Australian Rules Football Themed Retrospective 

Its currently the business end of the AFL season (Australian Rules Football) with the Preliminary Finals set to take place this weekend. The winners of those games will face off in the Australian version of the SuperBowl – the AFL Grand Final.

I live in Melbourne and with a lot of hype around these games I thought it would be good to try and AFL or Australian Rules themed retrospective with my team.

If you are from Melbourne you cannot escape finals fever so there was no need to deeply set context with my team around how this theme would work. However  I realise that some of you may not have an understanding of how Australian Rules Football works so here is is an overview if you’d like to know more.

How did it work?

To start I drew the goal and point posts in the middle of the board, along with the boundary line on the outside of the posts. I then invited the team to add anything else to the board they thought was fitting for the themed. This included a goal umpire, a player kicking the ball, the ball sailing through the goals and the goal square.


Once the drawing was complete when then agreed that the sections of the board would work as follows:

  • What goals did we kick this iteration? (the big posts in the middle and the goal square)
  • How did you miss that? (what’s puzzling us or the small posts either side of the goals)
  • What did we kick out on the full? (what didn’t go well or anything outside the posts)

The team then wrote their thoughts and reflections on post-it notes and placed them on the whiteboard. We then grouped the common thoughts and begun discussing each one from out on the full, to what we missed and finally what goals did we kick. As always we took actions throughout where we needed to so that we can follow up the things we need to do before the next retrospective.

What did we learn?

Unlike previous sporting themed retrospectives we’ve tried, the Australian Rules Football themed retrospective didn’t work quite as well. This was largely due to some of the sections of the board being split from left to right, and as a result some of the groups of topics to discuss were on the right of the goal posts and some to the left (for what we kicked out on the full or what we missed). This mean’t from a facilitation persecutive I was jumping across the board a lot.

The session itself was time boxed to one hour with five minutes at the start for drawing and five minutes to reflect on our thoughts, before grouping and conversations.

If you have any suggestion on how we could better adapt this retrospective theme for future use I’d love to here them. Please either leave a comment in this post or send me a tweet – @jhyett

This entry was posted in AFL, Agile, Culture, Digital, Football, Kaizen, People, Projects, Retro, Retrospectives, Scrum, Teams and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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