Setting the stage is essential to every retrospective. We don’t want team members to pounce on post-its to write good things and bad things as robots (if people start doing this before you had a chance to say something, it’s a sign that your retrospectives needs some serious fresh air! it is maybe time to try a new and funny exercise).
A common activity to introduce the agile retrospective is Check-in Activity. It is generaly a simple question asked to the team. It helps breaking the ice, it gives the opportunity to everyone to say a word (or two), it encourages people to talk before the big stuff.
A question I like to ask as check-in activity is: Why do we do retrospectives?
Just give it a try! You will be surprised by the answers.
I got some answers like:
- “because we have to, that what Scrum says”
- “I don’t know, I’ve just been invited in this meeting”
- “to romp!”
- “to improve" (thanks to this one!)
Anyway, it is a good way to know the state of mind of your team members (explorer, shopper, vacationer, prisoner), and it’s a good opportunity to remind the principles of an agile retrospective.
So if you ever try this activity, please share with us the answers you gather!