Retrospective dialog sheets

I read an interesting article in Methods and Tools about using “dialog sheets” for retrospectives (and other team-discussion events). From the article:

Dialogue sheets are a technique invented in Stockholm at the Royal Institute for Technology, KTH. The intention is to promote good conversation and the method can be used for a variety of discussion-based activities. …

A dialogue sheet itself is a large sheet of paper, A1 or similar size, which is decorated with questions, quotes, illustrations and space for making notes. The questions on the sheet serve to guide the team through the exercise and focus thinking on the subject of the dialogue sheet.

Typically a team of three to eight will spend between one and two hours working the sheet. The team seat themselves around the dialogue sheet – shown in Figure 2 – and take turns asking the questions, facilitating the discussion and making notes on the sheet itself.

The author makes printable versions of these sheets available on his site. The concept is simple enough to be able to substitute a giant post-it/wall pad paper, with a little manual writing involved.

They seem useful as a self-guided or faciltator-free (or facilitator-light) way of fostering some intentional communication. This technique may also be useful for events like project kickoffs/inceptions/charterings, insofar as they are a lightweight, team-owned, time-boxed vehicle for having important conversations.

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