Questions Retrospective

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Use:

A retrospective for a short iteration

Length Of time:

1 hour

Short description:

This is a retrospective plan we've adapted over a few iterations based on "Triple Nickels" in the book Agile Retrospectives. It enables people to get different perspectives on the same events.

Materials:

Whiteboard/Flip Chart/Magic Whiteboard, pens, post-its, a piece of A4 paper per team member prepared with questions - see gather data section, a roundish table

Process

1. Setting the stage:

A standard check - in ask team members to answer with two words a question eg, "How did the sprint go for you"

2. Gather data:

Before the retro, prepare sheets of paper for each team member each having a different question on the top, for example:

In this sprint, what things happened that were unusual?
In this sprint, what things did we do well?
In this sprint, what did we do that we should avoid doing in the future?

The questions will be distributed at random to team members. Divide the space below into (say) 3 sections. The idea is that each person writes something, then passes the sheet to their left, then writes something on the next sheet, in response to what has previously been written. So a completed sheet by the end will look like:

Question answer 1 of Participant A Participant B's response to A's answer 1 Participant C's response to what A and B have written ... answer 2 of Participant A Participant B's response to A's answer 2 Participant C's response to what A and B have written ... answer 3 of Participant A Participant B's response to A's answer 3 Participant C's response to what A and B have written ...

So start a timer, give 3-5 minutes for each round, then instruct the team to pass the paper to their left. The game ends once the participants have the sheet that they started with.

3. Generate Insights

Ask people to quickly read their sheets and write up on post-its the main points. These will be mainly the original answers, but also any other points that cropped up in the later answers. Divide the board into sections according to which original question they were answering. Ask if there are any other answers which people need to express in any of the sections, preferably only one per section. Then group the answers into themes, and dot vote on which area the team want to deal with.

4. Decide what to do:

Use the theme picked form 3. to start a circle of questions

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