If your team had a magic genie, 🧞 what would they wish for? New tech? Time to socialize? Opportunities for professional development?
When your team doesn’t have to worry about what is holding them back, the possibilities are endless. A Wishes, Risks, Appreciations, Puzzles (“WRAP”) project retrospective gives your team the opportunity to inspect itself from different perspectives by focusing on what could be possible if there was a magic genie taking action to make their wishes a reality.
Uncover hidden issues or concerns
Use a technique the team has likely never used before
Gain insights into different aspects of your team's work and communication practices
Before the retrospective meeting begins, the facilitator or project leader selects this technique from the options in Retrium's retrospective exercises toolbox.
To start the retrospective the facilitator should explain how this retrospective format works and set the team’s expectation for how long the retrospective should take (30-60 minutes, depending on the size of the team). Make sure the entire team is aware of the procedures and everyone feels comfortable moving forward before going on to the next step. Finally, some teams help set the tone and intention for the retrospective meeting by sharing the Retrospective Prime Directive before getting started.
Now it’s time for discovery! During this next step, the participants write down their own original ideas in response to the questions:
• What do you wish could happen?
• What are the risks?
• What can we appreciate?
• What is a current puzzle for the team?
Team members should keep their notes private so that others aren't biased by each other's ideas. (Psst! Retrium does this for you.) And be sure to set a timer! Depending on the size of your team, you’ll want to allocate 10-15 minutes for them to brainstorm and discover answers to the four questions. When the timebox ends, the facilitator advances to the next phase of the retrospective and displays participants' notes.
Many notes will likely contain related (or even identical) ideas. Or there may be some dissenting ideas. Awesome! 😎 Sounds like a great conversation is going to follow. To save time and make sure major topic themes are discussed, take a few minutes as a team to group notes into logical themes. Everyone said something about the number of meetings? Then, “the meeting schedule” should be a group topic. Five people mentioned the desire to have a set time for socializing every week? Sounds like “team bonding” could be up for discussion.
If there are a lot of notes and/or groups to discuss, it can be challenging to structure the discussion in a meaningful way. If this is the case, the facilitator can opt to use dot voting to prioritize the discussion based on the collective desires of the group.
Set a timebox and tackle the issues! Because of dot voting, you know the most important issues facing your team as they thought through the WRAP activity. Your timebox can be set for the full discussion phase OR for each topic within the discussion phase to help ensure an efficient and timely flow of conversation. Throughout the discussion, the facilitator captures the key action item (or action items) the team can take to help improve performance and engagement in the next cycle.
Be sure to create action items that are meaningful using models like S.M.A.R.T. to define actions you'll take with intention and deadlines. At the conclusion of the retrospective, take a few minutes to review the action plan and reconfirm the team’s commitment to work toward successfully completing the to-do. Think of action items as your retrospective homework and be sure to revisit progress toward your acceptance criteria regularly to work toward real change.
The WRAP retrospective technique is a great way for your team to see goals from a different perspective and analyze both long and short-term goals.
We hope that this overview is helpful as you explore new ways to encourage meaningful conversations with your team, realize both small change and large improvements, and, of course, to have fun retros. 😃