Sometimes retrospectives could lose their effectiveness when they become too repetitive. I generally like to mix things up and enjoy keeping distinct themes around the retro; such as gauging mood, generating insights, setting goals and closures. Today I tried a forcefield exercise in the retrospective. I like the metaphor of a speedboat/ hot air balloon and I used that instead of a plain jane force field.
- On a whiteboard, draw a (speed)boat and draw an arrow forward (Fuel) and an arrow backward (Anchors)
- Ask participants to reflect on the goal at hand in light of the week gone by and imagine it to be a speedboat.
- Ask participants to think of the anchors that hold them back from achieving that goal and the fuel thats driving them. Let them write a thought each on stickies (Green/ Yellow for Fuel; Pink/Orange for Anchors)of different colours and have them stick these up in the appropriate areas. Timebox the activity.
- Once they're done, group similar thoughts together and place them open for voting (5/10 dots per person)
- Go through all items voted for, allowing progressively less time for discussion for items with lesser votes.
The result of this activity, when I ran this with my group, was quite positive and we ended up with a very focussed discussion that stayed within the scope of what we wished to achieve. Its a reasonable deviation from the retrospective starfish that we use commonly and yet doesn't lose on effectiveness because of the strong metaphor depicted.