Having hosted retrospective workshops and learned through many retrospective facilitations in various teams and environments I would like to start sharing some complete retrospective formats and provide comments what worked and what maybe did not work.

Introduction
How
A brief overview on the agenda
Time
2′
Total Time
2′
Set the stage
Exercise
Team Happiness (see Crisp’s DNA Happiness Index)
How
Everyone writes her name on a sticky note and all add it to the smily wall
Why
Gather happiness in the team and track it over a longer time.
Check for topics to address a dropping happiness.
Preparation
Smilies and put in on the wall.
If you ask for more dimensions, a Flipchart providing an orientation
Objections
Works fast and provides and important overview, about the current mood in the team.
If there a various dimensions like team and company, you can also ask for writing 2 stickies and add it to a happiness table using 2 columns
Time
3′
Total Time
5′
Example
Set the stage (2) – SPECIAL PART
Exercise
Name writing – The bad influence of multitasking (check the longer version by Crisp too)
How
Roles in your group: 1 developer, n customers
2 rounds – 1st – all customer ask the developer to write their names – starting with first letter all customers, followed by the next letter. It’s done when all names are written by the developer.
Customers measure the time until their name is written completely.
2nd round – every customer gets her name written letter by letter but completely by the developer. After the first complete name, it’s the next customer’s turn.
Again – customers measure the time.
Compare the time differences and let the group reflect their observation and learnings.
Note it down on a flipchart
Why
Show the negative impact of multitasking by using a gamification approach
Preparation
A short game description on a flipchart
Flipchart for time recording
Moderation cards/Paper for every name to be written.
Objections
WA great exercise when you think/know that the team is taking to much work in parallel or has heavy context switching necessities.
It’s just amazing to see that in round 2 all names (customer values) get delivered faster than one name in the first round (usually)
Teams like that game as it’s an eye opener.
Time
Intro 2’
Round 1 – 2’
Round 2 – 2’
Reflection 4’
10′
Total Time
15′
Impressions


Gather Data
Exercise
How
Ask the team to build groups of 3-4 members and ask every group to draw the team together. You can add the task to embed their remembering from the previous iteration/sprint (in whatever way).
When drawing time finished asked the groups to present their pictures together. Let the groups interact and answer questions together.
Why
To share perspectives of teammates about the team. Get the team together. Have fun. Open other expression channels
Preparation
A short visible description of the exercise
Various sorts of pens … colored … big/small/thin/thick
Flipchart paper
Painting space (walls, tables)
Objections
What a great exercise. You can watch group dynamics, everyones learns about the perspectives of other team mates
Time
Drawing 2’
Reflection – 10’
35′
Total Time
50′
Examples
This would not be in line with the Las Vegas rule 😉
Generate Insights (1)
Exercise
Super (What went well?)
How
Add a sticky note labeled SUPER on the wall surrounded with some free space.
Ask the team – based on their pictures, happiness and impressions from their previous iteration – what was SUPER.
Collect every main point by writing it on a sticky note and adding it on the wall.
Ask for more explanation why it was SUPER and add explanation notes around this point.
Why
We should remember the great points and achievements and make it highly visible in the team.
By centrally taking notes and you slow down the discussions and use the time to let things evolve.
Preparation
Just have sticky notes with you
Objections
Used it several times and it’s really interesting to see the difference between this way and just writing it on a Flipchart.
Time
7’
Total Time
57′
Example (Considering Las Vegas)
Generate Insights (2)
Exercise
What to improve?
How
Ask the team for topics for improvement. Collect all named topics on a flip chart. Add some notes what this topics is about.
Let the team include their previous impressions while drawing the picture, naming what goes SUPER, their current happiness, maybe learnings from the Name-game.
Have a dot voting showing the topic to discuss first (second,…). Just with the pens – don’t loose time with the small sticky dots 😉
Start the discussion on the topic by getting more insight on the problem domain. What is it really about.
Take notes on a flip chart. Mark things and connect it with arrows. Apply 5 times why paths where possible.
When you see action points, where a process adaption gets visible, or you spot an extension/change of your working agreements or a concrete to solve – add special marks (e.g. AP) on it.
Why
The visualization of the discussion is really important to get a common perspective on the problem under discussion.
Dot voting helps you to find the most important topics fast. You don’t have to discuss everything!
1-2 action points as a retrospective outcome is perfect.
Preparation
Flipchart paper
Pens for Dot Voting
Objections
Visualization of the discussion and a focused moderation is really important.
Whether you chose a root cause approach (e.g. 5 Whys) or a solution focused approach depends on the topic to discuss.
Time
Collect topics and dot voting 5’
Discussion – 20’
25′
Total Time
82′
Examples
Decide what to do
Exercise
Mark the conclusions
How
Mark the conclusions from the previous discussion e.g. by framing
Ask who’ll take the responsibility to solve it or organize a follow up
Check whether it’s to extend your working agreements (or definition of done/ready)
Why
Get concrete results from the generate insights phase
Objections
Extending the PDCA board or using the Active Learning Cycle board
is helpful in this section. Maybe something to start using in this team too 😉
Time
5’
Total Time
87′
Close
Exercise
Happiness Door
How
Ask the team to provide points that worked well and things that did not work that well.
Write it on sticky notes and
Ask everyone to put it on the Happiness door when leaving the room.
Why
Fast and anonymous way to provide feedback.
By explicitly opening the room to provide negative feedback too, people will present more even harsh feedback.
You can make picture out of it so everyone can learn and improve in the next retrospective.
Preparation
Add smilies 1 (happy)-5 (unhappy) on the door with some space between each state and around the sticky notes
Sticky notes and a pen for everyone.
Objections
Avoid the trap asking for improvements … this way the smilies don’t make sense any longer and people get confused.
Just ask for their feedback.
One really receives valuable input by the team.
Time
3’
Total Time
90′
Impressions

A summary

Based on the feedback the retrospective seemed to provide valuable insights and some fun parts too. 
Maybe it was a bit to much variation in it, but I’m quite sure some longer term learnings are resulting out of it. This time a huge list of what works SUPER. 
Not that much action points –  and just 2 findings, what the group can change in their teamwork.



Please share your opinion about this kind of experience sharing posts. Is it helpful for you and worth to continue describing full retrospective formats? 


Thanks for your comments, likes and shares to signal that you would like to get inspired by more descriptions.

Further investigations