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Fun and Engaging Retrospective Ideas

Stacey Ackerman

Have your retrospectives gotten boring? Are you having trouble getting people to participate? Do your retros feel like just one more dreaded meeting?

Our community members recently shared their favorite ways they keep their retros fun and engaging.

Create a Face

A member in Asia has a fun and creative team building retrospective that involves drawing a picture.

They begin by having each team member write his/her name on a piece of paper. Then, each person passes the paper to the person on their right and they add the eyes. The papers are passed again and each person adds the mouth. And so on until the face is done and every one has touched the drawing.

This method is fun, everyone can contribute without having to talk (great for quieter team members) and it builds up the team.

He says everyone laughs and enjoys the process!

After this activity, they get into discussing the sprint and everyone is open and engaged.

Inspect the Burn-up Chart

Another idea from an AMC member is to inspect the burn-up chart as a retro activity. He suggests looking at the working hours on tasks and looking at the difference between the planned work and what the team actually got done.

With these data points, the team can now discover the root cause of the difference and work out the solution and action points.

Anonymous Notecards

Ask every team member to write on notecards what went well, what can be better and new ideas. Ask each team member to write a minimum of two cards for each category. This retro helps everyone contribute anonymously!

Next, post the cards on the whiteboard and read aloud. The team should then discuss each of the ‘what can be better’ and ‘new ideas’ and work out solutions and action plans. The team then tracks their progress on an information radar.

Write a Thank You Note

This retro helps the teams with gratitude. Have every team member write a thank you note to another team member about something they are thankful for from that person during the last sprint.

The thank you notes should be really specific about a team members’ contribution. It might be helpful to tell team members ahead of time about this retrospective so they can focus on being helpful to other team members and noticing the actions of others.

The thank you cards are then read out in public, which helps build team morale.

Team Satisfaction Survey

To hold a team satisfaction survey, have every team member score their satisfaction on how the team did last sprint by giving it a 1 to 10 score.

Next, have every team member share their reason behind the score. This gives everyone an opportunity to be heard in a safe and non-judgmental way.

The Fairy Godmother Question

Another AMC member asks his team, “If a fairy godmother gave you one wish to fix anything you wanted at work, what would you wish for, and how would you know it’s been granted? What would it look like?”

Next, ask for a volunteer to tell the group their wish. Then discuss with the team what it would look like if it came true.

The Sphere of Influence

Another member added that the Sphere of Influence retro has worked well for his team.

During this retro, team members identify things they’d like to see improve. They then map each item into one of three categories: something we control, something we can influence, and something we cannot control. It brings a lot of great discussions and perspective around influence and changing culture.

For more great retrospective ideas, join the Agile Mentors Community. Visit for more information on membership.

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