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).
The 4 Ls is a popular four-panel retrospective that asks teams to feedback on the positives and negatives of a particular topic or activity.
Four-panel retrospective with alternative categories of Drop, Add, Keep and Remove.