A few years ago, a hiring slot was opened in my team and our manager asked us which profile will be the most useful. We were a dream team, the best of the best. We lacked no skills ! And we didn’t really know how to orient the job description. Should we hire a specialist ? A swiss knife ? A facilitator ? Hard to tell. So I’ve created a retrospective focused on team and individual profile which I had called:
“The Archetype retrospective”
This retrospective is based on Role play and character creation. You have to chose between various archetype: The soldier, the Mage, the Paladin, etc… each with their strengths and weaknesses. So I defined a list of archetypes and asked to each team member to assign an archetype to each of its colleague, including himself. I end up with the following personas:
This retrospective has 2 benefits:
First, this allows everyone to realize the image they give off. Sometime, there is a consensus on a person. Sometime, a person is seen differently by different members. It helps people to better know themselves.
Second, once you agreed on each member’s archetype, you can plot the global team profile by accumulating each archetype profile. Goal is not to have a perfectly balanced team, this is an indicator to help you analyzing your team and should be interpreted. In my case, I end up with a profile like this one:
At first, one could think our team were lacking of team spirit and organization and would greatly benefit of hiring a “Paladin” profile. But our team worked well. There was a very good atmosphere and our release were always on time. But we noticed that we were lacking of polyvalence. And that was true. We were skilled, motivated and efficient developers, but no one was really “transverse”. We came to the conclusion that, instead of adding another specialist, a DevOps multitask profile would be much more valuable for us.
This retrospective requires people to open themselves and accept judgement, which can be difficult for some. That’s why before doing it, you should be sure you know your team, and it will accept this exercise.
Also, presenting the accumulated graph to management can be dangerous. They may be tempted to always have a balanced team which is not the goal.
I leave you the PowerPoint here. Let me know if you have tried this retrospective in your team and how it went 🙂