This Retrospective is perfect for teams just starting out and those experienced with Agile/ Scrum as well as everyone in between. It is a great time to share some Christmas/Holiday themed snacks (here is a great board of ideas), and take stock of the past year while also looking ahead to next year with hope and optimism. It is great for teams that could benefit from a boost in morale and/or direction as well as a quick goal setting lesson which helps them better see the connection between breaking down stories in Backlog Refinement and their personal/professional goals.

We start with sharing the focus with the team which is, to look back at the year, specifically looking at how it has been for the team/ Scrum/ the organization and the organization’s Agile transformation.

For a simple ice breaker Check-in to get everyone talking, and switch gears to the Retrospective (a free ebook is coming soon for elaboration on why that is so important as well as much more information on facilitation techniques) ask everyone to share their favorite part of Christmas time and their least favorite part of Christmas time – regardless of if you “celebrate”. (I’d LOVE to hear from those of you in other countries that don’t have Christmas and if there is an alternative commercial holiday/ what it is like).

To dig into our Focus ask everyone to take at least two Post-it notes and jot down their personal answers to the following questions;

  • Christmas Past – please write one regret from the past year on a post-it note
  • Christmas Present – please write down some things you appreciate about your team, job, processes, tools, and or organization and share them with everyone.
  • Christmas Future – please write out at least one goal you have for the next year that you are comfortable sharing with the team.

GOAL: To discuss, commiserate, and cheer each other onward!

Energizer – Goal setting

In order to really help your team as a Scrum Master and coach – help teach them the tools to help themselves AND give them opportunities to practice! So ask everyone if they have a plan – like an Action Item plan – to achieve their goal they just identified. For those that do, hear them and ask the team to determine if it is SMART enough. For those that don’t, help them to create it themselves by using these steps.

  1. Ask them to look at the overall goal and measure where it is on the spectrum of doable versus snowball’s chance in hell goals and determine where their goal is on the spectrum. There is no right or wrong answer here just good info to have moving forward. Part of success in reaching your goals is setting goals that stretch just enough but are still reasonably possibly attainable. Just look at this for a quick reminder on how important closing your goal is.
  2. Next, ask them to determine if they can map out all or most of how to achieve the goal and it is just a matter of doing it like I want to learn how bake a pie or if it is more complex and requires many unknowns like I want to be a rock star and go on a national tour.
  3. Lastly, ask them if you need to break down the goal more to be able to identify steps toward achieving it? If yes, go ahead and break it down more now, we’ll take a couple minutes to do that. If not, then look at what what holding you back from mapping out at least 1-3 steps toward starting to achieve it? If they are still stumped work with them and with the team to help them identify the block to moving forward at all. The goal is for everyone to have come up with their own actionable step towards achieving their goal by the end of the exercise.

To gather feedback we look at the following 4 quadrants;

  • Santa’s Sleigh – what is in Santas sleigh for the team? If you could get anything to improve things for the team what would you want from Santa?
  • Under the Tree – If you could fine anything under the tree Christmas morning to make your life/ job better what would you ask for?
  • Lump of Coal – what is like a lump of coal for you and/or the team? Is there anything you thought would be a nice present but turned out to be a lump of coal last year?
  • Thank you note to Santa – what are you grateful/ thankful/ for from this past Sprint/ year?

As a team, review the feedback, inspect, and adapt by creating a meaningful Action Item. To finish the Retrospective on a high note we play a quick round of Rollick with Christmas themed ideas to act out and guess.

If you would like the entire Retrospective with step-by-step guide and facilitation notes just click here scroll down and request the PDF! Don’t forget these delicious Christmas themed snacks you can find here or easily create a board for your region/ Holidays.

How did this Retrospective go for you and your team, did you create some memories, learn something new by looking back at the past year for yourself and the rest of the team, identify and create a goal, and identify areas to improve and create a meaningful Action Item for the team? I hope so – that is the ultimate goal 🙂

Please be sure to share pics and feedback below on how this retrospective went for your team and any questions you may have. We all get better by working together and building upon what others start so please feel free to adapt this to your team and needs and share 😉