The Super Powers Retrospective

What are your team members’ superpowers?

Superpowers Retrospective

Do you know what secret powers each of your team members possess? Do they know your superhuman capabilities?

Here’s a fun retro technique to find out!

Supplies needed:

  • Index cards
  • Pens
  • Some tape or sticky tack
  • A whiteboard
  • Stickies

Step by Step

Keep things secret at first

  • Everyone writes down their own superpower (in the context of the team) on an index card
  • Don’t let other team members see what they wrote
  • Cards go into a pile, face down
How do your superpowers help the team accomplish their shared goals? Click To Tweet

Guess who?

  • The first person draws one random card (if they end up with their own, back into the pile it goes)
  • They attempt to guess who the superpower belongs to
  • After three incorrect guesses, the true owner reveals themselves
  • Write the owner’s name on the card
  • The owner then draws a fresh card from the pile
  • Rinse and repeat until all has been revealed!

Make ’em visible

Post all the superpower cards on a board, visible to all, all now with their respective owners’ names.

So what?

Then the team discusses (roundtable, silent brainstorming, whatever works):

  • Were there any surprises?
  • How does each superpower help the team accomplish their shared goals?
  • How can the team help amplify the good?

What’s the flip side?

  • How might someone’s superpower detract?
  • How could the team help dampen the negative?

And what else?

  • In the context of the team, what additional superpowers would be useful in the near term? the long term? Could these be added to the team learning backlog?

Keep track of the output on the whiteboard, or retro notes, etc.

Geoff Watts, in his book: Product Mastery: From Good to Great Product Ownership, offers a suggestion for dealing with someone’s superpower of perfectionism…

If you suspect that your perfectionist trait is potentially overdone then you might consider asking somebody on the team to wear an imperfectionist hat: to adopt the persona of somebody whose explicit role is to challenge your perfectionism and always make a case for toning things down a little. This wouldn’t be their full time job, of course, it may be as simple as bringing a certain hat (such as a panama hat) to meetings and asking someone to wear the imperfection panama and fill that role for this particular meeting.

Take this retro out for a test flight. Let me known what you discover!

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