Tom Baldwin: Beyond The Process Ceremonies, The Necessary Evolution Of Scrum Master Success Over Time

Tom talks about how we need to, over time, evolve our signs and metrics of success for Scrum Masters, from mastering ceremonies to measuring lead times and value delivery. Emphasizing the importance of team engagement with users and customers, Tom offers insights into fostering a culture of responsiveness and continuous improvement, ensuring that the team’s journey towards autonomy and efficiency is both measurable and meaningful.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: 5 Why’s

Tom explores the essence of effective Agile retrospectives, focusing on the 5 Why’s technique to address root causes of team challenges. He advocates for personalized approaches, ensuring the right stakeholders are present, and fostering an environment where the team can own the process and outcomes. Through strategic documentation and visualization, Tom illustrates how to guide teams towards self-improvement and a focus on collaboration.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Tom Baldwin

Tom is a Lean-Agile Coach & Scrum Master, who is trying to solve the problem that it has been more than 20 years since the Agile Manifesto, but Business Agility is still not the norm. Tom is currently writing “Production line for the mind: The Practicing Principle”, with the idea of making agility simple to understand & to implement – and not just for software.

You can link with Tom Baldwin on LinkedIn.

Thorben Pantring: The Three Dimensions Of Scrum Master Success, Team, Collaboration, and Organization

Thorben outlines success for Scrum Masters in three dimensions: team, collaboration, and organization. Early in the Scrum journey, focusing on the team is vital, emphasizing self-management and shared responsibility. The sprint goal emerges as a powerful tool for team focus. Collaboration between teams is crucial, as he mentions on this week’s Monday episode. For organizational success, Thorben references the sprint review bazaar episode (Wednesday), emphasizing that success encompasses the entire department’s ability to deliver value, narrating an illustrative story of a team focusing on code merging instead of value creation.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 5 Why’s Retrospective

Thorben’s favored retrospective format thrives on physical presence, fostering collaboration and engagement. Held in a room with snacks, this co-located setting enhances communication, particularly in using the “5 Whys” retrospective. The benefits of in-person interaction, including non-verbal cues, contribute to a richer retrospective experience. When hosting remote sessions, Thorben recommends a shared whiteboard tool like MURAL, and offers tips to maintain attention. Introducing a “Lightning Question” which proved effective in re-engaging participants during remote retrospectives.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Thorben Pantring

Thorben is an experienced Scrum Master & Team Lead in the eCommerce space, showcasing expertise in leadership, LeSS, Scrum, team management, and engineering. With an insatiable desire for learning and a relentless pursuit of progress, Thorben embodies a fervent passion for leadership, agility, and technology.

You can link with Thorben Pantring on LinkedIn.

Caterina Reinker: Creating transparency towards the Scrum Master role as way to drive continuous improvement

Caterina invites us to evaluate success in the Scrum Master role by defining and making success measurable. She uses a Continuous Improvement roadmap to solicit feedback from her stakeholders and the team. Using transparency towards her work as a way to create the right conversations in the team, as well as with the stakeholders.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 5 Why’s, a facilitation guide to helping the team go beyond symptoms

Caterina’s favorite format for Agile Retrospectives is the 5 Why’s retrospective. In this segment, Caterina shares with us her insights on how to facilitate the conversation with the team, and how to avoid some potential pitfalls of that format.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Caterina Reinker

Caterina is a social anthropologist and passionate Scrum Master. She regards organizations like villages – or cities – with their own language, institutions, and explicit and many implicit rules. Caterina works and lives in Germany and helps groups of people, big and small, in their agile journey.

You can link with Caterina Reinker on LinkedIn.

Shahin Sheidaei: How to assess if an Agile team is ready to get more autonomy from the Scrum Master

Even if Scrum Masters can focus on “working themselves out of a job”, the fact is that not many teams can get to that level, and even the ones that can get there, it’s not easy to find out when is the right time to step back. In this segment, we talk about what it means for a team to be self-sufficient, and how Scrum Masters can evaluate if the team is ready to be given more autonomy.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 5 Why’s and some caveats when facilitating that format

Shahin starts by sharing a key lesson about making the Retrospectives adjust to the team, and their mood, instead of asking the team to adjust to the Retrospective format we prepared in advance.

In this segment, we talk about the 5 Why’s Retrospective, and some of the caveats we must take into account when facilitating that kind of Retrospectives.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Shahin Sheidaei

Shahin Sheidaei is an Agile, Lean and Success Coach,International Speaker, Transformation Expert, and Entrepreneur.

Shahin is a passionate organizational designer focusing on organizational performance, and is also founder and principal coach at Elevate Change Inc.

You can link with Shahin Sheidaei on LinkedIn and connect with Shahin Sheidaei on Twitter.

BONUS: Module 2, Retrospectives Master Class with David Horowitz

This is the second of a multi-part series on Agile Retrospectives with David Horowitz who’s the CEO of Retrium, a company that builds tools to help you facilitate remote retrospectives. The links to Retrium’s Retrospectives Academy below are affiliate links, if you prefer to follow a link that takes you to Retrium’s site, but does not give anything back to the podcast, you can. Just follow this link: Retrium.com. On the other hand, if you want to help us grow this podcast, you can follow the links below or this link to Retrium’s Retrospective’s Academy.

In the second instalment of the Agile Retrospectives Masterclass with David Horowitz, we talk about the 5 phases of a successful retrospective, and share tips and ideas for each of those phases to ensure you are prepared and get the team to find and act on breakthrough improvements. 

You can find Module 1 of the Retrospectives Master Class here

It all starts with a simple check-in: “Set the Stage”, Phase 1 of a successful retrospective

When we start a retrospective, usually at the end of a Sprint, the team member’s minds might be on that last bug they just closed, or the story that didn’t get delivered, or the feedback they just got from stakeholders. The Check-in phase of the retrospectives helps all the team members, and the facilitator to get into the retrospective mood. To forget the open threads that will need to be picked up later, and focus on the question: “How can we do even better in the next Sprint?”

In this segment, we talk about the Constellations exercise that helps everyone visualize agreement and disagreement with a specific statement in a way that raises engagement, and increases the energy level of the retrospective. You can find here a detailed description of the Constellation exercise for Agile Retrospectives

We also discuss the “one-word check-in” exercise and the “Mad/Sad/Glad” check-in for Agile retrospectives.  

For retrospectives that try to focus on improving collaboration between team members, David suggests The Circle Of Appreciation exercise

In this segment, we also refer to the classic book: Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby

Gathering Data and Generating Insights, the core of an Agile Retrospective

If we want to enable deeper conversations, we need to be aware that the information that is shared will directly affect the quality of the conversations. Therefore, Agile Retrospectives require special attention to the “gathering data” phase. There are many ways to gather data, and some might even happen during the Sprint, instead of during the retrospective. 

During the retrospective, however, we will visualize that data and help the team make sense of it. 

In this segment, we talk about the timeline exercise, and how to use emotional-queues to help uncover important pieces of information. 

Soft or qualitative data can also be used to augment the use of other data in the timeline exercise. One such way is to use the “journey lines” exercise.

When the data is visible and understandable, then the team focuses on finding insights by analyzing the data and generating possible connections and causal links. Here the challenge for a Scrum Master is to prevent the team from jumping too early into solutions before they deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve. 

David shares some tips to help prevent the team from discussing solutions before they have a shared understanding of the problem. We talk about The 5 Why’s technique, but there are many more. 

Making Retrospectives Impactful: Deciding what to do

Many teams fail in Phase 4, Deciding what to do. But they might fail in quite different ways. For example, some teams might want to commit to too many items at once, while other teams might not commit to any improvement. And finally, the worst problem: those teams that commit to improvements, but work on none of them. 

Great teams, understand well how many improvements they can take from a retrospective, and are clear on the commitment, maybe even including the improvement ideas as items on their Sprint backlog. 

In this segment, we talk about the ICE method for prioritizing improvement ideas and the importance of brainstorming several solutions before deciding what to do. It’s also important to use methods of consensus generation when there are several options that seem equally valuable. The commitment of each team member to the solution to be tried will directly impact their commitment to the work to be done for that solution. 

In this segment, we talk about experiments and the use of such templates as the Hypothesis-Driven Development template by Barry O’Reilly

Phase 5: Close the retrospective

At the end of the retrospective, our goals are to provide closure, a sense of achievement, and energy for the work ahead. 

How can we do that? In this segment, we talk about the “retro on the retro” and the “gif check-out”. Two simple approaches that help the team feel a sense of accomplishment, and also get better at doing future retrospectives. 

Which closing exercises have you used? Share those with us on Twitter or LinkedIn

About David Horowitz

David Horowitz is the CEO of Retrium, a platform for agile retrospectives that has powered over 100,000 retrospectives from thousands of companies across the world.

Prior to co-founding Retrium, David spent a decade at The World Bank as an engineer turned Agile coach.

He has degrees in Computer Science and Economics from The University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Technology Management from The Wharton School of Business.

Learn more about Better Retrospectives with David Horowitz by accessing the FREE Retrospective’s Academy by Retrium: http://bit.ly/retromasterclass

You can link with David Horowitz on LinkedIn and connect with David Horowitz on Twitter

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NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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