Sailboat Retrospective Technique
25 Jul

Sailboat Retrospective Technique

Mahipal Nehra

Retrospectives are an integral part of running sprints and sailboat retrospective technique is one such technique where sailboat represents team, wind or air represents things that are propelling the sailboat forward, the anchor represents the things that are slowing them down, rocks are obstacles and pirates are risks.

Sailboat Retrospective Technique

Although retrospectives are essential for teams they can turn out to become a quarrel hence the facilitator must be careful while conducting this meeting. To curb this issue the team members should create a rule with mutual consent that no one will blame each other and present defending arguments.

Step 1: Set the Context

In sailboat retrospective meeting the agile coach and product owner should draw a sailboat, wind, rocks, pirates and anchor. The sailboat’s base should be half in water half outside of it which represents well-balanced team. Now the team members can submit their tickets on the whiteboard with sticky notes or a digital team collaboration board. The tickets will be categorized into the following perspectives:

1. Air or wind

Team members, skills, gathered requirements, or reusable code that’s propelling the team forward.

Read: "Backend Developer Roadmap for 2020"

2. Rocks

Unclear documentation, insufficient requirement gathering, insufficient team members, unavailable resources, or vague development path or targets could be the obstacles as rocks.

3. Pirates

The unavailability of suitable prebuilt software modules or components, changed or extended requirements, sudden eviction of crucial team members whichever is the reason that can extend the development time, cost and reduce business value for customers can be termed as pirates i.e. risks. The team should discuss and create risk mitigation techniques around such scenarios, the successful risk mitigation technique can also be used in other projects.

Read: "Frontend Developer RoadMap 2020"

4. Anchor

The long research periods, team members being unskilled in a required trait, lack of required tools and improper syncing in team members' work is usually turning out to be the anchor for the sailboat team that slows them down.

Step 2: Ask the Right Questions

Ask the right questions from each team member that can bring out their opinion with respect to each and every aspect of the sailboat retrospective technique’s context.

Which element is the wind that’s propelling our sailboat team?

Which elements are rocks that are obstacles for our sailboat team?

Which elements are risks like pirates for our sailboat team?

Which elements are anchors that are slowing down our sailboat team?

Step 3: Gather opinions and analyze perspectives

The gathered opinions should be in terms of tickets that are pinned to outboard with swim lanes for each aspect. Analyze the perspectives with the team thoroughly with discussions. 

Read: "Database developer roadmap 2020"

Step 4: Collect Concluding points

The team should analyze the opinions submitted by each team member and do a thorough discussion to derive concluding bullet points from it. The concluded bullet points should be actionable items that the team can implement and absorb within its working to enhance performance.

The product owner and scrum master should carefully analyze the tickets submitted in rocks, pirates and anchor columns because usually, these are the aspects where they will be first responders to act.

Read: "Starfish retrospective technique and examples"

The steps to run sailboat sprint retrospective is pretty simple yet it requires a skilled moderator to curb the clashes and extracting actionable insights to improve the team’s performance.

We hope this sailboat retrospective technique helps you in your next retrospective meeting.

Read: "Top 8 Web development trends to watch in 2020"

Posted by Mahipal Nehra | Posted at 25 Jul, 2020 Web