Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Retrospective Game: Turn the Tables

Southampton Games Night - 10/06/2014

As part of the Southampton Games night I hosted a 30 minute session on a retrospective game that i have had some success in the past with called turn the tables.  The retrospective was based on the previous activity 'The User Story Game' to add to the mix the facilitator of that game was also taking part.

The Game is separated into 3 steps:

Step 1 - Write 2 Good points on green post it notes and 2 Bad points on red or in this case pink post it notes. The catch is you can only write a maximum of 2 words on each sticky.

Step 2 - Pass the green post it notes to the left and the red post it notes to the right.

Then comes the twist.  Starting with the green sickies each person has to try and explain what the person who wrote the sticky meant from the two words written down. The original author then marks them out of 5 for how accurate the description was. Once all the green post it notes have been done they can go into the middle of the table and the same activity is done with the red post it notes.

Step 3 - Pass the red post it notes to the right again and this time the person with the post it note has to try come up with ways of  improving the bad point. Once that person has given it a go the rest of the team can help out.

Below is a picture of the list of improvement ideas that came from the game

Why I like the game:

  • Its fun to play and your  guaranteed to have at least a  few laughs
  • It gives good results (in this example 11 improvements)
  • The turn based approach means everyone gets an equal say
  • It gives you a measure of how well the team know each other

Special Thanks

Original game

The book that changed how I view retrospectives - Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great (Pragmatic Programmers) 

It would be good to hear what others thought of the game? Have you tried it in your teams yet? How did it go?


  1. If green go left and red go right your diagram must be an under the table looking up point of view. Kinky.

    1. Well spotted. I thought I'd mix things up a little.