For each team, it is essential to look back on the Sprint journey, learn from the mistakes, celebrate the small wins and have a clear dialogue on the improvement points.

As a Scrum Master I have facilitated many retrospectives and below are my best choices to initiate the right dialogue with the team and have fun as well while learning.

  1. Oscar Retrospective- This one is my favorite. This brings out a lot of discussions and takes the discussion away from blames and one on one discussions while also highlighting the wins the team had in the last sprint.

How do you go about this retro ?

The team can nominate user stories for the Oscars. We had 3 different categories:

  • Best story
  • Most annoying story
  • Most unclear solution story( let the team decide the third category for more interactions)

Ask the team to nominate one story per category per person.Nominations can be done by post its or sticky on Mural(online) and explaining briefly the reason for nomination.

After the nominations ask the team to dot vote (each member has 3 votes) and the moderator counts the votes. The top 3 winners are then discussed in detail for why they have won, what can we learn and improve from them.

Prep Tip: Have a chart with the Oscars for the best story and most annoying story. This inculcates the right discussions in the team with focus on the stories and learning at the story level.

2. Lean Coffee- Lean Coffee is a structured but agenda less meeting. Lean Coffee works on the principles of democratically generated agendas and the link can guide you on what do you need to do exactly. So the team gathers together and discusses what they would like to discuss for the retro. This is an interesting conversation as there is no defined structure.The team members are actively involved in the discussion which also gives the right space to get the independent ideas from the team members.

3. Starfish Retrospective- The starfish retrospective developed by Patrick Kua gives the team more options than the traditional retrospective.

Ask the team to put the points in the following sections which could ideally be brainstormed in this sequence as well:

  1. Keep Doing- Things that energize the team and things that you would want to continue in the coming times.
  2. Less Of- These are practices that are being done but need to be refined for them to add value for the team.
  3. More Of- Things , practices or activities which are being done but should be done more of and taken full advantage of.
  4. Stop Doing- Things that are not bringing value or worse are an impediment in the way.
  5. Start Doing- A new idea, a process optimization or any new practice which can add value to the team .

#Tip: Would be right to have the teams put the details in the categories before the retro so that the discussion can start at the start of the meeting.

4. Future Retrospective- We should learn from our mistakes and hope for a better future based on what we learnt. But what if you imagine what a perfect sprint, Program Increment or project looks like. This is exactly to where the future retrospective is the right fit.

1. Ask the team to take 10 mins to think what would the future sprint look like if it was perfect . Focus should be on the “what” of the future sprint.

2. The focus would move to how for the perfect state and the team then comes up with the steps to be taken to reach that stage #3. The actions based on the list of things to be done are prioritized and action holders are assigned .

5. Basic Retrospective - Well, while all these variants are good every now and then nothing takes away from the functional base retrospective ( what went well, what could go better, action items to take up). This one is the most reliable and one of the most functional ones . The only thing the team might get bored of the same format over a period of time.So it is always advised to mix and match a bit.

These are the ones I have tried and would recommend, obviously there are many more variations of this which can be picked.

One of the sites which gives really nice recommendations for retrospective ideas is Retromat( I have often picked up some ideas from there and have found these to be quite good.

Do let me know if you liked this article and if you have any more suggestions for a good innovative retrospective for the team.

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A Scrum Master, an Agile Coach, a dancer, and a student for life