What is the Anchors and Engines Retrospective?
The anchors & engines retrospective is a great exercise to use when you want to focus on the velocity of your project. This retrospective template aims to identify factors within your team that are blocking or slowing it down, or speeding it up.
By keeping this exercise simple, it helps the team focus on what has been slowing them down and speeding them up. This allows you to create take away actions for the next sprint to ensure that you can meet your delivery outcomes.
This retrospective format is best run when there has been issues with sticking to the critical path, issues in meeting sprint goals or changes in deadlines.
A breakdown of the anchors & engines retrospective format
Using the metaphor of being on a speedboat, the team imagines that they are heading towards their island destination. The boat is then the desired outcome or deliverable. A way to represent a sense of urgency is to imagine that there are people on the island who need to food and medical supplies. The goal is to get to the island on time.
Anchors– These are all the things that are slowing the people down or process down. Ask the team to list all the things that are holding them back.
Engines– These are the things that are driving us forward. Ask them to list what is fuelling them and pushing them forward.
There will always be a balance of both elements and this is certainly important. Having the right ratios is what is key to a successful delivery. If your project requires speeding up, then you may need to create more engines in the project or further boost (support) existing engines. At the same time, removing, cutting off or reducing the size of anchors that are creating a drag on the project will also have positive effects.