The Story Book – Agile Retrospective

Story Book - Agile Retrospective

Story Book – Agile Retrospective

The Story Book is an agile retrospective technique that encourages the group to create an individual story book around an event or period of time. The idea is to generate insights from the variety of perspectives around the event. This game centres on the gather data and generate insights aspects of a retrospective.


Gather Data

I would like you to begin thinking about <event> as if it were a book. Each part of <event> composes a chapter in the book. Certainly the event may not be finished yet; still it probably already contains a few  and well-defined chapters. Please divide <event> into its
major chapters and describe each chapter. You may have as many or as few chapters as you wish, but I would suggest a minimum of 2 or 3 and a maximum of eight. Think of it as a general table of contents for your book. Give each chapter a name and describe the overall content of each chapter.*

Generate Insights

Share your book with the rest of the team. I suggest allowing brief discussions between each chapter if there is sufficient time, otherwise allow the storyteller to finish and then discuss. You may also discuss briefly what makes for a transition between
chapters. The facilitator may create a mind map or other artifact from the discussion as a visual aid for deciding what to day.

This can be a reflective technique that allows for asking questions such as “If we did this again what would we do differently. What can we change now to avoid repeating these behaviors’? Looking back over the event as a book, can you discern a central theme, message or idea that runs throughout the text? It can also be used for a futurespective (Samantha Laing – Twitter 2012) where the story is created as a fictional work for an imminent event or period of time, using the collective wisdom of a group to gain a comprehensive view of things to consider.

Typical plots that emerge from this exploration can be along the lines of:

  • Creation of a stable base, creating order from chaos
  • Conflict against and external agent, protecting oneself from or integrity.
  • Moving forward or exploring, escaping a troubling period.
  • Overcoming external pressure, enduring suffering.


Hopefully you’ll start to see these themes arise with the different stories and they’ll help provide a focal point for deciding what to do next.

* Narrative & Psychotherapy- McLeod – Sage Publications.


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