Lessons Learned is a great retrospective activity for analyzing an event or a period of time and looking at the data from the perspective of plan and success.

Running the activity:

  1. Draw the canvas with a horizontal arrow with “Planned” on the left and “Unplanned” on the right, as well as a vertical arrow crossing it with “Failure” at the bottom and “Success” at the top.
  2. Ask participants to write their notes:
    “The bigger the success, the higher you should place your note (failures go to the lower part of the canvas). If you consider your note is about something highly planned, then place it on the very left; otherwise you should place it on the right side of the canvas.”
  3. Discuss with the group.

This activity discloses the correlation (or absence of correlation) between planning and succeeding. Sometimes there are things that are highly planned but still go wrong, while other times there are things that the team did not even think about previously go really well.

The final result depicts four quadrants: planned and successful; unintended and successful; planned but failed; and failed and not planned. The conversation about each of these quadrants brings visibility and areas for improvement, as well as a chance of recognizing what worked well (even if it was not planned!).


Remote-team advice: This activity works well for remote teams. Use a remote board of your choice.

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