As a Scrum Master, I use a variety of different tools to help facilitate Sprint Retrospectives. More recently, I’ve been using Mentimeter as a tool to gether feedback from the team.
It’s great! Just what I needed to spice things up.
In this article, I’d love to show you how I use Mentimeter in each Sprint Retrospective to quickly gather data from the teams whilst working remotely.
It went down so well the first time I used it, the team actually missed it and asked for it back when I changed to a new format the Sprint after.
I always start with an icebreaker. I use a variety of different icebreaker techniques for every Sprint Retrospective; it helps get the team in the right frame of mind and gets everyone participating and contributing right from the start. Here’s an example I recently used:
Rate your Sprint
Next up, I usually ask the team to rate their sprint using 6 key questions rated from 1 (disagree) to 7 (totally agree):
- We committed to the right number of points — we want the team to think about how many points they are committing to
- We hit our sprint goal — we want the team to think about what the sprint goal was, and whether we hit it
- All of our estimates were accurate — we want the team to be roughly right with their estimates
- We worked well as a team — we want the team to be a great unit, working together to help each other
- All tickets had just enough info, just in time — we need enough info so that we don’t get blocked, but not so much that we’ve potentially wasted effort upfront on backlog items that may never even get started. It’s a delicate balance
- We had fun — we want work to be fun so that we can continually enjoy doing it
All scoring is done in private and revealed at the same time. Any extreme scores, or deviations are discussed as a team straight away.
I use a score out of 7 (an odd number) so that you can’t choose the middle number — you have to choose one way or another.
Questions about the team
Next up, we take a closer look at how individuals feel about being in a team:
- I’m proud of the work I do with my team — we want our team members to take pride in their group
- I feel valuable in this team — everyone should feel like they are contributing
- I am enthusiastic about the work I do for my team — we want our team to relish the challenges ahead
- To me, the work that I do for my team is challenging — we want to keep the work challenging for the team so that they keep growing as people
Once again, scoring is out of 7 and done in private, revealed all a the same time. Any large deviations are discussed as a group immediately.
Now we move on to the spider diagrams! These are a great way of showing team data; where we think we are strong and where we think we can improve.
It’s fascinating watching these graphs change over time. The team radar is again focussed on the team, but this time the performance of the team as a whole:
The team score each of the following attributes from 1 (bad) to 7 (good) and we reveal the results all at once:
- Knowledge Sharing
- Product Quality
- Roadmap & Planning
- Keeping on top of tech debt
- Speed of delivery
- Using feedback to improve
- Good at meetings?
- Working with other teams
I selected the topics based on issues my teams were seeing and adapt the questions over time as required. It’s a great way of tracking what’s going on generally, in this case, we can see that the team is worrying about tech debt piling up — so we identified that we should do something about that.
Team Working Agreements
Team Working Agreements define how the team have agreed to work with each other, so it’s a good idea to check in with the team that they are actually following the agreements from time to time. Any “no’s” in here get discussed immediately (maybe we need to change the agreements).
Scrum Check In
And finally, I check on a few of the key Scrum key indicators, specifically how good the teams things they are at:
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
- Backlog Refinement
- Sprint Planning
- Team Working Agreements
- Definition of Done
Here we can see that we are generally doing alright, but can improve our Backlog Refinement and Definition of Done.
I hope that’s inspired you to try something new with your team. Don’t be restricted by the tools, the conversations are more important; you can easily re-create these charts using a pen and paper or whiteboard. Using Mentimeter I can quickly gather vital stats from my teams, and help them use the data to improve themselves in a fun, engaging and exciting way. This tool has been invaluable to me during lockdown and especially whilst working remotely.