Make your retrospectives fun while exploring the emotions and feelings of the team.
The Banana Game
All you need is a bunch of bananas (one for each team member) or any combination of fruit that might work.
- Allow each member of the team to select a banana (or item of fruit).
- Invite the team to decorate/draw/customise their banana in a manner that describes how they feel (this can be specific to a topic or general).
- Once everyone has had fun and completed their banana invite volunteers to share with the rest of the team how their banana feels. (Banana’s can be given a name if they like).
The idea is that with the banana taking the role of an avatar for the team member may feel better talking about their banana’s feelings than talking about their own feeling. This won’t work for everyone and some people will resist it as silly or just not want to open up. That’s fine, move onto another volunteer, you’ll find as more people share the resistors may open up.
The team may ask questions (to the banana) or talk about the issues raised, generating insights into why those feelings might exist. If you’re keen on visual facilitation this is a good period to remain quiet while recording some of the conversation.
The data and insights revealed in this game can be emotional around a specific topic or just general feeling at the moment, it may be based on an event in the last sprint or release, it may even pertain to a difficulty the team member is experiencing unrelated to work.
As the retrospective facilitator, keep the conversation respectful and don’t push those not keen to share into sharing. Once you’ve completed the activity, the team can look at which issues are affecting them, and decide what to do.
Hopefully you’ll find, as we did, that this adds an element of fun to your retrospectives and helps us understand the feelings in the team. Bear in mind vulnerability engenders trust so it can also help with bonding in the team.
I’ll be posting other games to play in retrospectives soon.
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