Special long retrospective meeting

Lately we have had a lot of discussions around retrospective meetings. Also I could see that our retrospective meetings are getting boring and don’t really help improve our workflow. As Scrum Master I have decided to implement some changes, moreover it would be a shame to keep this situation, as I have just finished my Scrum Master Certification and I should have a head full of ideas! 🙂 During our last boring retrospective meeting I suggested to change something, all together we have decided to implement SPECIAL LONG RETROSPECTIVE MEETING. I know, it still sounds boring, even more boring, but it is not! 🙂 The main point of our changes is that we still keep our short retrospective meetings (every 2 weeks) when we check our trello board, add new cards, discuss three cards and decide about improvements, however, every 4th retrospective meeting (every 8 weeks) we will have our long retrospective meeting. Let me explain how I have organised it.

AGENDA

2 weeks before retro, I have prepared AGENDA. Every Daily Standup I was reminding about it and ask the team to get ready. That’s our agenda.

5 min – Introduction

15 min – Scrum Master Presentation about Scrum process. Goal : Understand process and purpose of doing scrum. (Scrum Master)

15 min – Developers and QA Presentation about development process. Goal : Understand workflow and proposition of improvements. (Developers and QA)

10 min – Developer’s presentation about “Code quality”.

15 min – POs Presentation about important aspects of our workflow and processes from PO’s point of view. Goal : Understand the most important points from clients point of view and proposition of improvements. (POs)

30 min – Hot Air Balloon game

20 min – Spaceship Doomsday game

20 min – Ball game

15 min – Conclusion and action points

5 min – Feedback

During the retrospective meeting food and beers were provided.

GOAL

The main goal of our first long retrospective meeting was to make sure that everybody understands the scrum process, our workflow, responsibilities and know each other better. Everybody should have basic knowledge about our processes and team members. For another long retrospective meeting, we will discuss some specific topics more deeply and detailed. Of course, the general goal is to improve our work and client’s satisfaction 🙂

DETAILS

PRESENTATIONS

We had presentations and discussions about our work and team from different points of views.

Scrum Master has prepared basic information about scrum knowledge. After our retro we decided to start our sprints on Tuesday as we realised that we don’t need to do it on Monday!

Developers and QA have prepared proposition of our ideal workflow which we discussed. One of our developers will prepare documentation for our next short retro. Also one of our developers has shown us how we can use tools to measure our code quality and has prepared examples based on our projects.

POs have prepared information what is important from their point of view, what we can implement or improve to increase client’s satisfaction.

code quality

HOT AIR BALLOON GAME

We played the Hot Air Balloon game.

1. Draw the Hot-air Balloon picture in a common canvas.

2. Ask the participants to share their notes for each of the retrospective areas:

*”Let’s start by looking back. Please, write notes and place them on the following two areas above and below the balloon: Hot-air and sand-bags.”*

– Looking Back – Fire and hot air: What helps us go higher? What are the things that push us forward?

– Looking Back – Forces pulling down: Which are the forces pulling us down?

3. Ask the participants to share their notes, thinking about the future.

“Now, let’s look ahead, at the near future. Please, write notes and place them on the following two areas on both sides of the balloon: Storm and Sunny day.”*

– Looking Ahead – Storm: What is the storm ahead of us? What will have our trip turbulenta?

– Looking Ahead – Sunny day: What could we do to avoid the storm and turn towards sunny days? What shall we do to overcome the possible challenges ahead of us?

4. Group notes and discuss.

We discussed our past and future. What pushed us forward and pulled us down. Also what are the challenges ahead of us and what are the possibilities ahead of us. It helped us to understand our situation, get some lessons based on our past and get ready for future.

Air Balloon

SPACESHIP DOOMSDAY GAME

Then we played Spaceship Doomsday.

The teams’ spaceship is crashing into a star and they are sharing their last words with each other.

Questions for team members to answer:

  1. What regrets do you have about things you never did for/with the team?
  2. What are you proud of bringing to the team?
  3. What praise do you have for your team members?

The main conclusion is to spend more time together! This exercise helped us know each other better. Each of us provides something new to the team and we work together very well.

BALL GAME

The last game was the Ball Game which helped us understand Scrum Process.

The rules are pretty straight forward

  • Everyone is part of one big team.
  • Each ball must have air-time.
  • Each ball must be touched at least once by every team member.

The team has 3 sprints which they estimate at the beginning. How many balls the team can pass through the system during 1 minute? After each of the sprint the team has retrospective meeting and can re-estimate next sprint.

The team increase the performance following the feedback from the retrospective. It can be quite a dramatic increase, and teams love it! The conclusion is – smaller teams are better, we are getting better with the time, retrospective meetings are really important. And some other conclusions which we will keep to ourselves (wink) We had so much fun during this game!

Ball Game

FEEDBACK

At the end we decided about some action points and gave feedback about our SPECIAL LONG RETROSPECTIVE MEETING. All feedbacks were super positive!

CONCLUSION

Our long retrospective meeting was awesome! We had so much fun, made some action points and we can already see some improvements. What is more important we understood each other much better and know each other much better. It definitely helps our teamwork.

I hope this post will inspire you for some changes and give you some more ideas! Good luck!


Editor – Natasha Jay O’Neil, please contact Natasha directly for queries related to her services.

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  1. Interesting approach, let’s make a “boring” meeting longer. You seem to have pulled it off well. Good job

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