Name your Hero

Mood check

Welcoming the team and making them ready for «Name your Hero» comes naturally but still without making sure they’re in the right mood, you can never know. In order to do so, entering the retrospective present the team to a mood status chart. If you do not possess one it’s pretty simple. Ask them to draw an emoji or write something that describes their current mood and initials at the bottom. Ask if it is alright for everyone to go around the room and show the team what they wrote. If so, start yourself and have the next member do the same until everyone has shared their mood note.

It’s simple, to the point and even though there might be a few neutral notes, it helps on bringing up the mood for the whole room. After that, you can go on and present the agenda to the team, and if they agree to it you’re free to dive into the «Name your Hero» retrospective meeting.

Pick up where we left off

No matter how many retrospective meetings you attend, if you do not keep up with the action items afterwards. In fact the whole point to having meeting after meeting is improving our every work day. You do not know how successful or not the meetings are, if you do not have something you can measure it with.

Present to the team the list of the actions taken in the previous retrospective meeting. Go over each item and discuss if it was completed, how it worked and if we want to keep doing this.

Keep in mind that if an action was not completed, it can either stay open as an action for this retrospective, or it can be dropped if the discussion results in it not being necessary or not possible to be applied at the moment for some reason.

Name your Hero – the Hero’s Journey

For the main course of the retrospective, I decided to make a movie-like plan. In pretty much every action movie, there’s a good guy trying to make his way to the treasure, a villain he has to fight against and of course some sidekick or guiding help. Change the roles to fit to the real life situation and you’ve got a retrospective main course.

Hero Guide Treasure Villain
  • Hero → Person/group going through the journey
  • Guide → People/resources helping the hero
  • Villain → Challenges and risks ahead
  • Treasure → Good things waiting at the end of the sprint

Have the team spread notes all over the board and start at what ever point you like reading all the notes. Keep track of possible actions that may come up during the discussion.

Decide what to do

Read out for the room all the possible actions you have written during the discussions. Check with the team if there is something you might have missed or a topic that was not brought up but should have been.
Go over the items one by one and ask the team to vote the actions to be taken in the next two weeks

Reminder: List also the actions that were not completed but were part of the past retrospective meeting, give them one more shot at completing if the team members agree to it.

Roles we play

I read about this activity in a site called www.funretrospectives.com. It seemed as a good idea mostly because after about two years as team members, there is still time to build and grow with one another. This is a simple team building exercise to help us know each other better and the roles we play outside the office.

Have a calendar-like board presented to the team, split it in half for the Week days and Weekends / Holidays.

Top row is reserved for the early mornings, followed by the working hours and ending at After hours.

Start yourself as an example for the team by filling with notes all the parts in the calendar, containing roles you have during that time.

Example: Friend, Developer, Scrum Master, Tester, Sister and so on.

After this exercise you will for sure learn something about your team members that you did not know before, and it will help on growing closer to them.

Feedback and suggestions

Closing the meeting you will most likely have a feeling of how it went by the activity of the team and their contribution to it. But again, to make sure you need to ask. So have the team describe shortly of how the «Name your Hero» challenge went for them and list out things they liked most or something they felt was absent to it. Keep notes and pay extra care to them for the next meeting – be their hero 😉

Besjana Shabani

Head of Team Happiness & Organisational Talent. SCRUM Master & Tester @ Jaywalker Digital