The Zombie Apocalypse: An Horrifying Agile Retrospective Idea

Will your team survive the toughest challenges?

What is the Zombie Apocalypse retrospective?

Difficulty Level
Intermediate

The end of the world has arrived!!!

Well, not exactly. It's just a zombie invasion, and it should be contained to your next retrospective only. Phew.

However, your only chance of getting out of this is to cooperate and fight as a united group. Will your team survive it?

What's the nice twist about this adventure? Like any great warrior, each participant will have to enumerate and discuss lessons learned from the last iteration to become stronger. Then team members will raise ideas to strengthen the group for the next raid (or the next iteration - you got the picture).

Let the resistance shine! 🧟

The 5 elements of the Zombie Apocalypse

The Bestiary
Identify the enemies we have faced.
e.g., a headless deployment script, ready to tear our guts apart.
Stop by the Gun Shop
What tools and techniques have proven to be very useful?
e.g., our checkpoint with marketing survivors gave us a better understanding of their roadmap.
The perfect plan... or is it?
Where and when did things go wrong? Why?
e.g., our support response time has increased significantly. Our own customers almost devoured us because of this!
The Survivors Diary
What lessons have we learned from our adventures?
e.g., our surviving developers and designers would benefit from working together a little bit more.
Unity is Strength
How can we improve our group dynamics?
e.g., take the time to highlight our team successes #OneDayAtATime

Why & when should you use the Zombie Apocalypse?

This activity will bring a good dose of creativity to your next retrospective. Joining forces as a team to fight hordes of zombies doesn't happen every day, right?

Used as a Sprint retrospective activity, the Zombie Apocalypse will help you make a general diagnosis of your last work cycle. See by yourself! πŸ‘‡

The team will first be able to identify the challenges encountered along the way. Then participants will take stock of the tools and processes that have made their life easier. Next, the team members will state why and how some things did not happen as originally planned. Then there will be a sequence where the survivors - hmm hmm, the participants - will share the lessons learned from the last iteration. Finally, each member will suggest ideas to strengthen the group dynamic.

Use this retrospective idea as Halloween approaches... or anytime you feel you're ready for this adventure.

How to run the Zombie Apocalypse template

The Zombie Apocalypse retrospective idea is a creative activity made by the Neatro team. We have built and enhanced this template with the support of the Neatro community.

You can try the Zombie Apocalypse model with your team for free by signing up for Neatro. No credit card is required. Note that participants do not need to create accounts to join a retrospective with Neatro.

Although we use the Neatro experience to show how to run the Zombie Apocalypse retrospective online, you can follow this guide and apply our tips for any other tool.

Step 1: Write comments
Let people write ideas and avoid group thinking

So... you have already run an Icebreaker with your team, and you have done a follow-up on the action items from the last retrospective.

Your team is now ready to start the Zombie Apocalypse activity!

This first step aims to let the participants write comments and post them in the different columns of your board.

⏲ Make use of a good old Timer. Keeping track of time is a simple but crucial tip to ensure your team successfully runs an efficient retrospective.

Each column of your board helps you organize your ideas. Even if you are the facilitator of this retrospective, you will most likely take on the participant's role as well, right? Try to be as specific as possible so that your teammates can easily understand your comments.

To provide an appropriate level of psychological security, allow participants to share comments anonymously.

Watch out! At this stage, you want to avoid groupthink at all costs. Team members should not influence each other in the process. Make sure people cannot see what other participants are writing in this step.

Reveal all comments after everyone has finished adding comments.

πŸ‘ With Neatro – Participants will only see their own comments at this step. They also have the option of writing comments using their name or anonymously. As a Facilitator, you will be able to set a Timer visible to everybody. Also, when a participant is done writing comments, they can click on β€œI’m finished” to let everybody know they're ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Group comments
Get your board lean and well organized

This step allows you to regroup similar comments and attach/create topics.

1/ Drag and Drop Grouping

You might have a lot of comments displayed on the board at this point. Regroup similar comments to help your teammates understand the weight of each idea.

πŸ‘ With Neatro – If you find similar ideas, drag a comment on another to create a group. Click on the group to display all of the comments.

2/ Use topics to better identify your challenges

Regrouping similar comments is not enough! Adding topics will significantly help you organize your team's ideas.

"What's a topic?" you may ask. It could be anything. We usually tend to see "core team dimensions" reflected in the topics (e.g., Ownership, Value, Speed, Process, Collaboration, etc.). Still, you could create any topic that would help you efficiently manage your team's comments.

πŸ‘ With Neatro – To add a topic to any comment on Neatro, click on the "Add Topic" button. We already created 10 Neatro topics for you based on the most common team challenges, but you can also create your own topics.

Step 3: Vote
Time to prioritize items to focus on what really matters

Proceed to a vote session to narrow down the number of items you would like to discuss in the next phase.

We heavily suggest applying two rules at this step:

- Make sure that nobody can see the other's votes.

- Allow each participant to spend their votes on one or multiple items.

πŸ‘ With Neatro – The number of votes can easily be changed if needed. The Facilitator needs to click on the wheel icon to update the maximum number of votes per person.

Step 4: Build your Team Action Plan
Collectively define what needs to be done to make the team grow

Discuss the most voted topics or comments with your team to create action items. Assign an owner to each action item, and provide a short and clear description so everyone can understand how to resolve their action items.

πŸ‘ With Neatro – You can play out with a collection of sorting rules and filters to better identify the comments that need to be discussed. Once you're done with the Action Plan, you can access your retrospective report.

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