Just before our last month end retro, Sam needed to leave the office. I decided to surprise her by planning a treasure hunt retro for when she returned. I wanted to do something a little fun and different for our retrospective, so I decided to incorporate movement around our office between each step. I thought about the different spaces we have in the office and how I might use them and based the activities around that.

Here was the plan.

1 – Checkin [5 min]:  

This was a question we both had to answer. I wrote the question on the back of an index card and on the front wrote “flip over and answer the question”. I labeled it as 1, so that she would know we needed to move to step 2 next. I placed it on Sam’s desk so she would see it as soon as she sat down.

2 – Gather Data [10 min]:

I put up a flip chart in our kitchen near a window. It had 2 axes dull to interesting on the vertical and low to high effort on the horizontal axes. The instruction was to write down all the things we did in January and place them on the chart in the appropriate spot. I left sticky notes and markers next to the poster. What was great for this is that we had to stand up for the activity, and it was away from our laptops so we had to do this from memory rather that just looking at our calendars which is what we normally do for gather data. I think it was interesting to see what we actually recalled.

3 – Generate Insights [5 min]:

Here we moved again to another station with index cards and markers. We had to each write down 3 wishes for February. One per index card. Again this was a standing station near a shelf as it was a fairly short activity.

4 – Generate Insights continued [25 min]:

For the meaty discussion part of the retro, we moved to our chairs so we could sit down for this, but I had moved the chairs away from the desks so we would face each other rather than the desk. We talked about our 3 wishes each and then discussed what we could do to make those wishes come true. Every idea was written down on a sticky note. We weren’t filtering yet, just discussing why that wish was important to us, and what we thought we could do to influence it.

5 – Decide what to do [10 min]:

I wanted to use the idea of picking ‘low hanging fruit’ here. We have a lovely tree decal on our wall, so we did the exercise there. We place each of the sticky notes we had created in the previous step somewhere on the tree. Low to the ground meant low hanging fruit (easy to do), the top of the tree where lofty ideas that might be quite difficult.

6 – Decide what to do continued [5 min]:

Now we got to “pick the fruit”. Essentially looking at all the possible actions on the tree we decided what we wanted to commit to doing in February. Usually we are quite strict about only having 1 action, but this time some of them where really small and simple, so we discussed that and picked 3 actions in total.

7 – Close [5 min]:

This was back at our desks but on my desk. Similar to the checkin, except the question was: What surprised you about this retrospective.


This was a great way to add a bit of fun and energy to our usual monthly retro, and I found moving to different spaces, triggered slightly different thinking for me. Give it a try for your own team and let us know what happens. I think next time I’m going to leave clues for finding the next step at each stage, and make the area much bigger (i.e. include the garden as well).

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