Daniel Lenhart: Focusing on people interactions over Agile Retrospective formats

Successful Scrum Masters are able to help their teams self-organize and find a way of working that helps them communicate effectively. In this segment, we talk about what that means in practice and share tips on how to help your teams move towards self-organization

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Focusing on interactions over Retrospective formats

Daniel shares a different approach to structuring a retrospective. He shares how he used learnings and ideas from Improv Theatre to help the team reflect, learn, and take action by focusing on the interactions during the Retrospective, instead of the format upfront.

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 experiences: 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 Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Yogini Moodley on learning to speak freely as an engine of improvement for Agile teams

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020.

 

When Yogini took on her Scrum Master journey, she noticed that there was more friction in the team. Curious, she looked into the reasons for that friction. After all, they had just left Waterfall-like ways of working behind. What was causing that friction? Was it Agile? As she looked more into it, she found that Agile had something to do with it, but the real reason for the friction between team members was that they were, for the first time, honestly discussing the problems they were facing. They were no longer apathetic, and that was visible in the level of friction between them. 

Another side effect of Agile adoption, Yogini noticed, was that the team was much more productive, “they did more in a month, than I thought was possible in six!” Yogini shares. 

A key lesson for Agile teams: speak freely 

This story led to a key lesson for Yogini. Agile teams improve and transform their ways of working when they speak freely and aren’t afraid to tackle tough conversations. 

When teams finally take on the difficult topics that are impeding their progress, they often fail to reach consensus. However, as Yogini reminds us, that’s no reason not to act. “Buy-in does not imply consensus!” She reminds us.

Retrospectives as the engine of growth and learning

Retrospectives are the aspect of Agile methodologies that Yogini wants to highlight as key for teams and individuals working in an Agile environment.

And in that spirit, Yogini recommends Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby as the book for all agilists to read and learn from.

In the spirit of self-improvement, Yogini mentions and recommends the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. She reminds us that part of the Scrum Master’s responsibility is to improve herself, otherwise, improvements elsewhere are less likely to happen.

The Christmas Agile Message from Yogini Moodley

Yogini asks us, in this festive season, to take time to reflect, and practice being mindful of what we do, say, and feel. The challenge she leaves us with: “think about the habits you have at the moment, and what you’d like to leave behind, in 2020”

Merry Christmas friends!

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 experiences: 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 Yogini Moodley

Yogini is a certified Scrum Master and agile practitioner, with extensive experience in the financial services industry, in roles that encompass both business and technology. She is passionate about enriching the lives of people and nurturing and growing teams to deliver value to their customers, and an active member of the agile community locally and globally. 

You can link with Yogini Moodley on LinkedIn and connect with Yogini Moodley on Twitter

You can also find out more about Yogini Moodley’s company at their website.

Steve Silbert: Reducing pain in the workplace, a Scrum Master mission

Steve’s self-declared mission is to “reduce pain in the workplace”. When it comes to that mission, Steve pays special attention to certain aspects of the work. When we recognize that a great chunk of our awake-time is spent at work, we start to understand that work should be aligned with who we are, and that’s where Steve focuses his work and how he defines success as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: “Keep talking and no one explodes” a retrospective game

Steve loves Agile games, and in this episode, he shares one game that, according to his description, helps us practice “solving big problems in a timebox”. As Steve points out, the right game can get the team members “hooked” on the retrospective, and get them learning without even thinking about it. 

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 experiences: 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 Steve Silbert

Steve is an Agile Coach living in Jacksonville, Florida. He is co-curator of SketchnoteArmy, sits on the board of directors for a spiritual innovation incubator, and designs agile games in his spare time.

You can link with Steve Silbert on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Silbert on Twitter

Jesse Houwing: Enabling others to do what they already want to do, the Scrum Master success definition

In this segment, we talk about how “the Scrum Master’s success is the success of others”, and that our role is to enable others to go on with the changes they already want to implement.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A Very Good Conversation

Jesse’s preferred Retrospective format is simply a very good conversation. In this segment, we discuss what that means for Jesse, and we learn his tips on how to implement those so that you help the team go into deeper and productive retrospective conversations.

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 experiences: 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 Jesse Houwing

Father of 2, husband of 1, Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org, Steward of the Scaled Scrum curriculum there, gadgeteer and techy at heart. Lives in the middle of The Netherlands.

You can link with Jesse Houwing on LinkedIn and connect with Jesse Houwing on Twitter

Ludmila Reyter: Defining success for Scrum Masters collaboratively

Success is defined collaboratively with the teams and people you work with. As you improve, you need to adapt the success definition with the team. And one of the sure signs you’ve made an impact is when ex-team members meet you and tell you that they’ve taken what they learned with you to their new teams!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Dialogue Sheets

Ludmila describes the Dialogue Sheets game and how it can help teams by providing a simple, relaxed conversation format.

In this segment, we also refer to the “Open Day” or Internal Unconference format that Jeff Campbell and Gene Conolly described in a blog post on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

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 experiences: 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 Ludmila Reyter

Ludmila started as a project manager and became a scrum master early on, and has been working with teams in the software development sector for 7 years now – but with other teams in general (basketball, studies) much longer. 

She loves to see people working together successfully, which of course means going through some tough times, too. Ludmila realized that the things she once learned somehow rearrange, and has a thought for us: never be sure that what you think you know will always be true!

You can link with Ludmila Reyter on LinkedIn and connect with Ludmila Reyter on Twitter.

Mahesh Jade: Using metrics to trigger conversation in Agile retrospectives

Mahesh shares what he learned about helping teams succeed. We talk about the importance of celebrating small victories and fostering an environment where team members feel safe enough to bring up ideas and questions to the Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Using metrics to trigger conversation

Mahesh refers to the retrospectives as an opportunity for teams to “restart”, to improve and move on. He suggests we consider different formats when preparing our retrospectives, but focus on collecting metrics with the team, and presenting and discussing those in the retrospectives. He also shares some tips on how to prepare the retrospective to maximize team member participation.

 

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 experiences: 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 Mahesh Jade

Mahesh is an Agile evangelist dedicated to championing the cause of building winning teams and winning products. A facilitator by passion, a coach, and an agilist at heart, he works to bring agility to the organization and humanizing the workplace. 

You can link with Mahesh Jade on LinkedIn and connect with Mahesh Jade on Twitter.

Leigh Griffin: From releasing regularly to growing our Agile mindset, the success journey

Releasing software regularly is one of the aspects of success for the team, and for the Scrum Master, but – as Leigh shares – many teams struggle with the mechanics. Leigh suggests we set up the structure with Scrum, to help teams deliver reliably at first, and predictably later. 

Finally, Leigh likes to focus on the mindset growth in the team as a measure of progress for his work as a Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Starfish Retrospective

Leigh shares a retrospective format that works well for remote/distributed teams, the Starfish retrospective. He mentions how this format helps teams find what is worth continuing to do, instead of only what needs changing. A great format to help reinforce positive behaviors. 

Check out what other guests have said about The Starfish Retrospective

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 experiences: 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 Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Ben Maynard: Key questions to consider as a Scrum Master

Ben reminds us that action, rather than knowledge (not acted on) is the key to being a successful Scrum Master. He then goes through a list of aspects he considers important for Scrum Masters to keep track of. 

In this episode, we refer to the Q12 survey, and a few questions Ben likes to ask from the team members.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The Lego Retrospective

Ben suggests we use the Lego Retrospective, to help the team visualize their last Sprint. He shares how the construction process using Lego allows the team to “point to something” when discussing the learnings from the last Sprint, and helps us find new learnings that we would otherwise ignore with other Retrospective formats. 

 

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 experiences: 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 Ben Maynard

Ben is an experienced coach, trainer, and mentor assisting senior leaders in medium to large organizations with organizational design and the cultural repercussions. 

You can link with Ben Maynard on LinkedIn and connect with Ben Maynard on Twitter.

Jacy Ong: Defining Scrum team agreements with the Sailboat Retrospective format

“As a team you level up together”, and “the work of a Scrum Master is never finished”, are some of the critical realizations that Jacy shares with us on this episode. We discuss the signs that the team is “leveling up”, and explore how we might know that the teams start to be self-suficient.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective

The Sailboat Retrospective is a popular format for the guests of the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast. However, Jacy’s take on that format is different from previous guests. She talks about the role of that retrospective format in helping teams define working norms, and in surfacing “lurking feelings” within the team. Finally, she talks about how the Sailboat format can help in dealing with teams that are new. 

Use the Sailboat retrospective to boost the production of new improvement ideas by using the “rocks” that the sailboat has to navigate around.

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 experiences: 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 Jacy Ong

Jacy is a big anime fan! And she has found a strong connection between sports anime and her work as a scrum master. As she puts it: “nothing feels more rewarding than to watch your teams grow and achieve goals they never thought they could possibly achieve. :)”

You can link with Jacy Ong on LinkedIn

Chris Stone: Getting coached as a Scrum Master will change your view of success for that role

When the Scrum Master gets help, the team benefits. Chris shares his story, and how getting a coach for himself helped him improve as a Scrum Master and improve his work with the teams he was serving.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Hero’s Journey Retrospective

This retrospective format needs you to start preparing the scene before the retrospective starts. Chris explains how this format can help you get ready (collect data), and the team motivated at the same time. After all, retrospectives can be fun too!

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 experiences: 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 Chris Stone

Chris is The Virtual Agile coach, a #PeopleFirst champion, and an Agile Evangelist / Agile Transformation Lead / Scrum Master possessing over 8 years of experience within the IT industry.

You can link with Chris Stone on LinkedIn.