Roleplay in a retrospective

Cosplay - AWA14 - Domo-kun
This is cosplay, not roleplay. Image by mikemol

Yesterday in a retrospective a pretty awesome thing happened.

The QA in the team highlighted an issue whereby he wasn’t getting the visibility he needed on the bugs he’d raised and when they were fixed. He suggested a potential solution and the rest of the team didn’t agree. They headed off, all of them, the QA included, into a discussion about how to solve the problem and came up with a possible solution involving an extra column on the Sprint Backlog. Thing is, some of the guys didn’t *quite* understand the premise and the QA guy wasn’t sold.

So, I suggested some roleplay.

As you’d expect, everyone moaned: “Bah, roleplay, what a crock!”, however, after another five minutes of inane chatter on the subject, I mentioned it again, except, this time, I leapt up and drew up some sprint tasks on post-its and stuck them on the pretend Sprint Backlog they’d made to illustrate their points and got people up to play the roles of developers, reviewers and QA. We ran a two week sprint, with four tasks, in two minutes and it worked. It proved that their idea was a little confusing and they decided to try something else.

So, if you’re stuck at an impasse about process in a retrospective, spice it up a bit with some role play and get the team acting out their sprint.

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