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Retro template – happiness- marginal gain – notes to self

6 Apr 2021 | Mural, Remote


Please find below a sequence of activities and a Mural template for a retrospective for a team of 12 people who were having lots of problems and little ownership (or actions) to change things.

Context Set-up

I decided to make the context very clear about the problems, but state that in this retro we would look into the things that you can do to change it.

Context: There are several problems, we know about it. But we want to have want a different spin on it. We are here today to think differently. We are interested in talking about all the little things which might help us improving. What can you do (1) to perform your work activities with low conflict with others, (2) with high value as per our PO, and (3) aligned with your personal growth?

Prime directive

The futurospective prime directive was a better fit for the goal of this retrospective. As a facilitator I did not want to focus on the past.

The Futurospective Prime Directive: ‘Hope and confidence come from proper involvement and a willingness to predict the unpredictable. We will fully engage on this opportunity to unite around an inclusive vision, and join hands in constructing a shared future.’

Check-in – Happiness radar

I selected the happiness radar. It was useful to put things already on perspective (1, 2 and 3 from the context). It also avoided a low safety conversation (the risk of having a safety check for which the safety was low – in such case, I would have pivoted the direction of the retrospective and probably facilitated the creating safety activity).

Main course – Marginal gains

This was a great fit to make it very personal and focused on little things to bring some gain. The, motivation was low. I did not want to bring the conversation to what we can do as a group or to the big picture (which was a complex context).

The marginal gain was good to bring the focus on the personal actions, about still everyone would talk about their personal actions openly with the whole group.


  • “It’s very difficult to improve 1 thing by 100%. It’s much easier to improve 100 things by 1% for the same effect.” This is the 100 things by 1% improvement idea by Dave Brailsford.
  • “A quick win is something that could be implementable in a couple of hours or days, with very little cost.”
  • Please brainstorm on quick wins for what you can do (1) to perform your work activities with low conflict with others, (2) with high value as per our PO, and (3) aligned with your personal growth. Please write it down on the respective color. Afterwards you will share your quick wins with everyone.

Check-out Note to self

I did not want to close it with group action items, as this was not the goal of this retrospective. Instead, I closed it with a notes to self check-out activity.

Instructions: Please write a note to yourself about the things from this retrospective that you want to have and put on your laptop as a reminder for the future. Feel free to use the space below for adding a stickie for yourself, or just write it on your own laptop area.

Mural template

Please find below the Mural template

FunRetro – happiness – marginal gain – note to self Template by MURAL

Open to create a mural from this template in your workspace. Powered by MURAL

Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books on business agility). He's also the creator of FunRetrospectives.com , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here.
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