Distribute index cards and markers. Set a topic, e.g. one of the following:
How did you feel during the iteration?
What was the most remarkable moment?
What was the biggest problem?
What did you long for?
If the last iteration had been a circus performance, what part did you play? Juggler, funambulist, clown, knife-thrower, ...
Ask the team members to draw their answer. Post all drawings on a whiteboard. For each drawing let people guess what it means, before the artist explains it. Metaphors open new viewpoints and create a shared understanding.
Each person brainstorms individually for each of these 4 questions:
What I Loved
What I Learned
What I Lacked
What I Longed For
Collect the answers, either stickies on flip charts or in a digital tool if you're distributed. Form 4 subgroups, on for each L, read all notes, identify patterns and report their findings to the group. Use this as input for the next phase.
Each team member explores one topic in depth in a series of 1:1 talks Source: Thorsten Kalnin
Each participant writes down one topic they want to explore, i.e. something they'd like to change. Then form pairs and spread across the room. Each pair discusses both topics and ponders possible actions - 5 minutes per participant (topic) - one after the other. After 10 minutes the pairs break up to form new pairs. Continue until everyone has talked to everyone else. If the group has an odd number of members, the facilitator is part of a pair but the partner gets all 10 minutes for their topic.
Use your Planning Poker cards for un-influenced voting Source: Andreas Ratsch
If you've got very influential and / or shy team members you can re-use Planning Poker cards to vote simultaneously:
Write all suggested actions on sticky notes and put them onto a wall. Hand out an ordered deck of Planning Poker cards to each participant. Count the proposals and remove that many cards from the back of the card decks. If you've got 5 suggestions you might have cards '1', '2', '3', '5', and '8'. This depends on your deck (some have a '1/2' card). It doesn't matter, as long as all participants have the same set of values.
Explain the rules: Choose a card for each suggestion. Choose a low value if the action is not worth doing in your opinion. Choose a high value if the action is worth starting next iteration.
Give them a minute to sort out their internal ranking and then present the first suggested action. Everybody chooses a card and they reveal them at the same time. Add the numbers from all cards and write the sum onto the action. Remove the used poker cards. Repeat this for all actions. If you have more actions than poker values the players can show 'no card' (counting 0) for the appropriate number of times.
Implement the action with the highest sum in the next iteration. Add more actions only if there's team consensus to do so.
Gauge participants' satisfaction with the retro in minimum time using smilies Source: Boeffi
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.