Stimulating Team Improvement with NEW Retrospective Games

One of the most retweeted Tweets from Agile2015 held during August 2015 in Washington, DC was “If you adopt only one #agile practice, let it be retrospectives. Everything else will follow. http://bit.ly/retrospection  #Agile2015” posted by Woody Zuill.  If you are interested in putting this into practice (or looking for new ideas and activities for the retrospectives you are already having with your teams), join us for a session to learn two new collaborative retrospective games.

 

We will begin with “Temperature Check” which uses the backdrop of a thermometer to allow teams to have a round-robin discussion regarding team activities that have team members “boiling” vs. other activities that are “freezing” people out.  During the game, participants will experience a “round-robin discussion” to discover challenges impacting the team, engage in “paired discussion” so as to collaboratively brainstorm improvement ideas, and conclude with “weighted voting” amongst all team members to identify what to do.  These activities are all driven from a single game canvas using Post-It notes allowing temperature check to be played in-person, or it can be played online using a collaboration platform for distributed teams.

 

Next we will visit the “House of Pain” which is a new game intended to promote higher levels of team happiness - during game play, team members use a canvas and Post-It notes to build a metaphorical house that represents “pain” they are experiencing as a team.  The house begins by capturing “types of pain” as participants work in trios - each type shared is validated and prioritized by group discussion and roman voting.  Once the highest priority pains are identified, team members brainstorm the source (root cause) of the pain.  The team then brainstorms actions that they hypothesize will reduce / eliminate a source of pain.  The game concludes by team members targeting the actions they wish to implement and for each prioritized source of pain - the team completes the “House of Pain” by defining an indicator to measure the impact of each prioritized action to reduce pain.  “House of Pain” can be played in-person using paper and Post-Its, or it can be played online via a collaboration platform for distributed teams.


In a conference setting, each game takes just under 20 minutes to allow participants to experience the game play and flow, so this session will entail playing both games with a brief period for Q&A.  All attendees will receive facilitation guides for each game and having experienced them in the session will be well prepared to use these new games in retrospectives following AgileDC.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

The goal of this workshop is to allow participants to experience how to play “Temperature Check” and “House of Pain” so nearly all session time will be devoted to game play.

 

Since these games are intended to be reflective in nature and they are being presented within a conference setting, we will ask people to reflect on “Attending the AgileDC Conference” - it is recommended to put this session in the afternoon as it will be highly interactive (nobody falls asleep after lunch) and since people will be reflecting on attending the conference, putting the session later on the program will enable participants to reflect on more of the event so as to identify additional challenges and improvements.  We will ensure we capture all of the game canvases created during the session so that AgileDC organizers can review and act upon the feedback provided and improvements that are identified from playing both games.

 

== Timing (45 minutes total) ==

  • 5 Minutes - A Lightning talk on the 5-stages of an effective retrospective
  • 18 Minutes - Let’s Play “Temperature Check”
  • 2 Minutes - Ask for a few people to change groups / tables
  • 18 Minutes - Let’s Play “House of Pain”
  • 2 Minutes - Final Wrap up

 

== Game Flow - Temperature Check ==

All activities are driven from the game canvas

Game will be played in groups determined by seating at tables

  • Individual Silent Writing - Brainstorm up to 3 events to share on the Thermometer (things that made you HOT, things that made you FREEZE, things that were just right)
  • Group Round Robin - Share your events and discuss WHY you ranked them as you did
  • Group Round Robin - Share the most impactful “Insight” gained by listening to experiences of others
  • Paired Discussion (change pairs several times - person on your left, person on your right, etc) - Brainstorm an action to address an item from the Thermometer - HOT/COLD items you may want to avoid/stop - items that are “Just Right” you may want to do more of and/or amplify
  • Action Readouts - each final pair shares the outcome of their brainstorm
  • Group Weighted Voting (Dot Voting) - identify the actions that the group feels would provide the greatest value to improve the experience of attending the conference

As noted above, we’ll ask for a few volunteers to change tables / groups between each game, so that there is a different experience during each game.

 

== Game Flow - House of Pain ==

All activities are driven from the game canvas

Game will be played in groups determined by seating at tables

  • Trios - Each trio may brainstorms and shares up to 2 sources of pain
  • Individual Reflection - for the source of pain that impacts you the most, what is its source / root cause
  • Group Round Robin - each person shares their root cause for any source of pain on the board
  • Group Weighted Voting (Dot Voting) - Which “pain” should we target first?
  • Trios - Brainstorm 1 action for the highest priority pain
  • Simple Vote - which action do we think would address the pain?
  • Group Discussion - decide on a indicator to measure the effectiveness of the action
  • Repeat trio action brainstorm, simple vote & define indicator for additional “pains” as time allows

Learning Outcome

  • Review the 5-stages of an effective retrospective and learn how “Temperature Check” and “House of Pain” walk participants through these 5 stages during game play
  • Experience / learn how to facilitate “Temperature Check” to identify actions to improve team dynamics
  • Experience / learn how to facilitate “House of Pain” to identify sources of pain and identify ways to promote team happiness

Target Audience

This will be a completely hands-on experience session - intended for those who want to experience a retrospective game for the first time, or for experienced participants and/or facilitators that are looking for new games.

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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