I really do think visually. Here’s proof. I had a retrospective with my team this week and this is how I planned it:
Before the session I just used this plan to sketch out the techniques on some flip chart paper or the whiteboard. I kept this open as a reference.
I used the 5 stage Retrospective format and referenced a couple of activities. For an overview of different techniques, you can have a look at: Retrospective Techniques for coaches, scrum masters and other facilitators. Another great reference is Retromat.
If you are interested, here is my Retro Agenda in a bit more detail:
- Setting the stage
I used Esther Derby and Diana Larsen’s Weather Report Technique. This is a great way to gauge how the team is feeling. You can find the full technique in their book Agile Retrospectives, alternatively there is also a reference on Retromat and Retrospective Techniques for coaches, scrum masters and other facilitators.
- Gather data
For the Gather Data technique, I used Mary Gorman & Ellen Gottesdiener’s 4L’s: Loved, Learned, Lacked, Longed For. You can find the full technique here.
This really worked well! It’s a great way to gather data, and adds a bit more information than the Stop, Start, Continue technique.
- Generating insights
From the 4L’s, I went through all the responses with the team. I then grouped them into themes with the team. I then asked the team to dot vote on the “Lacked” and “Longed For” categories in order to do a deep dive on what was going on.
I used the 5 Why’s to delve into the details of the top 3 things that the team felt was missing or needed attention in the sprint. It’s a really interesting technique because you can go down into a culture-level and then need to decide (in the Decide what to do portion) where you can influence the most change and where to focus your energy as a team. The 5 Why’s is also in Esther Derby and Diana Larsen’s book Agile Retrospectives and there are some references online as well.
- Decide what to do
From the 5 Why’s, we brainstormed some action items as a team. We then chose 1 per category / issue that was raised. We use the good old raise your hands to vote technique, to show which action items the team wanted to focus on.
- Close the retrospective
To close the retro, I just asked for a quick show of fingers using the Fist of Five technique to gauge how they were feeling to end off there. I also set up a scale (from happy to neutral to sad) and asked them to make a mark with their name as they walked out to see how they were feeling. This way I could go touch base individually afterwards.