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Craigslist: A Model for a Fun Retrospective Game

18 April 2017


This Craigslist activity was invented to gather information from each team member about what they thought about the last sprint. It is mainly focused on getting information about the following areas:
  • The areas in which the teams improved
  • What went well and needs to continue
  • What went badly and needs to stop


Running the activity

Follow these general steps to get the activity up and running:
  1. Ask each participant to take notes.
  2. Collect all notes and stick them on the white board.
  3. Remove similar (duplicating) notes.
  4. Ask each participant to elaborate on his or her points so that everyone gets to know the content of each specific point.
  5. Confirm with all team members that they have understood all the points.
  6. Instruct team members that they each have $10 to spend. Ask them which point or idea on the whiteboard they would like to buy. They can spend all the money on one point or they can invest the $10 across multiple points or ideas.
  7. After everyone has invested his or her money, count which point or idea got the highest investment. That idea or point is what you improve on or stop from going forward.
  8. Ask the team whether it wants to select the best one, two, or three items. The ScrumMaster can collect the top invested points or ideas and work on them accordingly. The remaining items continue to be part of the retrospective backlog to follow up on in the future.
Note: This game can be improvised upon, and all suggestions are welcome to make it more interesting. It grew from an idea that came up only after I was looking for different options from Craigslist. Naturally, the game name can be changed as required.

We know that in Craigslist, an item cannot be purchased more than once. By playing this game, we are motivating the team to come up with intriguing points and ideas and determine which one is best. The team is allowed to spend only $10 on the idea. This way, the team wisely spends their money on the point/idea they want to buy (or think is best for them and the team) by bidding on it. Team members are not supposed to spend the money on their own ideas.
 

Game benefits

This activity provides good team interaction, because members get a chance to prove themselves. Since they are doing it within a game format, they try to sell their idea to others by providing their thought process behind the ideas, which also helps exercise active listening.

The game provides the following benefits:
  • It elicits the team’s active participation.
  • The team generates new ideas.
  • The team members expresses their honest opinion on what was good, bad, or ugly.
  • The ScrumMaster and product owner get maximum information. The best three points can be added to the retrospective backlog, out of which some can be considered actionable items.
  • The team engages in a fun activity.


Observation

I have found that the game hones active listening skills. People really listen, without interrupting or pointing blame, and they try to relate to other participants' stories.
 

Example of game

image.jpg
 

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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