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The “Expected and Surprised” Retrospective

by on May 15, 2013

As agile coach, you want to keep retrospectives interesting and not just always repeat the same old “mad/sad/glad” or “plus/delta” routine. You might already have visited the Retr-O-Mat or the Retrospective Wiki. Here is another method to spice up your retrospectives during the “gathering data” stage.

  1. Give the team two questions to answer: “What happened as expected?” and “What surprised me?”
  2. The team answers the questions on index cards, as many as they like. In turn, they each present their cards to the others.
  3. Next, you can move on to something like clustering and dot voting to decide on an agenda for the remaining time of the retrospective.

The required time is about the same as for related questions like speedboat, plus/delta, etc.
This question comes in handy for me whenever a team’s real sprint diverges substantially from the original planning and/or commitment, or when I want to prod the team towards talking about interruptions and digressions. Also, I sometimes need to ask “Why did we fail the sprint?”, but these two questions sound so much more constructive.
As a variant, you could use this method for the “set the stage” phase, this time restricting the number of answers to one card per question and participant.

From → Agile, Tips & Tricks

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