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Engaging Retrospectives

16 February 2016

"Do we have to go to the retrospective?" asks a member of the Scrum team.

When feedback is a waste of time, those in the session tend to feel rejected, defeated, and hopeless. That is, if the session is not engaging.

How do we create a healthy feedback session? The answer is engagement. Sessions that are activity-based will bring life and energy to the retrospective. You will also notice healthy dialogue among the team members.

Need an idea of what to do? One activity is to take your sticky notes and create a "Lessons Learned Quadrant," with fun icons such as:
  • Smiley face. This shows what was done well.
  • Sad face. This shows what was not done so well.
  • ! This shows new ideas.
  • !! This shows what needs to be celebrated.
Be creative and even whimsical with your icons.

After your team places their sticky-note comments in each quadrant, you can all step back and have the necessary conversations. Visuals are amazing! (But we are ScrumMasters, and we know this.)

Get your folks up and moving. Enjoy the sounds of happiness. Oh, and don't forget the sugar. ScrumMasters should never have a retrospective without food, particularly sugar!

Engaging your team during the retrospective will facilitate healthy dialogue with collaboratively created solutions and action items, which you can all use as you head into your next sprint.

For more ideas, visit

Happy retrospecting!

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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