I was inspired to create a retrospective game for agile teams, based on the game Dixit. Dixit is a game that makes use of picture cards. Each of these cards has an unusual drawing on it. The Agile Learning Labs team used it recently in one of our sprint retrospectives and it worked well. Give it a try with your team and leave a comment to let me know how it works for you.
A full set of Dixit picture cards is used. The rest of the supplies from the standard Dixit game are not used.
Each team member should have at stack of index cards, at least five.
Each team member will also need a pen.
The team sits around a table. The deck of Dixit cards is shuffled and each team member is given six cards (this can be adjusted up or down as desired). The rest of the deck is placed in the center of the table face-down. Players take turns being the leader. The tallest person (or shortest, or what-ever) is the first leader.
The leader looks through their six cards and chooses one that represents something that happened during the sprint. For example, let’s say the team had to create a lot of documentation this sprint and so the leader selects this card from their hand.
The leader places this card face-up in the center of the table.
Each player, including the leader, writes what they think the card represents on an index card, and then the index cards are placed face-down in front of each player. When each player has an index card in front of them, the player to the left of the leader turns their index card over and explains what they believe the Dixit card represents. That player leads a brief discussion of the event on their index card, and the discussion concludes by recording any potential action items for the team to consider.
The next player to the left then reveals their index card and the process repeats until it is the leader’s turn. The leader then reveals what they intended the card to represent. If the topic has already been identified by one or more team members, then each team member that correctly guessed the meaning of the picture gets a point and so does the leader. If no team member guessed the intended meaning of the Dixit card, then the leader facilitates a discussion about the topic and potential action items are recorded; no players receive points in this case. The leader then discards the Dixit card and draws a replacement from the top of the deck. Now the player to the left of the leader becomes the new leader and the process repeats. Continue for as many times around the team as feels productive.
Once the main game play is completed, the team considers the various action items they have collected and selects one or two of these to schedule into the coming sprint as the outcome of the retrospective. Oh, and the player(s) with the most points win a fabulous prize.