One Word Retrospective Game

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Post-its and pens is all you need!


Each Team Members place a word on the board that highlights the sprint for them

Team Plays Sprint Dictionary

One team member selects a word of the board
Everyone BUT the person who put it up on the board discusses what they think the team member meant by the word
The thoughts are captured
When everyone has said all the want to say, the team member who put the word up shares what they meant by the word

Team Discussion

After the team member shares their thoughts , the team discusses
What did we just hear from everyone?
What can we glean from what we heard?
Are there some underlying feelings, issues, etc. we need to dig deeper into?


Team Members places another word on the board that highlights the sprint for them if they have them

repeat team discussion

Lost For Words?

When there is nothing left to say (no more words)
Where do we put them?

Bury It- we want to leave behind and not take forward
Pack it – we want to put in our backpack and take with us
DEV Server – We need to work on this, put on our backlog

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Rating: 4.5/5 (17 votes cast)
One Word Retrospective Game, 4.5 out of 5 based on 17 ratings
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6 Responses to "One Word Retrospective Game"
  • Michael Wallace August 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Easy way to stimulate conversation in the Retrospective.

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • Bill Asch September 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve used this technique for years and I love it…especially when you are dealing with a team that is new to Agile. I usually put the answers into a spreadsheet and review them months down the road. It can be really fun to see how a team’s answer evolve over time. It’s even more interesting when you map it to Features or Releases. Team’s can more deeply appreciate their progress in doing that.

    Most importantly, I find this is a great ice-breaker technique for a Retrospective

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • katherine colby April 20, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I used this one the other day. Fantastic, new team and everyone got involved and participated.

    I’m looking forward to doing it again.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  • Lauren Thomas April 21, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Thank you. we find it is one of the more effective games we use

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  • Kevin O'Brien June 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Great retro! Used for 8 person scrum team. I blocked off an hour, but that was not enough time. This retro gets people to talk! So make sure to schedule enough time!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  • Lauren Thomas June 30, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Thank you. We use several games but we use this the most because of how effective it is

    VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
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