Retrospective: The Perfection Game – Themed on the Sprint Planning

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Theme: The Sprint Planning

This retrospective is themed on the Sprint Planning sessions of a Scrum team. The format “The Perfection Game” fits well in this exercise, but is not limited to this theme alone. You can use the perfection game format for various topics, so don’t limit yourself to only using it for talking about the Sprint Planning! It is also possible to include multiple topics in one perfection game session.

For the rest of this post, we will talk about the perfection game retrospective formats specifically used on the Sprint Planning theme, but all information is applicable for any other theme as well.

The Icebreaker

To kick off the perfection game retrospective, we asked the question “how well are we doing our sprint planning sessions?”, knowing that we have several critaria that define a “good” sprint planning for our team. Some of these criteria are:

  • we have a clear sprint goal, the capacity is clear,
  • we know when people have a holiday,
  • all backlog items for the sprint are refined,
  • we know how we will implement the work that we put in the sprint backlog,
  • we have the necessary people, tools, … available to finish the backlog items,
  • we are confident that we are able to achieve the sprint goal and complete the sprint backlog,

Having these criteria of course helps, because people know what they will be “rating”. I usually don’t go in detail on the scores just yet, because this will be part of the later phase in this exercise.

By having everybody rate the topic for this retrospective, you immediately set the stage, create notion of how well things are going, and enable the next step of the exercise.

The retrospective format

When everybody gave a “score”, you are able to begin with the actual exercise. The perfection game contains two stages, which I like to call:

  • “IT’S NO 0”: why didn’t you put a 0? This probably means we are are doing some things right. What is already going well, and what should we make sure we keep doing?
  • “ON TO THE 10!”: How can we go all the way up to 10/10? What should we change, do differently, add, improve, or get rid off to have “the perfect sprint planning session”? 

Give everybody in the team some time to write down some post-its in every stage. You want to make sure that everybody puts at least 1 post-it per stage to make sure everybody is involved in the exercise. 

When everybody is finished, I usually read through the post-its to ensure that every post-it is clear for everybody. After that, you can do dot voting to determine the most popular or urgent topic to discuss. After a brief discussion on the topic, try to identify a (small) improvement that you can already do in the next sprint planning session. If the topic is bigger, break it down into smaller sub-items and try to identify a small action that can already get the team towards a first improvement. You don’t have to fix everything right away! 

If not all important topics arre discussed by the end of the session, you may want to continu on this during the next retrospective. If you identified action items, you also want to reflect on those during the next retrospective to see how things are evolving. If you have a lot of improvement areas, it may be worth spending multiple retrospective on the topic(s).

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?

To continu in the theme of the perfection game, I also ask the team member to rate our retrospective on a scale from 0/10.

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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