The Starfish is a picture template where each arm of the starfish represents a category for team feedback and ideas.
In the middle of a project
This is an agile retrospective technique with five sections: Keep Doing, Do Less Of, Do More Of, Stop Doing, Start Doing. This retrospective is worth running after a period of time or a few sprints, so the team can properly assess what needs to change.
This format is similar to the Open the Box retrospective; they both directly encourage change. However, the sliding scale of the categories encourage the team to think about making incremental changes over blunt ones - perfect for agile teams. There will be a lot to talk about with five sections, so expect this retrospective to take a little more time than usual.
Plus, who doesn't love this fella? Look at his happy face. (Note, we don't actually know the gender of this starfish - but it turns out that starfish genders can be interesting).
Time needed: 60-90 minutes
Ask the team to address each section in turn, in this order: Keep Doing, Less Of, More Of, Stop Doing, Start Doing. This book-ends the retro with positive emotions, keeping the meaty negative sections in the middle of the retro. For each of the five sections follow this pattern:
Then once all sections are completed, use voting to highlight the top three most important themes (5 mins).
Lastly as a team brainstorm and vote on actions for the most important themes, and assign an owner to each (10 mins).
Walk down the red carpet and hold an awards ceremony for your recently delivered features!
A three-part Christmas retrospective, complete with festive icebreaker and end-of-year-recap activity.