A well-planned retrospective is a productive activity for the entire team. When done the right way, it’s a great way to increase the team’s effectiveness and promote better collaboration. If not, then the team will easily lose interest in the retrospective, looking at it as just another pointless meeting and a waste of time. You can try out fun and engagement scrum retrospective ideas, questions, and techniques to get full engagement from your entire scrum team.
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Scrum Retrospective Ideas, Questions and Techniques for Higher Engagement
Engagement is the main motivation for coming up with fun and unique ideas for your agile retrospective. This is how you can get the most out of this productivity hack. By keeping the members engaged, you can make them feel at ease which will later facilitate in-depth and productive discussions.
Discover the fun ideas, questions, and techniques you need to try at every stage of the retrospective so you can make the most of each session.
Engaging Retrospective Ideas
The use of games is a great way to create a more relaxed atmosphere. When the members of the retrospective are loose and relaxed, they tend to be more effective at communication and they are more engaged.
Here are a few ideas to spice up your scrum retrospective sessions with games to spark the beginning of each session.
Game 1: ESVP
The game of ESVP stands for Explorers, Shoppers, Vacationers, Prisoners. It is a popular game used in retrospective sessions because it is highly engaging. In this game, the participants can report their attitude towards the session to come based on one of the four below:
- Explorers – Those who are keen to gain new insights and unlock new ideas.
- Shoppers – Those who are seeking at least one new piece of information to be learned during each session.
- Vacationers – Those who would want to escape the daily grind and be elsewhere.
- Prisoners – Those who attend the retrospective activity for compliance only and would much rather be doing something else.
The opinion of each member is collected in an anonymous poll. This is a way to encourage everyone to be honest and open about their choices.
This game is fun, but it is also critical to gaining an insight into how effective your activity is. If, for example, the majority of the group chose Vacationers and Prisoners, then you might want to address this with the team. You don’t want anyone who is part of the retrospective to be wishing they were somewhere else instead.
Game 2: Truths and Lies
If you’ve been doing scrum retrospectives for a while, this is a great game to try with your team. In particular, it is recommended for teams that have achieved a certain level of trust amongst each other.
Every member must provide three statements that they associate with the team or the activity in general. The thing is, only two of these statements are true, and the last one is false. Everyone will get the opportunity to share their chosen statements with the rest of the group. It is for the team to collectively guess which of these statements is false.
This is not only fun, but very productive in terms of giving rise to issues that the team might not be open to discussing in a regular conversation.
Game 3: Wow, Wondering, Worried
This particular game is very helpful in providing insight into the team’s perspective about its overall performance. This will require a visual illustration, such as a graph. You will need to choose an online tool that will enable you to create these visual representations to use during the game.
This is how it works: you must create a graph that depicts your team workflow. Each member of the team must rate the tasks depicted within that workflow as one of three: Wow, Wondering, and Worried.
Once all of the ratings from the team members have been tallied, you will be able to see what the team collectively thinks of the status of the workflow and the individual tasks. For example, the majority of the team may have rated “Worried” on the daily standup meetings. Using this information, you will be able to determine a solution or ways to fix the issue.
Game 4: SMART Planning
While most of the games mentioned above are designed to be played at the start of each retrospective session, this one is to be played at the end.
One of the biggest complaints that people have with retrospectives is that they lack action: they are mostly about meeting, talking, and planning. This is part of the reason why a lot of employees hate meetings. SMART Planning can help address that.
Each member of the team will be asked to design their own SMART image, which they believe will demonstrate ways to improve the performance of your scrum retrospective. Collect all the answers provided by the group and then group ideas that you believe – as a group – will be most practical for application.
You must then look back on this list during the next sprint to see if you’ve made any progress with the action items you’ve specified.
Idea Questions for Scrum Retrospective
From the list above, you have a few ideas on how to promote engagement and learning during your scrum retrospective. When trying to decide which of these ideas to implement for your team, here are a few questions that you need to address.
How can I make the retrospective more fun?
If you have no other issues other than trying to make your retrospective more fun for the scrum team, then you can vary the formats you use. The more creative you can get and the more you change things up, the more the scrum team will look forward to each session. If you use the same format over and over again, it can start to get repetitive very quickly.
Why should you care about engagement?
When your team is engaged, that’s how you know you have a good retrospective. An engaged team means they are more likely to participate. It’s not enough that they are present during your session, your team members must be engaged and willing to participate.
Why does gamification work?
The use of a gamification strategy works not just in retrospectives, but in various applications. It not only keeps the session fun and engaging, it also makes the activity – something you and your team do often – refreshing.
There are a variety of scrum retrospective ideas and techniques that you can use. Experiment with these ideas and techniques to see what can bring the most success to your team.