5.5 Activity: Locate Strengths

Use this to gather data about facts and feelings on longer iteration, release, and project retrospectives. Follow with the Identify Themes activity to generate insights.


Identify strengths so the team can build on them in the next iteration. Provide balance when an iteration, release, or project hasn’t gone well.

Time Needed

Fifteen to forty minutes for the Locate Strengths activity, depending on the number of questions in the interview. Allow twenty to forty more to identify themes. The total for the two activities is thirty to ninety minutes.


Team members interview each other about high points on the project. The goal is to understand the sources and circumstances that created those high point ( Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the Speed of Imagination [WM01]).


Introduce the activity by saying “We learn by asking questions. We learn the most about the things we ask the most questions about. Since we want to learn about having successful iterations (release/projects), let’s take time to ask each other questions about high points.”

  1. Form pairs. If it’s possible, pair people who don’t know each other’s job well or don’t work together often. If there’s an odd number, have one trio. Hand out the interview questions.

  2. Explain the interview process:

    • Stay curious.

    • Give the speaker your full attention.

    • Take notes to remember key points.

    • Listen for stories and quotes to share.

    • This isn’t a conversation—the ...

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