Friday, 13 March 2015

Retrospective: Island Voyage

The concept behind this is to encourage the team to replay their sprint and discover key parts of their journey. The linear voyage you take the team on means we focus on the whole sprint rather than just remembering the final few days, which might not be the best to refer to.

You start with drawing an island in the top right of the board. This is the destination and represents what we delivered. Mine has palm trees and a tiki bar - it is a lovely place to be :) You can have fun with the name, mine was 'Delivery Island' which is a bit boring.

You start the retro by asking, which kind of vessel represented this sprint as the icebreaker. You draw this in the bottom left hand corner of the board. You can play with the speed of the boat, how large it was, was everyone on board, did we have space space for more stories, what kind of motor did it have, was everything ship shape - you get the idea. Naming the boat is a nice touch.

You can then spread out the visual cue cards for the team to see. These help them explain events or things they noticed on their journey to the island in the boat they described. I usually give a description of what they are too as this gets peoples creative side kick started.

If it was a not a clean sprint, you can ask the team where they got to. Was it close to the island? One of my teams decided they got to 'Acceptance Bay' but never made it the island itself. Maybe it went terribly and they ran out of fuel halfway?

Encourage them to use the cards as cues to describe their journey to the island, these can represent things we saw, things we avoided or things we did e.g.

  • did we avoid any big storms or did bad weather push us off course (hurricane)
  • did we know where were going (compass)
  • was our time kidnapped or did we have to go out of our way to avoid being kidnapped (pirates)
  • is there blood in the water or do we need to be cautious (sharks)
  • did we see anything amazing (sunset)
  • did anything distract us (dolphins)
  • was there somewhere we would have preferred to be (desert island)
  • was there the threat of destruction (sea monster)
  • what held us back or what stopped us from floating away (anchor)
  • what could sink us or what did we manage to avoid (whirlpool)
  • did we have anyone overboard (man overboard)
  • where we all alone or did we loose our way (dead calm)

The cue cards mean the team don't have to draw anything but if you have a creative bunch, ditch those immediately! If they cannot see a picture that represented what they wanted then they can draw anything they like. You can find pictures easily on Google - I would watch out for mermaids though, they tend to be NSFW (you have been warned).

During the journey you can experiment with detours - you can ask "did we have to go that way?", "Was this the scenic route - was there a more direct way?". You can also explore short cuts - these represent a better way of doing things based on what you know now - "Can you see a faster way of getting from here to here?". Maybe you the team got lost? If so, how did they get their bearings again?

The journey path can meander and double back on itself if the team had problems. It can suddenly go straight if there was a breakthrough. You can go around features if you avoided them (The Hurricane of Support) or show the path going through them (The Whirlpool of Broken Builds) if it was a rough time. You can stop off at places if you had slow progress and show the paths of other obstacles that you crossed which maybe hindered or halted your progress.

The linear nature of the journey lends itself to story telling and the nautical metaphor is pretty easy to grasp. By telling the story of the sprint, you often cover things that we might have forgotten about otherwise.

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