Agile Australia was a couple of weeks ago and one of the key note speakers was David Marquet. David is a retired U.S. Navel Captain of the nuclear powered submarine the USS Santa Fe and the author of the Turn the Ship Around.
David’s talk was one of the highlights of the conference from my perspective and gave me the idea to run a submarine themed retrospective with my team.
Much like the other themed retrospectives I’ve written about this one was largely about focusing on the things that are holding us back or that we could improve and the things that are working well and that we should keep doing.
For the submarine retrospective we first drew a picture of the boat and placed it submerged in the water to represent the distinction between what is and isn’t working. We then drew some mines underneath to visualise that the submarine wasn’t in a position to dive as our focus area for what we could improve.
The team then spent 5 minutes writing and sharing their thoughts on what we could improve and what we should keep doing coming out of our last iteration. We then grouped the thoughts into themes and worked our way through discussing them, taking actions where appropriate.
This was a really good retrospective, not particularly because of the theme but largely because we focused on the things we are doing well and how we could keep improving on them (as per the picture in this post). There wasn’t a steer to make this happen it was just that the team was feeling good overall.