Retrospective: Three Little Piglets

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Three Little Piglets retrospective

The Three Little Piglets retrospective is a good way to reflect on things that are going well in the team, are stable, and on the things are less stable or and/or risks. It highlights the areas that the team should focus on next to stabilize the way of working and/or product the team is developing.

The Icebreaker

For this template, we chose an icebreaker that gets everybody wamed up and engaged in the session. We ask every participant to share his/her favorite movie from childhood. This icebreaker fits well in the theme of the retrospective, and making it a bit personal can also make the team more open to each other. Don’t spend too much time and effort on the icebreaker, as this is just to get everybody going! The icebreaker should not take more than a few minutes.

The retrospective format

The Three Little Piglets retrospective contains three stages:

  1. “House of straw”: what do we do that just about hangs together? What is very unstable, and might cause problems or introduce risks? 
  2. “House of sticks”: what do we do that is pretty solid, but could still be improve to make it optimal? 
  3. “House of bricks”: what do we do that is rock solid? No improvements needed here. This area is an example of how it should be done!

After explaining the stages to your team, give everybody a few minutes to write down their thoughts on a post-it. After this, you can do a quick dot voting session to determine the most important one(s) and start with a discussion on those.

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.

Last but not least, don’t feel obligated to only focus on the areas of improvement. As humans, we have the tendency to immediately see what can be improved and how we can do this, but it’s also worth spending time on recognizing what is already going well: how did we get here? What did we do to do this so well? Can we learn anything from this? Perhaps we can share knowledge to other teams, so they can also get to where have already come? You might be surprised of what you learn when spending a bit more time on discussing what is already going well…

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.


Recent Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top