Why do I need to play games in retrospective?

All of the teams I have worked with had come to understand that the retrospective ceremony is a necessary tool when wishing to increase effectiveness. However, many are still struggling to yield valuable action items in these meeting.

I (and every website on Google search) highly recommend using of games during retrospective meetings in order to achieve valuable results. And yet, I am often asked:
“How can I facilitate the retro meeting without these silly games? The team members find these to be a waste of time, and they are certain we can get the same results without them.”

The answer is Yes, and… You probably can, and in order to do that each team member needs to be skilled in creative thinking, able to stimulate and enrich his perspective on his own, as well as capable of challenging his base assumptions. Most team members are not skilled enough to do that.
Games helps us hone these skills, and here is the scientific explanation

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push_my_anxiety_button

Thursday, 17:30, attending a WebEx call with the Agile transformation team. The topic: majority of teams overcommitting virtually every sprint. The client organization wants to change that, so they can have a better forecast on remaining work, so they can tell their customers what's expected without unpleasant surprises after iterations end. You probably know the drill. The word of the day, for some time now, is Predictability: at the start of the iteration tell us, using your past performance, how much do you safely feel you can complete. This is Agile 101 - plan according to velocity.

Well, parallel processes are a funny thing. On my drive back home, and while I am connected to the weekly WebEx call, suddenly the connection drops. I can hear everyone well, and for some time I had a video feed (which is useless for me anyway as I am driving), however I cannot un-mute myself.

I feel grateful for Charles for pretty accurately describing what I said seconds before the un-mute function failed. And other than that, I feel frustrated and powerless.

During that time everything could have been against me. All the slow drivers prevent me from arriving quicker; the police car near-by prevents me from pulling over and trying to fix the connection, etc.

I guess that if I had not had that understanding about what was going on for me, these emotions could have overtaken me. This was reality for me.

Luckily for me, I don't. The moment I understand that the "knot" in my stomach, the sensation that all my nerves are tickling me was sign of what's going on for me in the Here and Now.

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