Mad Sad Glad Retrospective

Mad Sad Glad Retrospective

Mad Sad Glad sounds like a funny name for a meeting format. But look beyond the name and give it a try. You will find it to be a simple yet powerful tool that helps you gauge the emotional state of the team. Making good teams great - a book by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen describes the MAD SAD GLAD retrospective. It’s a great read for anyone looking to dive deep into retrospectives.

Employees are asked to lead with empathy but emotions weren’t necessarily acceptable in the workplace till recently. For a leader or manager it is important to have a finger on the pulse of the emotional state of the team. The team can only perform if everyone is feeling supported, encouraged and is excited to come to work everyday.

Feedback can be specific or general. None of it needs to be directly associated with your project. It could be something that’s not even a part of your team. If it’s having an emotional impact on you it’s good to bring it up in the sprint retrospective.

Let’s take a closer look at each part of the Mad Sad Glad retrospective🧐

😤 Mad

What’s making you furious at work? Is there something that irritates you so much that it’s affecting your work? You wish that there was a way to fix it so that you can go back and be completely focussed on work. Let’s look at some Mad examples we have seen overtime:

1.People not completing action items. We have retrospective meetings every two weeks. But the action items seem to keep piling up
2.Coding conventions agreed by the team are not being followed creating a web of mess which will be impossible to untangle.
3.People not showing up for meetings after accepting the invite? What’s up with that?
4.People occupying meeting rooms we have booked and asking us to adjust and go somewhere else.

😔 Sad

Is there anything that breaks your heart everyday you come to work? Well, that’s a bit much 🤣 ? But is there anything you wish you could change or someone else could for you. These might be things that might not make you Mad per se but still make you question their absurdity? Let’s look at some Sad examples:

1.We used to be great with documentation. Somewhere down the line we stopped doing that. It’s heartbreaking 💔
2.What happens to a feature when we release it. It’s sad that we never find out the outcome of all the hard work we do
3.I feel like I’m working alone. People seem so stressed these days - and since we are all remote - there is no opportunity to socialize.

😀 Glad

Not everything in your team must be falling apart. There must be a few silver linings that give you hope, makes you happy, makes you hopeful about the future. Some examples of Happy are:

1.Thanks Stan for bringing in those cookies on Friday morning. Next time bring more 🍪 😋
2.I got a chance to interact with some customers. They were so happy using our product. It gave me sense of purpose and I’m driven more than ever to ship great product ⛵️
3.I felt so happy to see the new recruits rise to the occasion and tackle some complicated tickets to help ship the release out on time. Kudos to them 👏 🙏

Handling emotions is not easy. Moderating a Mad Sad Glad meeting can easily become overwhelming. You should use caution and do ample preparation before leading the session.

Tips on how to run a successful retrospective session

Using the feedback from Mad Sad Glad you can build a positive work environment. People thrive in their work when they feel their voices being heard. Mad Sad Glad does that. It provides a framework to analyze the emotional state of the team.

The Mad Sad Glad conversation can sometimes get really heated up. Using icebreakers is a great way to lighten things up and start the meeting on the right note. Here are some icebreaker questions examples:

1.What song do you jam to while you work?
2.What’s something you rebelled against as a kid?
3.What is the last thing that shocked you?
4.What is the most used emoji on your phone right now?

Want more icebreaker questions? We have compiled a list of over 300 icebreaker questions just for you. This will keep you well stocked on icebreaker questions for your retrospective meetings for atleast a few years 🤣 🤣 .

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