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Outcome Expectations (#81)

Everyone states what they want out of the retrospective
Source: Inspired by Jim & Michele McCarthy
Everyone in the team states their goal for the retrospective, i.e. what they want out of the meeting. Examples of what participants might say:
  • I'm happy if we get 1 good action item
  • I want to talk about our argument about unit tests and agree on how we'll do it in the future
  • I'll consider this retro a success, if we come up with a plan to tidy up $obscureModule
[You can check if these goals were met if you close with activity #14.]

[The Meet - Core Protocol, which inspired this activity, also describes 'Alignment Checks': Whenever someone thinks the retrospective is not meeting people's needs they can ask for an Alignment Check. Then everyone says a number from 0 to 10 which reflects how much they are getting what they want. The person with the lowest number takes over to get nearer to what they want.]

Tell me something I don’t know (#133)

Reveal everyone's hidden knowledge with a game show
Source: Adapted by Kai Alexander Lohr
Instruct participants as follows: ‘There’s a game show called ‘Tell me something I don’t know’. In it a guest states a fact, poses a related question and then the hosts ask questions in order to guess the right answers.

Here’s an example: ‘In the US you always sing along to the national anthem. In Spain no one does. Can you guess why?’ The hosts ask questions such as ‘Does it have to do with the Franco era?’, ‘Are the lyrics in a foreign language e.g. Latin?’ etc. They either guess the answer or the guest reveals it (‘The Spanish anthem doesn’t have any lyrics’).

We’re going to play this game now. Each of you will be the guest once with all the others asking questions. Reflect on the past iteration. Use the next 5 minutes to think of a fact and question.’

The fact has to fulfill 3 criteria. Write them down on a board or reveal a pre-written flipchart:
  1. It must be something that only you know and most other team members don’t know (or are unaware of)
  2. It must be worth knowing
  3. It must be actionable, i. e. have the potential to spark anything along the lines of "Let's do more/less of this.", "Watch out this doesn't happen to you.", "That was awesome. Do try it yourself.", ...
Let them write down their fact on an index card. When everyone is ready, ask the first participant to hang up their index card on the board and present their fact and question to the audience. (People who feel uncomfortable with the game flair don’t have to ask a question. They can also just tell the story around their fact without questions from the ‘audience’.) The audience asks questions to guess the answer. Short discussions are okay. The Scrum Master may also ask questions and gently steer the conversation towards possible actions. Document any actions identified during the discussion on the board. Then move on to the next participant. Use about 5 minutes per participant.

Once all the facts have been presented, the team dot-votes which fact fulfilled the 3 criteria best. The winner receives a framed “Certificate of impressive knowledge”. It documents that “$name has impressed $team with their impressive knowledge”.

The facts and actions can be input for "Generate insight" or use the actions for "Decide what to do”.

Force Field Analysis (#115)

Analyse the factors that support and hinder a particular initiative
Source: Derek Neighbors, via Joel Edwards
State the topic that the team will explore in depth (deployment processes, peer-programming, Definition of Done, ...). Break the room into groups of 3-4 people each. Give them 5-7 minutes to list all contributing factors, drivers and actions that make up the topic. Go around the room. Each group reads 1 of their sticky notes and puts it up inside the force field until no group has any items left. Cluster or discard duplicates. Repeat the last 2 steps for factors that inhibit or restrain the topic from being successful or being as effective as it could be. Review all posted items. Add any that are missing.

To identify the most influential factors, everybody gets to 4 votes - 2 for contributing factors, 2 for inhibitors. Tally the votes and mark the top 2x2 factors with big arrows. Spend the last 15-20 mins of the session brainstorming ways to increase the top driving factors and decrease the top restraining factors.

Dot Voting - Worked well, Do differently (#39)

Brainstorm what worked well & what to do differently and pick the top initiatives
Source: Agile Retrospectives
Head 2 flip charts with 'Worked well' and 'Do differently next time' respectively. Ask your participants to write concrete proposals for each category - 1 idea per index card. Let them write in silence for a few minutes. Let everyone read out their notes and post them to the appropriate category. Lead a short discussion on what the top 20% beneficial ideas are. Vote on it by distributing dots or X's with a marker, e.g. 1, 2, and 3 dots for each person to distribute. The top 2 or 3 become your action items.

Helped, Hindered, Hypothesis (#16)

Get concrete feedback on how you facilitated
Source: Agile Retrospectives
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.

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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.