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FC Scrum retro

(Anders dan de rest van de website content zijn de retrospectives in het Engels, omdat ze ook gepubliceerd zijn als Pulse op LinkedIn)

Think out retrospectives that suit your team

After the umpteenth retrospective with the ‘sailboat’ or ‘starfish’, not only your team but also you as a scrum master might get… well… a little bored. In this blog I will not talk about the effects of endless repetition of the same retrospectives in Scrumland – there’s a solution to that which I’ll come back to later. But I would like to state the point that retrospectives often are not appropriate because of the nature of your team members.

To put it simply: not everyone has a passion for sailing and not everyone loves sea creatures. So why not skip the sailboat and starfish altogether and think of an exercise around the real interests of your team members? To illustrate the effect of this approach, I’ll use a recent example from my own Scrum master experience…

The team I coach at the moment consists mainly of young men who like both playing and watching soccer. They have there own soccer ‘pool’ in which results of the weekend competition are predicted, bets are placed and matches are discussed. That’s why I thought out a retrospective around the soccer game. I called it ‘FC scrum’.

Needed

  • Large flip-over or (preferably) a whiteboard
  • Some coloured markers
  • Magnets with the name of each scrum team member (including PO and SM)…
  • … or just use sticky notes

Preparation

  • Draw a soccer field, complete with centre line, two goals, sixteen-meter area and dug-outs. Draw an arrow from the left (goal) to the right with ‘we’ and and arrow from the goal at the right hand to the left with ‘opponent’.
  • In the field draw a circle with CAP (for: team captain) and REF (referee) and outside the field a COA (coach) and LJ (line judge). And a wide space with SUP’s (supporters). And don’t forget SPO (the sponsor) and SCO (talent scout). You might think of additional roles of course.

STEP 1. Gameplay 1 (10 minutes)

  • Let the team members place each team member – one by one on a post-it or magnet – in the spot that best represents the current situation. When opinions differ, let them discuss it until consensus is achieved. Let the team members sort out for themselves how to manage this proces and silently watch the team dynamics unfold.
  • Now let the team place all surrounding persons on the board in their current role (business owner, sponsor, management, external specialists and so on).
  • When the whole playing field is clear, ask one team member to present and explain the final playing field.

STEP 2. Gameplay 2 (5 minutes)

  • Now ask the team what the goal of the team is? To stick with the soccer analogy this might be something like: ‘Win with maximum amount of goals’, ‘give the sponsor maximum exposure’ or ‘give the audience (customer) the best experience’.
  • In the next step let them think out what should change in the playing field to realize the goal and get more out of the next sprint(s). Who should move his of her position in or outside the field? Is there someone missing in FC Scrum?
  • When the desired playing field is ready, ask one team member to present and explain it.

STEP 3. What is needed?  (10 minutes)

Now ask the team to write down ideas to achieve this future playing field. It’s nice to stick with the (in this case) soccer analogy. In this case I divided the ideas for improvement in ‘training’, ‘coaching’ and ‘facilities’. My team consists of similarly outspoken members, but you might want to use 1-2-4-all or similar technique if some team members tend to be overshadowed.

STEP 4. Completion and conclusion (5 minutes)

Finally, discuss each single idea and prioritize the three most important ánd realizable items. Make clear that you as scrum master will organize the follow-up. Needless to say you’ll be the one who handles possible impediments.

Final thoughts

Note that this is just an example of how to wrap the retro around your team’s interest. You might want to shape it in a form that fits your specific team, like a tennis court, curling track or even a bridge table. Be creative.

And remember: it is all about insights. You don’t want to force a conclusion upon the team. If the future playing field does not differ from the current one or if there are no concrete actions to pick up, it’s all right. As long as you got the team thinking about it.

Scrum you later!

Gerjon Zomer

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Scrum ze!

Gerjon Zomer