What is a Superhero retrospective?
Magneto, Wolverine, and the Invisible Woman are powerful on their own. But for all their metal-bending, super-fighting, invisibility powers, they’re even stronger together.
As a crew, they aren’t just superheroes — they’re the X-Men!
That’s the idea behind this fun, comic book inspired retrospective template.
In this agile retrospective format, you and your colleagues will delve into that unique team dynamic by imagining yourselves as a team of agile superheroes.
Because it forces you to think big and get creative, this retro is a really powerful way to explore your team’s skills, how they complement each other, and if there are any gaps you could work together to close.
This team retrospective can also help you identify any common blockers that hold people back, and what important tools or resources are helping you get your best work done. As retrospective ideas go, it’s both fun and insightful – definitely a win-win!
Superhero retrospective prompts
Here are the prompts you’ll need to run a Superhero retrospective.
What part of your job do you truly excel at? What’s your version of invisibility, super strength, or mind-reading?
For this prompt, try to think about which skill or attribute you feel most confident about bringing to your agile team. What task or topic do team members often come to you for help with?
This should be a crucial, serious skill that your team relies on. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a ‘hard skill,’ like web design, but it should be essential to your most important work.
Example: Database work is definitely where I feel most confident. I’m happy to check over and sign off on all our team’s database-related tasks.
Sidekick & Gadgets
No matter how fast you fly or how seamlessly you shapeshift, every superhero needs a trusty gadget or sidekick to save the day.
At work, this could be a team mate – the Robin to your Batman, one might say. It could also be an amazing tool, like Tony Stark and his Ironman suit.
If you’re stuck, try playing out a typical workday in your mind. Who, and what, is a critical part of how you work?
Example: Without Jira, I’d have no idea what’s going on. It really lets me stop trying to keep track of where the project’s at and just do the work.
Even Superman has his Kryptonite! It doesn’t make you any less of a superhero to name the things holding you back.
In this prompt, you and your team members will discuss those common blockers, and brainstorm how you can get around them in a more effective way.
But don’t take this prompt too literally! Your scrum master or meeting facilitator should let everyone know not to call out any actual people as their nemesis. You and your colleagues are on the same side, facing down these enemies together.
Example: It really throws me off track when clients add scope to projects that are already underway. We need to come up with a process for carefully vetting any additions, to make sure we have the time and resources to take them on.
End your retrospective meeting by bringing everyone’s powers together. How do you see your unique strengths fitting in with the rest of your team members? What skills and powers would amplify yours?
Are those attributes present on your agile team already, and if not, how could you get access to them?
Example: Lindsay is great at the initial brainstorming and ideation phase of our branding projects. Because I love workshopping and editing, it’s a joy to come in and refine the ideas that she’s come up with.
When to do a Superhero Retro
A Superhero Retrospective could be a perfect icebreaker for a new team, that’s still figuring out how they’ll work together. Who’s Batman, and who’s Spiderman? Are you in the Marvel universe, or is Avengers more your style?
It could also be a good template when you hire a new team member. Or, whip out this fun retrospective when you start a challenging project, that calls for different skills than you’ve relied on in the past.
How to run a Superhero Retrospective in Parabol
From your dashboard select your team on the right and then hit that vibrant Add New Meeting button.
Select the Superhero retrospective template
Select Retro Meeting with the arrows, then use the dropdown to select the Superhero retro template. Here’s where you can find other built-in templates such as the Starfish retrospective, Three Little Pigs retro, Working and Stuck, Lean Coffee and many more retrospective ideas.
The Icebreaker box is checked on by default. You don’t have to do one, but we recommend it. A good icebreaker is the prelude to a great retrospective and can loosen everyone up.
When you’re ready, the facilitator should hit Start Meeting to kick things off!
Start your meeting with an icebreaker question
If you’re doing an Icebreaker, you’ll have a random question to answer. You can refresh it if you want another option, and of course you can create your own if you want.
Reflect, Group, and Discuss topics based on the Superhero retro prompts
After the reflect phase, you’ll vote on issues to discuss, talk about the most voted on items, and then get a summary of the retro when you’re done.
Parabol is remote-friendly, enabling you to work asynchronously with your team. Your scrum team can all leave comments synchronously, or do it at a time that works for them.
Also, reflections are anonymous, and no one can see them until you’re done working on them.
After the reflect phase, you’ll vote on issues to discuss, talk about the most voted on items, and then get a summary of the retro and any action items when you’re done.