Retrospective: Mowgli (The Jungle Book)

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Theme: Mowgli (The Jungle Book)

Enter the world of Mowgly from the Jungle Book with this retrospective theme. In this format, we start with a lightweight icebreaker and after that go to the different stages of the Mowgli story. 

The Icebreaker

To get everybody in the mood for this retrospective, the icebreaker is a fun and silly exercise. Ask everybody to share an image of their favorite (wild) animal. Some people will probably post a picture of their own pet, while other might go more exotic and share an image of a wild, dangerous animal. 

The goal of this icebreaker is to get everybody engaged and present in the retrospective, making sure they are no longer distracted by other work that is going on.

The retrospective format

After the icebreaker, we can go into the actual Mowgli exercise. This format contains 4 stages:

  • “Whew! Man, that’s what I call a swingin’ party!”: what was a swingin’ party in the last iteration? What went well, and is worth celebrating? What did we enjoy? Ask team member to list some topics that they enjoyed from the last iteration, or that went really well. It is important to celebrate (small) successes.
  • “How much chaos you brought upon the pack. So much more to come!”: What brought us chaos in the last iteration? What made us struggle? What didn’t go well?
  • “The jungle is changing… Man is taking more  of it. We are afraid of what men will do to us.”: What are we afraid of? What are risks that we see for the next iteration(s)? Are there things that we can anticipate on?
  • “My my … How have you grown!”: What did we grow in as a team? What are we proud of? What are things that we do differently compared to several sprints ago, that made us a ‘better’ team? Again, it’s important to celebrate success and to be aware of the growth that your team is making.

As always, ask your team members to write down the topics that they want to discuss in this retrospective. It’s good if everybody can at least write down one topic per stage, but this will not always be possible for  everybody. You can ask for it, and see if this is possible. I usually put on a timebox of a few minutes and continu when everybody is ready. If your team members tend to write down a lot of topics, you might want to limit the amount to 4 per person. 

After the timebox, quickly read through the post-its to make sure the content is clear for everybody. If you have a lot of topics (too much to discuss in this session), do a quick dot voting session and start with the topics that has the most vots. If you are using Miro, you can use the built in Timer and Dot Voting tools.

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 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?

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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