Retrospective Exercises Repository

This content is syndicated from Age of Product by Stefan Wolpers. To view the original post in full, click here.

The Retrospective Exercises Repository

How to prevent retrospective boredom? One way to achieve that is never to repeat the same combination of retrospective exercises twice.

Avoiding repetitions might sound like a lot of work for a single team. However, if your product delivery organization comprises of more than one Scrum team, I can highly recommend creating a retrospective exercises repository as it improves the quality of the retrospectives and saves a lot of time if you share the retrospective exercises with your fellow scrum masters.

Learn how to build such a retrospective exercises repository.


#AgeOfProduct: The #Retrospective Exercises Repository — No More Boring Retros
Click To Tweet


Curating Retrospectives with Retromat

Last year, I wrote on how to curate retrospectives with Retromat.

Retromat aggregates a lot of suitable exercises for retrospectives, covering the five stages of retrospectives as suggested by Esther Derby and Diana Larson in their excellent book “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great.”

Esther and Diane distinguish five stages:

  1. Set the stage
  2. Gather data
  3. Generate insights
  4. Decide what to do
  5. Close the retrospective.

Retromat provides a lot of exercises for each of those stages. As a first step, I went through all the exercises listed for the different stages and picked my choices from them. To do so in a structured way, I used an Excel sheet:

Age of Product: Retrospective Exercises Repository – Inventory Board

Identifying the exercises for future retrospectives is one thing. (The Retromat number is listed in the first column ‘activity’.) Producing the exercises in advance is something different. Doing this upfront for your complete selection is bordering on waste in my eyes. So, I create new exercises on flip chart paper only shortly before a retrospective. (Which is also a good way to familiarize yourself with the exercise itself.) Once an exercise becomes available, I mark it in the Excel sheet with a green background.

For each scrum team, I also add a column to the retrospective exercises repository indicating in which retrospective an exercise was used. (Normally, I use the number of the individual sprint here.) This allows for a quick overview when a certain retrospective exercise was utilized for the last time for a team retrospective. (Of course, I also save all exercises for every retrospective of each team.)

To my experience, if you keep at least three to four retrospectives between the usages of an individual exercise you are on the safe side. Also, try to avoid reusing more than two exercises in a retrospective again. It is interesting to observe that even my clumsy graphics have a considerable potential to be remembered. (Probably, it is also because of their clumsiness.) Anyway, there are more than enough permutations of exercises through all five stages of a retrospective available that you can work around a repetition of activities.

Age-of-Product: Retrospective Exercises Repository Why Are You Here

Storing the Retrospective Exercises

When it comes to storing the flip chart sheets, I recommend a small filing cabinet from Bankers Box. They are outrageously expensive — almost 30 Euros in Germany — but very well designed for this purpose. A filing cabinet can hold up to 20 flip chart sheets. Two of those cabinets will suffice for any need to organize retrospectives.

Age of Product: Retrospective Exercises Repository – Bankers Box

The easiest way to order the exercises is by consecutive numbers, not by retrospective stages. This way is particularly helpful when you branch out beyond Retromat for activities.

Speaking of branching out: there are other sources for respective exercises, for example, Fun Retrospectives.

I add those exercises with a different number range to the Excel sheet, typically starting with an N. Lastly, I also add dedicated games to the respective exercises repository, for example, the candy game.

Conclusion

Creating a retrospective exercises repository is an easy way to make retrospectives more engaging as well as save efforts when your product delivery organization comprises of more than one scrum team. Remember: sharing is caring.

How are you organizing your retrospective exercises? Please share with me in the comments.

Related Posts

How to Curate Retrospectives with Retromat

21 Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns Impeding Scrum Teams

20 Questions a New Scrum Master Should Ask Her Team to Get up to Speed

The post Retrospective Exercises Repository appeared first on Age of Product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 − eleven =


There are 101 ways to do anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”

BEATRIZ MONTOYA/CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”

JULIE PEEL
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”

LUKE SHARKEY /STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION LEADER
SUNCORP

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”

BRUCE WEIR/EGM
SUNCORP

“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”

HANNAH JOYCE
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
TELSTRA

“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”

ANDY JEFFRIES/TECHNICAL LEAD
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”

GILES BENTLEY, DEVELOPMENT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
TIME INC

“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”

PETER THATCHER, SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
ThoughtWorks

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”

PETER SILVA-JANKOWSKI
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”

GINA MILLARD
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

CONTACT US

To explore how we can help you, please get in touch