Strategy Retreat - Day 1

Strategy Retreat - Day 1

This post contains the activities for Day 1 of the strategy retreat. For more information and the links to the activities from other days, please see the strategy retreat post.

Day 1

Before you start - Opening Circle. (Aspiration Tech). To get people warmed up one person was on point to ask the team a though provoking question. Some might say: The more random, the better.

  1. Moshpit! Agenda Hacking - Courtesy of Aspiration Tech.
    Output 1: At the end of the session - you will have a list of all of the topics which participants want covering during the retreat. If possible, leave these up somewhere visible throughout the week.
  2. Stakeholder Mapping & Power Analysis - a tweak on a Fabriders classic. This exercise was originally designed for campaigns rather than project planning. My tweak was to substitute power mapping for impact mapping, asking people who they thought we should work with on the basis of how much impact they hypothesised we could have (I made them justify it).
    Output 2: Brainstormed list of possible collaborators for the project, which you can further refine later. Bonus output: I wanted to make sure that our users stayed at the forefront of people’s minds, so I made them make scarecrows of the people who they thought were most important to work with, who would oversee our plans for the rest of the week! It was a bit creepy, so I might not do it again, but it was fun :).

Scarecrow Scarecrow: Yes, it is true! Southpark characters are major stakeholders in School of Data.


  1. Mini retrospective on last year. Asking people "Looking back over the last year: What were moments that made you proudest / happiest?" - this was a quick go round to warm people into the next session.
    Output 3: A list of known weaknesses which need to be worked on. You can work out *how* to fix them later.
  2. Strategy and scissors session - an invention of yours truly. Output 4a: A list of objectives in your strategy which you know you need to discard.
    Output 4b: A list of objectives in your strategy which you know you need to revisit.


  1. Strategy user stories - We were putting a lot of energy into the strategy, so I wanted people to buy into it and make sure it was a document that suited their needs so that they would use it. This was a quick brainstorm on a list of requirements from the strategy - with our own team as the user base.
    Output 5: A joint understanding of what the strategy document will cover and who it will be for.


  1. Dreaming big. Go round: Finish the sentence "We should..." - aim is to add new ideas into the mix which were not captured in the first iteration of the strategy.
    Output 6: A list of new suggested topics which might want to be included in future versions of the strategy. This is a good complement to outputs 4a and 4b where you were eliminating possibilities.
  2. SWOT analysis (Where SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.) - DIY Toolkit. We were tight on time and had already covered some of the weaknesses in strategy & scissors. That meant, we just focussed on the SO part (Strengths and Opportunities).
    Output 7: A list of the opportunities and strengths you should be playing to.


  1. 'Closing circle'. We came back together to produce a short summary of each day so that we could share it with the community afterwards. ( See the results).


As you will see - this is quite a lot for one day. This is deliberately front-loading activity when people are freshest! The rest of the days will be a bit more chilled :)

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