Last updated on | Agile Retrospectives

DAKI – drop, add, keep, improve

by Mario Lucero


The agile retrospectives exercise called DAKI has brought me very good results in my retrospectives. First of all, let´s take a look at what DAKI really means.

Meaning of DAKI

D for Drop: When team members want to drop or remove something that bothers them. For example, a team wants to remove (drop) weekly meeting with their manager because of micromanaging.

A for Add: What does the team want to add to improve the process? Perhaps adding a weekly breakfast for the whole team or a company to share feelings/feedback with the rest of the people.

K for Keep: When team members want to keep something. For example, the team decides to keep a stand up meeting with a song chosen by a team member.

I for Improve: Something that a team wants to improve. A good example is when a team reduces the technical debt from a legacy code to avoid fixing bugs all day long.

 When would you use DAKI exercise?

 This exercise is suitable to use after several sprints working with the same team. The idea is to work with same people for some time using Scrum so that they can grow up as a team and accordingly propose some changes in a process.

Using DAKI in your team

Before conducting a retrospective you should draw 4 cells on the paper with the phrase of DAKI.

Timing: 30 minutes

Introduction: Explain your team shortly what is the mechanism behind the exercise. Use examples outside the team so that nobody gets offended.

Ask the team to share ideas for each of the letters of DAKI:

Drop (5 minutes), Add (5 minutes), Keep (5 minutes) and Improve (5-10 minutes).

You can use ideas from the “Improve” brainstorming and consider them as “Action items”.

Below is illustrated example how you can use DAKI exercise in your retrospective.

agile retrospectives exercise

Action Items (examples):

Improvement – “User Stories have to be simpler”

Scrum Master should help a Product Owner to check the dependencies of each user story in the Sprint Backlog.

Scrum Master schedules a meeting with the manager (who is micromanaging people) and the rest of the team to explain there is no need to attend weekly meetings. In order to know the sprint progress, the manager should check the physical board.

If you have any questions related to this exercise, feel free to reach Mario at Twitter @metlucero.

If you are interested in getting some extra exercises, I created a blog post with dozens of Agile Retrospectives Ideas, check them and see if you find something interesting.


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Mario Lucero

About Mario Lucero

Mario is an Agile Coach and Scrum Trainer based in Santiago (Chile), who helps organizations deliver high quality software with predictability and happiness.


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