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Cool Wall Retrospective

This post is republished from my old blog

At the Munich Scrum Gathering (2009), Harvey Wheaton from Supermassive Games did a presentation entitled “Growing Self Organising Teams”, which was exceptional and I found it very inspiring, the presentation can be found on the Scrum Alliance web-site. In the presentation one slide caught my attention and it was how the team had used a Cool Wall, inspired by Top Gear (popular car show in the UK).  I thought that would be an excellent tool for a retrospective and used it at the next opportunity, this is how I used it.  Picture not great, but you get the idea…

Using the Cool Wall to Gather Data

The team was asked brainstorm team practices/team customs/patterns/ways of working, each team member then took it in turn to add their practice to the cool wall, and share it with the rest of the team.  Sub-zero was for practices where the team felt they were world class, seriously un-cool was reserved for practices that really weren’t working.

I then asked the team to vote for the practice they wanted to work on, I had forgotten my sticky dots so we used marker pens.  The team actually picked a practice from Un-Cool as the stuff in seriously un-cool was out of their sphere of influence and the ScrumMaster was dealing with it already.

Using the Cool Wall to Drive out Actions

Once we had selected a practice we had some discussion to understand the root cause.  We then moved to generating actions by asking ourselves what we need to do to move this practice one column to the right.  Remember you only want a few actions otherwise nothing will get done.

Check-out

To keep with the car theme I then asked the team to say given their project, what mode of transport they most felt like.

Summary

The approach worked well and really helped to create a picture of the work the team does, and uncovered loads of stuff that the ScrumMaster could work on to help the team improve.  Also we only spent an hour doing it.

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