During one of the retrospectives, I asked the team to write a postcard to one of our ex-team members. Amer left the team to pursue new endeavours in Montreal. I thought this would be a great opportunity to write him back and send him some postcards. Having that in mind, I asked him to write the team in the first place. I presented his letter to the team and asked them to write back. I didn’t specify the context on which to write back to him. Whoever needed clarification on what to write back, I suggested talking about what have changed from the time he left and what they are missing about him. You can see the presentation I put together for the team below, I called it Travel Sprint.
This is all the postcards the team wrote back to Amer.
What was good about this type of retrospective?
This would be a good exercise for the setting the stage and gathering info section of the retrospective. Great conversations can be started based on what the team members are writing on the cards. You just need to direct the conversation into generating action items.
This exercise will also unintentionally bring up the concept of “not being a resource” in each team member’s mind. We are talking about a specific person with specific characteristics. You can expect different personal aspects to be talked about.
This exercise will give you a good understanding of how different your team members are. You can put all the postcards on a table and ask them what do they see. Also, it helps them with understanding each other’s different perspectives.
As you can see through the rest of the slides, I ran the expectations exercise and the four Qs building on top of the postcard exercise. Finally closed the retrospective with the dot voting on action items.
PS: Please be more pro-active running this exercise. Try to use coloured markers and some stickies to make it more fun. I didn’t have time to grab all those and just did it with plain papers and sharpies, hence the quality :-(.