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Usman Kotwal: Helping Agile teams focus on outcomes

When we start working with a team, we need to understand what is their situation, so that we can decide what to start with. As we start to understand the team’s situation, we might need to focus on the organizational impediments to help the team progress. Some useful questions to ask are: is the team engaging with the stakeholders? Are they able to interact with customers/users? Do they have clear impact metrics for their product? What is the level of engagement in the team? 

All of these questions help us, Scrum Masters, understand if the team is ready to focus on, and work on outcomes. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retrospectives for Scrum Masters starting with a new team

The Team Health Check is one of the formats we talk about as a possible “getting started with a new team” format. Usman also recommends the Sailboat Retrospective for Scrum Masters getting started with new teams. 

Once we are “in the rhythm” with a team, Usman recommends some more “free” formats like 1-2-4-all or something from Liberating Structures. Finally, his recommendations is: “help teams make their own choices, as they are much more committed to those”

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 Usman Kotwal

Usman is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in the field of data analytics in life sciences. He considers his learning journey to continue forever when it comes to bringing forward change in the ways we work collaboratively. His mission is to help guide the way to empowered product teams.

You can link with Usman Kotwal on LinkedIn.

Jan Neudecker: Business and team focus, the aspects that define Scrum Master success

Jan shares with us two dimensions of the Scrum Master work that define success for him: the business perspective, and the team members perspective. We discuss some of the questions that Scrum Masters can ask themselves in order to help them assess their work thus far, as well as define possible areas for improvement to focus on. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Movie Critic Format

The Movie Critic Agile Retrospective format is the one that Jan shares with us. He focuses on how this format lightens the mood and helps the team share their thoughts without the burden of “being serious”. Jan describes this format as one of several “fun methods” that can help understand how everyone perceived, and experienced the previous iteration. 

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 Jan Neudecker

Jan is an Agile Coach and Trainer. His vision is to make workplaces more humane, enjoyable and purposeful. An unpleasant diagnosis three years ago had a big impact on how he looks at these topics today. It became his mission to get these topics more into the spotlight of teams and organizations so they are less of a taboo subject in future.

You can link with Jan Neudecker on LinkedIn and connect with Jan Neudecker on Twitter.

If you want to know more about Jan’s fight with cancer, you can follow his blog

Jan also organizes a Scrum User Group in Germany.

Sadia Dibbens: Two critical areas that define the work of the Scrum Master

Sadia shares some of the questions that she asks herself to assess her work as a Scrum Master. In that discussion we talk about the focus on delivering running software, as well as the focus on self-organization. Both of these focus areas define the work of the Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The Elephant In The Room

Sadia chooses to highlight what might be, for some of us, a difficult kind of retrospective: to bring up the elephant in the room. We discuss why that is important and share some formats that we can use to help the team discuss the hard topics. In this segment, we talk about the Lego retrospective, as well as the Movie 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 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 Sadia Dibbens

Sadia has a long experience in the payments industry, and loves helping teams and individuals. Personally, she likes keeping fit, being involved within the community, and makes sure to put some time aside for volunteering.

You can link with Sadia Dibbens on LinkedIn and connect with Sadia Dibbens on meetup.com.

Nilesh Makan: Learning to listen to, and work with emotions in an Agile team

What is the team happiness in your team? Nilesh suggests that, even if we tend to ignore it,  happiness is a critical aspect of creating a well functioning and productive team. He suggests we start by understanding where the team members are regarding different aspects, even if we need to talk about emotions. Nilesh shares a great tip on how to tackle emotions productively in your team. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Start with the Why/Intent for the retrospective!

When preparing a retrospective, we are reminded by Nilesh that we should focus on the “intent” of the retro. What are we trying to achieve with that ceremony, in “this” sprint? Nilesh also prefers formats that are designed to focus on enabling conversations and dialogue between team members. 

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 Nilesh Makan

Nilesh is the founding Director at Padawan Consulting, where the vision is to build transformed businesses through transformed people. He works with companies in the arena of Digital Transformation, considering how to leverage people, process and technology to design and build innovative solutions.

You can link with Nilesh Makan on LinkedIn and connect with Nilesh Makan on Twitter.

Priyanka Gorai: Motivating new teams with the Superpowers retrospective format

The definition of success can change based on the context of the team, however there are certain questions that Priyanka likes to ask for every team she works with. Priyanka shares those questions with us, as well as some self-assessment questions for Scrum Masters to help them fine tune their approach to the team they work with. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Superpowers retrospective format

Priyanka prefers to experiment with multiple retrospective formats. This helps her maintain the team’s energy high in every retrospective. However, when starting with a new team, she prefers to use the Superpowers format, where the team can talk about the “enemies” (challenges) as well as share what each team member can contribute to the team to overcome the challenges they expect to face. 

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 Priyanka Gorai

Priyanka started her journey as a Software Test Engineer in 2014 and has more than 7 years in the software industry. Priyanka was thrilled by the concept of servant leadership in agile software development, and started supporting her team and then became a full-time Scrum Master. She is very passionate about agile development and wants to share that passion with others. She’s also learned that while improving individuals or a team, one can improve themselves.

You can link with Priyanka Gorai on LinkedIn.

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Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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Internal Conference
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Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works