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Ideas to make your retrospective more fun

The sprint retrospective is held at the end of every sprint and follows the review meeting. The idea behind the retros is to discuss what went well, what went wrong, and how to make improvements in the next sprint. Retrospective meetings have their foundations in theory of Agile methods.

Basics of Retrospective

While the sprint review is about discussing the product itself, the retrospective looks at how the team was building it. The retrospective meetings give the team an opportunity to evaluate the results and identify areas that can be perfected.

Challenges of Retrospective

It might seem that the format of the meeting is very simple so it would not require some special skills to hold it but, actually, there are challenges that retrospective facilitators conducting a retrospective meeting come across quite often:

  • The team is not responsive
  • The team is not willing to participate
  • The team focuses on irrelevant topics
  • The distributed teams lose interest to the meeting quickly
  • The retrospectives do not bring any changes.

Apparently, most of the challenges pertain to boredom and lack of activities during the meeting. Meanwhile, conducting engaging and consistent retrospectives can bring the eye-opening results and lead to better quality of work, reduce team turnover and unlock productivity.

Are there ways to liven up retros and make them more of interest? Yes, but they will work best if applied relevantly, which means that the different stages of retrospective require different types of activity.

The stages of the meeting look as follows.

Retrospective stages

To explore the ideas of how to make a retro more fun, let us see what activities can be applied at each of the stages. Prior to the meeting, make sure that team members have the suitable toolkit to write on and present their ideas.

Fun Retrospective Activities: Checklist for Each Stage

Initially, a facilitator sets the stage by explaining the agenda and introducing a goal of the meeting. It will create the proper framework, tunnel the team vision and weed out the unnecessary detail. To make things easier, a goal should be kept shortened to 1-2 sentences.

In addition, it is advisable to start with some ‘ice-breaking’ exercise like ‘weather report’ activity that would let the team feel more at ease. It is simple and suits any team size.

Weather Report

Participants mark their mood by drawing some weather icon. The idea is to reflect their current feelings about the sprint on a flipchart on the whiteboard or a retrospective board.

The other option is to prepare a flipchart with the icons of lightning, sunshine, rain, clouds, snow, etc. Each participant marks their mood on the board.

About the author: This is a guest post by the folks at TMetric. They know a lot about time tracking, go check them out.