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Real Retrospectives Game

06 Feb 2018

| Author: Laurence Wood


Real Retrospectives Game

At IndigoBlue, we develop and trial new resources and techniques all the time, aiming to continuously improve the support we provide to organisations.

Our Real Retrospectives Game is the latest example of this. The aim of this innovative team activity is to drive rich conversations in Agile teams at any level of maturity. It helps them to identify strengths and weaknesses and to decide what they will focus on improving next, covering both technical areas of the team's work and softer, behavioural aspects of the team's interactions.

In addition, we use Real Retros to generate an innovative and unique set of management information regarding how teams are improving. These metrics provide evidence which underpins investment decisions in education and people development.

I'll describe below how the session is run. To request your free set of Real Retrospective cards, please get in touch with us at

How to run a Real Retrospectives session

The card pack comprises four title cards (Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always) and 44 cards setting out statements such as "We decide as a team what we commit to". The team members discuss to what extent each statement reflects their current situation before agreeing which area to focus on improving next.

At the start of the session, the team gathers together and shares the instructions card. The four title cards are stuck high up on a wall, whiteboard or window, getting the team up on their feet rather than just sitting around a desk.

Members of the team take turns reading out cards to prompt a discussion before deciding which title card to post the statement card under. There are three categories of statement card: Generic (labelled ‘G’), 'H'ybrid and 'A'gile. The team reviews the simpler 'G'eneric cards first, then the ‘H’ybrid cards, and finally the ‘A’gile-specific cards.

After running through each of the cards, team members discuss what the wall should look like as they make improvements over time. In the last 15 minutes of the session, the team agrees which item it wants to focus on improving next – this is highlighted using a ‘Focus’ card. The team writes a clear, measurable goal together and agrees when it will next measure the focus item to see whether things have improved.

The team takes photos of the cards to use as a reference for the next time it runs a Real Retrospectives session.

Let us know how you get on!

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Laurence Wood

Laurence inspires teams and leaders to deliver more value, more often using Agile and Lean in India and the UK. His Lean and Agile experience spans 25 years from Jaguar apprentice to Agile Programme Manager at Callcredit Information Group via City of London Head of IT.


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