Laurent Russier
Sep 4, 2018 · 3 min read

Bored of the Keep / Drop / Start retrospective? Why not trying something different?

What you’ll need

  • Drawing Skills
  • Pictures of LOTR characters
  • Imagination
  • A Scrum ‘Game’ Master


Ask an artistic member of your team to draw a map of LOTR and highlight the following places : Shire, Rivendell, Helm Deep, Isengard, Mordor, Rohan, Gollum (first place meeting) and the Eagles. (It’s up to you to choose others)

Define places meanings

  • Shire: What we need to protect, what is pleasant.
  • Rivendell: The Team.
  • Helm’s Deep: The bogus good idea, the thing we thought was a good idea, but we got stuck in it.
  • Isengard : What we need to avoid, what is bad.
  • Mordor: Where we are going (even if Mordor doesn’t look sexy at all 😉).
  • Rohan: What has helped us.
  • Eagles: What could make us go faster for the next time.
  • Gollum: What slowed us down.

Create characters

Print pictures of Frodo, Pippin, Merry, Sam, Gollum, Gimli, Aragorn, Legolas, Gandalf, Boromir, and assign each 3 characteristics. For example, Frodo is brave, tenacious and naive.

Characteristics should be related to what happened in the sprint.

Retrospective steps

Form your fellowship

Ask the team to assign a character to every one based on his characteristics. The team choose together who’s who (ice breaker).

Get stuffed for war

(Roleplaying): Before the beginning of your journey, each character should equip himself. Following up on actions from previous sprint retrospectives,, ask each owner if it was done, if so, grant him an equipment (sword, helmet, cloak, etc.).

Tell your journey

First, ask each member to write down on post-it things that happened during the last iteration.

Then, each one tells his story by placing his post-it on the different places of the map.

Analyse each battle

Place specific characters picture on the conflicting places : Helm’s Deep, Gollum, Isengard (and more if necessary).

Try to put them as close as in the story like :

  • Frodo and Sam on Gollum
  • Merry / Pippin / Gandalf on Isengard
  • Legolas / Gimli / Aragorn on Helm’s deep

Each team has to imagine one SMART quest (action) that would improve presented topics. (If a group has too many topics you can distribute post-it to other group).

Choose quests

The fellowship meets again at Rivendell and has to choose 2 quests in order to destroy the ring one and for all.

Each action is voted by raised hand, 2 votes max per fellow, 1 more vote by piece of stuff earned.

In case of draw, Gandalf the wise always decides 😝.


Ask each member to write down on a post-it one word describing their feeling about this adventure then group them on an open canvas.

Bonus: You can play LOTR music sound track in the background.

Super Bonus: Ask people to role play.

We did this retrospective in a team where only 4 out of 7 had seen the movies, nevertheless everyone appreciated the retrospective.

We have taken shortcuts in the LOTR story, do not blame us 😇.

Feel free to add your feedbacks about how this retro went for you, comment adjustments you made or how it could be improved.

This article has been written with the help of Florent BERGE.


Making digital products at TheFork

Thanks to Florent BERGE, Tony Chan, and Michel Floyd

Laurent Russier

Written by

Doing Android stuff.



Making digital products at TheFork

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