During the last few years, a lot of people approached me with questions about agile retrospectives. Interestingly, some of the questions are asked over and over again. So I’d like to use this chance to answer the most asked questions about this topic.
There are many places nowadays, to get ideas for retrospectives. If I search for some ideas how to facilitate my next retrospective, I love to use the so-called “Retromat.” It is a website which randomly generates a plan for your next retrospective. If you don’t like one of the proposals, you can easily skip browsing through the catalog to find your best fit.
Another place to look online is the “Retrospective Wiki.” The list of activities is not that big, but there are some nice gems, you can use.
If you prefer to read a book, I can recommend the following:
And if you wait another few months, you can also download an English version of my German book, which contains some activities, but also helps you to create your own 😉
Asking this question is already a sign, that there is something wrong in your context. It implies that there are silos within a team, that don’t belong there. The Product Owner should definitely be part of the team and not some external role. In the best teams I worked with, the PO is sitting with the team, in the same room and yes, even at the same time. That should be the normal case and not an exception. To make things clear: The Product Owner is just another role WITHIN the team, so why would you exclude a team member from your retrospective? If you think about excluding the PO, this should certainly be a topic in your next retrospective.
I want to make one thing clear right from the beginning: nothing beats a collocated team. As soon as only a fraction of a team sits even in a different room in the same building, the productivity drops. The same applies to all meetings of the team, e.g. the agile retrospective. Nevertheless, distributed teams are becoming more and more of a norm.