‘Eye Of The Tiger’–Using Metaphors For Retrospectives

I have been at the Scrum Gathering Berlin over the last few days and I had a really good time. Not just is it a great place to learn and float new ideas, but it’s also an opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones. If you have not had the opportunity to attend a Scrum Gathering on your journey to date, I really recommend it. 

My good friend Mark Summers and I were selected to host one of the sessions. Retrospectives are a passion for both Mark and I in terms of running creative ones and using the best facilitation techniques to really get the group flowing and the learning’s aired.

So we ran a session called ‘Building Metaphors for Retrospectives’

The session was an opportunity to show off some of the creativity from Mark and I, but also to get the audience to create their own. Once we created a new metaphor, we got the audience to run a retrospective on retrospectives to have an opportunity to share best practice, learning’s, tools and techniques.

The session was positively received and we got some great instant feedback.  A few of these you would have seen from some of my earlier blogs, but always worth sharing again to get your inspiration juices flowing.

1) The Boat Retrospective

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2) The ‘Top Gun’ Retrospective. Based on my love of 80’s films and Tom Cruise (At the time!)

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3) Mountaineering Retrospective – Created at the request of one of my clients. I now give them sometimes a choice and I will create based on the teams interests.

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4) The ‘Rocky 4’ Retrospective. This is my latest one and has been very popular with my clients. I always look for films with motivational sound tracks as I love to play the music to the teams. I find that music drives them and we have fun.

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5) ‘Nothings going to stop us now’ Retrospective. As a challenge on the day we proved that you could even use music songs for a basis. We challenged Benjamin Cooke to create one around Marks favourite song. Considering he spent 15 minutes on it, we had so much innovation and ideas.  We made him listen to the song at least ten times while creating it and Mark was doing his dad dancing around the room Smile

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So now we have some of the Scrum Berlin groups output. Thank you to everyone at the gathering who helped to produce these.

1) Up – I love this idea and won the prize for the best metaphor. A great film and so many items you can relate to a team.  Eliminating waste by releasing the balloons and not forgetting the cone of shame Smile

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2) Driving – Simple yet effective. I quite often one similar to this with Kanban teams.

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3) The Zoo – The spidery looking thing is a peacock.  I thought this was great because it made the team laugh and got us talking as a group. You don’t have to be a great artist and having a giggle can actually break the ice!

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4) Travel – Watch out for those Sharks

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So as promised some really great ideas out there.

Final Thoughts

I recognise that metaphors are not for everyone and some teams respond to them better than others, but as ScrumMasters we have a duty to continually drive improvement. Nothing worse than a scrummie running the same retro over and over again. The retrospective is a key meeting and there for a purpose and so we need to be creative in keeping it fresh and bringing out the important points.

So I challenge to you to think about the quality of your retrospectives and how you could facilitate them better.

A few other photos for your pleasure

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