How to do a fun and insightful last Sprint Retrospective of the year?

Erik Stoffer facilitated a retrospective to look back at last year by drawing a timeline to share insights, learnings and experiences. They directly looked forward what to expect in the first part of 2020 by visualizing this.

1️⃣ [5 min] Set the stage: Creating a soft-landing after the Sprint Review by discussing the Sprint Review feedback. And sharing that we are going to look back on the year behind us because it is the last Sprint Retrospective of the year.

2️⃣ [5 min] Check-in: Question “If the last sprint (two weeks) was a season – what would it be, and why?” We did a round (popcorn-style) of approx. 1 minute each.

Looking back

3️⃣[5 min to draw, 8 min for feedback] Collect input: Grab an empty paper and draw a timeline of how you experienced last year with the team (think of successes, failures, go-lives, process changes, team changes, events, trainings, conferences, etc.) Everyone presented his / her drawing with a short voice-over.

4️⃣ [2 min, 5 min for feedback] Discover learnings: Populate your timeline with things you learned by using “dot voting” sticker. Everyone presented his / her learnings with a short voice-over.

Looking forward

5️⃣ [5 min to draw, 8 min for feedback] Collect input: Grab an empty paper and visualize how you expect the first part of the year could look like (taking the learnings, team goals and personal goals into account). I invited everyone to only focus on the first 3 to 6 months of the year. After visualizing this, everyone presented his / her drawing with a short voice-over.

6️⃣ [5 min] Closing: To close the retrospective everyone ended with: “One word on how you are feeling about the next year”.

Debriefing:

Everyone in the team had the chance to retrospect and share on how they experienced the year with the team. Funny fact: some shared experiences of a few months ago which already were forgotten by other team members. 

It was challenging but insightful to already share the expectations for the first part of next year on team-  and personal level. This way we were able to create a shared expectation on the first part of 2020. And this was also an opportunity to sync on the team goals and ask help on personal goals from each other.

💭 Next time I think I will experiment with adding one more step, by inviting the team members – after drawing their version of next year between step 5 and 6 – to draw next year together so we can hang this at the team spot.

If you have other ideas or insights on this Retrospective, please drop a message below. Or if you do this retrospective with your own team, please let me know your feedback 🙂

Used materials:

📑 Flip over with the agenda

⌚️ Time Timer (for timeboxing)

⬜️ Empty paper (A4 format)

✏️ Markers, Sharpies

🔴 “dot voting” stickers

Scrum on!

P.s. he bumped into this blog of Sam Laing, which was what inspired him to design the retrospective as described above. Originally posted here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-do-fun-insightful-last-sprint-retrospective-year-erik-stoffer/

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