in their battery to show how much energy they currently have. Reflect together on the results, e. g. by asking “What do you notice?” – especially if someone is low on energy (“What would help you save or even gain energy?”)

Depending on how much time you want to invest you can do rounds of collecting and reflecting on:
  • What costs you energy at work?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What can you do to gain energy – short-term / long-term?

Empty the Mailbox (#47)

Look at notes collected during the iteration
Source: Nick Oostvogels
Set up a 'retrospective mailbox' at the beginning of the iteration. Whenever something significant happens or someone has an idea for improvement, they write it down and 'post' it. (Alternatively the 'mailbox' can be a visible place. This can spark discussion during the iteration.)
Go through the notes and discuss them.
A mailbox is great for long iterations and forgetful teams.

Undercover Boss (#58)

If your boss had witnessed the last iteration, what would she want you to change?
Source: Love Agile
Imagine your boss had spent the last iteration - unrecognized - among you. What would she think about your interactions and results? What would she want you to change?
This setting encourages the team to see themselves from a different angle.

Low Hanging Fruit (#63)

Visualize promise and ease of possible courses of actions to help pick
Source: Tobias Baldauf
Reveal a previously drawn tree. Hand out round index cards and instruct participants to write down the actions they would like to take - one per card. When everyone's finished, collect the cards, shuffle and read them out one by one. Place each 'fruit' according to the participants' assessment:
  • Is it easy to do? Place it lower. Hard? More to the top.
  • Does it seem very beneficial? Place it more to the left. Value is dubious at best? To the right.
The straightforward choice is to pick the bottom left fruit as action items. If this is not consensus, you can either have a short discussion to agree on some actions or dot vote.

AHA! (#60)

Throw a ball around and uncover learning
Source: Catherine Louis and Stefan Haas via Amber Haley
Throw a ball (e.g. koosh ball) around the team and uncover positive thoughts and learning experiences. Give out a question at the beginning that people answer when they catch the ball, such as:
  • One thing I learned in this retrospective
  • One awesome thing someone else did for me
Depending on the question it might uncover events that are bugging people. If any alarm bells go off, dig a little deeper. With the '1 nice thing'-question you usually close on a positive note.

(#)


Source:
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 Wall-Skills.com.

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.