ResourcesSprint Retrospective Ideas

Draw Your Sprint

Time to bring out your teams’ inner artist. ‘Draw your sprint’ engages the right brain thinkers and will surface thoughts and feelings in a fresh, creative and visual way. You’ll be asking the team to draw their previous sprint (or chunk of time) and share with the group, sparking plenty of discussion and contrasting viewpoints.

‘Draw your sprint’ works particularly well when you have quieter members of the team that may be less vocal in group settings. It allows them the chance to reflect internally and get those thoughts down before sharing with the team, which can be really powerful for truly understanding their position.

The ‘object’ to be drawn can be mixed up – for this example we will ask the team to draw a car, but this would also work with airplanes, houses, pets, cocktails, holiday destinations or whatever your mind can think up.

And remember – this retrospective works just as well with remote teams!

Timing & Tools Required

  • 60-90 minutes depending on team size
  • A4 sheet of paper for each member of the team
  • Flipchart or whiteboard
  • Flipchart markers and/or drywipe pens
  • Pens for each of your team

Method

  1. Hand out the stationary so that every member of the team has their own pen and paper. If the group is working remotely, simply ask the group to grab their own stationary. Ask them to spend 5 minutes drawing a car (or object of your choice) that represents the previous sprint (or period of time in question). You may want to provide extra colours or materials to stimulate interesting drawings. Encourage creativity!

  2. Once the drawing time has expired, ask the team to take it in turns to share their drawing with the group.

    Be inquisitive and ask questions – their will be a story behind the details so be sure to encourage discussion. You may want to use a flipchart or whiteboard to jot down some common themes that crop up.


  3. Once everyone has shared their individual drawings, ask the team to collaborate on one large drawing of what the team’s perfect car would look like.

    You may want to suggest that they spend 10 minutes discussing attributes to be included first, but make sure everyone contributes physically to the drawing in some way.

    If you’re doing this retrospective remotely, you could ask the team to agree which elements of the car should be included and ask if one brave volunteer can draw ‘the team car’ on behalf of the group.


  4. Once the drawing is complete, ask the team to talk through the elements of the perfect car and why it has the features it does.

    Finally, ask the team what it would take to get from their current vehicles to the perfect vehicle that they’ve drawn together.

Challenging Questions

Asking questions may be helpful to get the team to unpack some of the more complex issues that have been raised, or they may be directed at members of the group who’ve had less of a chance to speak. Here are some easy examples:

“What is the real issue here?”
Great for getting straight to the root of a discussion, especially if the team are going round in circles over a theme.

“Is there anything else here that we haven’t covered?”
Helps make sure everyone has contributed. Also good for moving a repetitive conversation along.

“What advice would you give to another team in this situation?”
Enables the team to step out of the picture and look in with a fresh perspective. Helps draw out positive learnings.

“Has anyone got a different view on this?”
Gives those who maybe don’t agree with the current conversation an opportunity to speak up.

“Is there anyone who hasn’t spoken on this theme yet that would like to contribute?”
Offers an opportunity for the quieter members of the team to speak.

Takeaways

Getting ‘actions’ from a sprint retrospective shouldn’t be the goal, but learnings should crop up quite naturally. Once the teams’ perfect car has been drawn and discussed, you could ask:

“What would we need to do within this team that would take us from where we are currently, to the perfect car scenario we’ve drawn together?”

This is a great way to draw the conversation to a positive conclusion and it may naturally provoke a handful of ‘actions’ for the team to takeaway.

It’s helpful to separate ‘internal’ actions from ‘external’ actions – the best thing we can do is take ownership of that which we can control, so try and focus on what is within the teams’ control.

It’s important that you let the team come up with their ‘actions’ and take responsibility for them. A great coach brings awareness and prompts responsibility; this way, the team will feel like they own their actions and are far more likely to follow through.

Ben Lyon

Ben brought the Agile Avengers together after realising that Scrum Masters need super resources to power their teams. Working across start-ups and corporates, Ben's developed Scrum expertise beyond his years that he now wants to make available to others.

Ben believes that the millennial workforce will increasingly desire an Agile workplace, where teams truly have autonomy and purpose in what they do. He wants to ensure the teams of tomorrow are empowered to be the best they can be.

SUPERPOWERS | Empowering people. Turning ideas into reality. Eating eggs.
KRYPTONITE | Wanting to learn everything. Limitations. Cleaning kanban cards.

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