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An example of a rocket retrospective outcome

The Simple Rocket Retrospective

Students have been asking me about the rocket retrospective, and they asked me to make a blog post on it, so here it is. the idea actually came from a friend in the Columbus community that I started using at a large corporation. Here are the details to facilitate your own rocket retrospective.

  • Draw a picture similar to this picture on a large poster board or white board. For remote teams, you can use tools such as Google Jamboard or to load the picture from a file.
  • Give everyone a pet of posted’s and markers. If online, make sure that everyone can connect to your online medium. We want to make sure that everyone has a chance to get their ideas heard.
  • The scenario in this retrospective is that everyone is on a team of moon explorers trying to get home, which is earth. The earth represents the big goal for the team. Your team is in the rocket ship provides thrust to get home. However, the moon has gravity that is bringing you down.
  • Set a time box for 3 to 5 minutes. During this time, have everyone write down items that went well during the Sprint, that did not go so well, and continuous improvement items. Have all team member place the items that went well on the rocket representing the thrust, items that did not go well represent the gravity on the moon, and continuous improvement items on earth.
  • After the time box expires, the gushan starts for each item 13 captured.
  • Iteratively discuss each item in the rocket and the moon. Capture items that are continuous improvement on the earth, however, discuss each item in the earth last.
  • Remember that the scrum guide directs the team to pick at least one item from the continuous improvement items to complete for the next Sprint. Once this is done, ask the team what they want to do with the rest of the continuous improvement items.

How to create the drawing from the team’s feedback

rocket retrospective
An example of a rocket retrospective outcome

Start with SVG picture at the top of this post. I used a tool called Inkscape to create the SVG, and also the text from the feedback from the team. You can use various techniques to make the flow of the text go along certain paths. Here is a link to a video that helped me out a great deal. You will produce an outcome like the picture on the right. Good luck in running your own rocket retrospective!