"Retrospectives" is the way we call those meetings where we sit together at the end of a work period (Sprint) and reflect on how we worked and how we could improve it.

I am currently employed as a Scrum Master, which means I get to organize and moderate such meetings. Bored of doing "standard" retrospectives, I decided to try out something a bit different this time and organized a "tournament".

Retrospective Tournament

We asked the 10 participants to think for a while and write down the 3 most items / ideas / problems she thinks are the most important things that we learned or that happened in this sprint on cards. We intentionally remained very vague, hinting it could be good or bad, however the participants decide.

This done, the tournament can start. The rules of the games are simple:

  • Only one person from each team is allowed to negociate with the other team (this is easy at the begining, but becomes harder when the whole team is divided in two groups)
  • The games are timeboxed
  • At the end of a "game", 3 cards remain and 3 cards advance to the next round (I leave it up to you how you play handle the groups that could not decide in time)

You get the picture: rince and repeat until you get only 3 items left on the board ; those are your winners.

The output?

In the end, I'm very happy of how it went.

Short of time, I forced a vote on the group in the final round and ended up twice with a draw. We decided to keep both items making a total of 4 "winners".

Out of the 4 Cards that "won" the finals, I had foreseen only one of them. Whereas in our previous sprints I usually "knew" beforehand where the discussion would go. As if the limited discussion possibilities allowed some usually not-so-hot topics to bubble up.

Have you tried something like this before? If you try it, make sure to tell me how it went!