We liked it when a good thing took on a life of its own.
We learned that it really resonated with many folks.
We lacked sharing the full understanding of the technique.
We longed for more sharing.
Liked — Learned — Lacked — Longed For
At the recent Deep Agile event, Mary briefly mentioned a 3Ls’ technique she used in a recent retrospective (Liked, Lacked, Longed For). A few folks tweeted about it, and it took off in the web’o’sphere
To fulfill our longing to share and provide some background, keep reading to learn how we use this technique.
Many moons ago we wanted some variety in eliciting feedback, collectively sharing that feedback and exploring action possibilities. We decided to create a variation of World Café whereby areas of the room are used to focus on a specific retrospective topic. It has proven to be very useful for iteration and project retrospectives as well as for retrospection of training and conference events.
Typically we use all 4 L’s. But whichever you choose to use, we recommend that you don’t drop the “longed for”, which can provide some very powerful data!
Steps for the 4 L’s
1. Hang four posters, one for each L, around the room, titled appropriately.
2. Ask people to individually jot down what they Liked, Learned, Lacked, and Longed For – one per sticky note. When the time is up (3-4 minutes), they silently place their notes on each poster.
3. Divide the group into four subgroups; assign an “L” poster to each subgroup. They read all the notes, cluster as appropriate and identify themes.
4. Each team reports out on the themes.
5. The entire group decides how they might use the data. For example, ask, “How can we satisfy the ‘lacked’ or ‘longed for’ items?
Variations You Can Try
- Use color stickies, one color per “L”. See our photo on this blog for an example of how we used color.
- Select a subset of the L’s, but remember the power of “longed for”.
- At step 2: Instead of each person writing their own 4 L’s, split group into 4 teams and assign each team to one of the L’s. Each team collectively identifies, discusses and writes points. (Plan for more time to allow for discussion.) After posting their items onto their assigned “L” poster, ask teams to rotate to each of the other 3 posters, adding items that occur to them.
- After step 3: Facilitate a “gallery walk around” whereby people walk around and read what’s on the 3 other posters.
In the spirit of learning, we’d like to hear how you use this retrospective technique!
Resources (updated, Jan 2017)
- If you need to faciliate the 4L retro technique on a distributed team, try Retrium.
- Brief overview to retrospectives including quick links on characteristics, questions to use, and when to us retrospectives
- Retrospectives Wiki, a good source for retrospective in general
- The home of the retrospective workshop facilitator gathering
- “Team Retrospectives for Better Iterative Assessment”, in-depth article about using retrospective for assessing iterations, including example retrospective activities
- The seminal book on retrospectives by Norm Kerth: Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews
- Esther Derby and Diana Larsen’s wonderful book, Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great
- Our retrospective training, “Project Retrospectives and Team Reviews: Benefiting from the Wisdom of Teams”