I recently tried a new retro format with the team i am currently working with, i called it the 4 H’s retro. Now i won’t try and claim for a minute this is anything groundbreaking or new as it borrows heavily from the 4 L’s expect i wanted to come at things from a slightly different perspective. The team i work with currently had recently done a review of our sprint ceremonies and one thing that was mentioned was that we focused on the negative stuff too much/too quickly. I therefore wanted to move away from the 4 L’s to some more positive themed categories and came up with the following:

  • Hero – Who was your hero in the last sprint/iteration? Who went above and beyond for the team?
  • Help – Looking back what help do you wish you had during the last sprint? What impact would it have had?
  • Happy – What was the one thing that made you go home to friends or family saying you’d had a great day at work?
  • Hope – What is the one thing you hope for in the next sprint/iteration that you or team don’t currently have?

To prepare for the retro i prepared 4 different coloured cards with the 4 H’s on each one along with a sharpie. We did this retro at a team breakfast to try something different so using post-it notes was fine. I gave the team 3 minutes to write down their thoughts for each section with a brief 3-5 mins discussion about each area afterwards. Each team member was encouraged to read them out aloud to the team.

After this we split the team into 3 groups of 3 and based on what we’d heard throughout the retro they were tasked with coming up with the most important action they could take forward. We then discussed the actions and refined them to make sure they were clear and achievable.

It seemed to work really well and the discussion that was generated was certainly of a different tone than our previous retro’s, although maybe the breakfast was the real reason everyone was happy (it was very good!)