"Retro" Arcade


The “Retro Arcade” offers a comprehensive, 90 to 120 minute workshop template that helps teams run a retrospective meeting, which examines both past iterations/ways-of-working and future experiments in equal parts.

When to use this template?

As a leader, facilitator and participant, the retrospective should be a positive, energising experience for everyone. This template helps team members share important feedback, let go of frustrations, and work together to come up with solutions in a fun and nostalgic manner.

How does the “Retro Arcade” work?

You’ll be guided through the 5 phases of a successful retrospective. The key concepts and visual prompts are:

The Optimus Prime Directive: The purpose of the Prime Directive is to assure that a retrospective has the right culture to make it a positive and result oriented event. 5 mins. (1-2 mins) Icebreaker: These exercises and conversations are especially important for virtual teams that can't physically interact with one another. Get teams to debate what fandom they are loyal to hence the name “This or That”. (5 mins)

Generate Insights:

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog; how can we deliver value faster and more iteratively (without impacting our quality)?

  2. Donkey Kong; what barriers and hurdles are impeding our progress, which we need to overcome?

  3. Super Mario; what’s been improved “powered-up” in the last sprint/timebox? This can be a process, technique or kudos for a colleague.

  4. Crash Bandicoot; what are we that’s self-damaging? Where should we tread more carefully?

  5. Cuphead and Mugman; how do you rate our teamwork? And, what suggestions do we all have to work more collaboratively and effectively with one another? (15 mins)

Grouping and Dot Voting:

Affinity sort sticky-notes, by asking participants to collaboratively group ideas into logical themes. Prioritise topics for discussion, each team member is given a certain number of votes to indicate their preference for a specific theme, group of individual stickies. Participants can allocate these votes as they see fit, placing all votes on one topic or distributing them to reflect other priorities (including their own).

Now it’s time for the discussion! The facilitator should announce the timebox for a discussion of the groups (20-40 minutes should be enough), record your actions/experiments appropriately. Make them actionable.

Close the Retrospective:

The Fist to Five is a technique for quickly getting feedback or gauging consensus during a meeting. Ask participants where this format/session ranks on the “Arcade Leaderboard” - 1st place (hi-score) to 5th place.


Steven Sampson-Jones image
Steven Sampson-Jones
Head of Agile Delivery@UK Government
An enthusiastic doodler and visual artist, who enjoys putting those interests into agile workshops.
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