It takes a fast pace to complete the agile retrospective process. The process takes place in an interactive work environment that has frequent deliverables and short sprints. It allows team members to reflect their progress on a recurring basis. That helps teams to discern if their efforts are bearing any fruits. Teams conduct retrospectives to encourage continuous improvement. Sailboat exercises enable team members to get along and get the most out of retrospective sessions. In turn, it helps them to avoid common bottlenecks and improve their productivity. Here are the principles of the agile retrospective that enable team members to communicate better.

Set the Stage

A retrospective session becomes effective when every team member is honest about their achievements and failures. Sometimes teams experience difficulties getting started especially when some people feel uncomfortable opening up. However, that can be resolved with a sailboat exercise. It encourages people to interact and diffuse tension among team members. It can begin by taking a quick temperature gauge of the team members. It involves drawing of four weather patterns namely sunshine, rainy, thunderstorm, and cloudy. The team uses these weather patterns to describe their experience with the last sailboat exercise. Team members may also be asked to describe their experience with the previous sailboat exercise in only three words. Learn more about sailboat retrospective from All these warm-ups are designed to prepare the team for detailed discussions.

Data Gathering

Data gathering process allows teams to dig into the details of the last sailboat exercise. It attempts to gather as much data as possible by focusing on the sailboat exercise that just ended. It involves activities such as drawing a boat with a hefty anchor and large motor. Team members are asked to note down what they believe sunk the vessel and what propelled it forward. Team members use post-it notes to affix each idea to the corresponding drawing as a way of conceptualizing detractors and successor. They then use this to discuss how to propel the boat further and minimize detractors.

Insights Generation

It involves identification of two successes and detractors. It is all about identifying patterns and duplicates in the process. Team members discuss how everyone would have benefited from taking a specific direction. Identifying these commonalities helps teams to streamline their activities in the next sailboat exercise.

Deciding the Cause of Action

It is the most often overlooked, yet most important step in the retrospective. Team members often don’t develop any cause of action for them to move forward. Teams lose much of the value of the retrospective if they don’t come up with strategies to propel their boats forward.

Close the Retrospective

Discussing each member’s takeaways helps the team to close the retrospective on a high note. For example, you could ask groups of two to describe each action item discussed above. Ask them to pick an image; give it a title, and use humorous posters to describe it. That is a great way to encourage teamwork and inspire teams to pursue their goals.