Retrospective: Halloween

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The halloween retrospective...

This retrospecitve format is designed for halloween. Take your team along on a scary journey…

The Icebreaker

To get everybody ready for the halloween retrospective, ask each participant to share an image of what they are most scared of. This can be anything. You might be surprised of the things that your team members will share!

The goal is to get everybody engaged and focused on the retrospective, so they are not being distracted by other work. You don’t have to go into too much detail during this step of the retrospective. Depending on which images are being shared, you might want to get a bit of explanation… 

The retrospective format

The halloween retrospective consists of 4 stages:

  1. “Paranormal activity:” what was paranormal activity in the last sprint? What can’t we explain (yet) or seems very strange? 
  2. “It follows:” what is following us, what should we pay attention to as a team? 
  3. “Scream:” what made you scream in the last sprint? This can be a scream of frustration, but also of joy…
  4. “The exorcist:” what should we exorcise from our way of working or environment? What is harming us?

While having the discussion on a topic, always focus on what’s within the control of the team. Don’t focus too much on external people or factors, but mainly on the things that are within the control of the team to identify improvement actions that the team is able to take. You want to have 1 – 2 action items at the end of the retrospective that you can implement in the next iteration(s). Remember: you will not always have big live changing action items in each retrospective. That’s also not the intention. A small action that brings a small improvements is already very good. Try to improve a little each sprint instead of trying to bring big changes at once.

About last retrospective...

A crucial part of the retrospective is to reflect on the outcome of the previous one! Teams often forget to do this, but it is very important as it gives the team the confirmation that the action items are actually important… And that we want to make sure we improve! There is a section on the top of the template where you can refer to the action items of the last retrospective. Go over them, see how you are doing in regards to them, and decide what to do next.

Rate your retro!

At the very end of the retrospective, I ask the team to quickly rate their retrospective with focus on: 

  1. Did we have a good discussion? Did we speak openly, and respect each others opinion?
  2. Do we have valuable action items? And, are we confident that we will do them in the next sprint?

We also use a feedback wall where team members can share their feedback on the retrospective. As the facilitator, you can encorporate this feedback into the next retrospective session.

Other things about the format

On the very top of the format, you can see 2 elements:

  • Action items / experiments: this is the place where you would write down the action items during the retrospective. This makes it easy to summarize them at the end of the session.
  • Idea for the next retrospective: I always like to foresee an area where people can give feedback or give input for the next retrospective. This can be feedback on the current format, ideas for a new format, tips, general feedback… Anything that can help us make the next retrospective even better! I would not make it required for people to give input in this, make them feel free to give input when they come up with something.

Download the template (for free)

You can download the Miro template for free below:

If you don’t have a premium version of Miro, you can also download the picture at the top of the screen and create the board in Google Drawings.

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