There are a lot of retrospective exercises out there and most of them will achieve the same goal. But when it comes to find things to improve I have found this particular exercise a very good help. The result is often a good list of improvements, but I also like that it forces the team to suggest things that they should stop doing.
I call it Wheel of Five, but I first read about it at the retrospectivewiki.org, where it has a different name.
You will need
- Super Sticky ™ Post It’s
- A whiteboard or a flipchart
- A team
- 30-45 minutes
How it works
- Draw a circle on the whiteboard as pictured above with the titles: “Start doing, Stop doing, Do More, Do Less or Continue To Do”.
- Give the team around 5 minutes to reflect and write things they think the team needs to focus on. Examples: “Do More: Update test content on the CI environment“, “Stop doing: 2 hour meetings without breaks“, “Do less: drink bad coffee“. Also ask them to write the which type their Post-It belongs to.
- Let each team member present their post it’s with a motivation. Try to be brief and not too repetitive, you want to have time for some discussion at the end. Try to let the team place their notes together with similar notes from other team members if possible.
- Let a 2-3 team members organize the tasks into logical groups. This is why it’s good to have the notes marked, some team members will add an improvement to “Start Doing” and someone else on ” Do More”. Examples of areas or groups of tasks could be: “Build environment“, “Meeting culture“, “Working environment“.
- Now, let each team member Dot Vote on an area.
- Discuss and agree on improvements for as many areas as you have time for. (Usually one or two). Also if there are some minor improvements from the other areas, assign tasks to team members if possible.
- Collect Post-Its and let the team be able to access a written version of the retro afterwards.
That’s it, good luck!