To run an icebreaker, just three things are needed. The right mindset, a great question and someone to give a gentle nudge to get things started and move the icebreaker along. Before you know it, your icebreaker is done, and you have set the stage for a more effective retrospective meeting.

Even with all the benefits that running an icebreaker can bring to a team and their meeting, sometimes it can be tempting to skip straight to the retrospective. This is especially the case when your backlog is overflowing and you just don’t have the head space to think of a question. That’s why we asked our team to design a widget that would take the effort out of running icebreakers.

TeamRetro’s widget makes running icebreakers easy. Designed with agile teams in mind, it can generate questions and help you decide who goes next. It can even help you keep an eye on the time!

So let’s look at how to run an icebreaker so you can help your team get more out of their retrospective.

Step into the icebreaker headspace

The first thing to do when running an icebreaker is to switch on the right mindset.

  • Be curious.
  • Be positive.
  • Be an advocate for icebreakers.

Remember, icebreaker questions aim to foster connections between people so they work better together. Those connections come about when people share their stories with each other. The more people share, the greater the connections. People are more likely to share when they feel their stories are being received positively and with genuine interest.

Keep in mind, there’s no such thing as a wrong answer to an icebreaker question, which is why they are so great at helping to create safe spaces. All answers are welcome and all input is valued. It’s a space where inclusivity and diversity is naturally celebrated.

Lastly, don’t forget that by running an icebreaker you are delivering a lot of value to your retrospective meeting. You are helping to create a safe, positive, collaborative space. You are contributing to the productivity of the meeting. Best of all, you are making work fun.

Choosing a great icebreaker question

To choose a great icebreaker question head over to TeamRetro’s widget and click start. Yes, it really is that easy!

If you would like your icebreaker question to have a little more focus, you can filter the questions by the following categories.

Agile games

An agile game is a fun activity aligned to an aspect of agile. They see the whole team work towards a common goal. As well as building connections between team members they also help to deepen their understanding of agile.

Building safety

These icebreaker questions help to explore and foster a safe workspace. They offer the team the chance to share stories of trust, empathy and growth. These questions help start supportive conversations that can continue long after the icebreaker is done.

Deep and meaningful

This category of icebreaker questions gives people the chance to share insights and ideas they may not have otherwise share at work. They let people explore and predict possibilities, while the group gets to know more about each other. In doing so, they can help a team expand their perception of each other. These are great to use when a reminder is needed that we’re all human.


This group of icebreaker questions is pretty self-explanatory. They are deliberately creative and a little bit silly, all in the name of having fun at work. Rest assured, they will still deliver all the benefits of an icebreaker, even if the laughter gets loud.

Get to know

The ‘Get to know’ icebreaker questions have been shaped with new teams and teams with new members in mind. They support the very early stage of when people meet. They help to start inclusive conversations that form the foundation of connections.


This set of icebreaker questions is your go-to when you feel you are pushed for time. They are short and fast, but they still deliver value. These save you time so you don’t have the excuse to skip the icebreaker.

Team building

These icebreaker questions help nurture your team. They create space for celebration. They showcase collaboration and teamwork. They boost morale, explore values and fuel productivity. If you are looking to actively support your team’s health, these are the icebreakers for you.

Virtual or remote

Remote teams will easily relate to this category of icebreaker questions. They reference their virtual context as a common point of discussion. These icebreakers also see team members share aspects of their homes as a reflection of themselves.


Although not technically an icebreaker, we included this category for established teams. Warm-ups help people focus on the task at hand. These activities help your team direct their full attention to the retrospective and to switch off from other thoughts and tasks. You can read more about warm-ups here.

Work focussed

If your team isn’t too keen on running an icebreaker before their retrospective, this set of questions will help you navigate that resistance. These work-focussed icebreaker questions connect to what everyone in the team has in common – their place of work. They help the icebreaker habit to be established by exploring that common ground.

How to facilitate an icebreaker

Facilitating an icebreaker is very straightforward and comes down to just three steps –

  • Kicking it off
  • Making sure everyone has had a turn
  • Wrapping it up

Kicking it off

Kicking off an icebreaker is all about finding someone to go first. If you are meeting for the first time with a brand new team, as the Scrum Master, that person is you. Going first will allow you to informally introduce yourself to your team and help you model the behavior you hope to see from that point on.

TeamRetro’s icebreaker widget includes a tool that nominates who goes next so you don’t have too. It means the process is completely transparent and equitable.

Making sure everyone has had a turn

Making sure everyone has had a turn at answering the icebreaker question is really important. After all, it’s hard to foster an inclusive environment if you miss people out.

Again, this is where TeamRetro’s icebreaker widget comes in handy. Each time someone answers the icebreaker question their name can be removed from the pool of people still to answer. You don’t need to track who has had a turn because the widget does that for you.

Wrapping it up

Once everyone has answered the icebreaker question, it’s time to bring the activity to a close. When people find an icebreaker question particularly engaging, this may be easier said than done.

We’ve included a timer on the icebreaker widget to help make sure the activity does not go over time. It’s a handy tool to reference if you need to move the conversation along and make sure your retrospective starts on time.

Remember to thank everyone for their answers before moving on.

For more, check out our five top tips for running icebreakers .

You can also head over to our blog where we share what makes the best icebreakers for teams along with quick but effective icebreakers to launch your next retrospective.