DAKI (Drop, Add, Keep, Improve) Retrospective

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What is a DAKI retrospective?

A DAKI retrospective helps you identify specific features, behaviors or activities that people in your project team think they should Drop, Add, Keep or Improve. This type of retrospective identifies differences in perceived values of each person in the team. It is a great way to re-energize the team and to gain new insights by having the team question the value from current practices and to refine them.

Agile Retrospective
The DAKI retrospective is best used later on in the project life cycle as there has been enough time passed to allow the team to reflect on the progress to date overall. As a prioritization method, it helps the team cull out non-value activities and re-affirms those that are.

The DAKI Retrospective format

Drop – These could be anything that is distracting the team from project outcomes, to time wasting activities. The goal is that as these activities transition out, the value to the project should increase.

 

Add – As new challenges arise during the course of the project, innovation is required to overcome this. These are things that the team now believe should be added to what they do to replace the things that have been dropped. This may be something technical, a process, a resource or even a new process.

Keep – These acts as the forget-me-not list that reminds the team of what needs to continue to happen in order to ensure the project is a success.

 

Improve – Finally, there might be some activities that are already happening, but with a little tweak could increase its impact. This is a space for incremental changes and evolution to refine the way the team works.

This style of retrospective can be used to refine product features through to communication patterns within the team. You can use the topics as themes, as opposed to being too narrow in terms of its focus.

Suggested Icebreaker questions for Drop Add Keep Remove

  • What have you held on to, even though you can’t remember the last time you used it?
  • What do you regret giving away?
  • What’s something that you’ve noticed has been changed for the better?

Retro Rehearsal

Invite your team to rehearse the retro referencing something they can eat.

For example, if a standard burger had, a patty, lettuce, sauce, and onions in a bun, what would you drop, add, keep, remove to move it closer to your ideal burger?

Ideas and tips for your DAKI retrospectives

  • Ask each person in the team what they thought was the best change that happened to a product or service that they had experienced in the past. e.g. the lid of tomato sauce so that it stands on it’s head, additional customisable songs to the PS4 Beat Sabre on PC or being able to propose and capture team health.

  • Use the concepts of brain writing – give people “silent time” to write, read and respond to each topic. You can even open up your retrospective before your meeting to allow people to add ideas and concepts prior to the meeting.

  • Use the way teams vote to manage culture. You’ll get interesting insights when people add ideas and votes. Too much in the drop column may indicate an over zealous scope. Too much in the keep and nothing in the add or improve columns signals a need for innovation or creativity.

  • Introduce any constraints that might impact on the decision only after the initial brainstorm, but try not to be limited solely by this as it will drain the energy of the team.

  • A good way to close this retrospective is to ask the question. If we made all these changes to drop, add, keep or improve our product or service, how does this impact our overall work, value to the customer or an organisational KPI.

  • A thank you can go along way in this retrospective format. It can take courage to put new ideas forward or challenge the status quo, so make sure to acknowledge everyone’s ideas and contributions .

How to run a DAKI retrospective in TeamRetro

Start Agile Retrospective

Start your retrospective in a click
Log into TeamRetro and choose your sprint retrospective template.

Invite Your Team
Invite your team easily – no separate accounts needed
Send an email invite, a link or add to your Slack channel to get people started quickly. SSO options are also available.
Agile Retrospective Brainstorm
Time to brainstorm
Each team member can now brainstorm individually under each topic. This avoids group think and allows everyone to have their say. They can indicate when they have finished, or you can set a timer so that you know when to move onto the next stage.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Group related ideas
Drag and drop  related ideas to combine them for easier voting. TeamRetro can also automatically suggest ideas that are similar, saving you and your team valuable time.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Vote independently to avoid anchoring
Each team member votes on what they would most like to discuss further. The results won’t be displayed to everyone until you advance to Discuss.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Discuss the most important things first
You and your team discuss the top voted ideas and can capture deep dive comments.  Presentation mode allows you to walk your team through ideas one-by-one and keep the conversation focused.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Review and create actions

Easily facilitate discussion by bringing everyone onto the same page. Create action items, assign owners and due dates that will carry through for review at the next retrospective.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Share the results
Once you have finished your retro, you can share the results and actions with the team. Your retro will be stored so you can revisit them as needed.

Congratulations! You’ve just run a retro like a boss.
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