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A facilitator’s overview of 4 Plays that center on debriefing


Introducing 4 debriefing Plays from the Atlassian Team Playbook

What are Plays? Simply put, Plays are workshops designed by our team to help your team improve performance and address common challenges. The four Plays examined in this article make up the debriefing group. Run these Plays when your team needs to build shared understanding, define next steps, or learn from mistakes.

The 4 debriefing Plays

  • Team Health Monitor: uncovers your team’s most immediate opportunities to grow
  • Premortem: identifies triggers for challenges/wins early enough to take action
  • Retrospective: analyzes what did and did not work to optimize the next team collaboration
  • 4Ls Retrospective: draws emotional responses from your team to identify the most urgent areas to learn from on a recently completed project

Dive into the debriefing Plays with Lujan Cima, a coach on the Atlassian Craft Practices and Learning team:

Success starts with preparation

Whether you are preparing to run your third Play or your 30th, the best way to build confidence is to spend an adequate amount of time preparing for the workshop. That includes reviewing your agenda, and downloading tools or creating visuals that will be needed during the session. Ultimately, getting organized prior to the Play frees you up to be present and focused on the big day.

Because we know that preparing for a Play can be overwhelming, especially for first-time facilitators, we put together a visual Preparation Guide as well as a checklist to help you stay on track during the preparation process. These are guidelines, not strict rules. You should customize both resources to fit your specific needs.

ATL_02_Overview_MindMap-1920w.jpgClick here to view and download the checklist

The end is just the beginning

During a Play, you will collect a lot of information. That information will be distilled into clear documentation after the workshop. Your documentation is both a record of what happened during the Play and a roadmap for the next steps. Use your documentation to make informed decisions and hold your team accountable as you move forward.

The Atlassian Team Playbook provides Play templates on platforms like Trello, Confluence, and Mural to guide your documentation process. You can start with our templates and customize them for your team’s needs. As an example, the Confluence template for the Retrospective Play can be found in the ‘Optional Templates’ section on the Retrospective homepage. Or check out our article on running Retrospectives for more information.

Pro tips for great documentation:

  • List the steps of the Play ahead of time, using the Play instructions found on the Atlassian Team Playbook website

  • Make observations of team interactions during exercises to capture thoughts and ideas

  • Summarize shared ideas after exercises

  • Confirm solutions agreed upon when wrapping up

  • List action items to be completed after the Play, who they are assigned to, and the deadlines

For an example of a facilitator walking through a Play from their perspective, let’s take a look at a completed Health Monitor as told by Charlotte Whitmore from Atlassian’s Craft Practices and Learning team.

If you’re looking for a low-stakes way to get started running Plays, try running one of the debriefing Plays at home. Choose whichever Play fits your situation, apply the advice given in this article, and have fun!

  1. Start with friends and family: Debrief a dinner you cooked, an activity you planned, or anything else.

  2. Document yourself running the Play using Confluence, Mural, Zoom, or even just a pencil and paper.

  3. Share your story and experience in a community post or comment below.

  4. Celebrate—you just ran a Play!

Find more training resources for Atlassian Team Playbook on Atlassian Community:



@Christine P_ Dela Rosa ,

Nice Article! Thanks for the guide!

Like # people like this
Brant Schroeder Community Leader Nov 06, 2020

I like the fact that you included 4 debrief styles. Often times we become comfortable running the same debrief, making them stale and repetitive.  If we change it up we can often get better insights into how the team is actually doing.

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Sajit Nair Community Leader Nov 17, 2020

great post. really liked the concept of Premortem. will try this out.

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Dave Liao Community Leader Dec 02, 2020

The "People" section under the Preparation Guide is the foundation to any meeting - if folks aren't involved, they'll disengage.

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@Christine P_ Dela Rosa Thank you for systemizing and providing a good content! 

One thing from my side, when I can do the same 

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this
DPKJ Community Leader Jan 08, 2021

Premortem +1

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Alexis Robert Community Leader Jan 15, 2021

Great content, postmortem is a must have !

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Jacob Young Atlassian Team Jan 15, 2021

Great stuff here!

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Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Jan 15, 2021

Nice article, great information! Thanks for sharing!

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carolyn french Community Leader Oct 27, 2021

Thanks @Christine P_ Dela Rosa for the guide. One question about the preparation: for "what role should each team member play?", can you elaborate on what you mean there?

Great question, @carolyn french

Similar to other meetings, understanding which role each team member takes on is important. Here are some example questions.

  • Does everyone on the invite need to be there? Is there anyone missing? 
  • If there are managerial or leadership roles, will there still be psychological safety? If not, is their attendance necessary or would a recap suffice for them afterward?
  • Who is the scribe? Who is the facilitator? Will there be facilitators that switch off only team members are attending and need to take turns facilitating?
  • When it comes to deciding follow-ups or action items, is there a team lead or someone who makes the call when there isn't an obvious answer? Who's in charge of making final calls? 
  • For those without specific roles, are they ready to engage with their own reflections without taking on any other roles?

Basically, is there an expectation for everyone attending?

Like # people like this
carolyn french Community Leader Oct 29, 2021

Great and very clear answer @Christine P_ Dela Rosa - really appreciated

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

Very good content and we can utilize these idea's in our work also.

vikram P

Very helpful article! Well done


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