Purpose of the exercise: Discover how things are done within the team and more.

Time required: Forty five (45) minutes to one (1) hour maximum. 

Pre-requisites:  Post-its, markers, an empty wall, a facilitator.

Preparation: 20 minutes to print out the required material and create the Temperature reading[1] and the Feedback Door – Smiles[2] flip charts.

How many participants: Minimum one, maximum to be determined.

Recommended: This activity is recommended when starting to work with a new team where you are going to be the Scrum Master/Agile Coach.

Iteration Retrospective proposed agenda

  • Set the stage – Temperature reading
  • Gather data – Let’s teach our Scrum Master/Agile Coach how the team works.
  • Generate insights – Let’s map our development process with the agile framework in use.
  • Decide what to do – Top two (2) things that could be improved.
  • Close retrospective – Feedback Door – Smiles by Boeffi[3]


1. Set the stage – Temperature reading (10 minutes)

Welcome participants to the iteration retrospective and once everyone is in, present your proposed agenda, previously created. Once you have finished, ask the following question “Is there any other subject that you would prefer to discuss instead?” And wait for answers. If somebody proposes a topic, ask the team what they want to do? And follow whatever they want. If the team chooses your proposed agenda then go to the next step. If they don’t then skip this exercise and facilitate the ‘new’ conversation without any regrets.

  • Now is time to check our individual temperature, in order to acknowledge how everyone feels before the retrospective starts.
  • Ask participants to write their name on a post-it note and voluntarily stick it to the temperature reading flip chart, in the most convenient place which represents their current temperature.
  • Once everyone in the room has done it, invite participants to take a look at it and be curious about the results. Acknowledge the fact that everyone is different and we should respect that.
  • Thank the participants for sharing and for their openness.

2. Let’s teach our Scrum Master/Agile Coach how the team works (20 to 30 minutes)

Invite the team to teach you about the work the team does. In order to do that, I like to draw on a white board a starting point at the left and from there ask the team to guide you through the workflow.

  • Invite the Product Owner to tell you how an organization requirement gets into the team’s workflow.
  • From there draw a starting point for the team’s workflow.
  • Ask questions about each step of the process, and repeat what the team is saying, to be sure that nothing gets lost.
  • Listen carefully to what the team is saying and repeat the previous step until the team asks you to stop.
  • Be sure that you have covered everything.

3. Let’s map our development process with the agile framework in use (20 minutes)

Now invite the team to teach you about their agile framework: Kanban, Scrum, XP, Crystal, Safe, Open Agile, etc.

  • Ask the team to navigate you through the agile framework that’s in use.
  • Invite them to map their workflow with the agile framework in use:
    1. i.e.: Planning how to consistently develop a requirement that happens during sprint planning.
    2. Be curious and ask open ended questions to understand it.

  • Repeat previous step until all steps are mapped with the agile framework in use.
  • Take a picture of the resultant diagram for future reference.

4. Top two (2) things that could be improved.

In pairs or threesomes, invite the team to invest ten (10) minutes to identify two (2) things that require improvement in their development process and ask them to use post-it notes to write them down.

  • Invite each group to present its ideas to the rest of the team, by describing:
    1. What needs to be improved
    2. For what reason
  • Repeat previous step until all groups have shared their ideas.
  • Invite the team to organize in priority all their ideas for improvement. Give the team all the time they need to do this.
  • Take a picture of the prioritized improvement list.

 5. Close retrospective – Feedback Door – Smiles (5 minutes)

Close the retrospective by thanking everyone for the team’s hard work and then invite them for closure by giving you feedback at the ‘Feedback Door – Smiles’ flip chart. It’s up to you to ask for anonymous or non-anonymous feedback.

Expected outcome

  • Shared understanding of the team’s development process.
  • Team’s alignment about what’s working and what needs to be improved.
  • Empower the team to own their development process.
  • Install habit of continuous improvement through retrospectives.
  • Get to know each other better.
  • Build the relationship of trust between the new team and you as their Scrum Master/Agile Coach.

Willing to get more techniques for transforming your teams into high-performing sustainable Agile teams?

Here some options to help you out:

  1. Get your copy of my worbook “Forming Agile Teams” now.
  2. Register in my upcoming working “Coaching teams during iteration/sprint planning“.


Exercise extracted from the workbook Forming Agile Teams, www.jesusmendez.ca/books/forming_agile_teams

[1] Plan for retrospectives, “Temperature reading”, http://plans-for-retrospectives.com/?id=22

[2] Plan for retrospectives, “Feedback Door – Smiles”, http://plans-for-retrospectives.com/?id=23

[3] Boeffi, “Feedback Door – Smiles”, http://boeffi.net/tutorials/roti-return-on-time-invested-wie-funktionierts/