Each One Meets All
When retrospective participants do not know each other well (e.g., a long project with significant turnover) or when they will have to give each other personal feedback.
Length of time:
The length of time depends on the action that each pair of participants has to do. To calculate the length you have to multiply the time you estimate for one pair action by the number of participants minus one, plus the number of breaks for each participant, that occur with awkward numbers of participants. Additional you have to add the time it takes to build the chair circles. Time = (participants-1+breaks x pair action time) + build circle times
The method ensures that each participant meets and interacts with every other participant. I use this method when each participant shall give personal feedback to every other participant.
One chair for each participant.
Build an inner circle and an outer circle with the chairs, in the following way: Each chair of the inner circle builds a pair with one chair of the outer circle. The outer circle looks at the center of the circle. The inner circle looks at the outside of the circle. So when the participants sit down, each participant of the inner circle faces exactly one partner of the outer circle.
Start the first pair action, e.g. the inner circle gives feedback to the outer circle and vice versa. After the first pair action is finished, the participants of the outer circle change their places one chair to the right. This is repeated as long as everybody meets his first partner again. Now each member of the inner circle met everybody of the outer circle. Now the group is divided into the group of the inner circle and the group of the outer circle. Each of these two groups builds inner and outer circles in the same way, as the first inner and outer circle was built. From now everything happens recursive: Pair actions, change places, split the groups after each member of the inner circle has met everybody of the outer circle and so on. At the end you have groups of two or three partners. If it is a pairs you need just one last pair action. If it is groups of three partners you still need three rounds of pair actions, each with one of the three having a break. Facilitators’ note: If the beginning number of participants is odd, you have to add one empty chair in the first circle. This can happen in every iteration of splitting the group into new circles. Out of this you can see, that the method works better with specific numbers of participants and it works bad with other numbers. You should consider this always before you use this method.
Variations: Can also be accomplished while standing in circles.
Frowin Fatjak, Siemens-Austria