Or any goal that sets up an expectation for positive outcomes.
examples, The goal for today’s retrospective is building on our best uses of engineering practices and methods., We’re going to seek out our highest quality working relationships and find ways to expand on them., In this session, we’ll discover where we added the most value during our last iteration and plan for increasing the value we add during the next iteration., During this retrospective, we’ll find ways to amplify our strengths in process and teamwork.
examples, ”Tell us a story about a time this week when you felt particularly energized by our work.”, “What did you value most about the work we’ve done together?”, “In what ways did this iteration (release or project) make a unique contribution?” or “What metaphor describes this iteration (release or project) best?”, "What did you value most about your contributions this week?”, (No false modesty allowed. This isn’t bragging or boasting, it’s important data for the team.)
Keep track of these answers for later. The team will use the responses along with ideas from the next phase to help determine which actions they want to take.
such as, Imagine we could time travel to the end of the next release. When we arrive there and converse with our future selves, we hear that it was the most productive, most satisfying effort we’ve ever worked on. What do you see and hear in that future time?”
This is similar to the previous exercise but needs more creativity. Have the team time travel to the end of the next iteration. Imagine what their successes, strengths and events would be in the not so far future. What would they achieve if they keep doing the best they can? Write these on the same coloured post-its as the previous exercise and stick them up on another part of the board.
Get the team to the board. Group the different post-its. It is ok to mix up the post-its. Look for common groups and themes, pull these out. Group them into their own sections on the board and circle and label them.
Have the team think about what groups/themes they want to sustain. Each member has two votes. Pick two groups with the most votes
“Which ideas and actions build on our successes, meet the situational (or customer) needs, and tap our greatest energy?”
“What are we best positioned to try next?”
“What do we really want to try (or sustain)?”
When we came to an end, I thanked everyone for the nice experience, and asked for feedback in kind of an informal "Plus/Delta" (again an exercise from "Agile Retrospectives"). I just wish I had written down the suggestions I got. :(
I invited the team members to offer appreciations, in the form they already knew from a Temperature Reading we had done earlier that year: "[name], I appreciate you for ..." As always, things started slowly, but then we got quite some appreciations, which was nice.
Now we put the already played cards in the middle of the group (most of us were actually sitting on the floor or on the sofa), and the players started to reveal the cards they hadn't played yet, saying a few words while doing so and answering questions when things were not clear. When all cards where laid open, a discussion started on what patterns were observed and how people felt about it. This part had a quite nice atmosphere, with everybody being involved and interested in listening to the views of the others. Facilitating this was a breeze. :) And I think it did a great job at getting mutual understanding on how we felt about the changes we did, and the future we hoped for. When the discussion slowed down, it was time for
From earlier games of Like To Like, we already had quite a bunch of colored index cards with adjectives written on it. So for this time, I only had to select a couple of cards which I thought had at least a potentially positive connotation. (Normally, when not playing the appreciative version, you will want to have a balanced mix of positive and negative adjectives.)
Everyone got six index cards and a big marker. Then, in succession, I asked them to write each two cards for the top things - we had already done before last month - we had changed in the last month - we could change in the next month to make it an even better month (For that last part, I actually asked them to imagine that we were at the end of the next month, that it had been an even better month, and to write down the top two things we had changed for that to happen. I'm feared by my team for this kind of question... ;)
After presenting the goal and the agenda, I asked everyone to imagine that he or she would give a personal party to celebrate the accomplishments of the month. In round robin fashion, they should state in one or two words what theme or motto the party would have. Although our group is always a little bit shy about these kinds of exercises, I think it did a good job on getting everyone involved and setting the mood for an appreciative session.