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I am sharing a fun retrospective format revolving around the cinema.

The recommended duration for each activity fits a one and half hour long retrospective, following the recommended duration for a 2-weeks long iteration.

Format details

I am of course following the classic 5-stages format:

  1. Set the stage
  2. Gather data
  3. Generate insights
  4. Decide what to do
  5. Close the retrospective
The creative part of the theme worked well. Quite a lot of laughing too. And it raised attention to the actual issues! This retrospective format was completely on target.

Set the stage: Movie Poster 🖍️ ≈5 min.

  1. If the last iteration was a movie, what would its poster be like?
  2. Draw it on a A3 paper sheet! You have 3 minutes.
  3. Some typical elements of a movie poster: title, graphical style, actor and director names, catch phrase
  4. Each participant hangs up his poster and explains it briefly.

Gather data: Movie Critic 📣 ≈25 min.

  1. Imagine your last iteration was a movie and you had to write a review. You have 5 minutes to write post-its about each of these review elements:
  • 1) Genre: What was the genre of the movie (e.g. horror, drama, …)?
  • 2) Theme: What was the (central) theme? Describe in 2–3 words.
  • 3) Twist: Was there a big twist (e.g. a bad guy)?
  • 4) Ending: What was the ending like (e.g. happy-end, cliffhanger)?
  • 5) Expected? And did you expect it?
  • 6) Highlight: What was your personal highlight?
  • 7) Recommended? Would you recommend it to a colleague?

2. Share and regroup the review elements in each of those 7 categories.

3. Afterwards look at the finished table and lead a discussion about:

  • 1) What’s standing out?
  • 2) What patterns do you see? What do they mean for you as a team?

Generate insights: Public Reception 📽️ ≈35 min.

  1. Now slip into the shoes of the rest of the world: other teams, partners, your boss…
  2. What is the public reception of the movie? What would they want you to change? Write on post-its!
  • The box office receipts: the results of the iteration
  • The actor’s performance: interactions into the team
  • List issues to fix as well as good things worth to dig deeper!
  • Regroup similar items

Decide what to do: The Producers 💰 ≈15 min.

  1. What could be the movie sequel? List the improvement proposals from the previous activity
  2. Now slip into the shoes of the movie producers. Each participant has 5,000€ to spend!
  3. Distribute these 5,000€ across the different action proposals.
  4. Dig more the 2 or 3 highest amount action items and make real actions that the team commits to implement during the next iteration: who, when, how

Close the retrospective: Movie Poster 🎨 ≈5 min. + room clean up

Let’s rehash the Set the stage activity but this time participants are drawing the movie poster of the sequel — the movie poster of the next iteration!


Why 5,000€?

The participants of the retrospective I facilitated are mostly if not all contractors — and we’re in France. Basically, a software developer contractor costs around 10,000€ per month in France. (typical not-too-senior rates are around 500€ per day × 20 worked days in the month — specific to France of course) We then split this amount in half since we are doing 2-weeks iterations.

By giving this amount, we’re asking to each participant to spend the amount of money her very own contract will cost to the customer during the next iteration.

Of course, feel free to adjust the amount to your local currency and typical rates!

Inspirations & tribute to Retromat

Most activities can typically be found on Retromat or are simply coloured by the theme of the Retrospective:

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