The Liberators
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The Liberators

Decorate A Christmas Tree with Good Memories From 2019

A simple format for your upcoming Sprint Retrospective or Christmas Party to boost morale and build on your successes


  1. Get your hands on a Christmas Tree — or something more appropriate if you don’t celebrate Christmas — and put it in your team room;
  2. Invite everyone in your team to think about the moments from 2019 that they remember fondly. What are the small and large successes they experienced while working with this team this year? Let people write those memories on individual index cards (without their name);
  3. Ask everyone to wrap their individual memories in gift paper or roll them with festive ribbons. Don’t read them right away, but put them in or underneath the tree;
  4. Decorate the Christmas Tree together with whatever other decorations you have available. And why not include the whole team room while you’re at it;
  5. When a good moment arrives — like your Christmas Party of Sprint Retrospective — invite everyone to take a random memory from the tree, unwrap it and read it for the group;
  6. Once all memories have been read, invite people to pair up and talk for 3 minutes about the patterns they noticed in the memories; what seems to be making many of those memories possible? Then invite the pairs to find another pair and identify in 10 minutes what else the team can do next year to build on these memories. What more can do they to encourage more of these memories in 2020? Debrief and collect them somewhere;
  7. Have some drinks and snacks to celebrate your memories and successes together;

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Closing words

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Christiaan Verwijs

I liberate teams & organizations from de-humanizing, ineffective ways of organizing work. Passionate developer, organizational psychologist, and Scrum Master.