Tips & tricks

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Revision as of 09:15, 31 March 2015 by Niraj Patel (talk | contribs)
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Add any simple tips you have for improving retrospectives. Can be generated by running a Retrospective Surgery.

  • Split into small groups to narrow down actions (helps with large teams or with quiet members)
  • Use a space without a table
  • Have a backlog of retrospective actions with done / not done next to them
  • Write the output on a flip chart and stick it up in the workspace where all can see
  • Location, location, location - find a good spaces and mix it up so not always in same place
  • Write up the retrospective output including actions and put on a blog/wiki or send round in an email
  • Forward-specting - what can we start doing now
  • Do a 'warm up' exercise to break down any tension and get people in the mood (see below)
  • Food (especially nice food like cakes & biscuits) is an excellent way to make the session more appealing and is a great leveller.
  • Use a facilitator from outside the team (e.g. another team's scrum master)
  • Swap the facilitation role within the team: don't let it fall to the same person (coach, scrum master) each time
  • Plan your retrospectives - don't just turn up and run it the same way each time. Develop a toolbox with exercises.
  • Throw away everything from the retrospective except the retrospective actions. Focus on outcomes, not problems.
  • Create awareness for Retrospective Benefits

Warmup Exercise - Sprint Draw & Guess

A fun 10 minute warmup. I don't know the source of this, so am happy to be corrected.


  • X index cards per team member, where X is the total number of people within the dev team
  • Sharpies or pens
  • A pair of phones to use as countdown timers


  • Give each person index cards and a sharpie/pen
  • Each person should write 1 to X in the top left corner of the index cards, front to back
  • If team size is even, each person has 1 minute to draw (without using words) how they felt the previous sprint went
  • If team size is odd, each person has 30 seconds to write down in words how they felt about the previous sprint
  • On completion, place the card at the back of the stack and pass it to the right
  • The next person, looking only at the last card at the back, attempts to interpret it
    • If they see a drawing, attempt to write down what it represents
    • If they see text, draw it
  • Facilitator should keep time - 1 min for drawing and 30 seconds for writing
    • Everyone should be doing the same thing
  • Keep going around until you write or draw on the last card
  • Once complete, lay them all out in order
  • Enjoy comparing the interpretations
  • Leave the index cards out during the rest of the retrospective, as a visual aid to whatever activity you have planned
    • Alternatively, if the activity planned requires index cards, just flip them over and reuse

Sounds silly, but is rather great in lightening the mood.