Refreshing Your Retrospective With Story Cubes and Liberating Structures

Original, post can be found here: https://dzone.com/articles/using-story-cubes-and-liberating-structures-combo

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.

Preparation

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:

https://www.infoq.com/news/2015/05/story-cubes/
https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/rory-cubes-sprint-retrospective
https://medium.com/@dymissy/effective-retrospective-with-rorys-story-cubes-72da2d389144

Throw the Cat.. and other objects

I copied this exercise from: https://www.tastycupcakes.org/2016/05/throw-the-cat-and-other-objects/

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

Materials:

Stickies, Pens and a list of objects

Instructions:

I’ve started using this as a variation on the https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2014/may/title-teaching-relative-estimation-by-throwing-a-c 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.

Agile Resources

I came across Andy Bacon his blog that lists some interesting articles and resources, you can find it here: https://andybacon.com/agile-resources/

And just in case he ever decides to take his website offline, here is a quick mirror 😉

Some Agile Basics

Agile Related Certifications

Scaling Frameworks

Retrospectives

Daily Scrum

Scrum Graphics

Checklists

User Stories

Role of Managers in Agile

DiSC Assessment (free)

Games

Metrics

Estimation, Data Driven Estimates, and Forecasting

Collaboration Tools

Happiness

Podcasts

Product Owner Resources

  • Opportunity canvas
  • Lean canvas
  • Product vision
  • Product roadmap
  • Release plan

Random Helpful Things

Technical Topics

Retrospective board game ‘Golden Apples’

If you need some inspiration for a fun retrospective, take a look at this board game:

Inspired by Carmen Guerra Jurado her holiday in Greece, it has:

  • Greek gods and monsters(🦉🔱)
  • Death (☠️)
  • Lego (🧱)
  • Personal feedback questions (💌)
  • Team related questions (🎭)
  • Sprint related questions (🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏼‍♂️) and, due to a lack of golden apples;
  • Gold chocolate coins(🍫🥇)

The teams enjoyed it and results were fruitful! (Pun intended.) The game itself still needs some tweaking. But Monopoly better watch its back! 😆

Copied from: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/carmen-guerra-jurado-b3156924_creativity-scrummaster-retrospective-activity-6582154931749339136-nGn7/

Two Truths and a Lie

Each team member writes down 3 statements. 2 of them are true, 1 of them is not true. The statements must be about the person himself.

Examples:

  • I play the guitar
  • I speak 5 languages
  • I was picked up on an island
  • I’m a twin
  • I hate the color red

A person tells the 3 statements. The teammates may take turns guessing what is true and what is not.

More 2 Truths and a Lie ideas and examples can be found here: https://truthsandlie.com

Building the Team Manifesto

The following text was copied from: https://www.scrum.nl/blog/building-team-manifesto/

Every time a new team is formed, it takes time to grow from a group of people to a well-functioning team. In their journey to become a high-performing team, they need a shared understanding of the principles and values of each individual and the team. The most important principles and values can be summarized in a team manifesto, a social contract among the team members. A team manifesto is always built by the team itself. It contains a set of norms, values and behaviors that forms a solid ground for collaboration within the team.

Building the Team Manifesto

With every team I coach, one of the first things we do is building a team manifesto. Recently, I did this by using the Retrospective format ‘That guy, this guy’. The results were great! Therefore, I would like to share this workshop format with you.

  1. Plan a timebox of 60 minutes with the entire team
  2. Bring flip charts, sticky notes and markers with you
  3. Create two flip charts with: ‘Don’t be that guy…’ and ‘This guy rocks!’
  4. Explain to the team what the goal of this session and a team manifesto is
  5. Ask the team members to write down characteristics associated with ‘that guy’ (the person that you don’t want in your team) and ‘this guy’ (the person that is a perfect team member) on sticky notes, individually and in silence
  6. Let the team members explain what they wrote down and collect the sticky notes on the flip charts
  7. Consider to cluster the characteristics, if there is a lot of overlap
  8. Ask the team members to prioritize the characteristics, by dot voting on the ones they value the most for the team (every team member gets five dots to divide among the items)
  9. Select the five to seven most important characteristics
  10. Divide the team in three groups and give each group a set of characteristics
  11. Ask the groups to describe what each characteristic means for the team
  12. Let each group explain what they wrote down and adjust this with the feedback from the other groups
  13. Summarize all parts of the team manifesto on one flip chart and invite each team member to commit to it, for example by writing down their signatures
  14. Make sure the team manifesto is visible at all times

A team manifesto ensures that the team coherence improves. It is a common understanding about the desired behavior within the team, and what it means for them to be a team. Since the team has ownership over the team manifesto, team members will behave according to it and encourage others to do the same.

Additional examples can be found here:

by Barry Overeem

How To Kickstart A Great Scrum Team (10 practical things to do)
by Christiaan Verwijs