Everybody sums up the last iteration in 3 words Source:
Ask everyone to describe the last iteration with just 3 words. Give them a minute to come up with something, then go around the team. This helps people recall the last iteration so that they have some ground to start from.
Walk through each story handled by the team and look for possible improvements Source:
Preparation: Collect all stories handled during the iteration and bring them along to the retrospective. In a group (10 people max.) read out each story. For each one discuss whether it went well or not. If it went well, capture why. If not discuss what you could do differently in the future. Variants: You can use this for support tickets, bugs or any combination of work done by the team.
Find the source of problems whose origins are hard to pinpoint and lead to endless discussion Source:
Write the problem you want to explore on a sticky note and put it in the middle of a whiteboard. Find out why that is a problem by repeatedly asking 'So what?'. Find out the root causes by repeatedly asking 'Why (does this happen)?' Document your findings by writing more stickies and showing causal relations with arrows. Each sticky can have more than one reason and more than one consequence Vicious circles are usually good starting points for actions. If you can break their bad influence, you can gain a lot.
Introduce SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) and examples for SMART vs not so smart goals, e.g.'We'll study stories before pulling them by talking about them with the product owner each Wednesday at 9am' vs. 'We'll get to know the stories before they are in our sprint backlog'. Form groups around the issues the team wants to work on. Each group identifies 1-5 concrete steps to reach the goal. Let each group present their results. All participants should agree on the 'SMART-ness' of the goals. Refine and confirm.
A good debriefing deepens understanding, learning and sharing. Preparation: Download and assemble the Debriefing Cube and cards.
During the retrospective, roll the cube. Then draw a card from the category it shows and use it to prompt a discussion. Repeat as time permits.
This will broaden your debriefing options and is especially great for groups without a facilitator to enable them to effectively debrief on their own.