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Three Words (#82)

Everybody sums up the last iteration in 3 words
Source: Yurii Liholat
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.

Laundry Day (#98)

Which things are clear and feel good and which feel vague and implicit?
Source: Katrin Dreyer
Use this activity if you suspect the team to make lots of unconscious decisions hardly ever questioning anything. You can figure out what things need to be talked about to get an explicit grasp of them.

You need:
  • about 3 metres of string as the clothesline
  • about 20 clothes pins
  • a white shirt (cut from paper)
  • a pair of dirty pants (cut from paper)
Hang up the clothesline and mark the middle, e.g. with a ribbon. Hang up the clean shirt on one side and the dirty pants on the other. Ask the team now to write items onto index cards for each of the two categories: 'Clean - Clear and well understood' and 'Dirty - Unclear and confusing'. Hang up the notes with clothespins and re-arrange them into clusters. Now the team picks 2 'dirty' and 2 'clean' topics they want to talk about, e.g. by dot voting.

Wish granted (#50)

A fairy grants you a wish - how do you know it came true?
Source: Lydia Grawunder & Sebastian Nachtigall
Give participants 2 minutes to silently ponder the following question: 'A fairy grants you a wish that will fix your biggest problem at work overnight. What do you wish for?' Follow up with: 'You come to work the next morning. You can tell, that the fairy has granted your wish. How do you know? What is different now?' If trust within the group is high, let everyone describe their 'Wish granted'-workplace. If not, just tell the participants to keep their scenario in mind during the next phase and suggest actions that work towards making it real.

Problem Solving Tree (#96)

Got a big goal? Find the steps that lead to it
Source: Bob Sarni, described by Karen Greaves
Hand out sticky notes and markers. Write the big problem you want to solve onto a note and stick it to the top of a wall or big board. Ask the participants to write down ideas of what they can do to solve the problem. Post them one level below the original problem. Repeat this for each note on the new level. For every idea ask whether it can be done in a single iteration and if everyone understands what they need to do. If the answer is no, break it down and create another level in the problem solving tree.

Once you have lower levels that are well understood and easy to implement in a single iteration, dot vote to decide which to tackle in the next iteration.

Feedback Door - Numbers (ROTI) (#14)

Gauge participants' satisfaction with the retro on a scale from 1 to 5 in minimum time
Source: ALE 2011, Corinna Baldauf
Put sticky notes on the door with the numbers 1 through 5 on them. 1 is the topmost and best, 5 the lowest and worst.When ending the retrospective, ask your participants to put a sticky to the number they feel reflects the session. The sticky can be empty or have a comment or suggestion on it.

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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.