Name from the Hat

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A retrospective that asks team members to think of things from others' perspectives.

Length of time:

60 minutes.

Short Description:

By the simple process of selecting a colleague's name from a hat, team members are encouraged to put themselves in their colleagues' shoes and view the world from a different perspective. By evaluating the last sprint through the eyes of another, they should be able to better assess their own performance and that of the team.


Hat, post-its, flipchart/whiteboard, pens


Ask each member of the team to write their name on a piece of paper and to put it into a hat. They should then draw a piece each, making sure that each participant ends up with a name that is not their own. Now, ask everyone to imagine themselves as the person on their piece of paper. They must now write down 'what went well' and 'what could have been better' from the last sprint. They should now spend 5-10 minutes thinking of three things each (positive and negative) that their imagined person would have felt, and write these down on two separate post-it notes. Divide the board into the two categories, and ask the participants to stick their post-its onto the appropriate one, without mentioning whose shoes they have been imagining themselves in. Ask the group to guess who they think the post-its apply to best, and then reveal the true results. Individuals can then validate, argue and discuss the points on the post-its in front of the group. Finally, cluster the post-its into common themes, and decide on how best to action what you have learned from the task.