The second retrospective for the retrospective challenge 2020 is the three piglets retrospective. This retrospective was hosted for a large project group, as well as for the team that I am the Scrum master in. The goal of the three piglets retrospective was to look at an upcoming deadline, and see how the group felt about the upcoming deadline.

three little piglets

Overview

The three piglets retrospective is based of the fable the three little pigs. The goal is to divide the last iteration, or time period in the three categories of the houses of the pigs. Check google for pictures of the houses, or let the best creative side of you draw the houses on a whiteboard.

The team then will put post its about the last iteration or time period in one of the three categories. Keep in mind, this doesn’t have to be about technology, it can be about anything. Stakeholder interaction, decisions by management, basically anything that impacted the team.

HouseExplained
House of StonesEverything the team is extremely proud of, no chance the big bad wolf can blow away this house. Example: We are proud that the pipeline didn’t crash a single time this sprint, since we fixed it last sprint.
House of sticksSomething the team sees that can be improved, but is not in the danger zone. Example: We improved our test cases which helps us prevent bugs, but we do not have all cases tested we would like.
House of strawSomething the team is extremely worried about, any wolf can make this into a danger. Example: This legacy project is on the verge of collapsing, we need to spend some time on it!
three piglets retrospective

When the team members have no more post-its to add to the retrospective. It is is time for action points! The starting point for the action points can be: “How can we make sure our house of sticks and straw, turn into house of stones?“.

Pros

The three piglets retrospective is an variant one of the most basic retrospectives. If you need a basic retrospective without too much of a specific goal in mind, this is a safe bet. I have noticed that the fun factor definitely helps in making the team feel more at ease. Getting the team to laugh and have fun breaks the ice, and will result in a better retrospective.

To summarize the positive sides of this retrospective:

  • Generic retrospective that will fit in most cases
  • It has a high fun factor, which usually helps in making the team feel more at ease.

Cons

The downsides of the three piglets retrospective is the fact that it is a generic retrospective. It is a good solution for most retrospectives, but more specific retrospective forms might yield better results in some cases.

It is good to keep in mind that if you work with distributed teams across the world, not all team members might know the three piglets fable. I noticed during one retrospective with team members in Mumbai, that they where not familiar with the fable. If you need to explain the fable first, it might not be as effective as it would be with team members who knew the fable growing up.

To summarize the downsides of the three piglets retrospective:

  • Generic retrospective, more specific forms might yield better results.
  • Culture differences, not all team members outside of Europe might know this fable, and the retrospective might be less effective, if you need to explain the fable first.

Conclusion of the three piglets retrospective

I would recommend using the three piglets retrospective if you do not have a specific goal in mind for the retrospective, or if the team is in need for a good laugh. If you have a specific goal in mind, it might be better to pick one of the retrospectives that is suited for your desired goal.