Retrospective – what stops your boat

One more translation of one of my first posts.

Want to share with you one more idea for the key retrospective activity – discussion of the good and bad things in the previous sprint. Scrum master/PM has to incorporate fun into the routine meetings. Every time I get prepared to the retrospective I browse web to find some new ideas. If I can find nothing I have to do the most complicated thing that I hate – think by myself.

I cam across this version of retrospective speed board here. The author suggests us to use this game to identify the issues in the product. Why can’t we use it for our project? It’s our product too)

The first time I mentioned the idea of this game – team thought that I was crazy. I tried to tell them the “legend” – our wonderful project is a boat, so we should imagine, what speeds it up and what keeps it from sailing full speed, bla-bla-bla. As I was talking guys looked frustrated, it seemed like they wanted to say “Hm, our PM is mad…Someone, give us the new one!” But, suddenly, help came in – one of the developers said: “You are totally wrong. Our project is not a boat! It’s submarine!!”

That is how our project image appeared:

2013-03-29 16.02.40

Submarine with our product logo on it

All the team laughed and finally joined the process. We created:

  • Anchors – slow down our boat. The same as Stop doing, Do less;
  • Nuclear torpedo – if it hits the boat, we’ll all be dead 🙂 The same as Stop doing;
  • Underwater mine – it looks like we should not not do it, but we would probably survive if it hits us;
  • First Aid packages – something that can help us! The same as Start Doing;
  • Turbo – acceleration! The same as Start Doing;
  • Super engines (closed by yellow sticker on the photo) in front of the submarine – significantly accelerate our boat, raise the team mood, but requires a lot of fuel;

All the definitions are given by the team. The photo above demonstrates how it looked when we started brainstorming – in the end submarine was almost totally covered by the stickers.

How we brainstormed?

  1. Everyone was given a pack of stickers and a marker. Guys had 5-7 min to write down all their ideas on the stickers (what was good, what was bad, what we should start doing/stop doing, any ideas – no limits!).
  2. When we were done with that (keep the time limit!) – everyone had to get up and place their stickers on the appropriate place of our image. After that we discussed each of the stickers, pasted the similar ones into one group, cleared the not obvious ideas.
  3. All the team members voted for the most important for them stickers. I usually give 3-4 votes (small stickers) for each of the team members.

Hope it will make your retrospective funnier! There are no limits of what to draw)

Here are some more examples of what we used when the boat became boring:

2013-05-24 16.43.51Nyan cat retrospective. You can see snow, that is annoying, forest, where the evil partisans are hiding 🙂

2013-06-05 17.37.04-1

Balloon retrospective: anchors and sky-scraper we can hit and die 🙂

3 thoughts on “Retrospective – what stops your boat

  1. Great idea. I will definitely use the u-boot in my next retrospective.

    In fact this is one of those idea where you think: Why didn’t I had this idea?

    In my last retrospective we wrote love/hate letters to the sprint. Which was fun too. You make groups of 3-4 people and let them write a love letter that begins with “Dear Sprint, I love you …”. Give them about 10 to 15 minutes. Then let them write a hate letter that begins with “Sprint! I hate you …”.

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