Some of my favourites:
Six thinking hats (mindmap)
- Blue hat (big picture) - belongs to the facilitator
- Yellow hat (positive) - what's gone well? What resources do we have?
- Black hat (negative) - what needs improvement? What risks can we see?
- White hat (facts) - what do we know? What do we need to learn?
- Green hat (creative) - what changes do we want to make? What actions to take?
- Red hat (emotion) - how do we feel about that? Is this the best we can do?
Boat variant (with post-its)
- On the left: the rocky shore.
- On the right: the beach with the palm trees and a deckchair, cocktail glass optional
- Between them: a simple boat (I tend not to use sail and anchor any more)
On the left, put all the things you're leaving behind. There may be some things you're sorry you're leaving; add a sad face (or use a different color post-it). We're leaving this land for the one over there.
On the right, put all the things ahead. There may be some things you're scared of; add a sad face. This is where we're going.
If there's anything you really want to take with you, put it in the boat!
Futurespective, twice over (post-its, also works with attitude timeline)
Useful for looking ahead rather than behind. Draw a timeline for the project or the next iteration on the board. Get everyone to walk through the timeline, then look back to the past (which is actually the present). This works better for projects and longer timelines than iterations, but it's possible to do either. I've also used this for first releases.
1st time: We failed dismally! That was awful. What happened? What went wrong? (Team put red post-its up for all the things which went wrong)
2nd time: Hurrah! We succeeded. How did we manage that? How did we address the risks? (Team put yellow or green post-its up for all the things they did right)
Anchoring (any retrospective format)
There's a tendency in Retrospectives to focus on what went wrong. As well as improvements, work out what went really well and ask the team how to anchor that. If they can't, get them to imagine that next iteration, the thing that went well will disappear or be banned or taken away. How can they stop that happening?
For instance, the team had an expert sitting with them who was really helping. When they imagined him being taken away from them, they realized he was very expensive and the manager who paid for him might not know - so they went to the manager to say thank you and explain how useful the expert was.
This is also a great technique for generating a positive, blame-free culture - how few managers ever get thanked for their decisions!