Retrospectives series: Big event in a team

Here is a new idea for you, my friend facilitator, to try out in your next retrospectives. The core of format is based in a tool from my ORSC teachers from CRR and Augere, and I added some ideas over it. I have already applied this format a couple of times with success in authentic multidisciplinary teams. A strong commitment and smooth conflict solving were the results of applying it.


This format is ideal to help a group finding problems after a big change, any event with a big impact in the team morale. As a facilitator, you would notice that a team requires this exercise when they are stuck, the group is not being able to step front and realize that their circumstances have changed, and this change requires to redefine the rules of their relationship. A possible outcome of this retrospective is a new team agreements collection, or even a whole set of actions to try out, possibly including big radical changes (kaikaku) to their working processes.


90-120 minutes for a 7 people team member.


This is a format very much oriented to people and their interactions. The main driver is a conversation where they facilitator will launch some question to the team and will guide them to close the old times and start new ones.


No specific materials are needed for this retrospective, except for the ones you decide to use to collect data, ideas or actions.



It is a good start for this retrospective to invite the participants to do a short game:

– Choose one team mate, get together and look at your partner’s eyes. During all the time you need to keep eye contact with your partner. Think, what is your favorite characteristic of this person? Think in silence, and later tell him. Change pairs until everyone met everyone.

This intro, if the members follow the facilitator, helps setting a private link between the team members, this intimacy is a very important part of a high performance team. For this retrospective, where we will be dealing with personal problems, it’s a good start to reinforce personal connections.


Here are the questions that the facilitator should ask:

– What is happening in the team now?

– How is that different from how things used to be?

At this moment, the facilitator should help the team understand (if that’s the case!) that the conflicts they are having are related to the circumstances and conditions changing. It’s the moment to help them realize that it’s a normal situation (again, if that’s the case!) and they need to close a period in their time and start a new one. You can continue throwing questions:

– What needs to be grieved, honored, acknowledged… from the old period?

– What is possible for the team now?

At this moment, the facilitator must decide how to continue. A good option would be helping the team to define their new working agreements, but if the situation is good enough you might even continue with the “heaven and hell” format explained in the last article.


According to the facilitator’s decision.


According to the facilitator’s decision.

Previous articles in the series:

1.- Le tour de France

2.- Heaven and Hell

Retrospectives series: Big event in a team

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