The hours people put in are a good indicator of the success of the Scrum Master. Are your teams working long hours? Putting in crunch weeks and then laying back for a while? Those are signs that something isn’t working as it should. Scrum and Agile are about sustainable, continuous progress towards our goal.
Featured Retrospective for the Week: What’s going well and how can we make it better?
Starting the retrospective with the team by sharing Kudos (appreciations) can energize and team and get them in the mood to improve their practices. The “what’s going well, and how can we make it better” retrospective format, takes the energy from the Kudos check-in and turns up the good by focusing the teams on how they can continue to build on what’s already working.
About Kristopher Stice-Hall
Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.
Scrum Master success is not only about the team, but also about the Product Owner. When we want to help Scrum teams, we should check how the interaction with the Product Owner works, and how to help the team and Product Owner collaborate effectively.
Helping Product Owners also means focusing on the business side of our work and defining together the critical business metrics for the PO and team.
Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.
Featured Retrospective for the Week: Conversations as retrospectives
Sometimes retrospectives are simple moments in time where team members have important conversations with each other. Instead of waiting for a retrospective event, Scrum Masters should encourage those conversations every day. In this episode, we also talk about how to help distributed teams hold regular, even daily retrospectives.
About Varun Maheshwari
Varun is a Scrum Master and agile practitioner in Australia. He believes in “being agile” rather than “doing agile”. For him, Agile frameworks are not the goal, but rather “Delighting customers, Zero Defects, Quick ROI, Better team work, Excellent Quality & Shortest ‘Time to Market’” are some of the possible goals.
Scrum Masters can use their self-check-in every day to assess their progress. In this episode, we talk about questions you can ask yourself to assess your progress and find the areas that are working or need more focus.
Featured Retrospective for the Week: The 5 steps, how to execute them when time is of the essence
The Agile Retrospectives steps that Derby and Larsen shared in Agile Retrospectives can take a while to execute in a retrospective setting. Sometimes we don’t have that much time. In this episode, we discuss how we can implement the standard 5 steps of a retrospective even when time is of the essence and we only have 30 min or less.
About Elena Astilleros
Elena coaches people who hate wasting their time with badly run agile ceremonies, meetings or projects. She gives them tools to get more out of their time while sprinkling in a little enthusiasm and cheerleading. You can find some of her tools in the forthcoming book Invisible Leader.
When working with teams, the team’s metrics should also become the Scrum Master’s metrics. In this episode, we talk about metrics that teams use but can also be important for Scrum Masters to assess their success, and help the teams.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective Format
The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective format is a format that helps teams use a metaphor to explore their current problems (ballast) and the things that are working well (heat, wind, etc.) Metaphors help teams get out of their minute task focus and focus more on themselves as a group.
About Eduardo Ribeiro
Eddy is passionate about helping people, teams, and organizations foster a culture of continuous improvement where experimentation and embracing change becomes part of their DNA.
He’s also the author of the Beyond Lean Agile Blog, a Co-Founder of the Lean Coffee Portugal Community, Founder of Agile Online Community and Co-Founder & Director of Startup Grind Porto.
Scrum Masters must pay attention to how Scrum teams adhere to the Sprint Goal, how they collaborate with the Product Owner and other aspects that help teams perform.
In this episode, we talk about 5 different success metrics for Scrum Masters.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective Format
Scrum Masters usually have multiple retrospective formats in their “back-pocket”. The Sailboat Retrospective format is one that is easy to setup (a flipchart and markers/post-its are enough), and can engage the team in a creative assessment of their ways of working.
About Nedeljko Damnjanovic
Nedeljko is a Scrum Master and a full-stack developer who has been in the IT industry for the better part of the decade. He spent the last 5 years actively working as a Scrum Master with many diverse teams and projects who has helped him understand his role better. One of the core developers of the first VivifyScrum release, he has participated in its development product-wise ever since.
For Scrum Masters, success must include the team’s success. In this episode, we talk about the metrics and the type of feedback we must help teams collect, and how to use that to measure our Scrum Master success as well.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: I Like / I Wish and other games
Sometimes Scrum Masters must focus on helping teams feel at home, so that team members can discuss the issues that bother them. In this episode, we talk about how a CEO/CTO can derail a retrospective and what kind of games we can use to help teams focus on improving, even when managers are present in the retrospectives. The retrospective format we talk about is “I Like / I Wish”.
In this segment, we refer to Retromat, a service that helps you choose games/activities and plan your retrospective.
About Henrique Centieiro
Henrique is a Blockchain Product Manager (i.e. dealing with the blockchain related features/user stories of the product). He is passionate about teams and agile, using scrum to manage even his personal tasks.
Ajeet has come to value 4 specific ways to measure his impact as a Scrum Master. In this episode, we review these 4 benchmarks and how he uses them regularly to improve his approach.
Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Well/Stop/Start retrospective format
In the Well/Stop/Start retrospective format (see a facilitation guide here), we have a simple format that can trigger important conversations. Especially when team members see each other’s contribution to those 3 categories.
This is a format that suits very well teams that are action-oriented, and have a high degress of collaboration already.
About Ajeet Singh
Ajeet is an IT professional with 17 years of delivery experience in application development, system integration and software testing. He’s served as a ScrumMaster for over 3.5 years for the clients of USA, UK and Australian geographies.
As we look for a definition of success for a Scrum Master, it is also important that we identify signs that problems may be developing. In this episode, we discuss Tilman’s definition of success, but also the signs that we may not yet have achieved it.
Featured Retrospective for the Week: Appreciation Shower
We also mention the Football Agile retrospective format, where the team describes the Sprint as if it were a football match, including first-half, substitutions, red cards, etc. A fun format to get the team’s creative juices flowing.
About Tilman Rumland
Tilman Rumland is an agile coach, expert speaker, and productivity enthusiast. He just released his new workshop series: “getting shit done that really matters to you”. As a scrum master, he implemented agile structures to agrilution, a small scale vertical farming startup, ranked on the Forbes TOP 100 innovative German Startups. (www.agrilution.com)
The success of a Scrum Master starts with the adoption of the Agile mindset. After all, can we help others understand and be Agile if we are not able to apply that to our own work?
That’s the start of the definition of success for Scrum Masters that Raluca shares with us in this episode.
Featured Retrospective of the Week: “In your shoes” retrospective format
How do we trigger empathy towards team members, stakeholders, and other teams? Raluca suggests that a format like “In Your Shoes” will help teams understand the reality others face, and be able to bring that into the retrospective conversations.
About Raluca Mitan
Raluca calls herself a recovering Project Manager that discovered Agile and somehow the “good, the bad and the ugly” received distinctive names.
She loves her job and practices Accelerated Learning to achieve her Goals (to become a Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum Alliance, to write a book, acknowledged as an Inventor, share her ideas to the world and with her daughters).
And maybe someday to be a Bonus Podcast guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast :).
Helping Scrum teams take ownership, and drive their self-improvement is Doug’s definition of success.
We talk about the Nanny McPhee phrase: “When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.” A simple, yet effective heuristic for Scrum Masters!
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Kata
The Toyota Kata is a method of reflection and learning that helps people and teams to keep themselves accountable for their work, and how they develop over time.
We discuss the format, how to facilitate a Toyota Kata retrospective and what were the influences (e.g. Deming) that led Doug to choose this format.
About Doug Knesek
Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.