Richer Retrospectives By Laurence Wood

Richer Retrospectives is a great way to help teams continuously refine their behaviours to ensure they get the work done in the optimum way in their particular context. It helps teams to discuss their challenges, assess their performance, and decide on an improvement they wish to focus on.

What's in the deck?

Laurence has carefully curated 44 critical behaviours on individual cards. The cards are a mix of positive and negative traits that a team should reflect upon when looking back on their performance in a retrospective.

The cards are colour coded to help teams decide which ones to use depending on their situation and needs.

  • Orange (Universal) Cards. The orange universal cards help any team using any approach.
  • Green (Fusion) Cards. Teams adopting Agile will value the green fusion cards
  • Purple (Agile) Cards. The purple cards are Agile-specific for more mature teams.

How to use the Richer Retro cards?

Richer Retrospectives prompts team members to consider how frequently they would like to practice a certain behaviour or process. The output of this exercise is a matrix that you can display in a shared space, and a single action focus for the team to work on next.

This informal retro is fast to learn:

  • Grab a deck and decide which cards you want to play in the session. This can be done ahead of the session or in collaboration with the team. You can work by suit, or choose individual cards based on the needs of your team.

  • Gather everyone in a room and stack the cards on the table putting the most pertinent cards at the top of the deck to help engage the team quickly.

  • Place the frequency cards (Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always ) in columns on the table or stick them on a wall clearly visible to everyone. 

  • Take turns to read out a card. Discuss and decide which title card to put it under. There are no right answers - rich conversations and focussed improvements are key. You don’t need to play all the cards in your first session.

  • Reserve the last 10 minutes to decide as a team which is the most interesting item - the one that you all want to focus on improving next. Some teams use dots to vote. Highlight it using the Focus card. Consider adding stickies showing owner, task etc.

  • Discuss how you all hope this card will move across the board as you improve. Ensure that you can measure success. Consider writing a clear goal together. Agree when you will next reassess the focus item to see if you have improved.

  • Repeat the activity above soon - you will accelerate and evolve how you use it in your context.
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About Laurence Wood

Laurence Wood is a Leadership Coach, expert Scrum Master and PM, an author and speaker. He is known as an innovator in the use of physical tools for supporting face to face collaboration and has invented a number of games including Richer Roles and Richer Retrospectives.