As a Scrum Master, one is supposed to change up the format of retrospectives so that the team doesn’t get burned out. I’ve given a lot of thought to what makes a good retrospective, and what my teams have enjoyed or learned through them.
The best retrospectives I’ve taken part in include 2 things:
- Questions that get the participants to think deeply
This can be something as simple as “What went well this sprint?” and “What could we improve on?”, or it can be more creative and more complex, like Thorsten Kalnin’s great Draw The Problem Retrospective. Regardless of the form, it has questions.
We’re social animals. There’s nothing more social than eating together.
Knowing these two immovable facts, I came to one simple conclusion: GREAT retrospectives should put food and questions front and center.
Did I mention I also love cookies? Truly. I’ll go out of my way for a good one. If only there was some type of cookie that you could put a little note in. A note with one of many unique questions specially made for a Scrum team. Hmm…
Drawing from the rich tradition of greasy Chinese food restaurants in America telling you what your lottery numbers should be via a tiny slip of paper you’re not supposed to actually ingest, I had a batch of cookies made up especially for the Agile community. Cookies with delicious questions inside for your team’s retrospectives.
Q: How do I run a Retrospective Cookies Retrospective?
- Order a box of cookies below (it’s my Beta batch, so I’m selling them at a discount).
- When they arrive, let your team open the box during their retrospective. Inside they’ll find 10 fortune cookies.
- Each team member takes a cookie.
- 1 by 1, each team member opens their cookie, reads the question, and answers it. If the team would like, give them 5 minutes of silent writing time to gather their thoughts.
- You – in your inimitable Scrum Master way – should draw out details by following up with probing questions or asking other team members to add their two cents when appropriate.
- A team member eats said cookie, and often says “Yum!”
- Wash. Rinse. Repeat until all participants have taken part.
Q: What sorts of questions will your team find in the cookies?
- What was the most effective thing you did this Sprint, and why was it so successful?
- Does our current release plan reflect reality? Why or why not?
- What was our Team’s biggest impediment this Sprint?
- What was the most helpful thing the Scrum Master did this Sprint? Why was it helpful?
- What 3 things could the team do to help improve communication during Sprints?