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The Futurespective: Project yourself into the Future!

Futurespectives: Project yourself into the Future!

A successful team knows how to learn from its mistakes and make adjustments to improve. This is pretty much the purpose of team retrospectives.

Moreover, a successful team also sets its own goals and imagines the path to achieving them.

Since projecting into the future and anticipating emerging challenges is something you might want to achieve, you should definitely consider the potential of futurespectives!

The futurespective is the ideal meeting to prepare for the launch of a new project or to determine the direction the team wishes to take.

Through this article, we will define what a (good) futurespective is. Then we will discover several examples of futurespectives. Let’s go!

  1. What is a Futurespective?

  2. Futurespective vs. Retrospective

  3. Why do a Futurespective?

  4. Four examples of Futurespectives

What is a Futurespective?

A futurespective is a meeting where the whole team projects themselves into the future, often by discussing upcoming initiatives. They set goals, success criteria, avoid problems, and discover opportunities.

Talking about the future also involves sharing your concerns. The team must feel comfortable enough to express their emotions. A good level of psychological safety within the group is an essential condition for the success of a futurespective.

Futurespective vs. Retrospective

Even if these two meetings contribute to the team's improvement, the nature of the topics discussed and the way they are discussed are not the same.

In a retrospective, for our team to continuously improve, we look back on the past and discuss the problems we encountered. As a result, we learn lessons, build a plan, and improve quickly.

On the contrary, the discussions of a futurespective are about the future.

The structure of the two meetings is identical:

  • We collect the reflections of the team in different categories

  • We present them; we group similar ideas

  • We use dot-voting to prioritize ideas

  • We focus on the priorities to create an action plan

Facilitating a futurespective is very similar to facilitating a retrospective. Check out our Agile retrospective guide if you're wondering how to host a retrospective.

You can also combine the two techniques in the same exercise. For example, in the Retro Football Club retrospective, the team looks at the past AND projects itself into the future.

In both exercises, the action plan represents the future initiatives of the team. To increase their impact, I advise you to use SMART goals.

Why do a Futurespective?

  • Create team goals

A futurespective is the perfect opportunity to discuss what the team wants to accomplish. Several members could have different opinions on the team’s objectives and conditions of success. A future perspective will help to gain cohesion and alignment within the group.

  • Preparing for the next project

We usually navigate through the unknown when we launch a new initiative or project. A futurespective allows the team to find a path toward its goals and identify the threats and opportunities that might stand in the way.

  • Anticipate problems

Discussing doubts and worries helps the team anticipate arising issues. When team members discuss a potential problem and create an action plan, they increase their level of confidence in the realization of the project.

4 examples of Futurespectives

Hopes and Concerns

This is the ideal activity to help your team project into the future. The futurespective Hopes and Concerns focuses on emotions.

The team shares its expectations and fears. This creates a climate of transparency and psychological safety.

Hopes and Concerns is made of two elements:

Hopes

What are you looking forward to?

e.g., I hope our upcoming feature will make our users happy.

Concerns

Anything that makes you feel nervous or worried.

e.g., A lack of collaboration with Marketing will refrain us from crafting an efficient onboarding experience.

👉 Learn more about the Hopes & Concerns Futurespective Template!

The Sailboat

This well-known retrospective template is actually a futurespective Imagine your team aboard a sailboat ready to set sail for a desert island.

The goal of the crew is to reach the island. It symbolizes your purpose or goals.

Use the wind to get there. But be sure to pull up the anchor and avoid the icebergs.

This futurespective is divided into four sections:

The Island

Your team’s objective

e.g., acquire 10 new Premium customers by the end of the quarter.

The Wind

What helps your team move forward.

e.g., our blog articles offer great content and capture many leads.

The Anchor

Everything that is slowing you down.

e.g., most of our Freemium users do not understand the value of a Premium account.

The Iceberg

Potential risks.

e.g., our main competitor has launched a key feature, some of our users might be interested to leave us for this.

👉 Learn more about the Sailboat Futurespective Template!

The Genie in a Bottle

You enter the world of the Arabian Tales of a Thousand and One Nights with your team. During one of your journeys, you come across a magic lamp.

You rub the lamp, and the Genie appears!

In his immense kindness, the Genie offers 3 wishes to each person on the team.

This futurespective is divided into three parts:

A wish for you

e.g., I wish I could find more time to study for my Scrum Master certification.

A wish for the team

e.g., I wish we could have a little "celebration time" at the end of each Sprint.

A wish for the world

A wish on a larger scale, outside the team.

e.g., I wish Montreal Canadiens to become NHL Stanley Cup Champions this year.

👉 Learn more about the Genie in a Bottle Futurespective Template!

SWOT

The SWOT is an audit technique with a very simple goal: collectively identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team, and find opportunities and threats.

This futurespective will allow you to establish a plan to improve quickly.

The SWOT is divided into four points:

Strengths

What are our strengths?

e.g., great team spirit.

Weaknesses

What are our weak points?

e.g., our technical debt is becoming unsustainable.

Opportunities

What opportunities can we seize?

e.g., set up peer-programming sessions to improve the quality of our code.

Threats

What obstacles will stand in front of us?

e.g., stability issues in our production environment may arise.

👉 Learn more about the SWOT Futurespective Template!

You are now ready to run your first futurespective with your team!

For more retrospective and futurespective templates, feel free to check out Neatro's templates.

I wish you an excellent futurespective!

Discover Neatro's retrospective templates