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Perfection Game + SSKML Retrospective

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“Perfection Game + SSKML” is quite a strange name for the Retrospective. Well, anyway, I still like it. The original authors are Christian Lapointe and Ralph Jocham – trainers from Scrum.org. It was the first time I saw two different formats of getting feedback combined into one – Perfection Game and Stop/Start/Keep/More/Less (SSKML). The Retrospective they provided went so smoothly and I felt so emotionally lifted that I started using it in my own training sessions and during Sprint Retrospectives. Ok, let’s get to the magic.

What you will need. To make it happen you need to prepare in advance:

  • 10 Sheets of A4 paper with numbers written on them from 1 to 10.

  • Flip-chart with 2 questions on it: How do you feel? How do you grade?

  • Flip-Chart with the wheel Stop/Start/Keep/More/Less drawn on it.

Make sure you have plenty of space to allow people moving around the room. Also don’t forget to put down the sheets of paper from 1 to 10 on the floor in a row.

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Let’s go through all the steps of the Retrospective one by one.

Warmly welcome the participants and point out to the first flip-chart with 2 questions.

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Explain the intention of the questions. The first question “How do you feel?” is intended to discover overall feeling of the Sprint. You may feel stressed by the end of it or tired and it’s absolutely OK for someone to say: “Well, it feels like a ‘4’ for me. I felt a lot of tension during the last few days.” Now how the second question is different from the first one? Paradoxically, the same person may say: “Nevertheless I felt stress, I had no idea we could improve our process. We did our best. I give a ‘10.’” And on the other hand, you may feel great and have lots of ideas for improvement, so you give a “10” and “6” respectively.

Ask questions and go around the room. Go along with each of the questions and ask people to move the sheets with numbers on the floor forward or backward. When they are all determined with their positions, make a Round Robin. Go around the room and give each person an opportunity to speak without interruption, without judgment and with few comments from you. At the conclusion of the Round Robin, summarize the input and articulate common thoughts and ideas.

Stop/Start/Keep/More/Less. Now when the group is warmed up and we have collected plenty of data, let’s proceed to the second flip-chart. Again, let’s use the Round Robin and go around the room. Ask everyone for input:

  • What should we stop doing?

  • What should we start doing?

  • What should we keep and continue doing?

  • We should do more of…?

  • We should do less of…?

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Listen carefully, ask clarifying questions if needed and write down the ideas on the stickers.

Multivoting. Now after we generated insights and found concrete action items, we want to find the ones that are most important. Let’s prioritize a generated list. Calculate the number of stickers and roughly divide it by 3. This is the number of voting dots for everyone. Explain that it’s allowed to put only one dot per sticker. Let the group vote and now you get the prioritized list of action items as the ouput.

Create an improvement plan for the next Sprint. Ask the group how many improvement items they would like to bring to the next Sprint. Make sure the team energy is not sprayed out. A good recommendation is to take just 1 or 2 top rated improvements and make them top priority items for an upcoming Sprint. You can re-formulate the action items in What/Who/When format to make them SMART.

Closing. I’ll leave it up to you, my reader, as there are lots of ways to close the retrospective properly. The cheapest option is to make a short Retrospective on how the meeting went. Use simple format Delta/Plus for it (two columns with what went well and how we could improve our Retrospective).

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Do you want to get more tips and tricks for your Sprint Retrospective? Download our FREE LeanPub book "A Scrum Master's Practical Toolbox ".

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