Luis Goncalves

Using The Car Brand Exercise To Start An Effective Retrospective

by Luís Gonçalves
car brand exercise


Hi guys, this post is dedicated to a topic: “How to start an effective Retrospective” using the car brand exercise. I already blogged about this topic when I told “How to start an effective Retrospective using Constellation exercise” the post can be found here.

This activity can be consulted in the book: “Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives”, a book written by Ben Linders and me with the foreword from Esther Derby. The book can be downloaded by free in or, please download it and spread it within your colleagues.

One of the important parts of a successful retrospective is an exciting “opener”; we must set a stage, allowing a team to feel comfortable to speak freely about any topic. This post describes the “Car Brand” exercise.

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

What you can expect to get out of this technique

This is a simple exercise to set the stage for the team to start the Retrospective. It´s a good exercise that allows people to show how they feel about how the sprint went without expressing their opinion openly.

This is extremely important especially when the team is new to each other, and they are not comfortable in showing their feelings or opinions openly.

When you would use this technique
I believe this exercise is super simple and does not require any special occasion. It can be used as an opener for any retrospective.

This is a good exercise to reveal individuals´ opinion, allowing everyone to have a common understanding about what the others think. This is important because team members must be aligned.



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How to do it
When the retrospective start to make everyone feel comfortable and ask them a simple question: “If you think about this sprint as a brand car which car would you chose?”. For example, if the sprint went so well that there is nothing to point out most probably everyone would choose a Ferrari.

If the Sprint had several ups and downs, maybe a Fiat would be more suitable. Give them two or three minutes to think what is their brand.

When you feel that everyone knows which car they want, invite them one by one to reveal “their car”. Do not go into the discussion at this point; people will have time to justify their choices quite soon, allow everyone to see what others chose first, this will give an overall feeling about where the team stands.

After this exercise asks people to think about their dream car and give them 10 minutes to think about what they would change on the past sprint to have their “dream car”.

People will come up with dozens of different ideas, but based on my experience a lot of them will be common problems. You as facilitator try to group them into the same groups. Ask the team to use for example dot votes and select the most critical problem that should be tackled for the next sprint.

For this exercise, the topic was car brand, but you can use anything that makes sense for you. To run this exercise the team does not need to be collocated, team members can be spread all over the world and still be able to run this exercise using virtual tools.


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Luís Gonçalves

About Luís Gonçalvesçalves1979

Luis Gonçalves is an Entrepreneur, Author & International Keynote Speaker. He works with Senior Executives to implement his ‘Organisational Mastery’ system so they can greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their organisations; enabling them to become recognised and highly rewarded Leaders.


  1. Hi Luis

    It seems like you have some typos in the “How to do it” section. I’m sure the question you ask should be about the sprint and not the retrospective, right? The same typo (retrospective instead of sprint) is in the next sentence, too.


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