Has there ever been anything more ominous-sounding than the idea of a fun retrospective?
Pretty much everyone involved knows that what lies ahead might not be the easiest or most comfortable of retrospectives... but it doesn't have to be that way!
We have a world of fun retrospective ideas to keep your retrospective amusing, easy, and light - even when you're due to discuss the hard stuff!
Remember, a sprint retrospective that starts off on the right foot can do wonders for your entire team’s morale! Fun retro games and ideas assure that the team enjoys the retrospective meeting, which can increase participation and communication which ultimately lead to more valuable meetings.
30 Fun Retrospective Games and Ideas
Idea #1: Word Retrospective
The one word retrospective is a fun and straight-to-the-point game where each team member sums up their feelings about the past iteration in one word. As the team members say their words, the facilitator jots them down on a flip chart. Once the words are written down, there will be more discussion about them using “why” questions.
The dev team then discusses each word and chooses which issues they will take on and which improvements they will work on. This game is a great way to make sure everyone is heard and feels like their ideas are valued.
Idea #2: Draw the Sprint
The Draw the Sprint Retrospective is a creative way to have the team reflect on the past sprint. Each member receives index cards or sticky notes and markers or pens. The facilitator then asks questions about the past sprint such as:
- How did you feel?
- What was the most remarkable moment?
- What was the biggest issue?
- What would you have liked to see instead?
The team then draws their answer to each question and the drawings are posted on a whiteboard. The team guesses the answers before discussing them.
Idea #3: Writing the Unspeakable
This exercise is done in order to help team members see what is holding them back. This is a silent activity. Each team member is asked to write down what they feel is holding them back, either with the company or within the sprint itself. Once they have written it down, they pass the paper to the left and the next person reads it and adds notes. The papers are passed until it reaches the original owner to review, and then they are torn up and thrown away.
Idea #4: The Feedback Game
This is a fun way to find out more about your own character and is a good way to give feedback to other dev team members about their attitude and behavior in the workplace. There are 140 cards with different characteristics, and everyone is asked different questions like:
- What are my qualities?
- How do others perceive me?
- What qualities should I try to improve?
This is a nice team-building exercise and a good way to help your team see their own strengths and what they should work on.
Idea #5: The Constellation
The constellation retrospective starts with placing an object in the middle of the circle of team members. Statements are then read aloud, and team members are asked to move in towards the object if they agree, and away if they disagree. Statements can be things like:
- I feel like I can talk openly in Retrospective.
- I am happy with the quality of our team.
Idea #6: Truths and a Lie
Each team member writes down three statements about the previous agile sprint, 2 of which will be truths, and one will be a lie. They must then read them, and the rest of the team guesses which is the lie. This is a fun icebreaker for meetings.
Idea #7: Remember the Future
The retro game of remember the future is an inventive way to generate ideas for the team’s next iteration. The scene is set by telling team members to imagine they have traveled to the future at the time of the next iteration and ask each of them to describe it. What is involved? How do you feel? And more…
Idea #8: ESVP
The ESVP activity is a fun retrospective that helps you to find out how the team feels about the meeting and what is the primary reason it didn't go well.
In this game, participants anonymously choose which of the following categories best fits how they feel about the meeting - Explorers, The Shoppers, Vacationers or Prisoners.
Idea #9: Who What When
Who What When is a simple, fun retrospective activity that helps define actionable items for the next sprint. To do this effectively, all you need to do is create three columns labeled Who, What, When (on a spreadsheet or whiteboard). Write down who needs to do the action, what the action is, and when the action is due on separate sticky notes. Then simply place these sticky notes under their respective columns.
Who, What, When is a great way to quickly visualize the tasks at hand and determine who is responsible for what. It’s also interesting and challenging enough to keep your scrum team members engaged.
Idea #10: Smart Action
Another fun retrospective activity that helps an Agile team determine what they’ll do next, Smart Action, utilizes a flipchart that follows the acronym SMART:
- Specific - define a clear what and who.
- Measurable - set the project’s scope or parameters to determine when it will be deemed complete.
- Achievable - make sure it is feasible.
- Relevant - ensure that it matters to the team and is not a duplication of another task.
- Time-bound/Timeboxed - set a timeline for when this will be completed by.
Idea #11: Well & Worries
Well & Worries is a fun retrospective activity that allows an Agile team to understand how they are feeling. First, ask everyone to pair up and create two columns labeled Well and Worries on a piece of paper. Then, have them discuss what went well and what worried them with their partner and remind everyone to take notes. Once that is done, continue by switching pairs and repeating the previous step. This will help the team understand each other's concerns to address them adequately.
Idea #12: Next Action
The Next Action Retro idea is very similar to Who What When, and it uses many of the same components. Here, team members write the who, what, and when of an action item onto separate sticky notes like they did before. However, in this activity, instead of placing sticky notes in their respective categories, you now place these sticky notes next to defined goals. This is a great way to see if team members are working on the right things and whether or not they're taking actions that will help them reach the mutual goals of your company.
Idea #13: We Do & We Value
This is another fun retrospective activity that permits the dev team to gain better insight into what they do. Similar to the last exercise, have everyone pair up and create two columns labeled We Do and We Value on a piece of paper. Each pair has to rank action items in order of which are always done, then rank the same items according to what the team values the most. Afterward, ask the pairs to switch and discuss how they rated their action items with others. Aim to create a final ranking that everyone agrees upon, allowing the team to discuss what items are essential but not given enough focus, not essential but given too much attention, or not done enough!
Idea #14: Energy Level
Create a diagram with different energy levels (low, moderate, high) for this retrospective activity and ask your team members to place a sticky note with their name on the energy level that best represents how enthusiastic they are about the upcoming sprint. Once everyone has had a chance to place their name, ask the team members with high energy levels to share why they are enthusiastic and what will make them feel even better next time, then do the same for those with low or moderate energy levels. The point of this activity is to see where the team stands and learn about what will make them feel better so they can work well in future sprints.
Idea #15: Value of the Retro
Similar to the Energy Level activity, this is another fun idea that will increase your insight into how the team views the previous retrospective. First, create a diagram with different value levels (like a big piggy bank for the highest value, a small wallet for moderate value, and loose change for the lowest value). Then, ask team members to place sticky notes with their names on the icons that best represent how valuable they believe the last retro was. Afterward, discuss why different team members believe the retro was helpful and see if there is a consensus. Again, this activity can help Agile teams understand how they feel about their retrospectives to make changes to improve future meetings!
Idea #16: Kudos Card Wall
This is a simple and excellent retrospective activity that can boost your team's morale. Simply ask team members to write down a Kudos Card to acknowledge a fellow teammate. The cards can recognize any traits in the receiver, and the only rule is that they need to be positive messages or compliments. Once all Kudos Cards have been written, ask everyone to place them on a wall or board and discuss the great things that have been happening on their team and why it's important to acknowledge them!
Idea #17: Wow or Happy
An enjoyable retrospective activity, Wow or Happy can help Agile teams learn more about what makes everyone happy or excited. First, ask your team to write down what surprised them during the sprint on the Wow side of a piece of paper and what made them happy on the Happy column on the other side of the paper. This is a quick way to get feedback on your team’s feelings about the project!
Idea #18: Well, Learned, Different & Puzzle
This activity is designed to provide a time and space for Agile teams to reflect on their progress. Create a diagram with four quadrants:
- Well - in this quadrant, ask team members to write down what they think went well during the sprint.
- Learned - here, ask everyone to share what they learned and what was new for them during the sprint.
- Different - ask team members to share what didn't go as planned and how it can be done better next time.
- Puzzle - finally, in this last quadrant, have everyone write down something they are still trying to figure out or are having trouble with.
Once everyone has had a chance to contribute, discuss each note and see what insights can be gleaned from them!
Idea #19: Rose, Bud, Thorn Exercise
To use the Rose, Bud, Thorn template, have the team take a few minutes to come up with individual roses, buds, and thorns. Participants can write these down on post-its or on a whiteboard. You can also ask prompt questions to help facilitate the session better:
- What are you most proud of in the past or current project?
- What was your favourite part?
- What areas should be celebrated and continued for the following projects?
- What can be improved upon?
- What opportunities get you excited?
- Do you have ideas we can implement for the next projects?
- What aspects of the project are most stressful?
- What factors hinder our progress?
- If we could have a redo, what would you have changed for the better?
Once everyone has written down their ideas, the facilitator can read them out loud, and the team can reach a consensus on which ideas they would most like to pursue.
Click here for more information on the Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective
Idea #20: FLAP Retrospective
The FLAP retrospective aims to help teams identify and address any issues that may have arisen during the previous Sprint so that they can be addressed and resolved in future Sprints.
It is an acronym for Future Considerations, Lessons Learned, Accomplishments, and Problem Areas. This retrospective is meant to be used at the end of a Sprint to evaluate considerations for future Sprints which can boost team morale and productivity.
The structure of the FLAP retro is:
F: Future considerations – The team should focus on what they want to achieve in the next Sprint. The team can do this by setting goals and objectives to reach in the future.
L: Lessons Learned – It is important for the team to learn from their mistakes to avoid repeating them. The team should take time to reflect on what went wrong and how they can prevent it from happening again.
A: Accomplishments – The team should also take some time to celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how small. This can help boost morale and motivate the team to do even better in the next Sprint.
P: Problems – The team should identify any problems that need to be addressed to improve their work. Then, the team can brainstorm possible solutions and decide which ones to implement.
Idea #21: WRAP Retrospective
The WRAP Retrospective is a type of retrospective activity designed to help dev and scrum teams learn from their mistakes and improve their performance.
WRAP retros are useful because it forces the team to reflect on their work and learn from their mistakes. It plays a vital role for high-performing teams for them to achieve more.
There are four steps to a WRAP retrospective:
W: Wishes - This part has the potential to generate some bizarre, outlandish ideas that might challenge people's mindsets, cultures, or even the status quo.
R: Risks - Find a popular subject for participants to vote on what they believe are the most critical dangers to consider. Then, to address those risks, they can consider appropriate mitigation steps to implement.
A: Appreciation -It is uncommon for teams to be granted avenues to recognize or acknowledge others, so allow individuals some time and space to appreciate their efforts. This part helps recognize work and results and promotes continuous excellence and team rapport.
P: Puzzles - In this part, the teams ask questions for which they have no answer. This is a great opportunity to get fresh ideas you wouldn't hear at a standard start-stop-continue retrospective. It's an excellent environment to share your thoughts and prompt new perspectives and information exchange.
Idea #22 Happiness Radar
The Happiness Radar is a fun and interactive game that measures team happiness. Draw a circle on a whiteboard and divide it into 10 equal parts. Label each part with a number from 1 to 10, with 10 being the happiest. Ask the team to rate their happiness levels and plot their scores on the radar. This game helps the team understand how they're feeling and identify areas for improvement.
Idea #23 Collaborative Drawing
Collaborative Drawing is a fun way to encourage team collaboration. Provide each team member with a piece of paper and ask them to draw a picture that represents the sprint. Then, ask them to pass their drawing to the person on their left. The next person should add to the drawing, and so on. This game helps create a shared understanding of the sprint and encourages teamwork.
Idea #24 Word Cloud
The Word Cloud is a game that helps identify the team's feelings about the sprint. Provide each team member with a piece of paper and ask them to write down a word that describes how they're feeling. Then, collate all the words and create a word cloud. This game helps identify common themes and areas for improvement.
Idea #25 Constellation Game
The Constellation Game is a game that helps identify how the team members interact with each other. Ask each team member to draw a star and write their name in the center. Then, ask them to connect with other team members by drawing lines and writing down positive feedback. This game helps identify areas where communication can be improved.
Idea #26 Hot Potato
This game is all about quick thinking and problem-solving. Have a ball or object that represents a "hot potato." Ask a question related to the sprint and pass the hot potato around the room. Each person must answer the question before passing it along. This game helps the team identify areas of improvement and encourages quick thinking.
Idea #27 One-Word Check-in
The game starts with each team member sharing one word to describe how they're feeling, which could be related to their emotions, mood, or even their perception of the sprint. This game provides a quick and easy way for team members to share their thoughts and feelings, without having to go into too much detail. It also helps to create a safe space for team members to express themselves and their feelings, which can lead to a more productive and collaborative meeting.
Idea #28 Memory Lane
Provide each team member with a blank postcard and ask them to draw a picture that represents their favorite memory from the sprint. Then, ask the team to share their postcards and discuss their favorite memories. This activity encourages reflection and helps the team appreciate their work.
Idea #29 The Newspaper Headline
In this game, the Scrum Master asks each team member to write a newspaper headline that summarizes the sprint. The goal is to come up with a catchy and attention-grabbing headline that accurately represents the most significant accomplishment or challenge of the sprint. The team members then share their headlines with the group, which can spark discussions and insights into the sprint. This game is a fun and engaging way to wrap up the sprint retrospective and provides a fresh perspective on the team's work.
Idea #30 The Weather Report
This activity is a great way to get team members to reflect on their emotions and feelings during the sprint. Have each team member create a "weather report" for themselves. They can choose a weather condition that represents how they felt during the sprint and explain their choice to the rest of the team. This activity helps team members express their emotions and can lead to productive conversations about how to improve team dynamics.
How to Come Up with Fun Retro Ideas?
1. Gamify your retrospective
2. Add tweaks to your sprint retrospective
3. Be creative and Play around with your retrospective formats
Gamify Your Retrospective
Who doesn’t love playing games? Who doesn't love playing games at work? And furthermore: who would like to turn their retrospective into a gamified, more exciting version of itself?
If the above sounds a little too kitschy for you, or even unproductive, then never fear: these games are actually designed to elicit a solid response from your team, getting them to open up, give honest and solid feedback, and even get some blue sky thinking going for the next sprint!
These games include all the ideas mentioned above, yet if you’re looking for some pre-retrospective games and activities, please check out our long list of fun icebreaker games, icebreakers questions, the awesome icebreaker bingo and our favorite team building games.
Add tweaks to your sprint retrospectives
While gamifying your sprint is one thing, just taking them up a notch with a few tweaks and added extras can really change the way your team feels about them!
These ‘extras’ include:
- Making sure everyone has a role: this goes beyond the usual ‘stakeholder’ ‘scrum master’ etc roles, and becomes more about the situation at hand: the pep-talker, the timekeeper, the data master, and more!
Roles are a great way to start organizing your retrospectives. They give all the participants a sense of ownership and responsibility to the meeting. This again increases the chance of participant buy-in and communication. But rather than giving them boring, run-of-the-mill roles, try giving them things like “the pep-talker” (someone who can chime when they agree with something or to give a little reassuring word) or “the time keeper” (who can interrupt at any time and tell everyone to move on). This way, everyone plays a part and is engaged and paying attention, all the while holding an important role and keeping things running smoothly.
- Turning it into a party: bring some beers, some snacks and let people mingle a little before and after!
This way, it doesn’t feel quite as formal and your team will feel comfortable enough to participate in the retrospective and give clear and concise feedback. Making people feel at ease is one of the best ways to ensure that they feel relaxed and ready to engage.
- Bring in ‘guest speakers’: bring in other departments, or even from external dev teams to compare notes and get some new ideas in the room!
This may not seem like it would improve motivation and productivity, but by bringing in people from other branches of the company, or even from other companies to speak at a meeting, the team has a new perspective to listen to.
- Create awards: who wouldn't like the idea of holding a ‘most likely to solve that insane bug’ trophy?
This can be a very fun way to congratulate your team on a job well done. By creating fun awards that show off each team member’s strength, such as “Most Likely to Solve the Bug” or “Quickest Code Maker”, you can keep the morale up and everyone can have a good laugh.
Be creative and Play around with your retrospective structure
Who said your sprint retrospective had to follow the same format every time? Not us! Here are a few different ways you can keep things changing each time:
- The ‘Start-Stop-Continue’ retro: your team has to collaborate and really focus on the start (what new things need to happen next sprint), stop (what needs to stop in the test sprint), and continue (what they need to continue with).
- What Went Well Retrospective: The idea behind the ‘what went well, what didn't go well’ model is that it's a great way to focus on the positive while unpicking the issues that occurred. Each team member gets a say too, which is probably one of the most important aspects of any sprint!
- Mad-Sad-Glad: tying in the emotional journeys of the sprint members, getting all those feelings out there will only promote honesty and openness: what made them mad, what made them sad, and what made them glad! You're sure to get some interesting insights, and probably a few laughs in too!
- Lean coffee: no agenda needed, have members of the meeting set the agenda together at the beginning. Set a priority, make sure everyone’s ready to start...and go!
Read more about these different retrospective formats .
Your sprint retrospectives, just more fun
Sprint retrospectives shouldn’t be boring, but the fun shouldn't be too forced either.
This post covers a whole range of fun retrospective activities, awesome ideas to keep everyone excited, open, and honest...and to make the next sprint retro even better as a result!
By engaging in these activities, team members can learn more about themselves, each other, and the project as a whole. Conducting different activities every now and then will also help keep retrospectives motivating and fun!
GoRetro is an incredible tool that aims to enhance the efficiency of sprint retrospectives by simplifying and streamlining the entire process. This tool provides a collaborative platform for teams to work seamlessly on multiple projects using various boards, making it an ideal solution for productive and collaborative scrum meetings.
With GoRetro, creating boards is a breeze, and teams can quickly add comments, sort and filter cards and comments to facilitate team discussions. Moreover, the tool includes a voting mechanism that helps with decision making and identifying action items.
Whether teams work remotely or on-site, GoRetro proves to be an effective solution that promotes teamwork, enhances productivity, and ensures successful collaboration.