From wish to action retro


I thought I might share this as it worked pretty well. It seemed to focus decent discussion and helped us drill down into some focus actions for the upcoming sprint. As you can see it is based on the I Like, I Want, I Wonder Retro as mentioned in the Favourite Retros thread.

The start is the same as what is described elsewhere. The team is given stickies and asked to contribute to the top section.

  • I Like - stuff you like about the sprint, work, the office etc.
  • I Want - this might be for things either positive or negative, it might be as benign as more time to stare at the ceiling or something as important as a new pool cue
  • I Wonder - these are really a space for musings, what would happen if we did x or what if we tried y…

Now the fun part.

Read the “I Likes” and let the team have opportunity to talk about the good stuff. It feels great and provides a point of looking at the good.

With the “I Wants” take each sticky off the board, talk about the issue that is raised or suggested and move it into the “We Control” or “We Don’t Control” This actually will provide some great info on how empowered the team feels and will also help focus the team on things they can CHANGE or DO something about. The stuff the team doesn’t control can be fed back up the ladder and may provide points that you can help them with.

With the “I Wonders” repeat the process. Some will spark discussion, but not necessarily need to move down the levels. Move what makes sense for an experiment or follow up, leave what doesn’t.

Now with the “We Control” drop them into the actions section. Beside each sticky write an action or make a note of what the team can do for follow up. Ask everyone if they want to throw something else in the ring and leave it be.

I’ve dropped what I wrote on the board below. Let me know your thoughts. I found it really insightful as to what the team was thinking. I really appreciated the discussions it help to inspire. How could I make it better? I won’t use it again now for a couple of months, but I really liked how it ran.

Your Favorite Agile Retrospectives. POST THEM HERE AND LETS BUILD THE ULTIMATE LIST by Troy Lightfoot
A retrospective for company practices

Going to use this today . I’ll report back !


Used this today & loved it…



Awesome, I am seriously envious of those boards. I’m really glad it worked well.


i will be using this in an upcoming retro and will report back.


I love the approach, and especially how it flows to “action.”

When the teams I serve hit a “don’t control” - I ask 'em: would you like to move that fence? If so, how might you go about doing so?

And then actions can come out the “don’t control” box… a team member steps up to go talk to eVP so and so… which increases the team’s self-empowerment…


That was definitely something I considered with the can’t control column.


Great modification to the existing retro @bradstokes! Next time I pull this one out of the old bag of tricks I’m definitely going to use this modification. I love how it gets the team thinking about what they can truly control and take action on.

Thanks for sharing!


I used this retro for our program team a week or so ago and it was eye opening for them… They realized that WE control our own destiny and can make the changes we identified ourselves, we don’t have to rely on others. Really powerful!


Awesome retro! Thank you @bradstokes!
Really liked the flow of retro: from a wish/wonder to control and to action. It enabled the team to generate good insights and discuss what’s in our control and what’s not.