Many Faces of Jack Sparrow

The instructions for the retrospective activity were as follows:

  • Think about the activities that took place in the last sprint (a 2-week sprint just ending)
  • Reflect on how generally you felt about the sprint including what went well, what challenges there were, what we learned, etc.
  • Come up with as many reflections as you can, using the many pirate faces of Johnny Depp as inspirations for your thoughts.
  • Write down 1 reflection on each sticky note. Come up with as many reflections as you can in about 5-8 minutes.


Impact/Control Matrix

Easy and effective problem solving — Rate challenges to see where they fall in terms of level of impact and how much control you have over them.



Starfish is a great data gathering activity to foster the thinking around practices and the value the team get from it. It helps team members to understand each other perceived value on such practices.

The small starfish divides the board into 3 areas:

  • Keep Doing something the team is doing well and you recognize the value on it.
  • Less / Stop something being done; you see some value, but you rather reduce; either a little bit or all of it.
  • More Of something already being done; and you believe will bring more value if done even more.

Start, Stop, Continue

  • The start items are things a team member thinks the team should add to its process.
  • Items on the stop list are things that someone on the team thinks are inefficient or are wasting time.
  • The continue list contains items the team would like to continue to emphasize but that are not yet habits. So any of the start or stop items above could go onto the continue list and stay there for a few sprints.

Lean Coffee Retro

  • Step One: Before the retrospective starts the facilitator should set up a kanban board with three columns:
    To Do
  • Step Two: To start the retrospective the facilitator should explain how the technique works and provide the team with the timebox for the retrospective (1-2 hours, depending on the size of the team).
  • Step Three: Ideation. The facilitator should hand out sticky notes to the participants and tell them the timebox for this phase (10-15 minutes should be enough). Participants should keep their sticky notes private so that participants aren’t biased by each other’s ideas. When the timebox expires, the participants should place their sticky notes in the “To Do” column on the kanban board.
  • Step Four: Grouping. Since many sticky notes will likely contain related (or even identical) ideas, participants should group sticky notes into logical themes. Participants can use markers to draw circles around related sticky notes. The facilitator should announce the timebox (10-15 minutes) and encourage the participants to stand up and move from poster to poster to make this part of the retrospective interactive and fun.
  • Step Five: Dot Voting.

Here’s the Miro template!


Speed Car

This is a simple activity for helping the team to identify things that make them move faster, and things that slow them down.

Running the activity:

  1. 1. Ask the participants to write notes and place them on the following two areas: Engine and Parachute.
  2. Engine: What have been pushing us forward? Making us move faster?
  3. Parachute: What have been slowing us down?
  4. Group the notes and discuss.

Three Little Pigs

Running the activity:

  1. Draw and explain the participants the 3 columns:
    House of straw: what do we do that just about hangs together, but could topple over at any minute?
    House of sticks: what do we do that is pretty solid, but could be improved?
    House of bricks: what do we do that is rock solid?
  2. Ask the participants to share their feedback on post-it and place on one of the three columns
  3. Filtering and group conversation about action items.

One-Word Retrospective

The one-word retrospective technique is often considered as a checking exercise, to get the team members ready for the retrospective.

But if the team has major problems, then this one-word exercise check-in and the discussion that follows is the retrospective! It is an effective way for the team to discuss what is hampering them, and agree on how to deal with it and get it out of the way. And that is what retrospectives are all about!



SWOT is a team building that helps team members to better understand each others strengths and weaknesses, as well as find opportunities and threats that they might face together. It is a good activity for when a project is starting, or when new members have joined an existing team.

Running the activity:

  1. Draw the four quadrants:

2. Introduce the first two areas:

Strengths: write down what you feel you do well and can help the team
Weaknesses: what are the things that you could improve?

3. Give the team time to write down notes for those areas.

4. Read all strengths and weaknesses out loud, clarifying if needed, but not fostering discussion yet.

5. Introduce the other two areas:

Opportunities: given the team’s strengths, what can you capitalize on and take as a lead to be successful?
Threats: with those weaknesses, what are the obstacles you will have to overcome?
6. Give the team time to write notes for those two areas.

7. Group Discussion



Sometimes when tensions are high and deadlines are short, we can forget all the awesome things about our teammates. An affirmations retro lets everyone on the team see how they are appreciated, and they have a tangible takeaway they can hang in their cube. *s w a g* Team members pass around a sheet of paper and provide affirmations to one another.