Retrospective Activity

By Faye Tsampardouka, Scrum Master / Agile Coach at Beat

Autonomy — Mastery — Purpose

There are moments that even an Agile Coach loses faith! In dark moments like this I always find my way back to Agile by watching the video “The surprising truth about what motivates us” by The RSA. If you have not watched it yet, let me give you a short summary. Surprisingly enough, the things that actually motivate people are not money or rewards, but rather “Autonomy — Mastery — Purpose”.

So, after the countless times I have watched it, a new retrospective activity rose up and in particular an activity for gathering data.

I therefore present you the “Autonomy — Mastery — Purpose” retrospective activity.


The goal of this activity is to guide the team back to the basic factors that actually motivate them. It is great for teams that are under a healing phase after a traumatic event. It can also be great for normal sprints or longer iterations.

Running the activity

  1. Draw three columns: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
  2. Divide each column in two sub-columns, one for the things that worked in favor and one for those that worked against Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
  3. Ask the participants to share their notes on post-its regarding things that occurred during the sprint and strengthened or weakened the three pillars of motivation.
  4. Gather data and drive conversation about action items.

Case Study

In the following picture it is obvious that a lot of things worked in favor of Mastery but nothing worked in favor of Autonomy.

Do not forget: Retrospect, retrospect, retrospect!

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