Retrospective Scenario: The Mystic Talking Donkey

A very unlikely scenario for you and your team to ponder over at your next retrospective. Imagine if you and your team were to go on a team bonding activity to visit A Mystic Donkey in Times Square, New York? When you get onto the topic of your bugs, that talking donkey seems to know more than most...

Goal:

To get your team to reflect on their bugs, through the eyes of A mystic talking donkey. To mix up your retro with a fun, humorous and engaging scenario.

Time:

60 mins

Equipment required:

Whiteboard or large paper, post-it notes. Pens.

Retrospective Backstory:

You’re at your computer at your office desk, when you notice an important email come into your inbox. It’s a communication from HR on behalf of the CEO of your company. The email goes...

 

Dear All,


We have been given the opportunity of a lifetime at [COMPANY NAME] for one team to go and pay a visit to the Mystical Talking Donkey. As some of you may have seen in the press the Mystical Talking Donkey has taken up a residency in Times Square, New York until next year.

As you all know, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to talk to the only talking donkey in existence and have it help you go through a pressing issue you may have.

The board and I have been thinking long and hard and have discussed this opportunity at length. We have decided to give this once in a lifetime opportunity to [YOUR TEAM NAME].

I think you all agree with me that given their bug situation, they are the best team to represent this great company at this point in time.

Yours,

[NAME OF YOUR CEO]

 

Wow, you think to yourself, what an opportunity.

Later that afternoon your CEO holds a meeting with you and your team, explaining the opportunity in greater depth including the logistics. You find out that you’re all to travel to New York first thing tomorrow morning. Transportation has all been booked including the hotel that you will be staying in overnight.

The excitement starts to bubble within your team as the opportunity sinks in. You collectively agree that the topic of your encounter will be your bug situation. The development of [YOUR PRODUCT NAME] has suffered in recent sprints and this has caused collective disappointment and frustration amongst the team and stakeholders.

The following morning you and your team travel to NYC. You get checked into your hotel, do a bit of shopping and head to bed for what you hope is a good night sleep. Your night is extremely restless and you toss and turn as the excitement keeps you up. The following morning at breakfast you learn that everyone had a similar experience. You look over at [TEAM MEMBER 1 NAME].

“Wow [TEAM MEMBER 1 NAME]. Your eyes are as big as the bag you came out of Macy’s with yesterday” You exclaim.

“I know,” says [TEAM MEMBER 1 NAME]. “I kept tossing and turning all night...I’m just so excited."

A bus turns up outside the hotel at 10 am with Melissa your guide, ready to take you all over to The Mystical Talking Donkey. You all clamour onto the bus and head over to Times Square.

Once at the venue, Melissa begins to explain a couple of rules before showing you in.

“Hello everyone I hope you’ve had a good night's sleep and are ready for this opportunity. Firstly I must say that The Donkey is incredibly excitable and due to his high blood pressure we try our best to keep noise and chatter to a minimum.

“You may ask the donkey about a specific thing, he will then recommend or propose things that you must answer truthfully ok? Remember the donkey can see everything. Any questions...no? Ok, let's go in and begin.”

You walk into a large room. There are lights from wall to wall, a large pail of water, a mirror, the donkey standing to the left of it as well as a massive stench in the air. 

You look round at your team and back at the donkey before you begin.

“We are here today regarding the bugs in [PROJECT NAME]. Donkey what do you see? What do you think?” You say to the donkey.

The Donkey looks straight at your team.

“No hellos, no nothing just straight into it. You came all the way from [YOUR TOWN CITY] and left your manners there?”

The donkey kisses his teeth and spins around three times.

“Alright, alright...let’s just go straight into it”.

“If I were to set fire to your code (bugs), what would you save?”

“What?” [TEAM MEMBER 2 NAME] said. “I didn’t quite get that”.

“Yes, you did.” The donkey replied.

“Look let me put it another way. I want you to imagine what I’m saying and respond as a team. Look...take a min to come up with some answers and get back to me”

 

 

If A Donkey set fire to our bugs, I would save...

[ As a team come up with as many responses as you can to this statement. Use it as a way to cheer as many things as you can about your bugs. It may not be the bugs themselves, maybe a bug led to you discovering something huge that needed changing. Maybe your code, the way you’ve dealt with them as a team or simply your TDD. Think outside of the box. ]

You respond to the donkey with a number of answers. The donkey nods as you explain each one.

“You’ve done well guys, you touched on everything I can see...”

The donkey then reached to an iPad next to it and pressed a button. This prompted text to appear on a projector to the side of the Donkey.

“I’m not talking to you anymore because of some stuff I’ve seen...I want you to guess all the reasons why” the donkey said.

 

A DONKEY IS NOT TALKING TO ME BECAUSE...  

[ As a team come up with as many responses as you can to this statement. Use it as a way to list all the things that could be improved about your bug situation. Keep it clean with bonus points going to the person with the funniest and most relevant comment. ]

 

Take all of the comment from the team and place them in two piles (cheer, improve). Stick them up and go through them. Group similar comments. Get the team to vote on the most relevant comments. Create actions where appropriate and assign.

To end the retrospective, take a vote on the funniest relevant comment. That person is declared the winner (STAR) and has the job of planning the next retrospective (you may choose another outcome if you wish).

 

 

You respond with more answers from you and your team.

"Good good...again you answered that truthfully..." The Mystical Talking Donkey responded.

"So what do we need to do?" you ask...

The Mystical Donkey spins around again...looks at you, back at the mirror and back at you and your team.

"Look in this mirror, what do you see?" The Donkey asks...

"hmmm, A Mystical Talking Donkey?" You respond...

"right...I'm not a cockroach. Get some bug killer or something."

 

So the moral of the story is...when A Mystical Talking Donkey asks you to fix your bugs, you had better get your ASS in gear!

 

Take all of the comments from the team and place them in two piles (cheer, improve). Stick them up and go through them. Group similar comments. Get the team to vote on the most relevant comments. Create actions where appropriate and assign.

To end the retrospective, take a vote on the funniest relevant comment. That person is declared the winner (STAR) and has the job of planning the next retrospective (you may choose another outcome if you wish).

 

 

The Retrospective Game is a brand new card game for team retrospectives. Please share and leave your comments and feedback below. We would also love to hear other scenarios you have come up with.
If you would like to get hold of your own pack, you may purchase it below.
 

 

 

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