Refreshing Your Retrospective With Story Cubes and Liberating Structures

Original, post can be found here:

How to Do a Story Cube Retrospection

Things You May Need 

  • A whiteboard
  • Markers
  • 9 cubes from the story cube set.
  • Sticky notes for “1-2-4-All.


Create three columns on the board, like “Happy,” “Sad,” and “Action.”

Let the team roll the dice and pick them up one at a time. Every dice will have an image on the surface. Let the team members talk about the experience from sprint which comes to their mind while looking at the image. Make a note on either the “Happy” or “Sad” list. Repeat this activity for all of the dice.

Now against each happy or sad item, have the team dot vote on what they want to pick up to improve for the next sprint (my recommendation is to pick just one or maximum two, depending on your timebox).

Now for every item that is selected run a “1-2-4-All” session.

How to Run a “1-2-4-All” Session

Let the team members brainstorm over the topic individually and make notes on a sticky note for a full minute. Repeat the same activity in pairs (exchange the ideas in a brief manner) for no more than two minutes.

Repeat the same activity in quartets for four minutes, and do it one final time with the entire group sharing and noting the most suitable solutions around the topic for five minutes.

 Note: you can customize the repetition based on your group size.

Once you have run the 1-2-4-All for the selected item, you will have solid actionable items derived by the team to conclude the sprint retrospective.

More ideas can be found here:

Throw the Cat.. and other objects

I copied this exercise from:

Timing: 10 minutes preparation, 15 minutes to run then as long as you need to debrief


Stickies, Pens and a list of objects


I’ve started using this as a variation on the example by Tomasz de Jastrzebiec Wykowski.

The basics of it involve getting the team to discuss the relative estimation of achieving a task. I’ve found this really useful for new members to the team to understand that a 13 for one team may not be a 13 for another, not due to ability but rather it all being relative to previous works done.

  1. On a wall add to sets of estimation counting, anything you like… in this case I used Story Points and T shirt sizes, so one board is the points the other is shirts
  2. Split the team in to two
  3. give each an identical pack of items, don’t look at the yet.
  4. Scenario – each object must be thrown at least one meter
  5. Place the objects on the boards using relative estimation for difficulty

I purposely selected an ambiguous set of objects, which if the team ask for clarification I’ll answer.

So this is what we went for..

  • Cat – will it just let you? will it fight back
  • Ball – it is actually a medicine ball… I just don’t specify
  • Feather
  • Rose
  • Trumpet
  • Pizza
  • Jaguar – worse than a cat… but actually the car
  • Sheet of paper – can you scrunch it? make a plane? again don’t specify
  • Stone – from Stone Henge, again don’t specify
  • Bat – Vampire kind

The actual cards are one word and ambigious

Learning Points:

The purpose is to get discussion going and realise that there is no correct answer, By using 2 different measurements you can see first of all what one group thinks then how it relates.