The Shoe Tower — A fun way to begin your next Retrospective

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Claus Vagner Pedersen



min. læsetid

February 21, 2019

I previously wrote a post about my take on Retrospectives, what I see a lot of teams miss out on, and what I think should be in focus. Among other things adding the “Look Back” to the existing Retrospective model. During that post, I listed some of my favorite for each of the components in a Retrospective. As promised I will start elaborating on some of those favorites.

I will start out with “The Shoe Tower”.


The goal of The Shoe Tower is team building. To have a casual time with your team colleagues and raising the mood before going into the rest of the Retrospective.

This activity is not limited to Set the Stage of a Retrospective, you can also use it in another context as a team building exercise.


  1. Divide the participants into groups of 3–5 people
  2. Explain to them that the goal is to make the tallest tower possible in 4 minutes
  3. Inform them that the only material they can use to make the tower is their shoes
  4. They are not allowed to support the tower with e.g. chairs, tables etc.
  5. Start a timer and kick off the build process
  6. Have the groups back away from their towers when the time runs out
  7. Measure the height of the towers and declare a winner

Material needed

There is no specific material needed to do this exercise.

Optionally you could have a price for the winning team, which you could also let them know about in advance, so there is something to fight for.

I like this exercise because it is fairly simple to do, does not really require any pre-planning or material. Plus it is a lot of fun to both be a part of, and to watch.

Read the post “The Retrospective: A known recipe for improvement — with my own spice” here.

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