What is the Three Little Pigs Retrospective?
Is your team building a product made out of straw, sticks, or bricks? Can you keep the “big bad wolf” at bay? Fairy tales entertained us while teaching us some handy lessons. In the case of “The Three Little Pigs” we can see that –
• Quick fixes aren’t always the best way forward (just ask the first two pigs!)
• There will always be obstacles (like the hungry wolf) for us to face, and we need to choose how best to manage them.
• Learning from our failures will help us build sturdier futures.
The Three Little Pigs Retro offers your team another creative sprint retrospective idea to help identify short, medium and long-term actions that will bring stability and value added features to your product.
It helps you analyze the current product or technology stack and which elements can be easily broken, need fixing up or is part of the foundational core to deliver your service. The outcome then allows your team to review the current gaps and to look for continuous improvement actions that can help keep the Wolf at bay!
House of Straw
These are quick, temporary fixes, prototypes or wireframes that need to be re-visited. They are solutions that were put in place that seemed appropriate at the time but on closer inspection, aren’t going to be effective for much longer. These are things that have a limited life or even things that may represent a high-risk level to our project or team. As such, they need immediate attention and action.
House of Sticks
These are things that are reasonably reliable but could be improved. They are current offerings that with additional resourcing could be made more efficient or effective. These could include aspects of a project that represent a medium level of risk and that are within the team’s power to address.
House of Bricks
These are things that are fundamentally reliable and require little or no change. These elements have been well resourced and highly effective. These could also be aspects of the project that help to mitigate risk or resources all team members may call upon at any time.
Suggested Icebreaker questions for Three Little Pigs
- What fairy tale resonates with you?
- Which of the three little pigs do you most identify with?
- What is your ‘house of straw’?
Invite your team to rehearse the retro referencing their preferred mode of transport.
For example, think of the ways you can get to work, what represents your house of straw/sticks or bricks?
Tips for running the Three Little Pigs in Remote Team Retros
Set the stage. Welcome people to set the tone of the meeting and give them a safe space to share ideas. A great way to do this is to ask “Can we begin now?” and waiting for people to begin.
Make brainstorming anonymous to allow people to feel safe when contributing their thoughts. People will feel more engaged when they feel like they can air what they need to.
Go through the participant list and have each person share their responses one by one. Give each person time and space to share without judgment and not to be interrupted by other team members.
Vary this retro by adding a column for Big Bad Wolves. This lets your team identify obstacles and risks that could come back to bite them in the proverbial.
A thank you goes a long way. So no matter the responses, thank everyone for sharing.
In face to face meetings, doing things digitally allows you to collect ideas, vote and comment anonymously, and saves manual collation. If running your meeting digitally, use a video conferencing tool to give that personal touch.
Rotate the role of facilitator. Changing the role can break the routine.
Follow up with an action list that you will check off at the start of the next team retro.
Remember the huff and puff test? Why not challenge the team with a resilience test by giving them a scenario that represents the wolf’s attempt at blowing down the house. This can help them better identify the parts of the product that are made up of straw, sticks and bricks.
How to run a Three Little Pigs Retrospective in TeamRetro
Start your retrospective in a click
Log into TeamRetro and choose your sprint retrospective template.
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.
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.
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.