Recently, I conducted a retrospective with the team which was interesting and more revealing than expected.  I gave each team member a piece of paper.  The top half was divided into two sections:

1.  What my team mates can expect of me

2.  What I expect of my team mates.

The lower half was left blank.  Each person filled out their own top half.  Once everyone was completed, I had them pass their paper to the left.  Once passed the timer (2 mins) started.  The person with the paper could review what was at the top but, they had to write what they, personally, expected of that person and attribute their name.  Once all the papers made it around the room everyone took some time to review what had been written and share some observations.

What they found was they all had more in the “what team mates can expect of me” than what they expected of their team mates.  Across the board, everyone expected honesty and trust. The expectations others had written were revealing in that some were compliments such as “Continue to bring your energy to the team every day.”  Some were clearly not compliments like “Let other people complete a sentence.”.

It was a very open, honest and constructive conversation.   No one was hurt or insulted.   What was really cool was it didn’t stop in the retro.  Some people had their own, one on one, conversations and relationships were built.

I’m hoping this was a good first step in establishing trust on this team.  We’ll see….


3 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. I really like this! I just sent this to my SMs as an idea for them to shake up their retros, and I’m hoping that at least one of them uses it this PSI.

  2. Follow-up time: I did this with a team and gave them a chance to share what was written for them or what they wrote for others or just trends they noticed, but nobody offered up anything. I asked their SM to do a follow-up in a month or two so they could see how Expectations changed over time, hopefully that goes well. I had another SM do this exercise in advance of the Retro and compiled the notes so that the expectations submitted were compiled and anonymous. This gave them greater freedom to discuss, but I’m afraid it limits accountability. I’ll be following up to compare the longer-term impact of each of these implementations.

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