Fun and Easy Retrospective Alternatives

GroupMap’s fun agile retrospectives. Creative and fun ways of running focussed and effective retrospective meetings with your team.

Why Run a Fun Agile Retrospective?

Running fun agile retrospectives can help inject fresh perspectives into your meetings. They can also help address bad habits or antipatterns.

Fun agile retrospectives still support your team’s continuous improvement journey as they come together to connect, reflect and improve. They continue to deliver the benefits of traditional retrospectives such as – 

  • Giving your team the space to safely engage in healthy dissent and shape next steps.
  • Empowering teams through collaboration to solve problems and own the process.
  • Regularly identifying and addressing any problems before they escalate.

Fun agile retrospectives also – 

  • Tap into your team’s creative side.
  • Help your team consider their sprint from a fresh perspective.
  • Inject an element of fun in your retrospective meeting.
  • Change the focus of the retrospective.

If you sense your team is not really engaging with their traditional retrospective or simply on ‘retro-autopilot’ then try one of these alternative agile retrospectives.

Our Fun and Easy Retrospectives

Our team has hand-picked our top four fun retrospectives to help your team reflect and improve. 

  • Starfish retrospective
    An action and behavior-based retrospective that improves the way the team works.
  • Anchors and engines retrospective
    For addressing velocity and progress based on what is driving and slowing down the team.
  • Sailboat retrospective
    A goal-oriented retrospective that helps steer your team in the right direction
  • Hot air balloon retrospective
    Take a higher-level view that also acknowledges the team.
Tips for effective agile retrospective 

What is a Starfish Retrospective? 

 

The starfish retrospective was designed by Patrick Kua. It offers a different lens through which a group may review their work. It helps them to think about the varying degrees of the value of their actions and efforts.

In other words, unlike more traditional retrospectives, the starfish retrospective goes beyond creating a list of what happened or didn’t happen. It invites a group to think about and assess the practices that generated value. In doing so, the group can decide which should receive more energy and which should receive less. This then informs the group’s next steps.

Given that the focus of the starfish retrospective is on ‘current practice’, it’s best run after a number of retrospectives have occurred. This gives the group a greater timeframe of activity for them to consider. The starfish retrospective focuses on five areas:

  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we stop doing?
  • What should we keep doing?
  • What should we do more of?
  • What should we do less of?

Why Do a Starfish Retrospective?

Using a starfish retrospective helps a group refine their actions for future sprints. With it, they can examine the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ they do. This could include how they work within the organization and the way they work together as a team. 

With this in mind, GroupMap’s starfish retrospective does more than support your team’s review of their last sprint. It helps you reinforce healthy workplace habits by empowering your team to pursue their own continuous improvement.

Starfish Retrospective Template

What is Anchors and Engines Retrospective?

The anchors and engines agile retrospective is the perfect tool to use when you want to review the velocity of a project. It aims to identify the things that are impacting your team’s productivity.

The anchors and engines retrospective is intentionally simple. The team can share what is slowing them down (anchors) and speeding them up (engines). This could include difficulties with sticking to the critical path, meeting agreed outputs, or delivering goals. GroupMap’s anchors and engines retrospective focuses on two areas:

  • Anchors
  • Engines

Why Do an Anchors and Engines Retrospective?

Using an anchors and engines agile retrospective helps teams shape the next steps with the end goal in full view. It is a great tool for teams who might be in the middle of the project and finding that their progress has not been what they would like it to be or where people have experienced frustrations. The anchors and engines retrospective allows you to identify barriers so they can be addressed.

Anchors and Engines Retrospective Templateanchors and engine template image

What is a Hot Air Balloon Retrospective?

The hot air balloon retrospective is a simple, creative take on traditional retrospectives. Like the agile and 4Ls retrospectives, the hot air balloon retrospective supports the continuous improvement of a product or program.

A hot air balloon is used as a metaphor to help identify specific elements of a team’s most recent work, sprint or iteration. Additionally, it recognizes and acknowledges the effort of team members. GroupMap’s hot air balloon retrospective focuses on three areas:

Why Do a Hot Air Balloon Retrospective?

Using a hot air balloon retrospective can change up your retrospective game. It helps you reinforce a positive working environment by inspiring your team to recognize the efforts of others and helps you understand what is lifting them up, and dragging them down. It helps to improve the morale of the workplace and the team. By knowing this, your role as the Scrum Master can help remove the weights that are dragging or slowing them down and find ways to lift them up. Examples of things that are keeping us down could be some unnecessary bureaucracy, waiting on approval that may have slipped through the cracks or lack of automated testing. Examples of what is making us fly could be great tooling, process quality or efficient decision making processes.

  • What is making us fly?
  • What is keeping us down?
  • Hugs and kudos

Hot Air Balloon Retrospective Template

hot-air-balloon-template-image

What is a Sailboat Retrospective?

The sailboat retrospective is a great way to reflect on the goals of a sprint while keeping risks in mind. The retrospective uses a sailboat as a metaphor and is a great way of addressing issues relating to a specific goal. 

The sailboat retrospective focuses on three areas:

  • Wind
  • Anchors
  • Rocks

The neat thing about this format is that it can be used both as a retrospective or futurespective mindset.

In a retrospective format, the team thinks about their goal for the current sprint. They share things that slowed them down (anchors), sped them up (wind), and hazards or issues along the way (rocks). This gives them a shared experience that helps them tackle the next sprint with more confidence.

In a futurespective format, the goal of the next sprint is shared. Then the team brainstorms the potential anchors, wind and rocks that might come up. They can then create actions associated with this.

Why Do a Sailboat Retrospective?

A sailboat retrospective is a useful futurespective exercise. It is a simple technique that could be used by agile teams of all levels of experience. It helps teams shape next steps that leverage drivers (wind), reduce hindrances (anchors), and navigate around risks (rocks).

Using the sailboat metaphor helps the team tap into their creative side. It encourages them to view their context differently. In doing so, they are encouraged to come up with different solutions to address any challenges.

A team can use the sailboat retrospective to capture the broad range of factors affecting their success. Together, they can clearly define the next steps they agree to follow to reach their goal as quickly as possible.

Like our other retrospectives, it supports forward planning while learning from the past. Importantly, the sailboat retrospective helps you to identify risks so they can be avoided or addressed.

Sailboat Retrospective Template

sailboat-template-image

Who Should Use a Fun Retrospective?

Agile software development teams were the first to use retrospectives. However, with agile practices now used across a number of industries, the fun agile retrospectives can be applied to almost any undertaking.

Our fun agile retrospectives are broadly used brainstorming tools. They could be used to support a team’s regular review of – 

  • a project
  • a process
  • a program 

that they wish to improve.

As such, fun agile retrospectives could be used by:

  • Scrum Masters
  • Iteration Managers
  • Innovation Officers
  • Team Leaders
  • Program Coordinators

Anyone overseeing a team who is looking to support their continuous improvement would benefit from their use.

How to Run a Fun Agile Retrospective

To make your retrospective fun, introduce the change of the format with energy and a reason as to why you are using an alternative agile retrospective format.  Introducing a theme, adding some background music or images or other novelty can certainly add a new dimension and energy to the meeting.

Because it might be a change from the standard agile retrospective, it would be worth a quick explanation of the angle of the retrospective and the new format.

In the case of remote and distributed teams, it can be difficult to get everyone together in the same room at the same time. Delivering the retrospective online is the ideal way of engaging all team members. Screen sharing software, video conferencing, and online collaboration tools such as GroupMap allow facilitators to deliver inclusive retrospectives. 

How to Use a Fun Template to Run a Better Retrospective

Brainstorm

Discuss and populate each section of the agile retrospective template.

Group

Discuss and group any common themes.

Vote

Vote on the key ideas you wish to action.

Action Plan

Identify actions for each priority idea. Assign responsibility and timeframes to a group or individual.

Share

Share the outcomes of the session, including the action plan, to relevant stakeholders.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.

The ESVP Agile Retrospective Check In

GroupMap’s ESVP template. An easy and simple way to help set the stage for your retrospective or team meeting.

What is an ESVP? 

ESVP is an exercise created by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. Its goal is to help set the stage for a retrospective.

The ESVP was designed to engage and focus on those involved in the retrospective. At the same time, it gained insight into the participants’ attitudes towards the agile retrospective meeting itself.

While it’s still a popular way to kick off a retrospective, ESVPs are now used more widely. They can be icebreakers used to warm up any type of meeting or collaborative session. They can also be used at any point during a session as a temperature check.

ESVP stands for ‘Explorers, Shoppers, Vacationers and Prisoners’. Participants are invited to indicate the persona with whom they most relate at that point in time.

An ESVP focuses on four areas:

  • Explorer – Will dive in and discover new things.
  • Shopper – Will see what can be procured.
  • Vacationer – Will relax and switch off.
  • Prisoner – Does not want to be there.

Terms that are used by some groups may not be used by others. That’s why all of GroupMap’s templates are customisable. You could, for example, change ‘Vacationer’ to ‘Observer’ if you feel that word better suits your group.

Why Do an ESVP?

Using an ESVP at the start of your meeting can give everyone insight into the current motivations of the group. This means you’ll get more out of your meeting because you can see the attitudes and expectations of the people there. An ESVP check in exercise helps to create tiny yet powerful threads of connection between meeting participants. These connections help sow the seeds of collaboration. 

Setting the stage with an ESVP can also help a facilitator gauge the attitudes of the people in the room. This lets the facilitator shape their next steps and helps everyone make the most of their meeting time.

You can use it to:

  • Softly launch your meeting
  • Easily gauge the ‘vibe’ of the group
  • Decide on how you want to approach the retrospective meeting

Who Should Use an ESVP?

The ESVP is an insightful tool and can be used by:

  • Scrum Masters
  • Iteration Managers
  • Coordinators
  • Team Leaders
  • Teachers
  • Trainers
  • Facilitators

In a nutshell, people who are working with groups in order to deliver outcomes would benefit from adding an EVSP to their toolkit.

Tips for an effective ESVP

ESVP Template

Explorer

Will dive in and discover new things.

  • Eager to examine possibilities
  • Positive attitude and high energy
  • Motivated by the chance to learn and open to where that may head

Shopper

Will see what can be procured.

  • Happy to consider the possibilities
  • Reasonably positive attitude and medium energy
  • Motivated by chance of finding something of benefit

Vacationer

Will relax and switch off.

  • Indifferent to possibilities
  • Passive attitude and low energy
  • Motivated by the chance to disengage

Prisoner

Will not want to be here.

  • Resistant to possibilities
  • Closed attitude and medium to high energy 
  • Motivated by the requirement to attend

How to Create an ESVP

Creating an ESVP is very straightforward. It simply presents people with four categories and asks them to pick one.

To start a face-to-face meeting, a flipchart or whiteboard divided into four zones could be used. People then place a post-it or mark an ‘X’ on the area they wish. To support anonymity, a post-it with an E, S, V, or P could be dropped into a hat with a facilitator recording the results for all to see.

A different approach is needed when it comes to remote and distributed teams. Getting everyone together in the same room at the same time may not be possible. So delivering the ESVP online is the ideal way of engaging all team members.

Screen sharing software, video conferencing, and online collaboration tools allow facilitators to deliver inclusive ESVPs. GroupMap’s ESVP template has been designed with this in mind. It can be used with any type of team (co-located, hybrid or remote). 

The time it takes to deliver an ESVP meeting will vary depending on the number of people in the session. With that said, it’s possible to deliver an ESVP online in less than five minutes. This includes sharing time.

GroupMap has included two steps in its ESVP template. The template is designed to allow participants a single anonymous response. 

How to Use an ESVP to Run Better Meetings

Brainstorm

Have individuals place an X on an area of the template.

Share

Share the responses to the exercise.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.

DAKI Retrospective

GroupMap’s DAKI agile retrospective. A creative and simple way of running easy and effective retrospective meetings with your team

What is a DAKI Retrospective?

The DAKI retrospective is short for the Drop Add Keep Remove retrospective. It helps a team reflect on the different processes they use in order to achieve their goal. They can assess the value of each process and take action to help them perform more effectively.

It’s a great tool to use later on in the project cycle. This way the team has the chance to view how each process has (or hasn’t) contributed to their progress to date.

The DAKI retrospective is really simple but  thorough. Some say it takes the start stop continue retrospective up a level. As well as identifying actions they feel they should drop, add and keep, the team has the chance to explore ways to improve processes.  

The DAKI retrospective is a great way of supercharging a high-functioning team.

GroupMap’s DAKI retrospective focuses on four areas:

  • Drop – these are the actions that aren’t delivering value.
  • Add– these are the things the team wishes to include
  • Keep – these are the actions that deliver value as they are
  • Improve – these are currently happening and could deliver greater value

Like all of GroupMap’s templates, the DAKI retrospective can be customized to make it your own. This means you could, for example, add other areas of focus such as ‘Hugs and kudos’’ to identify the achievements of individual team members.

Why do a DAKI  Retrospective?

Using a DAKI retrospective is great for all types of agile teams.

It’s a good tool to use to address retro-autopilot (when people give similar responses at each retrospective). It’s also great to use if your team feels they are in a rut. Using the DAKI will help shake things up and refocus the team.

The DAKI retrospective can also help the team recalibrate after a challenging sprint. It gives people the opportunity to drop the actions that made things difficult. The team, therefore, benefits from the lessons of the past.

A team can use the DAKI retrospective to clearly define the next steps they agree to follow to reach their goal as quickly as possible.

You can use it to:

  • Assess processes and identify and address any small problems so they don’t grow into big ones.
  • Provide an opportunity for all team members to be heard.
  • Come together as a team to connect, reflect and improve.
  • Give team members an opportunity to share their ideas
  • Leverage the knowledge and experience of the whole team to shape next steps.
  • Empower teams through collaboration to solve problems, build solutions and own the processes they design to deliver success.
  • Offer your team the chance to safely engage in healthy dissent with a view to building better solutions.

Who should use a DAKI Retrospective?

With agile practices now used across a number of industries, the DAKI retrospective could support teams of all types.

 DAKI retrospective could be used by:

  • Innovation Officers
  • Team Leaders
  • Program CoordinatorsAll project teams
  • Scrum Masters
  • Iteration Managers

It is a great tool to support a team’s continuous improvement.

Related templates

Tips for effective retrospectives

DAKI Retrospective Template

Drop

These things could be distracting or time-wasting. They do not bring value.

Question to ask:

  • What’s stopping you from focusing?
  • What makes your job difficult?
  • What takes up most of your time?

Add

New ideas and fresh innovations.

Questions to ask:

  • What has worked for other teams?
  • What haven’t we tried?
  • What would you love to try?

Keep

These things are going well and continue to support the team.

Question to ask:

  • What’s running as it should?
  • What can we rely on?
  • What’s delivering value?

Improve

These are current actions that need tweaks to be more effective.

Questions to ask:

  • What has even more potential?
  • What do we know could be better?
  • What can we refine?

How to Create a DAKI Retrospective

A DAKI retrospective is a chance for the team to reflect on how they spent their time and where they directed their energy. It helps them define issues that can be solved, and shape the next steps. It’s important to have all team members involved. 

In the case of remote and distributed teams, it can be difficult to get everyone together in the same room at the same time. Delivering the retrospective online is the ideal way of engaging all team members.

Screen sharing software, video conferencing, and online collaboration tools allow facilitators to deliver inclusive retrospectives. GroupMap’s anchors and engines retrospective has been designed with this in mind. It can be used with any type of team (co-located, hybrid or remote). So it’s a cost-effective way of delivering focused, effective retrospectives.

The time it takes to run a DAKI retrospective meeting will vary depending on the scope of the session. Setting and keeping to “timeboxes” for each stage can help streamline the process. Teams should be able to identify and prioritize issues and develop an action plan in less than 30 minutes.

GroupMap has included five key steps in its DAKI template. However, like all our templates, it can be customized to include additional process steps (such as rating) to support your group’s collaborative process.

How to Use a DAKI Template to Run a Better Retrospective

Brainstorm

Discuss and populate each section of the DAKI retrospective.

Group

Discuss and group any common ideas.

Prioritize

Vote on the key areas you need to take action on.

Action Plan

Identify actions for each priority idea. Assign responsibility and timeframes to a group or individual.

Share

Share the outcomes of the session, including the action plan, to relevant stakeholders.

Cross Device Compatibility

Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.