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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).

5 Whys (#8)

Drill down to the root cause of problems by repeatedly asking 'Why?'
Source: Agile Retrospectives
Divide the participants into small groups (<= 4 people) and give each group one of the top identified issues. Instructions for the group:
  • One person asks the others 'Why did that happen?' repeatedly to find the root cause or a chain of events
  • Record the root causes (often the answer to the 5th 'Why?')
Let the groups share their findings.

Impediments Cup (#88)

Impediments compete against each other in a World Cup style
Source: Pascal Martin, inspired by Boris Gloger's 'Bubble Up'
Prepare a flip chart with a playing schedule for quarter-final, semi-final and final. All participants write down actions on a post-it until you have eight actions. Shuffle them and randomly place them on the playing schedule.
The team now has to vote for one of the two actions in each pair. Move the winning action to the next round until you have a winner of the impediments cup.

If you want to take on more than one or two actions you can play the match for third place.

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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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.