With this post I share with you my experience with an extraordinary retrospective format I tried the first time this week – the
It’s based on the amazing work by Scott M. Peck about community building and the extended format created by the Tempelhof community.
Major aspects used in this process are –
SILENCE * THINKING * FOCUS * GROUP CONNECTION * UN-SPEED * LOW STRUCTURE
In opposition to many existing less or more similar retrospective exercises this one is a real changer and creates completely new experiences in a team.
It works this way
Create a circle with chair so that everyone can see each other.
Before starting the exercise inform the group about the following communication recommendations to consider during the session.
- Start with your name before speaking
- Express yourself in the I perspective
- Talk about yourself and your current experience
- Be present and engaged – don’t leave the round
- Include – avoid exclusion
- Express criticism in the circle and not outside
- Be responsible for your personal success – make the most out of this session
- Be involved with words or without – be present emotionally
- Respect absolute privacy
- Discover the value of silence in the community
- Take a risk
- Listen to your inner voice – talk if you think you have to, don’t talk if not
- Be to the point
- No questions, no advices
- Be in time for every session
- No alcohol during a session
Please ensure, that everyone understands the recommendations and all questions are clarified.
Now – place two speaking tokens in the middle – one soft and one raw to hold. If someone want’s to say something she needs to grab a token.
This way you ensure that only one person is talking at one time.
Enough preparation – let’s start.
Everyone takes a seat and the group starts the session. You facilitate by just watching the group and help them following the communication recommendation.
It really feels strange in the beginning – silence for some minutes, no one is talking and all are waiting for the first input by someone.
Completely different to the high frequency communication we usually apply. Thats exactly the value of this exercise. Silence and focus and just spoken words when an impulse is given.
Resist the temptation to interfere to early. Let the conversation or silence flow. You will be amazed about the input and connections between different lines of input.
Some recommendations for a 90 minutes retrospective format
Start the retro with an opener and information gathering to create some common picture and indirect input for the WE PROCESS. I used a timeline and short mapping of 3 things everyone remembered from the last iteration. Combined with a happiness question (scale 1-5) it’s a fast to gather input.
It needs around 15′
You need around 10′ to explain the exercise and answer some questions about it.
I used 50′ for the exercise – and believe me – 50′ is for the beginning enough time as it’s challenging to be involved and follow the communication pattern.
I concluded with 15′ wrap up about observations and learnings from the session. Try to extract on key takeaway from the retrospective to follow up during the next iteration.
Prepare some driving input just in case the group will not come along and you need to create some momentum.
Why it works
It’s changing the default communication pattern and creates a disruptive moment.
Silence feels strange and you can watch a raising discomfort in the group the longer the silence period lasts. Someone will start breaking the silence and others will follow.
Through the serialized speaking and indirect communication discussions don’t hunt one another. It’s much more time for inner reflection and focussed communication.
Listening and thinking instead of immediate answering occurs forced by the method.
Everyones engagement level is driven by everyones energy level – some just observe others and learn a lot about the group and insights by others. And it’s just fine if someone just listens.
I can highly recommend using this method.
I wish you a great experience and would be glad if you share your insights via your comment.