While we do a lot of Retro’s, often a thought which comes to my mind is that “does everyone really speak?”, or “does everyone wonder how they were spending their days inside the sprint?”.
I had recently done an amazing workshop on management 3.0 with Sarika , and that has a practice called as improv cards where using improv cards we tell stories.
She also said a similar thing could be done with Rory’s story cubes, and while seeing them on amazon made me so excited that I couldn’t help ordering the standard set that moment itself. Although I really didn’t know what to do with it back then, I did have a faint idea that like improv cards, they had images, but then how to play it in a retro was not very clear.
So, we recently had a retro, and I created a game. The rules were that each person steps on the stage and rolls four normal dices. If they get a six on any of the four dices, they are lucky to roll the Rory’s story cubes, else we continue to next person. The moment you get a six, you roll the Rory’s story cubes, and then using the images you rolled, you take minimum of 5 cubes or a max of 9, to make a story of your life inside the sprint, the story could be a happy thing, the story could have a thing which needs improvement or both. Once you tell the story we see possible actions.
I started this by giving an example with all 9 cubes. And post this it was fun, initially some people didn’t get a six, but once they did, I saw people pumped up to get to the stage.
Not only people were telling stories, I felt they were connecting their story to their empathy, and how they felt on some actions, which was so good to hear. Some people stretched which no one knew but came out through this, some minor things which we ignore came out, and the participants had fun linking the images to the stories. Sometimes they would ask me what’s this image, and I would say use your wild imagination, because an image might mean something to someone. The funny one was that one took an image of magnifying glass; another guy took same image for a bat. So, the different perspectives of individuals came in.
Not to forget the essence of the whole activity was the story telling. The Stories shed more light on the seriousness of the issue, or the happiness on the delight, and it made people connect. I was super impressed how everyone participated, and even the people who are generally shy to speak had a story to tell.
The whole activity took an hour, and everyone did roll the cubes. The entire activity for me was such a good one, made me so happy that people were able to connect their life inside the sprint to a story.
End of the day a great Retro is where you get the reality out, and you as a team see the need to improve.
Continuous Improvement is like oxygen to a Team, as it motivates the team constantly to do better.