Mein rechter, rechter Platz

[English summary: Armin Schubert suggested a super nice “Set the stage” activity for Retromat that doesn’t translate well, so I present it in the original German.]

Immer wieder bekomme ich tolle Vorschläge für Retromat, die ich schweren Herzens ablehnen muss, meistens weil es bereits eine sehr ähnliche Aktivität im Retromaten gibt. Bei der folgenden Idee von Armin Schubert war der Grund, dass die Aktivität nur auf Deutsch funktioniert. Aber wozu habe ich ein Blog 😉

Hier kommt also Armins “Mein rechter, rechter Platz”: Diese Aktivität ist für den Anfang einer Retro und läuft wie folgt ab:

Die Teilnehmer sitzen im Kreis und starten mit dem bekannten Kinderreim “Mein rechter, rechter Platz ist leer, ich wünsche mir den $Name her!” mit einer entscheidenden Änderung im Text:

“Mein rechter, rechter Platz ist voll und der $Name, der ist toll!” Dann noch drei positive Eigenschaften des rechten Nachbarn und schon ist derjenige selbst dran.

Die Idee dazu ist in einer Retrospektive entstanden, weil wir einen schnellen aber positiven Einstieg gesucht haben. Das wirkte am Anfang etwas hölzern, war dann aber ein grosser Erfolg, auf dem im Nachgang immer wieder referenziert wurde.

(Falls jemand den (neuen) Kollegen rechts von sich nicht kennt, kann er gerne die anderen Anwesenden um Hilfe bitten. Hat bei uns mehrfach super funktioniert!)

Thanks for sharing with us, Armin!

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118 activities in Retromat

Loads of great new activities in Retromat! Check them out:

100 Activities in Retromat!

Rejoice with me for Retromat now features 100 activities!

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 9.33.04 PM

It’s come a long way since its humble launch with 16 activities 3 years ago (May 2012). It started with activities from Diana Larsen and Esther Derby‘s “Agile Retrospectives” and in an attempt to come full circle activity #100 is by Diana Larsen again.

Huge thanks to everybody who made that happen: People who thought of activities, suggested them, translated, sent photos, supported the print version, spread the word, … All you of you: Thank you!

SMARTe Ziele auf deutsch

Hm, wie würdet ihr die SMARTen Ziele übersetzen? Für den deutschen Retromaten (um den sich ansonsten Patrick Zeisig hochverdient gemacht hat) habe ich es gerade folgendermaßen eingedeutscht:

  • specific = spezifisch
  • measurable = messbar
  • attainable = ausführbar
  • relevant = relevant
  • timely = mit Termin

3 davon sind ja sehr naheliegend. Auch “ausführbar” finde ich nah dran. Einzig “timely” finde ich kniffelig. “terminiert” und “Termin gebunden” fand ich beides weniger gut als “mit Termin” aber so ganz trifft es “timely” im Sinne von “zeitnah” nicht. Was meint ihr?

Retr-O-Mat Print Edition – Prototypes

Do you like product development documentations such as “Made by Hand“? I love them! I love to see how something takes form.

That’s why I’d like to share with you how the Retr-O-Mat Print Edition came into being:


First things first: I needed to settle on a format that allowed for viewing 5 different “slots” at the same time and for easy switching between activities. I thought of printing the activities on business cards and putting them in a box with 5 compartments. Given that I had no idea how many units I could sell the upfront costs of 50 different kinds of business cards + custom boxes were too high.

Then I thought of these children’s books with flaps which let you combine heads, bodies and legs into fantastic animals. Naturally it would have to be a longish format with a stable back because it would have to be stable even with most of its pages cut into flaps. I could not find a suitable brochure printer but I did find a – pause for effect – table calendar:

table-calendarThe back of each and every Print Retr-O-Mat out there consists of two paperboards glued together and the overlapping bit cut off.

[Fun(?) fact: The final print job was delayed because there IS the option to print this format as a brochure after all – not that you can find on the printer’s website, mind you. The printer was wondering if I mis-ordered and paused my order. It would have saved a lot of work, but I did not want to order 220 copies with a back I’d never seen before. So I went with the option I had prototyped. But I’ll check out a prototype with the brochure back before ordering the potential 2nd round.]

Color Scheme

I wanted the print version to reflect the digital one, so I spend a lot of time on getting the colors right:

  • It shouldn’t be too many different colors
  • Neighboring flaps must have visibly different colors – not only on screen, but printed
  • One page = one plan = one base color, so that you have some notion of which activities work well together IMO

color-schemeOver the course of 4 weeks and several prototypes I went through at least 5 different color combinations, until I was happy with one.

Elastic Cord

cordTo be usable, there needed to be some way to fix the flaps in place. As there are not that many different cords and colors to pick from, it was easy to choose. Only the light blue cord looked nice with the other colors.

Proof of Concept

pre-alphaThis is an early proof of concept to see how it would feel to flip through the phases. It already contains activities to get a feeling for length. At this point I had already shortened the activities to fit on the flaps. Continue reading

Retr-O-Mat Print Edition – Stats

Now that the Retr-O-Mat Print Edition has sold out, I’ve had time to crunch some numbers. For all the people out there who like charts and data porn (or plan a similar project), here’s a breakdown of Print Retr-O-Mat’s numbers:

  • Copies ordered from printer: 220
  • Copies meeting my quality standards: ~160
  • Sold: 145
  • Send out as “Thank you” copies: 15
  • Donated: 10 (these had minor flaws)

Countries shipped to

My first sale ever shipped to the USA. I shipped to 16 countries in total \o/

The Top 4:


Other = Canada, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Chile, China, France, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal



Lost packages

3 packages didn’t reach their recipient the first time, so I had to resend them: Continue reading