Glad / Sad / Mad

Retrospective exercise that asks teams to identify and discuss what makes them Glad, Sad, and Mad.

Best For

Personal interaction

When to Use

Midway through a project

From frustration to progress: The Mad Sad Glad retrospective in action

The Mad Sad Glad retrospective is a simple and effective technique used by teams to reflect on a particular project or period of time, and identify what worked well and what didn't. It's a way to gather feedback, learn from experiences, and plan for improvements going forward.

In today's digital world, where people can feel like robots, using emotive language allows team members to present their points with a human perspective. It can also help remind team members that they are working with fellow human beings, each with their own problems and feelings.

Using the Glad, Sad, Glad sections

  • In the Mad section, team members write down the things that frustrated or angered them during the project or period of time under review. These might include obstacles, conflicts, or other challenges that made it difficult to complete the work.
  • In the Sad section, team members list things that made them feel disappointed or discouraged. These might include missed opportunities, failures, or other setbacks that occurred during the project.
  • In the Glad section, team members write down the things that went well, the achievements and successes that they can be proud of, and the positive experiences that they had during the project.

Once everyone has had a chance to contribute to each section, the team can discuss the items listed and identify patterns or themes. This discussion can help the team to recognize areas that need improvement and to celebrate successes. The team can then create an action plan to address the "Mad" and "Sad" items and build on the "Glad" items.

Start the meeting with a Kudos activity

If tensions are high, try adding a Kudos exercise (where people give thanks to their colleagues) to the beginning of the retrospective to enhance positivity.

Depending on the team atmosphere, you may also want to swap the order of the Mad, Sad, Glad columns. For example, you may find that the retrospective starts easier with the 'Glad' section first.

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