MFF OH – Retrospective

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Introduction

Recently I came up with a new retrospective format. The team asked for a retrospective to talk about a big problem they are facing at the moment. In general it is about the future of the team. There are currently some decisions made by our client that threatens the future of the project and the team members.

We talked a lot about it. However talking alone is not enough. If we don’t put the discussions into a frame we might loose a lot of important information and it will end up with just complaining about the situation.

So I came up with the MFF-OH retrospective. What is MFF-OH? It stands for Motivation – Future – Fear – Options – Hope.

How does it work?

Similar to a lot of other retrospective formats it is about time-boxing. I prepared a flip chart with 5 columns where only the first column is visible to the participants. First we spent ten minutes to gather information about what motivates us. According to positive psychology it is always good to start with what works before we jump to the problems. Then I revealed the second column “Future”. We spent another ten minutes to talk about some future scenarios. After that we talked about fear. What threatens us if we have a look at the imagined future scenarios. The next column to talk about and get information was “Options”. What options do we have to improve our situation.

As I came up with the retrospective I actually wanted to end it here. However the team asked for an additional column – Hope. What gives us hope and why do we think that we will master the challenge.

  1. Write down the 5 columns (Motivation, Future, Fear, Options, Hope) on a flip chart
  2. 5 iterations a 10 minute time boxes (only reveal the next column when you talk about it)
  3. Gather information, write them on post-its and pin them to the wall

Summary

The retrospective was really good. We could have just talked about the problem. But as I said before we might have lost a lot of information and insights. By putting the discussion into a frame and starting and ending it with positive thoughts it gave us the opportunity to structure it.

Feel free to try it out yourself and let me know what you think about it.

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