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The Glad Sad Mad Retrospective Template

It's time to open up your heart! Help your team members talk about their feelings and what makes them glad, sad or mad.
The Glad Sad Mad Retrospective Template

What is the Glad Sad Mad retrospective template?

Retrospectives are all about reflecting on past events and identifying areas of improvement for the team. Still, most retrospective templates focus on facts rather than accentuating how team members feel.

Moreover, open questions like "How do you feel?" or "Is everything all right?" can be hard to answer, right?

The Glad Sad Mad retrospective idea is precisely what you need to let people talk about their feelings and emotions.

Thanks to this powerful technique, your team members are invited to share all the things that made them feel delighted (Glad), unhappy (Sad), or angry (Mad).

Do you want to learn how the team feels at the end of your current Sprint or project? Do you want to foster psychological safety by letting people speak with their hearts? ❤️

Glad Sad Mad is the team activity you need!

Glad Mad Sad Retrospective Template Board in Neatro

How does the Glad Sad Mad retrospective format work?

The Glad Sad Mad format poses three retrospective questions to members of your Agile team:

The Glad Question from the Glad Sad Mad Retrospective Template
Things you are happy with.

The question “What makes you glad?” is a space to reflect on the positive aspects of a project or Sprint. It encourages team members to identify what makes them happy and excited about their work.

This question prompts participants to consider the elements of the project they enjoyed the most and the successes and wins that brought them joy. It's an opportunity to highlight achievements and moments of satisfaction, making team members think, "I love the way this went."

e.g., despite the complexity of our project, we managed to handle all the user stories

The Sad Question from the Glad Sad Mad Retrospective Template
Things you are sad about.

The question “What makes you sad?” serves as a platform for team members to express disappointments or areas for improvement. It encourages participants to reflect on aspects of the last iteration that didn't meet expectations or fell short.

This question encourages individuals to consider disappointing experiences and areas they wish to improve.  It's important to note that entries in this question aren't necessarily negative per se but rather represent areas where productivity could be enhanced, or outcomes could be optimized.

e.g., Because of a bug, I had to stay late at work twice last week.

The Mad Question from the Glad Sad Mad Retrospective Template
Things you are mad about.

The question “What makes you mad?” helps team members express frustrations and obstacles hindering peak performance in a Sprint or project. It encourages individuals to list elements that drove them crazy and identify what's impeding their ability to perform at their best.

This question prompts reflections on aspects of the last iteration that were particularly frustrating or served as roadblocks to productivity. It's a space to highlight hassles and challenges encountered, even if they seemed to function adequately.

e.g., some Daily Scrum meetings had to take 20+ minutes because we could not start on time.

Why is the Glad Sad Mad retrospective template so effective?

Don't forget that the Glad Sad Mad retrospective heavily relies on feelings, so make sure that the participants welcome all emotions from their peers. A quick reminder of the Prime Directive of retrospectives is always welcome to establish a positive and constructive atmosphere.

This retrospective technique is helpful to:

  • Improve the overall team morale

  • Cultivate transparency and foster psychological safety

  • Implement healthy team dynamics

You can use the Glad Sad Mad template for any recurring team retrospective (Sprint Retrospective, project post-mortem), event retrospective, or self-reflection exercise.

As you've understood it, your team doesn't need to be "Agile" to care about its continuous improvement.

Having frequent retrospectives with your team is an excellent way to inspect & adapt constantly. Glad Sad Mad can be a great activity for starting retrospectives with your team.

Icebreaker question examples for the Glad Sad Mad retrospective template

The Glad Sad Mad retro template aims to facilitate communication within your team by encouraging the expression of emotions. These icebreaker questions will serve as a starting point for a relaxed atmosphere where your team members will feel comfortable sharing what's on their minds:

  • What is your favorite kind of music?

  • If you could visit any art or historical museum in the world, which one would it be?

  • What’s your favorite knock-knock joke?

  • Share a moment when you surprised yourself at work.

  • What question do you wish people would ask you?

  • What will be the name of your autobiography?

  • Is freedom an illusion? Why?

For more variety in your team retrospectives, try other icebreaker questions or a different icebreaker activity like "Two Truths and a Lie."

Have a great retrospective!

Glad Mad Sad Retrospective Icon
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