Gregory Miller: Mastering the Art of Agile Leadership, The Building Blocks of a Successful Scrum Master

In this episode, Greg dives into the key elements that contribute to the success of a Scrum Master. Drawing from his experience, he highlights: Firstly, building strong relationships and establishing trust with team members is paramount. A successful Scrum Master actively listens, empathizes, and makes themselves available to support the team. They prioritize collaboration and create an environment where team members feel safe and supported.

Secondly, a successful Scrum Master demonstrates a deep understanding of the Scrum framework and ensures its effective implementation. They facilitate Scrum events, encourage adherence to Agile principles, and address any impediments that hinder the team’s progress. They act as servant leaders, advocating for the team’s needs and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Moreover, they invest in their own growth by seeking opportunities for personal development and staying connected with the Agile community.

Overall, a successful Scrum Master excels in building relationships, guiding the team through the Scrum process, and serving as a catalyst for growth and improvement. Their ability to foster collaboration, trust, and continuous learning sets the stage for a successful Agile software development journey.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Kudos/Start/Stop/Continue framework, to emphasize focus on actions from the retrospective

In this segment, Greg shares his favorite retrospective format and highlights the importance of generating actionable outcomes. He begins by evaluating the team’s readiness and chooses the appropriate retrospective format accordingly. When working with a new team, he utilizes a shared whiteboard and follows the Kudos/Start/Stop/Continue framework. However, he discovered that some teams expressed dissatisfaction with retrospectives because they lacked actionable items despite having productive conversations. Greg emphasizes the significance of combining meaningful discussions with concrete action items. He suggests voting on at least one item to prioritize for action and maintaining an action item list backlog to ensure follow-through. By incorporating these practices, teams can have engaging retrospectives that lead to tangible improvements.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter.

Manuele Piastra: The road to success for Scrum Masters includes defining success with your Agile team

In this episode, Manuele shares his perspective on making oneself redundant as an Agile coach or Scrum Master. He disagrees with the idea of completely making oneself redundant, just like a winning coach in football is not fired. Instead, he suggests creating a maturity assessment for the team and involving them in defining success criteria. He emphasizes the importance of not having creating a dependency on the Scrum Master and encourages the team to ask for help in areas they need it. Additionally, he recommends experimenting with different ways to measure success and finding other Scrum Masters to share learning and get feedback.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Appreciation Retrospective

In this episode, Manuele states that the favorite format depends on various factors, such as the team’s mood and recent events. He expresses a dislike for the overly simplistic “what is good? What was bad?” retrospectives, which can feel like a checkbox exercise. Instead, Manuele prefers to vary the format and sometimes run an appreciation retrospective, where only positives are discussed. Manuele believes it’s important to regularly remind the team of their strengths and focus on improvement while also acknowledging their successes.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Manuele Piastra

Manuele Piastra moved to London in 2014, which was a life-changing experience for him. He gained access to more sources of learning, worked in fast-paced companies with complex technology stacks and ambitious goals, and developed open-mindedness, patience, and autonomy.

You can link with Manuele Piastra on LinkedIn and connect with Manuele Piastra on Twitter.

Cynthia Kracmer: When is a Scrum Master No Longer Needed? Tips for Measuring Agile Team Self-Sufficiency

In this episode, Cynthia discusses the need to assess whether a Scrum Master is still necessary for a team that has become self-sufficient. She discusses several contributing factors to determine if a team is ready to work without a Scrum Master, such as clarity of purpose and roles, the ability to articulate value delivered to clients, readiness to address risks, and the team’s commitment to reflection and learning. The importance of observing team behavior and identifying patterns of self-sufficiency is emphasized. The episode also provides tips to identify if the team is ready, such as observing how team members act during meetings and if everyone is part of the conversation.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Being mindful of people, a key skill for Scrum Masters facilitating Agile Retrospectives

In this segment, Cynthia emphasizes the importance of starting by recognizing people and their contributions to the team. Ice breakers can be especially useful for new teams. The retrospective should include a gratefulness theme, a discussion on what is working well, what is not working, and what actions the team will take moving forward. Cynthia suggests making the retrospective a ritual and helping team members disconnect from other priorities and their busy schedules.

As a scrum master, it’s important to show there is a process with several questions planned for the session, while also keeping track of time to ensure the retro finishes on time. It’s crucial to create a psychologically safe space and be mindful of what topics are appropriate to discuss with the team.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Cynthia Kracmer

Cynthia Kracmer is a Business Transformation & Human Capital Managing Consultant passionate about creating innovative, stimulating and ‘healthy’ organizations for people. She is Agile agnostic, and has worked as a Scrum master, agile coach and agile transformation lead in the Life Sciences area. She loves singing, traveling (she’s been to 63 countries), cycling and running.

Connect with Cynthia Kracmer on LinkedIn.

Johannes Lindman: Success Metrics for Scrum Masters. Monitoring Flow, Happiness, and Health

Johannes believes that a Scrum Master is successful when they can leave a team and feel confident that the team is on a good trajectory. One of the best indicators of this is when the team wants to try alternating the Scrum Master role among themselves. Johannes emphasizes the importance of investing a lot of time in teaching and mentoring the team at the beginning. He also likes to track metrics such as team happiness and health, lead time, cycle time, and the number of dependencies and the size of tasks. He recommends using the team health check exercise to assess team health.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Learning Matrix (with Kudos session)

In this segment, Johannes talks about his favorite Agile retrospective format, the Learning Matrix. He emphasizes the importance of starting with a Kudos session, which involves sharing kind thoughts about the other people in the team. Johannes believes that this opens up more creativity and positivity in the session, and it’s the key to the success of the format.

By starting from a good point in the session with the Kudos session, the team can feel more motivated and energized to tackle the issues at hand. Johannes also recommends using Kudos to boost creativity when the team is feeling stuck. Overall, the Learning Matrix with the Kudos section is an effective way to facilitate retrospectives and create a positive team dynamic.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Johannes Lindman

Despite many years of experience Johannes still learns new things every day in order to stay relevant. This aligns with his curiosity on life and people.

You can link with Johannes Lindman on LinkedIn.

Alina Thapliyal: Finding Scrum Master Success in Empowering Teams through Personal Connection

Our personal experiences will shape the approach we take to the role of the Scrum Master. Alina recalls her childhood where she always had the urge to motivate people around her. Later in life she never lost the drive to help people find their potential. As a Scrum Master, she believes that it is important to remember that before being a leader in any capacity, one is a human being and therefore, it’s essential to bring our humanity to work. She suggests starting with small acts of kindness, such as being there for your team when they need you, creating a kudos board to show appreciation, and conducting a discovery type of meeting to focus on personal and team strengths and motivation. The goal is to remind the team of their strengths and overcome the fear of problems.

Featured Retrospectives Format for the Week: Changing up the retrospective, by rotating the facilitator

In this segment, Alina highlights the importance of alternating between different types of retrospectives to keep things fresh and engaging. At times, a prepared template can be helpful, while at other times, an open conversation with very little formality, may be the best option. Alina also suggests that sometimes, it’s better to just give the team time, as there are situations when people need time to understand a problem. When focusing on enabling an open conversation, and deciding on the topic of the retrospective, Alina suggests collecting topics during the sprint and bringing them to the retrospective. To add even more dynamism, and creativity to the retrospective, we can also rotate the facilitator role, as that bring many different perspectives to the conversation.

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

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