Carsten Grønbjerg Lützen

Carsten Grønbjerg Lützen

Who am I?

I'm a Scrum Master and Engineer at LEGO System A/S with an MSc in Computer Science and a soft spot for Software Engineering and methodologies. Hence here is my take on different agile and plan-oriented methodologies and how we learn to use them effectively in our everyday life. Especially with an agile agenda.


What I write about

Recent Posts

Pirate Retrospective

Let's make a map and track our progress across several iterations... and have fun along the way.

It has been too quiet on this blog for some time.. I'm sorry about that!

Anywho: I have experimented with some different tools for retrospectives and I have adopted and changed some of the ideas from Plans for

Expected Outcome

The outcome of this exercise should be:

  • Some simple actionable items for the next iteration
  • An idea on what awaits on the horizon for the team
  • A shared mission for the team
  • A common understanding of what our condition is at the moment


For this exercise we need:

  • One piece of paper from a flipchart or similar size.
  • A lot of different colored markers
  • A table where people can stand around with the paper in the middle

Stage Setting

When I did this my intoduction was something along the lines of: "I watched Pirate of the Caribbean last night and now they have to suffer the consequences" ;-). Ask people to move away the chairs and get them to stand up around the soon-to-be map.

Step 1: Draw the Ship

First we need to agree if our ship is a small boat, a big schooner or a wooden raft or what ever the team agrees on. Draw this in one corner of the paper

Step 2: X Marks the Spot

In the opposite corner of the paper draw a big red "X". This is where the treasure is buried. What does that look like? Ignite a discussion here on what does success look like? Is our success purely technical or also on a more social mission? Draw and write down the success criteria.

Step 3: "Mind the Rock!"

Timebox this part to for instance 20 minutes. Now it is time to start to draw the opstacles we can think of. Try to put them evenly distributed on the paper. Everything goes here. Some examples could be:

  • Gap between management and team
  • Some open positions (could be drawn as lonely people on an island we need to pick up at some point)
  • Problems with the processes could be drawn as "Process Strait"
  • ...

Just let the imagnitaion run wild and jot everything down! Stop discussions if they are more than a couple of minutes!

Step 4: Plot the Course

Now it is time to plot the course for the next iteration. If the team likes to discuss a lot use dot voting (every team membmer gets 3 dots, pick the highest votes items) or just discuss. Often the plotting of the course can be down rather quickly. For each of the points we add to our course get 2-3 actionable items that can be implemented in the next sprint.

Next Retrospective:

Bring the map for the next retrospective and update the course accordingly. Did we achieve what we set out to do? Can we visit some new places now?


After 2-3 retrospectives the map can be discarded.. But the journey is clear and we have a fun and illustrative poster for the wall that will hopefully show us the journey we have been on.

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