One of my favorite team retrospective activities is what I call the “I Suck” awards.
It’s simple. Here’s the process:
- Step 1: Someone kicks it off by saying why they suck at that moment
- Step 2: The rest of the team laughs or empathizes or whatever the situation calls for
- Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until everyone has said why they suck
- Step 4: Vote on the winner of the “I Suck” award, aka the person with the most impressive suckitude that time around.
Everyone sucks for some reason at any given time. Maybe they procrastinated. Maybe they missed an obvious bug. Maybe they keep forgetting to update the sprint board. Maybe they have been talking too much on calls. Maybe they didn’t submit their dang timesheet. Whatever it is, everyone has one.
There are a few reasons why I love this activity:
- It’s fun and often hilarious
- It discourages Cover Your Ass (CYA) Engineering
- It gives people a chance to drop some tips for next time
- It’s great for team jelling
- It lets us learn from each other’s mistakes
- It reduces the sense of shame that accompanies messing up
I stole the idea from Radical Candor, which calls it the “Whoops-A-Daisy“.
It’s powerful and it’s fun, so give it a shot! Why do you suck?