Your Ultimate Guide to Fun Retrospective Ideas

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Apr 8, 2021
Updated on
May 23, 2022
Table of Content

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 (check out our icebreakers questions to change all that!)...but it doesn't have to be that way! 

We have a world of retrospective ideas to keep your retrospective fun, 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! 

How to Come Up with Fun Retro Ideas?

1. Gamify your retrospective
2. Add tweaks to your sprint retrospective
3. Be creative
4. 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: 

  • Writing the unspeakable
  • The feedback game
  • Two truths and a lie
  • Draw the sprint

And more.

Take your retrospectives up a notch 

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! 
  • Turning it into a party: bring some beers, some snacks and let people mingle a little before and after! 
  • 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! 
  • Create awards: who wouldn't like the idea of holding a ‘most likely to solve that insane bug’ trophy? 

Read more about the (somewhat) endless possibilities to upgrade your sprint retrospective here

Get a bit creative 

If you want to keep things as-is but with a little creativity, then these ideas are for you: 

  • Get the positivity flowing with ‘two roses and a thorn’: have each person present start by saying two things from their week that they enjoyed or that made them feel good, and one thing that wasn't quite as great. This promotes honesty and openness...which are key states of mind for the sprint retrospective that is to come! 
  • Do giveaways and prizes: this might take a little extra to organize, but giving away a relevant prize is a surefire way to keep everyone excited and engaged...and motivated for the next sprint to do their very best! 
  • Keep a leaderboard: keep leaders visible, and motivate other team members to make an appearance on it! 
  • Play icebreakers: we’ve written an extensive list of the best types of (quick, fun) icebreakers to play with your team!

Check out more about the ideas above, and get creative with your sprint retrospectives

Change up the 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). 
  • Retrospective What Went Well: the idea behind ‘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. Above is a whole range of awesome ideas to keep everyone excited, open, and honest...and to make the next sprint retro even better as a result! 

More templates and ideas

Learn more about agile retrospective activities by visiting our retrospective templates gallery. Additionally, you can find more agile retrospective ideas in our blog post.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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