Futurespective: A Retrospective 6 Months In The Future

“The difference between dreaming and achieving a goal is having a plan with accountability.” -Every Inspirational Leadership Book EVER Written

Are you looking for a powerful exercise to help jump-start your team or organization’s continuous improvement efforts? Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Or are you just looking to mix up your retrospective format to keep things fresh? If so, tap into your creative side and let’s take a trip into the future.

Setting the stage

Imagine that we are 6 months in the future and you have a peek into how the team/program/department is performing. We have achieved our business goals, our staff is engaged, and customer satisfaction is at an all-time high. How did this happen? Given we don’t have a time machine, we will have to use our brains and imagination to figure out how we got to this ideal state. Think through the following questions and write down your answers.  Then we will review them all together to create a shared understanding and vision for the future. 

  1. What’s the common goals everyone was moving towards?
  2. What did we do start doing or do more of?
  3. What did we do stop or do less of?

Facilitating the exercise

Prep:

  • Write the three questions below on large sticky note posters or on a large whiteboard.
  • Bring regular sized sticky notes and pens and lay them out for participants.

During the exercise:

  • Set the stage by explaining the exercise.
  • Have participants start creating sticky notes (one item per card)
  • Try to group into clear themes as they are being placed on the board.
  • Do a readout of the cards, and quickly allow for clarification by submitters if needed.
  • Dot vote on the themes and/or individual cards to identify the top items.
  • Split the group into 3 teams. Send the teams to different parts of the room or different spaces work on identifying the following for each card/theme.
    • Methods
    • Impediments
    • Practical next steps
  • Bring the groups back together to share what they came up with.
  • Discuss to gain alignment.
  • Identify action item owners.

After the exercise:

  • Document the results and distribute to participants.
  • Propose to the group that you come back together in 2-3 months or on a regular basis to work towards the outcomes you’ve created a plan for.

Dot Voting

Dot vote to Identify the top 3-5 items from each category.  Then break the room into 3 groups to build agreements and identify practical steps towards achieving this ideal state. Then share back to the room what each group came up with. 

Creating an Action Plan

Work with participants to identify WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and HOW they will begin to act on them.

  • What methods can we use to achieve this goal or stop doing something?
  • Are there impediments to utilizing these methods?
  • What practical next steps need to be taken? And who will do them?

Timings

Depending on the number of participants in your futurespective, you may need more or less time than what is listed below. The timing below is for a group of 10-15.

  • 5 min – intro
  • 15 min – write out cards for all 3 questions
  • 15 min – grouping themes / Dot voting
  • 30 min – Build Plan
  • 30 min – share back / discussion
  • 5 min – Determine next steps
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Brainstorming, Story Boarding, and Retrospective Tool – IdeaBoardz

This week I was talking with some fellow colleagues about starting a Lean Coffee for our organization.  We have a national (soon to be international) footprint and a ton of knowledge out there, but how to bring it together?  So I thought the lean coffee meetings would be a great way to bring people together to inspire, encourage, equip, and empower each other. It could also create a consistent venue where we can work together to solve challenges for our clients.

I had a few different people suggest using a tool called IdeaBoardz.  I want to share this tool not only because think it will be great for Lean Coffee but it has value for things like brainstorming, story boarding, and retrospectives.  Especially if you have co-located teams.

It’s simple to use and has just enough functionality to make it useful. And best of all…it’s Free!

You can take it for a test drive without having to sign in or create an account.

IdeaBoardz

Please Note I am in no way affiliated with IdeaBoardz and receive no compensation for writing this article.