Devika Gibbs - June 29 2021

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. This informal retro is fast to learn. It helps teams to discuss their challenges, assess their performance, and decide on an improvement they wish to focus on.

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.

About the cards

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?

The Richer Retrospective technique is great played in person but with increasing number of teams working from home, we've come up with a way for remote teams to use the cards as well. 

  • 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. Tweet ideas or questions to @AgileLozenge

Remote Teams

If your teams are based in different locations without access to a common base (e.g table or whiteboard), then you can use a digital whiteboard or screen to conduct your retro. 

Top tip: Send physical decks to the team members to encourage asynchronous working. Individuals can engage with the physical deck in their own time and will be better prepared when the team comes together.

  • Prepare a digital whiteboard (or see our template in Miro) with the Frequency titles  arranged in 4 columns or sections. 
  • The 44 statements cards (including the target icon) in digital format can be acquired through purchase of the Richer Retro multi-packs on Agile Stationery
  • Decide which cards you want to focus on and upload the selection to your digital whiteboard or screen. 
  • You are now ready to begin the session  and can follow steps 4-7 above to facilitate the session.

In this video here, Laurence explains why he created the Richer Retro technique and how the cards can be used on a digital whiteboard. 

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