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Emoticon Project Gauge (#32)

Help team members express their feelings about a project and address root causes early
Source: Andrew Ciccarelli
Prepare a flipchart with faces expressing various emotions such as:
  • shocked / surprised
  • nervous / stressed
  • unempowered / constrained
  • confused
  • happy
  • mad
  • overwhelmed
Let each team member choose how they feel about the project. This is a fun and effective way to surface problems early. You can address them in the subsequent phases.

Watermelon (#142)

How is your project really doing?
Source: Sabina Lammert
A disconnect between the actual state of a project and a too positive external view on it, can be dangerous. The longer the disconnect lasts and the wider the gap, the harder it becomes to address: Let’s look for gaps.

In this activity you compare internal and external view on progress and project state. Prepare a flipchart with a large watermelon cut through, red with seeds on the inside, yellow and green rings on the outside. Write “How does our project look internally?” inside the melon and “How does it appear on the outside?” outside of the green ring.

Prepare a second flip chart with some seeds above and caption them “Which bothersome seeds would we like to get rid of?”. Then draw a seedling captioned “What potential can we spot?” lower on the flipchart.

During the retro present the first flipchart and ask the questions. Let participants write their take on sticky notes – 1 comment per note. Then go around with each person reading out their note and posting in the appropriate spot. Have a short discussion on your observations.

Repeat this with the second flipchart and set of questions. In this round, allow more time for more in-depth discussion. If necessary, provide structure with Lean Coffee (#51).

Snow Mountain (#118)

Address problematic burndowns and scope creep
Source: Olivier Fortier
This activity is helpful when a team is constantly dealing with additional requests and scope creep. Use the burndown chart of problematic sprints to draw snowy mountains with the same outline. Add a few trees here and there. Print drawings of kids in various sledging situations such as kid sledging down fast, kid sledging and being scared, kid with a sledge looking bored, etc. (You can use Google image search with 'kid sledging drawing').

In teams of 2 or 3, ask the team members to identify which kid's reaction goes with which part of the mountain.
Example: If the mountain is flat, the kid might be bored. If you're facing a wall, the kid might be scared.

You can then discuss the team's reaction facing their own burndowns.

Dot Voting - Starfish (#49)

Collect what to start, stop, continue, do more and less of
Source: Pat Kua
Draw 5 spokes on a flip chart paper, dividing it into 5 segments. Label them 'Start', 'Stop', 'Continue', 'Do More' and 'Do less'. Participants write their proposals on sticky notes and put them in the appropriate segment. After clustering stickies that capture the same idea, dot vote on which suggestions to try.

Appreciations (#15)

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.

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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. As Integral Coach and Agile Coach he coaches executives, managers, product owners and scrum masters. 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.