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Fun Retrospective Activity - 2 Truths and a Lie Retrospective Exercise

Two Truths and a Lie is a fun retrospective activity that I have used couple of times to ‘break the ice’ at group meetings.

In past, I had a team that was very familiar with each other, but was getting bored with standard retrospective exercises, making the team collaboration inactive. That´s when I decided to transform this classic ice breaker activity into a new retrospective exercise.

What can you expect - the outcome

This fun retrospective activity will help you promote team collaboration, to generate a praise report and define actionable retrospective items. Action items are used to focus around team improvement areas and the praise report used by the team to celebrate the successes of the previous sprint.

Two Truths and a Lie exercise is suitable for all team maturity levels.

There is one rule I recommend to follow: each person should make three statements about the past sprint, of which two will be true and one will be a lie. These statements can be related to any likes/dislikes, experiences, skills or habits.

Instructions & Timing

Setting up the Game – 10 min

Gather the team members in a circle and explain the rules.  Give everyone post-its and a marker to write down their three statements (2 - true, 1 - lie). Give them 7 minutes to organize their ideas (statements). Afterwards, each team member will have 3 post-its, each containing one statement.

Playing Two Truths and a Lie – 3 min (per person)

Select a team member to present to the group there three statements.  After the statements have been presented, the group will discusses the statements and decide which statement they believe is the lie. If the group does not agree on which statement is a lie, have a show-of-hands vote, and select the statement with the majority of the votes.  After a statement has been selected, the presenter will then reveal to the group whether they guessed correctly, by indicating which of the statements is a lie.

Move on to the next team member and continue until everyone has revealed their statements.

Wrap up Discussion – 20 Min

After revealing the statements, collect and categorize all the Truths and Lies with a negative significance. Discuss these with the team and identify what could have been done better to remediate these items.

Afterwards, create a list of actionable solutions for each statement and ask the team to vote the items they want to focus on in the next sprint. Add the remaining actionable items to the retrospective backlog to be tackled in a future sprint.

Variations and tips for this fun retrospective activity

Two Truths and a Lie Strategies

People can use different tactics to hide their lies. For example, three unusual statements are possibly hardest to evaluate against each other. Lies are normally harder to identify if the group believes that the team member might be telling the truth. People find it harder to believe truths if they don´t feel they can relate them with the team member.

Two Truths and a Wish

In this variation, team members can identify 3 statements, two of which are true statements and one statement that is phrased as a wish, rather than a lie.  This is a fun alternative to help the team work through their statements, especially if you have a team that is struggling to create lie statements.

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