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Use of SailBoat Exercise as a Retrospective Tool

Over time, sailboat exercise has become an appreciated retrospective technique due to its simplicity. It helps teams to define their vision and identify potential risks when voyaging long distance. It also triggers behavior change and improves collaboration. It provides a platform for team members to ponder upon their failures and recognize individual efforts.

Sailboat exercise is a quite simple technique that doesn’t require any special occasion. However, it might be interesting for events where more than one team is conducting retrospective. Conducting a joint retrospective can be interesting for two groups that are working together and depend on each other. Sailboat retrospective can be fascinating especially when navigating long distance. The technique ensures that everyone navigates in the same direction. It reveals the success and failures of the team.

Procedures of Sailboat Retrospective

Interestingly, sailboat retrospective suits everyone. It doesn’t have age limits. It begins with drawing clouds, rocks, sailboat, and a couple of islands. The island represents the goals of the team. Team members work tirelessly to achieve these islands. Conversely, the rocks symbolize potential risks during voyage. The anchor represents everything that slows down navigation. The wind and the clouds constitute all factors that help the team to reach its goals.

Sailboat exercise begins with defining team vision and goals. Afterwards, have a brainstorming session with the team members to allow them to voice their concerns. Give each team member ten minutes to brainstorm. After that, allocate each person five minutes to share their ideas with the rest. Discuss with the team how the written ideas can be implemented. These ideas should help the team to achieve its goals.

Spend some time with the team discussing how potential risks can be mitigated. Moreover, find out the most critical issue that slows the team down. You can use vote dots to choose an interesting topic for discussion. Alternatively, you can find an agreement among team members. In the end, define strategies to help fix potential risks and close the retrospective. Sailboat retrospective doesn’t require team collocation. For non-collocated teams, use tools like Lino to run sailboat retrospective. It allows team members to do everything they need to run sailboat retrospective. Sailboat exercise enables team members to discuss and explore potential risks together, and define strategies to help improve collaboration. Team collaboration will allow team members to change how they relate. Behavior change triggers short-cycled improvements by assisting individuals to work in diverse workplaces. Sailboat retrospective helps cut through hierarchy and delegate authority to the team members. Try 4-step sailboat retrospective for smooth sailing.

Sailboat retrospective is one the favorite retrospective techniques. It helps teams to improve and reach their goals. Sailboat exercise helps in discovering better ways to enhance team performance. In sailboat exercise, team members define their goals and vision and implement them in the next sprint. That helps them to become lean and agile. An outdoor event where teams learn and improve continuously is much more effective than learning in the workplace.


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