We are servant-leaders. We are change agents. We lead by example. We move people. We put them first. We are superleaders. Our superpowers toolbox is full, but those powers don’t come for free. Everyone of them has a flip side. Every hero has a unique weakness. Be wary, one cannot use the pros without getting the cons. Here is the league of extraordinarily shortsighted agile superleaders. Each of them uses one of those superpowers extensively. And each of them has to pay the price…
Although we rarely face one of those superleaders him or herself, we see hints of their superpowers daily. The idea behind this retrospective is to search for the superleaders among ourselves and think about their superpowers before they hit you.
30-60 minutes depending on the amount of superleaders you use and how much introduction of the superleaders is needed for the participants.
One printouts of all the superleaders cards per group participating. The pdf can be found on Github.
1. Know the Superleaders
First you will have to familiarize the team with the superleaders if they don’t know them already. For a brand new group, I advise picking 5 of them to start with, for instance those:
The pattern is always the same: SUPER-POWER but… SUPER-WEAKNESS (for the team).
The whole list (16) can be found at agilesuperleaders.info.
2. The retrospective
Using whichever brainstorming format you want, a simple brainstorming or 1-2-4-all from the Liberating Structures for example, ask each participant to observe his/her coworkers in search for aspects of those superleaders.
I recommend keeping the scope inside the team. But for teams that not yet completely trust each other, or have a hard time with the people they interface with, it can be expanded to everyone they work with to begin with. But remember to close it down onto the team at some point.
Ask them to write down the following:
- The name of the coworker
- The name of the corresponding superleader
- Some details of the situation when that superleader was visible
Consolidate the list and discuss each finding with the following questions in mind:
- Does the person know he/she is using those superpowers?
- How did using those superpowers help us in the short/mid/long-term?
- Do we need to use those superpowers still?
- Have we seen signs of the weakness emerge already?
- If not, which form will this weakness take when it start to take effect on us?
- What can we do to counter it?
- Start calling each others with superleaders names when you see someone behaving like one of the superleaders
- Make sure <insert superleader name> never shows up in the next sprint
This game pushes the participants at having a critical yet funny look at their coworkers. This can be tremendously and viciously fun, but it requires a good level of safety in the team. If your team is not able to call each other on destructive behavior already, beware! Don’t forget to prime the discussion using the prime directive when starting the retrospective:
Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
Framed as a game, the retrospective can be really funny and help introduce a mindset twist in your next sprint! It will help the team criticize each other in a fun manner… by calling each other superheroes! How cool is that?
The AgileSuperLeaders are distributed under Creative Common (CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0) copyright.
Have fun, and don’t forget to comment with your experience once you have tried it!