Luis Goncalves

Energizing Retrospective – Energize Your Team Retrospective With This Easy Exercise

by Sam Laing
Energizing Retrospective

Energizing Retrospective – Energize Your Team Retrospective With This Easy Exercise

If you perform retrospective regularly you will know that each retrospective is different. Some retrospectives are fun, some serious, some are off the track and not really related to the team.

Most of us wish that a retrospective will leave us energized and super excited to get going on actions. Sam and Karen from Growing Agile follow an exercise for an energizing retrospective. Take a look at the structure of the exercise below.

Energizing Retrospective – Energize Your Team Retrospective With This Easy Exercise

Check-in [3 min per person]
Karen and Same use sticky notes with the following 6 headings: Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Yourself, Be Involved, Be Amazing, Be Accepting. You are free to use your own or just use ours. You can choose different colours to represent different things.
Now, ask each person to write one statement per sticky note about the past month (or sprint) and then ask everyone to share what they wrote for each.

Gather Data [15 min]
This is a variation on the perfection game. Use the scale 1-10 (10 is perfect). Score the month and ask each person to list 3 things they would have liked to have happened in the last month. Depending how many people are in the retrospective you can reduce the 3 things down. You don´t want to have more than 15 min total in the next section.

Generate Insights [30 min]
This is an opportunity for a discussion about the 3 things each person listed and why those would have made the month better. Consider these questions:
“What was lacking and why?”,
“What experiments have we done recently?”,
“What have we done for ourselves recently?”

Decide what to do [30 min]
Look at the list of 3 things each person wrote, as well as any other data you have on things you’d like to do (for example an improvement backlog).
Ask each person to pick 1 thing they really want to do next month, and he/she should share it.
Give people a chance to give feedback on reasons they would or would not want to do some of those actions.
Now dot vote to pick the top action.

Once you have a top action, create an action task board by breaking it down into tasks that are small enough to be done immediately by any person on the team. This is key to making the action exciting. If you see something you could do immediately, you are more likely to get started.

Close [1 min]
Get your action task board one and get started!

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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Sam Laing

About Sam Laing

We are Karen and Sam. We are agile coaches who live and breathe agile in everything we do. We are based in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. Through the wonders of technology we are able to work with people around the world. Our greatest joy comes from helping people and teams achieve what they never thought was possible.


Share your point of view

  1. I love these ideas! Not sure about the times you have there though. It seems like the first exercise would take a lot longer than 3 minutes. Maybe these are separate exercises? I will certainly borrow from them.

    1. Thanks Lisa 🙂
      The first exercise timing is 3 minutes per person. It is meant as a check in activity so we don’t want long drawn out conversations just yet, so for our purposes we felt 3 minutes per person was enough.