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Activities and ideas for making agile retrospectives more engaging

About the Book

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On this book, we provide you a tool set of activities to transform a group of people into an effective team. Keeping the participants amused and providing a setting where they can reflect, discuss and have fun is fundamental to continuously improve. The catalog presented here is composed by a set of activities, each one appropriate for different contexts and teams. There are Energizers, activities to start off any meeting and getting people to know more about each other. You will also find activities for defining ground rules and getting a team started, which we call Team Building Activities. On other contexts, maybe when running a Retrospective or a Futurespective, you will want to measure the participants' engagement and understand more about their feelings, for which case Check-in activities are suitable. 

To the extent you want to be a part of engaging people deeply and fully with fun and effective activities, you will yourself be invited into a journey of reflection and self-discovery. With this in mind, in this book we go deep into some of the activities and ideas for applying high engagement to typical retrospectives and similar meeting settings.

About the Authors

Taina Caetano
Taina Caetano

TC is a Software Engineer, currently living in the Pacific Northwest, in the United States. Besides working as a developer, TC accumulates experience as an agile coach, facilitator and project manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and has been in the industry for over 10 years, leading both co-located and distributed teams

Paulo Caroli
Paulo Caroli

Principal consultant at Thoughtworks Brazil and co-founder of AgileBrazil,  Paulo Caroli has over twenty years of experience in software development, passing in various corporations in Brazil, India, USA and Latin America. In 2000, he met the Extreme Programming and since then has focused its expertise in processes and practices of Agile & Lean. He joined ThoughtWorks in 2006 and held the positions of Agile Coach, Trainer and Project Manager. He received a Bachelor of Computer Science and MS in Software Engineering, both from PUC–Rio.

Paulo Caroli is a man who is passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital products. He is a software engineer, an author, an editor, a speaker and a successful facilitator.

Table of Contents

  • About The Author - Paulo Caroli
  • About The Co-Author - Taina Caetano (TC)
  • Introduction
    • Planning
    • Agenda Structure
      • Setting the Context
      • Prime Directive
      • Energizer
      • Check-in
      • Main Course
      • Filtering
      • Check-out
      • Next Steps
  • Activities Catalog
    • Energizers
      • Punctual Paulo
      • Geographic Location
      • Visual phone
      • One Two Ping Four Pong
      • Forming Triangles
      • Zip Zap Zoom
      • Balloon Battle
      • Untangle Yourselves
      • Complex Pieces
      • Back to Back
      • Find Your Pair
      • Collaborative Face Drawing
      • Human Rock-Paper-Scissors
    • Check-in
      • Safety Check
      • Creating Safety
      • ESVP - Explorer, Shopper, Vacationer, Prisoner
      • Happiness Radar
      • Happiness Radar for a Timeline
      • One Word
      • Anonymous Note
    • Building Teams
      • Defining the Team Vision Statement
      • The team Is – Is not – Does – Does not
      • Understanding the group knowledge
      • That Guy & This Guy
      • General Behavior Activity
      • Clear Trade-off Sliders
      • Role Expectations Matrix
      • Peer Introduction Game
      • Cardinal Directions
      • Delegation Map
      • Defining the Team Principles
      • Ground Rules
      • Defining Nirvana
      • Token of Appreciation
      • Candy Love
      • Roles We Play
      • SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
    • Retrospectives: Looking Back
      • Peaks and Valleys Timeline
      • Empathy Snap on Big Hitter Moments
      • Repeat/Avoid
      • Speed Car
      • Hot-air Balloon
      • Anchors and Engine
      • WWW: Worked well, kinda Worked, didn’t Work
      • KALM - Keep, Add, More, Less
      • Open the Box
      • The Story of a Story
      • Following up on Action Items
      • Known Issues
      • Problems & Actions
      • 360 Degrees Appreciation
      • Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, New Ideas and Acknowledgement
      • Timeline Driven by Feelings
      • Timeline Driven by Data
      • FLAP: Future direction, Lessons learned, Accomplishments and Problem areas
      • Dealing with Failure - FMEA
      • DAKI - Drop, Add, Keep, Improve
      • The 4 Ls: Liked, Learned, Lacked, Longed For
      • The 3 Ls: Liked, Learned, Lacked
      • Starfish
      • Small Starfish
      • CAPT – Confident or Apprehensive x People or Tech
      • PMI - Plus, Minus, Interesting
      • Lessons Learned - Planned vs. Success
      • Marginal Gains
      • Pleasure and Gain
      • Three Little Pigs
    • Futurespectives: Looking Ahead
      • Defining and Finding the Path to Nirvana
      • Pre-mortem Activity
      • Speed Car - Abyss
      • Plan of Action
      • Future Facebook Posts
      • Risk Brainstorming and Mitigation
      • Hot-air Balloon – Bad Weather
      • Letters to the Future
      • RAID – Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies
      • The Catapult
      • Hopes and Concerns
      • Success Criteria
      • Hero’s Journey
      • Tweets to the Future
    • Filtering
      • Dot Voting
      • Plus Minus Voting
      • Most Likes and Dislikes
      • Tell and Cluster
      • Fishbowl Conversation
      • Into the Graph Feasible x Useful
      • Likelihood versus Impact
      • Effort and Pain
    • Check-out
      • Feedback and Return on Investment
      • Grade It Please
      • Learning Scale
      • Who-What-When Steps To Action
      • Insights and Learning
      • QCon Quick Feedback on Talks
      • Note to Self
      • One Word Before Leaving
  • Closing Thoughts
    • Distributed Retrospectives
    • Be a Retrospectives Facilitator
  • Notes

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