Useful game to do, at the start of a project retrospective. Helps people remember more of what happened, over the project timeline, not just the last few weeks. Good to do before games like Circles and Soup.


  • Everybody on the project team
  • Somebody (projectlead) to draw graph, explain and summarize


10-30 minutes


Whiteboard, markers  (different colors are nice, but not needed)


  1. Draw a graph with Happy/Sad face on the up/down axis and the project timeline on the horizontal axis.
  2. Add as many milestones points on the time line as needed – add sprint stop/start if this makes sense.
  3. Let each participant draw a graph over the project time line.
  4. Let them add milestone markers or text if needed
  5. Let them talk and tell why they are going up or down.
  6. Summarize the places where people agree or disagree the most.

Learning Points:

  • The goal of this exercise is to let people remember what happened
  • It gives them an excuse to talk about how they felt and why
  • Good game to start with, before doing a project retrospective
  • Works well for projects – less well for short periods of time

4 thoughts on “Moodgraph

  1. I did this activity with my team today, and it went pretty well.

    I had broken the timeline into milestones by release (each 6 weeks). The team added the content of the major deliverables for each release, which I think helps the remembering issue.

    My other comment is that everyone was a bit hesitant to be the first to graph on the board. So everyone did a mini graph on a piece of paper and then showed their individual graph when they put their line on the community graph. Overall, it was a good exercise. The team had fun, and we did realize a few lessons. I would upload a picture of our result if I could figure out how. 🙂
    Thank you!

  2. I used this twice.

    The first time, I gave little instruction (equivalent to instruction given here), I draw on the up/down axis a scale from -5 to 5, and dates and sprints name on the timeline axis. The team had access to any other information available in our systems.

    The second time, I proposed them to talk/communicate more about how they felt with their coworker. I also provided more information about the timeline. I added sprint goals and whether the goal was reached or not. I even gave the list of functionality completed during each sprint.

    Nonetheless, the same comment was brought on both occasion. It is a hard activities and it is very hard to remember our mood on different occasion. It even rendered the activity useless, adding no value for the rest of the retrospective.

    Have you developed other tools or technic to help the team use this activity. Is their other instruction to give at the beginning that encourage the team explore the activity?



  3. I’ve used this technique several times over the years and it works great!

    Thanks Thomas, for clearly articulating the nature and learnings of this exercise so that I can easily share it with peers around my company.

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