What is the Superhero Retrospective?
This is a fun, creative retrospective exercise that can be especially engaging for remote teams that have to come together to solve a common problem or work towards a goal.
Of course each team has its own set of superpowers, but they will also have their vulnerabilities and this retrospective template can help uncover these.
Building on the concept of creating your own team of super heroes, each person in the team (Designer, Developer, UX, Product Owner) can explore how each of their unique skills and attributes contribute towards the ultimate goal. This is a really useful way to see if there are any gaps in the team, or where there might be opportunities to cross train, up skill or pair up to improve the team’s overall changes of success. It also highlights the resources that the team will need to reach their goal.
Superhero Retrospective Template
What words drive you or our team. This can give a lot of insight as to how people might describe themselves or the team and what motivates them. Giving the team a value set to live and work by allows them to refer to these as they continue to work with each other during the sprint and can describe the way people interact (or want to interact with each other.) This can be captured in a social contract for the team.
What specific skills, traits, attributes or knowledge does each person possess team and how this can be shared, leveraged and built over the long term. There’s room for some novelty and fun here, but it is important that there is also a serious element that allows people to reach out and help each other. Ideally this is non-anonymous so that it can be shared. Examples of super powers include ability to create detailed test plans with wide use cases and UX design skills for the colour blind through to consultation and workshop facilitation skills in dealing with client customers and end users.
These are areas of development and emerging skills with which team members may need help. People need to feel safe when sharing their vulnerabilities, it is therefore important to remind team members everyone has weaknesses and the retro is a judgement-free space. Each person should reflect on one weakness and share this (we all have them!). The goal here is to look for opportunities to help address or close the gap on these weaknesses or to ensure there are appropriate stop gaps to manage these.
This is what would destroy the team or be a challenge to the team along the way. The nemesis isn’t a person as such. It can be badly designed process, a failed policy being applied, the wrong technology choice or even something as a security risk. The goal is to disempower this nemesis and to put in proactive defensive mechanisms.
Sidekicks and Gadgets
These are what the team need to support the work they do. Wonder woman had her Lasso of Truth, Batman had Robin. Sherlock had Watson and Mickey Mouse had Pluto. Helping your team collaborate and giving them the tools to do so will allow them to hit their targets and reach their goals.