Bevan Williams: Questions to help you reflect on your success as a Scrum Master

There are a few questions that we can ask ourselves to assess the impact of our work as Scrum Masters. Bevan shares the questions he asks himself, including: does the team own their work board? Do they share and help other teams use their progress information? Do they define and develop their own way of working? 

These questions are reflection queues that help us define where to focus our efforts. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Timeline Retrospective

Bevan likes to mix different retrospective formats, but one of his favorite formats is the Timeline Retrospective, because it takes into account the whole timeline of the Sprint, and gives the team the needed time and input they need to reflect on what happened over the whole Sprint. 

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 Bevan Williams

Bevan is an Agile Coach & Trainer at Think Agile. His career has been driven by his passion of creating inclusive environments where people can be at their best. 

You can link with Bevan Williams on LinkedIn and connect with Bevan Williams on Twitter

Pratik Dahule: Helping teams define their purpose, a step towards Scrum Master success

Pratik suggests that, for us to achieve success in our role as Scrum Masters, we must focus on a single purpose. As Scrum Masters, we can help the teams we work with understand that, and define their own purpose. Pratik also suggests a few questions that we can use to help understand and define that purpose for the team.

In this segment we refer to Vince Lombardi, an American Football coach, and the lessons we can take from his approach to the game.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Exercises to improve the team’s emotional intelligence

In this segment, we start by talking about Emotional Intelligence, as one of the skills that Scrum Masters must bring to the Agile Retrospectives they host, but also help their teams understand. We discuss the Hot Air Balloon retrospective format and the Peaks and Valleys Timeline exercise using the Happiness gradient.

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 Pratik Dahule

Pratik is an Agile Project Manager and Agile enthusiast working in the USA. He leads teams and creates a culture of lifelong learning, constant collaboration and continuous improvement. Pratik has 12 years of experience and is passionate about helping teams in their agile transformation. Outside of work, he has a blogging site ClassactLifestyle.com where he shares insights on books and exotic places to travel.

You can link with Pratik Dahule on LinkedIn

Daniel Lutz: Psychological safety for Agile teams, a sign of Scrum Master success

Psychological Safety (see these episodes for details) is one of the key aspects that Daniel looks for in a team, and also a focus of his work as a Scrum Master. He shares with us some of the signs that indicate the presence, or absence of psychological safety, and recommends we have a retrospective question focused on psychological safety. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A format for quick decision making, and one for new teams

Daniel shares with us why the Agile Retrospectives are the most power tool we have in any transformation or change process we might be involved in. He shares with us 2 different types of retrospective formats. One that is more adequate for teams that are under time pressure and need to get quickly to actions, and improvements, and one for teams that are maybe at a crossroads in their forming process, or are just about to get started. For teams that need to get to quick actions, Daniel recommends the Start, Stop, Continue format or the 1-2-4-all Liberating Structure (see these episodes for more) as these help silent people speak up and get to actions quickly. And for teams that are at a crossroads, or starting their team journey, he recommends the Sailboat 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 Daniel Lutz

Daniel is an organizational agile coach, working full time at a leading European Energy company, scaling agile with around 30 agile teams. After years in Marketing departments, he realized how much more impact he can have as a Scrum Master by empowering people and building cross-functional teams. He also works part-time as a freelance coach and business consultant helping clients on building high performing teams.

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

Luis Carvalho: Be the best at getting better, the Scrum Master mission!

“We want to be the best at getting better”, this is the key mission of the Scrum Master, as Luis puts it. As Scrum Masters, we should focus on more than “the deliverable” or “the process”, and build the team to be ready to continuously improve over time. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Mourning the end of a project

As so often happens, many Agile teams go from one project to another without a break. However, when we allow that to happen we skip a critical step in the human process of “letting go” of the previous project, teams, processes, and colleagues. 

In this segment, we talk about the Mourning Retrospective, that helps teams, and team members accept that something ends, and a new story starts. A necessary process for psychological balance.

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 Luis Carvalho

Luis is an enthusiast for all things related with organizations, teams, structures and ways of working. He has been working in large scale consumer products for most of his professional life, worked with people of many backgrounds, cultures and locations and made many friends in the process. He loves traveling, food and getting to know people.

You can link with Luis Carvalho on LinkedIn.

Nick Nielsen: Creating a success dashboard for yourself as a Scrum Master

Scrum Masters work on many levels of the organization, and sometimes that makes success hard to spot. Nick shares how he starated using metrics for many different aspects of his work, and how he was able to create a perspective on his own success through constant measurements with a holistic view. 

In this episode, we talk about the DORA metrics

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Tournament of Ideas Agile Retrospective

The Sailboat Retrospective is one of Nick’s favourite formats. He explains that the technique can be easily adopted to many different contexts, and helps people think through their context in a visual manner. In this episode, we also talk about the “tournament retrospective”, where improvement ideas are pitched against each other to find the one idea the team wants to focus on.

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 Nick Nielsen

Nick completed his education at Aarhus University in Denmark and currently works in the Digital Organisation at Grundfos, the worlds biggest pump manufacturer. He views him self as a pragmatic Agile Handyman.

You can link with Nick Nielsen on LinkedIn and connect with Nick Nielsen on Twitter.

Lorna Mason & Jon Lawrence: Two Agile retrospective formats for two different times in the lifecycle of a team

When a team is performing, and they show up and are happy in their work, these are great signs that the Scrum Master has helped the team. All of these are signs that we can be sure to move on, and the team will likely pick-up and own their own process. We also about about how Scrum Masters can help to create an environment where teams can succeed.

In this segment, we talk about “bad jokes” and “dad jokes” as a great way to break the ice in teams or retrospectives. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat as a great new-team retrospective

When we start with a new team, it’s good to have a format that helps us understand the team, and their context. Jona and Lorna suggest we could start with the Sailboat Retrospective and use that to establish a baseline for the team. Then we talk about a retrospective format to use at the end of a cycle with the team, the Awards Ceremony retrospective. This format helps us get closure while learning from what happened during that period.

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 Lorna Mason & Jon Lawrence

Lorna Mason and Jon Lawrence are both agilists working in an insurance scale-up based in Brighton. Their journey to agile has walked a less ‘traditional’ path of Change Management and Continuous Improvement, to Scrum Master, Delivery Manager and Agile Coach; (proving not EVERY Scrum Master needs to code!). They hold the firm belief that you can be a successful Scrum Master as long as you genuinely care about people and value first; and hold a profound desire to always make things better!

You can link with Lorna Mason on LinkedIn

You can link with Jon Lawrence on LinkedIn.

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.

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