Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart: The PO and the Scrum Master as the dynamic duo to help teams succeed

The relationship between the PO and the Scrum Master is one of the most important and impactful relationships to develop. In this episode, we talk about how the right approach from the PO (with the Scrum Master’s help), can help elevate the team to a new level. 

Another aspect of success for Scrum Masters is the team’s ability to handle conflict. In this episode, we talk about what is “constructive conflict”, and why that’s an important aspect of the Scrum Master’s success.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Expert tip for Remote Retrospectives

When facilitating remote retrospectives, the impact of overbearing team members is even bigger. In this episode, we talk about how to use the break-out rooms in your conference system as a way to ensure that every one of the team has a say. 

The Meta-Retrospective is a moment when we discuss the values of the Agile manifesto and reflect on our journey as an Agile team. In this episode, we talk about the meta-retrospective, and why that might be an important tool to add to your toolbox.

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 Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart

Samantha Menzynski has spent her entire career in software. Starting in support and account management, moving to customer support management, and with Penta’s transformation to Scrum becoming Scrum Master for the Core product team.

You can link with Samantha Menzynski on LinkedIn

Brian Ziebart started his career in software as a developer but found himself wanting to move towards coaching and developing people rather than product development.  When Penta’s Scrum transformation started in August 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to work more with people while still staying involved with development.

You can link with Brian Ziebart on LinkedIn

You can read more about Samantha’s and Brian’s work and the Agile transformation they were part of in this blog post.

Jeffrey Koors: Defining actions from Agile Retrospectives with the sphere of influence

The question that Jeffrey asks when reflecting on this work is “how may I be able help others?” That question drives the reflection on how to achieve success as a Scrum Master as it helps Jeffrey focus on the specific needs and support each team member may need. Not all team members struggle with the same problems.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sphere of Influence

Jeffrey likes to follow the 5 stage process that Diana Larsen and Esther Derby write about in the book Agile Retrospectives, however, he focuses on bringing in different exercises for each of the stages in the process. 

In this segment, we also talk about how to find the issue to work on as a team and discuss how the concept of “sphere of influence” helps teams find the right topic to address.

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 Jeffrey Koors

Jeff started his studies and career as a fine artist and has gone on to use his creative thinking and vision to help many organizations find ways to design systems, solve problems and embrace Agile. Jeff is also the co-founder and host of Coaching Agile Journeys.

You can link with Jeffrey Koors on LinkedIn and connect with Jeffrey Koors on Twitter

Charles Rodriguez: Creating a learning model for Scrum Master success

Charles provides a clear vision for what success is for a Scrum Master, and we discuss what are some of the growth models that help us improve our performance. 

In this episode, we refer to the book Turn The Ship Around! by David Marquet, to the learning model based on Shu-Ha-Ri, and a movie, The Karate Kid, which illustrates a learning journey from the very early moments to a moment of mastery.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective

Metaphor retrospectives help teams enter a mood of reflection by creating a scene where the team projects their feelings and thoughts. In the sailboat retrospective, the metaphor helps the team talk about what is going on at that time, but also to plan for the future and draw a map to achieve their goals. Watch this video for a hands-on example of the sailboat retrospective.

About Charles Rodriguez

Charles has been working in software development for 16+ years with roles ranging from a database developer to manager to agile coach all in an effort to ‘try to make things better’ for future generations joining the IT industry.

You can link with Charles Rodriguez on LinkedIn and connect with Charles Rodriguez on Twitter.

Christian Hofstetter: The Flow Retrospective, helping Scrum teams make better decisions

Christian has been thinking hard about the question of what success means for Scrum Masters. He describes how the role of the Scrum Master must have a “risk” perspective, and be about minimizing risk. In this episode, we discuss what that may mean for Scrum Masters and what practices help with that goal.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Flow Retrospective

Christian shares his idea on “The Flow Retrospective”, which describes and illustrates how Agile software development can help teams reach much higher productivity and predictability. In this retrospective, Christian helps the team analyze and understand flow metrics to help them make better decisions. 

In this segment, we refer to Actionable agile metrics from Dan Vacanti and The #NoEstimates book by Vasco Duarte.

About Christian Hofstetter

Christian is an enthusiastic Release Train Engineer, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, and Facilitator who started his agile journey as a Product Owner. Later he turned his back on technology and focused on people and relationships. He is passionate about creating space for people and teams to be the best they can be.

You can link with Christian Hofstetter on LinkedIn.

Raphael Branger: Creating small stories as a way to help Scrum teams succeed

When we talk about success, we must also talk about what makes teams fail. In this episode, we talk about a common, yet often unresolved anti-pattern: producing software on time, but failing to provide business value for users and stakeholders. 

In this episode, we explore Raphael’s approach to designing a way of working that focuses the team on Business Value at all times. 

In this episode, we refer to the #NoEstimates book, as well as Raphael’s approach to defining and breaking down stories so that they fit the #NoEstimates heuristic of “one story, one day”

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Race Car Retrospective

In The Speed Car Retrospective (here’s’ another podcast episode referring to a different way to implement the Speed Car Retrospective), Raphael found a format that helps the team members verbalize what they “felt” during the Sprint, therefore focusing on underlying trends in the team’s performance, rather than only “the facts”. 

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter.

Marianne Erickson: Innovation as a key responsibility for Scrum Masters

Scrum Masters are tasked with facilitation responsibility, to help teams achieve their goals. In other words, Scrum Masters are successful when the teams are successful. This naturally focuses our work on finding and removing blockers, but there’s a technique that is especially helpful when working with teams to resolve blockers: innovate ways of working. In this segment, we talk about the role of innovation in helping teams succeed, and therefore in the success of our work as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Envelope Stuffing Game

Retrospectives are the place where the team reflects, and sometimes simulations like the Envelope Stuffing Game are excellent reflection triggers for the team. In this segment, we explore how Marianne used this game to help teams reflect on WIP limits, inventory, large batches, and collaboration.

About Marianne Erickson

Always an enthusiastic Agilist, Marianne is proud to be a part of the Agile Transformation Team at AAA, a company that empowers its team members to learn, grow, empower, and do the right thing! 

You can link with Marianne Erickson on LinkedIn and connect with Marianne Erickson on Twitter.

Steve Jaccaud: The signs of a great Scrum team

When a great Scrum Master works with a team, you don’t see the Scrum Master, you see the team succeeding and moving beyond their previously usual level of performance. In this segment, we discuss a few signs that we can use – as Scrum Masters – to assess if the team is starting the journey from good to a great Scrum team!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4 L’s, I Long for, I Learned, I Liked, I Lacked

Steve tries to focus his work and his retrospectives on the aspects of continuous improvement. Because of that, he tries to find formats that don’t get in the way of the conversations that he wants to foster in the team. In this segment, we also discuss a tip to help teams be creative but keep the retrospective to the right topics without long rabbit-hole discussions.

About Steve Jaccaud

Steve is an Enterprise Agile Coach, Volunteer, Speaker, and Musician in Boston, Massachusetts. When he’s not leading workshops with creative software organizations, he’s probably working on an album or deep in meditation!

You can link with Steve Jaccaud on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Jaccaud on Twitter.

Willem-Jan Ageling: Liberating Structures as an amplifier for the impact of Agile Retrospectives 

There are many aspects in the team’s behavior that point to a successful outcome of the Scrum Master’s work. However, there’s something that goes beyond process that will tell you the team is able to drive the work forward, and achieve a successful outcome. We discuss that specific topic: focus on progress. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liberating Structures

In this episode, we discuss several Liberating Structures for retrospectives, and how Willem-Jan adapts them to his retrospectives. We focus on the benefits of using those approaches and focusing on solutions with the whole team. We refer to the 1-2-4-all structure and the episodes with two top proponents of Liberating Structures for Scrum Masters: Christiaan Verwijs and Barry Overeem.

About Willem-Jan Ageling

As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum.

You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.

Justin Chapman: How to find what Agile Retrospective format works for your team

Justin’s definition of success revolves around the success of the team and the product itself. We discuss how Scrum Masters can find out what is success for the product, and help their teams focus on product success. In this episode, we also talk about the need to involve the executives in the definition of success for the product.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: How to find what retrospective works for your team

In this segment, Justin asks the question: “do you really know what kind of retrospective would work for your team?” We explore this question and how Justin works with the team to define what would be the best approach for them, and for their context.

About Justin Chapman

A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master. 

Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog:

You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.

Dimitri Favre: Helping Scrum teams take ownership of their improvements

How can the Scrum Master step out of the “leader” role, and let the team learn to lead itself? We discuss simple techniques that Dimitri experimented with to make sure that the team does not lean on the Scrum Master, but rather takes the initiative.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Circles of Influence

Circles of Influence is a tool we’ve referenced often here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, and Dimitri’s favorite retrospective format uses that tool. Through this format, Dimitri helps the teams he works with a focus on what they can influence, rather than despair over what they can’t.

About Dimitri Favre

Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers. 

Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book.

You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.