I am pretty sure that you might have heard about Lean Coffee and how it could help you have effective, structured, agenda-less meetings. Lean Coffee format could be used in any kind of meeting so why not in a team retrospective?
If you are thinking to use it in your next retrospective consider the following steps:
- set-up a personal KANBAN board (cards to use: to discuss, discussing, discussed)
- reflect on your previous sprint and write on sticky notes your insights related to what worked well, what didn’t work so well and what need to be improved (you can use any other set of questions to gather insights)
- collect all this items under the “to discuss” card. give a few details about the topic if sth is unclear
- vote those items that you think are most important for you and your team to discuss (two votes per member)
- prioritize them based on the number of votes received
- move the top rated item in “discussing” and start discussions! 4 minutes might be a good duration but it’s up to you to decide if you would like to have a longer duration
- after the four minutes for the specific topic are passed decide if you would like to give another turn! (thumps up or down). if most of the people would like to discuss take four minutes more, if it is equal take the half time
- when you have finished with one item put it under “discussed”. suggestion: keep one minute to reflect on your take-aways , actions, conclusions e.t.c
- repeat again with the next item until the time planned for the retrospective
- ensure to leave a few minutes at the end to reflect on all items discussed!
give it a try!