This is a version of the basic ‘Stop-Start-Continue’ sprint retrospective activity which can be used when there is a particular need to keep tight control over timings. Each step can be strictly time-boxed and you can adjust the time allotted in each section to suit your needs.
- Whiteboard / Write-on Wall / Poster Paper
- Post-it notes & Pens
- Pre designed form template (see Preparation instructions and Appendix below) & Pens
- 0-30mins (although there are ways to cut this down and the resources produced can be used again)
- It is possible to run this activity without any preparation at all but putting some time in to prepare a form template can go a long way towards ensuring your sprint retrospective runs a little more smoothly. If you really are limited to short amount of time for your retrospective, i’d strongly suggest that you take a look at the following instructions for preparing a form for the team to fill in.
- The form is quite straight forward to design. All you really need is a page with three headings (‘Stop’, ‘Start’ and ‘Continue’), a space for the initial comment and another section underneath that for the other team members to write further comments.
- There should be a couple of lines for each person in the team to respond so you will need a response section for the number of people minus 1 (as the person who wrote the original point doesn’t need to respond.
- See the appendix for an example template for a team of five people.
- You may also want to set aside some time to calculate the timings for each section of the activity once you know the number of people that will be taking part and the time you have for the retrospective session itself.
- Everyone writes a point under the ‘Stop’, ‘Start’ and ‘Continue’ headings.
- after a set amount of time, everyone passes the sheet to their left.
- Then, each member of the team writes a response to the original point.
- Again, after a set amount of time, everyone passes the sheet to their left.
- Each member of the team now writes their response to both the original point and the response written by the person before them.
- This continues until everyone has written a response to the original point raised.
- With each round where the team are writing a response, you will need to increase the time allowed so as to allow for the team to read the additional responses that have been written and think a little harder about their response.
- Whilst you are calculating the amount of time needed for the whole activity, remember to include some time at the start to explain the task and 30 seconds or so for passing the papers around between rounds.
- It can be useful to give the team a 1-minute and/or 30 second warning as they are coming to the end of their writing time so as to ensure that the handover section is isn’t held up by people who are still writing.
- Once the all of the papers are passed back to start again, that person should read out their ‘Stop’, ‘Start’ and ‘Continue’ points and the corresponding responses to the group so that everyone gets to hear all of the responses that were written and question any points they don’t understand.
- Alternatively, if you are short on time, you can just pass the sheets around the group again in a timed manner.
The purpose of this activity is to get the most out of a short retrospective session. If you are finding that your retros can be dominated by the discussion of one topic then this tool can help your team to discuss multiple points at the same time with each point receiving equal time for discussion.
Everyone has to raise points and everyone has to comment on each point raised by the team so its a good way of making sure that even the quiet members of the team get involved.
The sheets can be taken away and typed-up by the facilitator or someone nominated by the group and any key points should be captured as actions, assigned to the appropriate individual and reviewed in the next retrospective session.
You should end on a positive note by going over each of the positive points raised int the ‘Continue’ sections.
Here is an example template for a team of 5 people:
I gave this a try with a small group of 4 people and it worked really well.
We had two people working remotely so I set up a Google Document that we all filled in together.
It took a total of 30 minutes with a rich amount of output and actions.
The feedback was the team was very positive. They asked for a future one if I could make sure the text they write in is a different colour to the text showing the lines.
Thanks for the tip!