Retrospectives can be monotonous and ceremonial. It is crucial for the Scrum Master to change and mix the format once in a while so members can look forward to the next retrospective.
In this article, I will write about all the CHECK-IN Activities that I know and use. Check-in s a good way to start a Retrospective. It warms up the participants to discuss openly.
Check-in activities are a way to gather how participants feel about the meeting and the previous sprint. It is an opportunity for the team to get to know each other better and it can influence the tone of the retrospective discussion. Check-ins are conversation starters for the group.
I am very grateful to the Scrum Masters who have shared their knowledge and experience on check-ins.
Retrospective Check-in Activities/Questions
- Teammate Appreciation: share who among the team you are grateful for in the sprint. Write a thank-you note to them.
- One-Word: describe in one word, what you currently feel
- Gift-Giving: What present will you give to each member of the team? This will show how well you know each team member. It also a venue for the team to get to know each of the members.
- Expressing Admiration: Tell a teammate what you admire about him/her. The 1st person expresses admiration to the second person until the last person expresses admiration to the first person.
- Superpower: What is your superpower that no one in the team knows about?
- Superhero: What is the most heroic thing you have ever done?
- Personal Wishes/Preferences Questions/Personal Facts
- If you are going on a vacation, where would you go and why?
- What is your favorite dessert?
- What is your favorite quote?
- What would you do if you win the lottery?
- Who do you admire and why?
- If you could pick up a new skill, what would it be?
- What are you reading now?
- What was the first thing you bought with your first salary?
- If you wake tomorrow as an animal, what would it be and why?
- What is your favorite color and what does it make you feel?
- Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Why did you pick that time of the day?
- What item that you don’t have now and would like to own?
- Two truths and one lie: each person to tell 3 facts. The selected member will determine which one is a lie.
- Draw the Sprint: each member to illustrate how the sprint went. This can be a drawing per person or the team will share the whole whiteboard.
- Sprint Metaphor – describe the sprint as
- Food (Fruit/Drink/Dish) and why
- Car (Model or type) and why
- Animal and why
- Season (Sprint, Summer, Autumn, Winter) and why
- Rate the sprint: Rate the sprint from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) and explain why
- Setting Expectations: What is your goal for this retrospective? What do you want out of this meeting?
- Safety check: how safe you feel in this retrospective in terms of sharing your ideas. 5 being most open and 1 being most restricted.
- Happiness Radar: how happy everyone is about the Process, People, and Technology
- ESVP: determine the engagement of participants in the meeting and guide the discussion for the team to be more of an explorer or shopper
- Explorer: Are eager to discover new ideas and insights. They want to learn everything they can about the iteration/release/project.
- Shopper: Will look over all the available information and will be happy to go home with one useful new idea.
- Vacationer: Aren’t interested in the work of the retrospective, but are happy to be away from the daily grind.
- Prisoners – feel that they’ve been forced to attend and would rather be doing something else.
Retrospective Energizer Games
You can also play games before starting the retro to energize people and celebrate the end of sprint, here are some of the games that I organized to the team:
- Family Feud
- Guess the Animal Sound
- Name that Object!
- Name that Music
- Name the Character and the Movie
- Name that Logo
- Identify the Bad UI
- Hidden Object Adventure
- Never have I ever
- Mee too (Never have I ever opposite)
Introduce a leaderboard to tally the scores the winners. At the end of the project or at year-end time, you can distribute some rewards.
As always, I will update the list when new things come up. Please do share your Check-in questions and activities in the comments below.