Retro : Reboot Required

Written by , in category Agile & Scrum

7 March 2018

reboot required

Some teams are new in the world of Agile and still have to discover the extent of self-organization and control they have. This retrospective looks at the zones of control of a team and finds ways to increase the things they can control via ALTernate solutions.

Purposes :

  • Have people discover their individual and collective power
  • Reveal bottom-up solutions
  • Share actionable ideas and help one another
  • Build trust
  • Lower frustration

Number of people

Small to large groups up to 80 People, typically a LeSS implementation.

Duration : between 1 to 2 hours

Opening 10’, Exploration 50’ – 90’ , closing 10’


  • Online
    • Skype for business / Google hangouts or other multi user video/audio conference tool
    • : An online tool to create and run idea generation and descision making tools for larger groups
  • Offline
    • Chairs for people to sit in groups of 2-4; no tables required.




Offline :

Prepare the room with some quotes about control.

For an extra little touch :

Online: prepare a Conteneo Weave Framework with 3 area for control/Alt/Del with 4 colors of stickies.. the ones for control items the team finds ok, one for control items with improvement possibilities ,another for solutions and a last one for deletes.

Part 1: Opening Stage 10’ : Control


Teams working in Agile mode will have more or less experiences with taking responsibility for the things they have control over. Important is to discover and maximize their zone of control compared to their zone of influence and concern.



Un-Happy – Dependencies


Explain how Ctl-Alt-Delete will look at the different scrum artifacts and side elements the team has control over. Expand their focus by giving examples of how far the team can have control like:

  • Scrum artifacts : Sprint backlog, Definition of Ready, Definition of Done
  • Others : Continuous Integration, Kanban Board (Jira / TFS / others ?), Build Server, Development/Acceptance/Production environments, Database access, Continuous Deployment.

Give Some Examples: Can the team trigger a deploy to production ? Can the team decide to create a physical board  to do daily standups? Can the team decide on when and where to do the daily standup? Can the team refuse to pick up items that are not conform the definition of Ready?  Is the team operating and monitoring production services ? Are there Decisions that are pending? Who is the team depending on to get decisions?

Give examples of some risc patterns : Avoidance, Acceptance and Transfer.

Avoidance: –avoiding making decisions-, because this is the kind of activity when we’re most vulnerable to biases. Find possible topics the team has control over that have not been answered yet. Has the team come up with a proper definition of Ready, a definition of Done ? 

Transfer: transferring the risk of decision to others is not necessarily an attempt to escape from responsibility. It’s actually the opposite: proper sharing of decision making in cooperation with others in the team is actually reducing the risk.  Did the team transfer some decisions to the PO, or to the SM that they should be taking themselves ?

Accepting control : Is accepting the fact that some wrong decisions will be made no matter what ! If the team is strong  and knows what to do in time of emergency, if the  system has built-in redundancies, and if damage can be dealt with as soon as possible, this is acceptable!

Part 2: Exploration Stage 20’ – 30’ : Ctrl

  • First alone, each person generates his or her own list of items the team has full control over, and items the team should have more control over, the items the team has dependencies on that are of concern, and important items the team has no control over and are of concern. 5 min.
  • Individuals share their ideas with a small group (2 to 4 members). 3 min. per person and one person at a time, grouping similar items.
  • Groups present their items (asking clarifying questions and offering advice). 5 to 7 min. per group and one group at a time

Part 3 : Exploration Stage 20’ : Alternate solutions

Seek out alternative viewpoints

Identify alternative solutions

Consider alternative (and opposing) arguments/evidence


  • Alone Each team member picks an item for which the team has little or not enough control over, or a control item they wish to improve and writes
    • The best way to improve the situation  2’
    • The worst way to improve the situation 2’
    • Is there an alternative way ? 1’
  • The team members pass along the paper and the members add a possibility to the two colums 1’
  • The papers are passed until all members say all papers and wrote an item.
  • The group discusses each of the papers and selects the best possible improvements 5’
  • Each group presents their top 1 or 2 best alternate solutions.

Part 4 : Closing Stage : 10’ : Delete

Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles.. It takes away today’s joy.  – Anonymous

Delete worries about things you can’t change

Delete any conclusions that don’t follow the evidence

Eliminate solutions that can’t be executed


Open the mindset with following video :

  • Per group, select an item that cannot be controlled, cannot easily be changed or is outside your circle of influence. Chose to delay any change about it and not worry about it.  2’
  • Present the item to other groups. 2 ‘


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