For my last post of 2014 I thought I’d share a retrospective technique than can be quite useful during the festive period. There are various version of this out there so this is my take on it – this technique works best with teams that have been working together for a while – several sprints. Don’t try this after your first sprint!
The technique is based on the Dickens tale “A Christmas Carol“. On a whiteboard get the facilitator to write 3 columns with headings: “Christmas Past”, “Christmas Present”, Christmas “Future” (you can see where this is going!).
This retrospective should focus on the project as a whole – from the start to where you are now.
Then get the team to write down (on the ubiquitous “post it” notes) one thing that they either regret they’ve done on the project, or wish they could have done differently, or something that they would advise other teams to avoid or change. Remember this is across the whole project to date. These get put under “Christmas Past”. Discuss and prioritise – biggest impact/most helpful at the top – using your preferred method (voting stickers – 2 per person – work well).
Then get the team to write one thing that someone else (in the team) has done (or continues to do) for them that they appreciated the most. This can be quite tricky for some but everyone should be able to recall some thing or event where another team member has helped them (“so and so was great at explaining technology X”, “thanks to Joe Bloggs for attending that meeting for me” – that kind of thing). The purpose of this is to engender the feel good factor in the team – a christmas “pat on the back”. If you are concerned that some people may miss out then the Scrum Master can often help (“a general thank you to the team” works). You don’t have to name names if you don’t want to – the compliments work fine if anonymised. Put these under “Christmas Present” and pat team members on the back/high five as appropriate.
Finally get the team to write one thing they wish for in the future – for themselves, for the project or service, or for the team. Put these under “Christmas Future” and discuss/prioritise in the same way.
The whole project viewpoint, coupled with a festive “feelgood” backdrop, should make this a memorable, and hopefully behaviour changing, retrospective.
Best wishes for Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year….
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