In every team, there have always been one or two people that are tight-lipped. It is not easy to get them talking and participating in team discussions. You need to rely on your facilitation skills to get them involved in. The more experienced you are in understanding different personalities and dealing with them, the easier it gets to engage them in team activities.
However, if you just started working with a new team or you are yourself a novice Scrum Master (or a facilitator in general) it might be hard to engage tight-lipped team members; the solution: Speed Dating Retrospective style!
In the following section, I am sharing with you the steps to run a successful Speed Dating Retrospective. Use this as a template and customize it based on your team.
- I asked everyone to come up with two topics, write them on sticky notes and keep it to themselves.
- Note: There is no mention of speed dating yet. You can keep it secret until later on and surprise your team!
- Note: In rare cases that both topics are on the wall, ask your team members to come up with a third topic. Alternatively you can ask them to choose one of the two topics in spite of being a duplicate. It is up to you to decide based on the topics and the dynamic of the team at that moment.
Once everyone has their topic on the wall, it is time to describe the rules. The rules are easy and simple to comprehend (extremely simple if you know the rules of speed dating):
- Ask everyone on the team to find a partner; to group teams of two (in case you have an odd number of team members, one team will be three).
- Ask team members to discuss their topics with their partner, one on one, as if they are dating. You will give them 10 minutes time, and let them know midway to switch. In the first half of 10 minutes, the first person is talking about his/her topic and why he/she picked it up; second person is listening and giving feedback on the first person’s topic. Then ask them to switch roles in the second half.
- Note: It is up to you to decide how much time is needed for a dating discussion. You can change the 10-minute dating time based on the time you have and the discussions complexity. As a rule of thumb, you want to allocate 1 hour for each week in a sprint.
- Intro – 5 Minutes
- Why retrospective?
- Three Words; everybody sums up the last sprint in 3 words
- Proud & Sorry – 15 Minutes
- What are team members proud or sorry about?
- Group Discussion – 50 Minutes
- Speed Dating (5 minutes and then switch partner)
- Action Items; Dot Voting – Start, Stop, Continue
- Feedback – 5 Minutes
- Feedback Door