BONUS: Diana Getman – How checklists make Agile teams faster and deliver with high quality, without adding more processes

In this episode, we explore the role that checklists can have in helping teams improve their process and their performance without adding more processes. 

It is a normal tendency to “add more processes” to fix a problem a team is experiencing. In this episode, we challenge that view. Checklists, we argue, are a simple, effective tool that helps you reach a similar goal, but does not require the process to grow, and become bloated. 

2 Common types of checklists that help teams improve how they work

There are several types of items we can add to a checklist. In this segment, we discuss 2 common types of checklists, and how they can help teams. We start by discussing the “process checklists”, which may include important tips on how to execute a certain process. 

The key thing to remember is that checklists don’t replace processes, but are rather a set of reminders, or items that help teams execute a process once they’ve already read and understood the process. 

The second type of checklists we discuss are those that summarize a series of requirements or pre-conditions that a team needs to follow-up on. This may include quality requirements or certain tasks that need to be completed before a certain work item is considered complete. 

The most common checklists Scrum teams use

Scrum teams have a common set of checklists that they use. We discuss the commonly used Definition of Done, and also talk about the importance of having a Definition of Ready, and how that may help teams get started on the right foot when a new Sprint is about to kick-off.

Additionally, we talk about a pre-release checklist. With a pre-release checklist, teams are able to keep a memory of what they’ve learned from the past about meeting the release requirements, and can continuously improve that critical aspect of any team’s process.

In this segment, we also tackle the usual objections that people given when asked to consider the use of checklists. Checklists may be seen as “more bureaucracy”, but instead, they are there to help teams summarize a process that already exists, provides transparency about the process execution, and ultimately it should be a time saver for the team.

How about you? How have you used Checklists in your work? Share your experience in the comments below.

About Diana Getman

Diana Getman has more than 25 years of experience as a project manager leading cross-functional teams, in both startup and non-profit organizations. Diana has held the roles of Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Agile Coach and is the current President at Ascendle, a custom software development firm in Portsmouth, NH.

You can link with Diana Getman on LinkedIn, or visit Ascendle’s blog for more on checklists.

Jovan Vidic on the importance of helping and allowing the team to run experiments

Experiments are a tool we can use to create a safe environment, and allow the team to try out a new idea without being immediately judged by others if that idea does not work as well as expected. As Scrum Masters we should create that space for the teams to experiment, and Jovan shares his ideas on how we can do that.

About Jovan Vidic

Jovan Vidić is an Agile Practitioner who repeatedly finds passion and inspiration in his job. He calls himself a people person, and when he had an opportunity to lead a team at the age of 24, that experience transformed him into an advocate of the self-organization, which does not impose limits on the thinking, working and creative processes of the team members, but on the contrary, it drives them to jointly contribute and prosper. This is actually the goal of the group Agile Coaching Serbia he founded in Novi Sad Serbia in 2014.
You can connect with Jovan Vidic on LinkedIn and connect with Jovan Vidic on Twitter.

Niko Kortelainen on how to run effective retrospectives

Retrospectives are both important and hard to get right. There are many teams that stop having retrospectives and feel lost as to how to run them effectively. Niko shares with us his own view of how to run effective retrospectives, filled with tips and advice, this is a must listen episode about retrospectives.

About Niko Kortelainen

Niko Kortelainen is a Scrum Master at Digia, which among other things commercializes the cross-platform Open Source framework Qt. In his journey he discovered that the most challenging problems in software industry are not technical problems and ever since then, he has been focusing on how to make everyday work more fun.
You can link up with Niko Kortelainen on LinkedIn and connect with Niko Kortelainen on Twitter.
You can read Niko Kortelainen blog, where he wrote about his experience with adopting Scrum.

Jeff Campbell on the Coffee Room Whining Anti-Pattern

We’ve all done it in one way or another. We spend time in a retrospective criticizing what is wrong, and assigning blame to others. Jeff Campbell has been there as well, and in this episode he explains how you can get teams to stop spending their valuable time whining, and start taking action.

About Jeff Campbell

Jeff is an Agile Coach who considers the discovery of Agile and Lean to be one of the most defining moments of his life, and considers helping others to improve their working life not to simply be a job, but a social responsibility. As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organisations both small and large. He is one of the founding members of www.scrumbeers.com and an organiser of www.brewingagile.org in his spare time. He is also the author of an open source book called Actionable Agile Tools, where he explains how he uses 15 of the tools he uses in his daily work as a scrum master and agile coach.
You can link with Jeff Campbell on LinkedIn, and connect with Jeff Campbell on Twitter.

Matthew Heusser on how a Scrum Master can contribute to organizational success beyond the team

A common answer to the success question on the podcast is “when I’m no longer needed”, but that isn’t a great career advancing answer. So we explore what happens after “I’m no longer needed”.

About Matthew Heusser

Matthew Heusser is the co-author of Save our Scrum, co-chair of the enterprise track at Agile2015, And he is also an author at CIO.com. Matt Software is a delivery consultant/writer and Collaborative software geek since before it was cool.
You can find Matthew Heusser on LinkedIn, and connect with Matthew Heusser on Twitter.

Anton Zotin on the way to introduce new methods to teams

We can sometimes overwhelm the teams we work with by introducing too many methods. Anton explains how he likes to introduce methods to the team, by running experiments with the team to see if the method fits the team, and solves the problem they want to tackle. He also gives a critical advice on one of the most common anti-patterns for Scrum Masters: wanting to help too much.

About Anton Zotin

Anton is an Agile guy born in cold Siberia but with hot and passionate heart. He has worked in all sorts of companies and environments, and has been an agile fan since 2004. Nowadays works and lives in Berlin. And he deeply believes in people.
You can connect with Anton Zotin on LinkedIn, or find Anton Zotin on twitter. You can also ask him questions over email.

Ebenezer Ikonne on the 6 success questions for Scrum Masters

In this episode we cover what success means for Scrum Masters and what questions you can use to assess your own success

● Is the team achieving its purpose?
● Is the team fulfilling its goals?
● Is the team working according to the agile values?
● Is the journey of the team an enjoyable one?
● Did I address the blockers in a timely fashion?
● How did I help solve the conflicts productively?

We also discuss the importance and how to ask for feedback from the team and stakeholders.

About Ebenezer Ikonne

Technology enthusiast. Change artist. Culture hacker. People focused. Helping organizations provide their employees with the most meaningful and fulfilling experience they could have while delivering solutions that change the world. Ebenezer is also a Tech Director at Mannheim.
You can link with Ebenezer Ikonne on LinkedIn, and contact Ebenezer Ikonne on Twitter. You can also read his thoughts on Agile on his blog.