I would like to share my latest retrospective exercise that I did with 2 teams. Both were amazing. I really liked them, the teams liked the results and the narrative they did. The game is very simple, you need a few story cubes like you see in the post picture.

Here is the full exercise:


“Story Cubes Time Line” (you could be more creative if you want)

Step 1: Define the time line…

Define the time line period. I personally did the full 2014 year. It was the first retro from 2015, so we did a review of 2014 to see all of the GOOD things we did. In any case, you can adapt it to a 3-6 month time line, or the “last” project review, or something.

Step 2: The cubes…

This step will depend a lot on the number of cubes you have and the number of people on your team. If you have the full set of story cubes (~$50 CAD or ~$25 USD in amazon), there will be 27 cubes. In this exercise, team members took 3 or 4 cubes to represent something during 2014. One rule I used was: “Each person must be able to represent something every 3 or 4 months”. With that rule, I was sure that we would get events covering the full year 🙂

Step 3: Individual story…

Now the people have their cubes, the rule (s), and the time line. One by one they start to put their cubes in the time line and explain “what” the cube represents. At this point, be ready to see funny “cube pictures” and some really good things, and some things to improve.

Note: Don’t look for precise dates if the time line is long. In our case, 12 months was long, so we were looking for the “months” and forgot about the days.

Step 4: The full story now…

Now, each team member tells a very good story around the timeline. It is time to put it all together. Allow the time for discussion, add more explanations about each event or cube. It is here where team members exchange a few points of view and decide what happened first and so on. Next, the team exchanges their point of view of the same event, I personally enjoy those 10/15 minutes to put it all together. At the end, a few members will tell the full story; everyone agrees and that is it.

Step 5: Capture the result…

story-cube-result-1 story-cube-result-2


Step 6: Debriefing…

I am not able to do a game or exercise without spending 5 or 10 minutes debriefing the result. Here, I ask for “what did you like most?”, “should I change something for the next time?”, or any other questions to provide feedback and the feelings of the team members.

That’s all, I hope you like it, and feel free to share your comments and feedback here.



About the author

Omar is an agile practitioner and lover. Certified Scrum master. Agile Coach & Agile Leader. He believes it is important to continually be learning and growing. His dream is to be a lifelong learner; growing each day. He is also passionate about leadership development and seeing people reach their full potential. He is also a good husband & father (his wife says that time to times). He has a wonderful wife and 2 fantastic kids. In his free time, if he does not have any plan ahead, he tries to apply agile methodologies at the family level :). He enjoys a lot to travel with his family and discovers new places for them.