Martin Lambert: The Empathy Agile Retrospective Format How-to

When it comes to success as a Scrum Master, Martin asks us to consider the “little things”. For example: “how does your team react to adverse situations?” This and other questions help Martin assess his work as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn about the other questions that Martin asks himself to assess his own success as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Empathy Retrospective

In this retrospective format, Martin focuses on helping team members understand their colleagues’ perspectives. We discuss how to “warm-up” the team to this format, as well as how to execute the format. Learn also why this format is important, and what you can expect from it.

About Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England, and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: How do we measure the Scrum Master role?

A question Dirk has heard often (and you might have too!) is: how should we measure the Scrum Master role? That led him to think about possible metrics to present to stakeholders. In this episode, we discuss possible Scrum Master metrics as well as the “self-check” questions you can ask yourself when evaluating your own success and evolution as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Customizing your Retrospectives

At some point, the formats you are used to may not be enough, and you need to find another format for the issues at hand. In those situations, Scrum Masters must be comfortable with customizing the retrospective format for their team. In this segment, we discuss tools and approaches you can take to customize your next retrospective to the team’s specific needs.

A useful tool, which has been referred to before on the podcast is Retromat.org. However, there are some caveats when using that tool. Listen in to learn about possible drawbacks and how to overcome those.

About Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

Susanne Taylor: Using Liberating Structures in Agile Retrospectives

While it is tempting to define success as an end state for the work of the Scrum Master, it is important to recognize that the journey (how we get there) is also important. In this episode, we talk about a method to reflect on our work, and how that can help us navigate the challenges we will face as Scrum Masters. Take this episode, and reflect on your role, learn from what you have faced in the past, and keep the journey going.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Liberating structures, the 3 W’s

We’ve talked about Liberating Structures in a past episode, in this segment we talk about the “What?, So What?, Now What?” technique. We also discuss how we can bring team members into the retrospective so that they are present and focused on the retrospective.

About Susanne Taylor

Susanne is a transition coach, which translates to roles as: change management facilitator, organizational development consultant, scrum master, agile coach and community manager. (Often simultaneously.) Susanne has learned to be adaptable and resilient after having lived in Alaska, Japan, Taiwan and now Germany. She is passionate about accompanying people on journeys of transformation. (And she considers herself an introvert.)

You can link with Susanne Taylor on LinkedIn and connect with Susanne Taylor on Twitter.

Long Suciu: using Liberating Structures to plan and facilitate Agile Retrospectives

Long suggests that Scrum Masters collect feedback from the team to assess their success. The method he suggests is the team NPS: “How likely are the team members to recommend that others join the team?” We also talk about how it is important to measure and reflect to reach a successful outcome for our work as Scrum Masters.

In this Article, you can read how Jason Little (a previous guest on the podcast) used the NPS survey to evaluate his own work.

In a previous episode with Jeff Kosciejew we also reviewed the use of NPS for Scrum Master performance self-evaluation.

Featured Retrospective format of the Week: Liberating Structures

Retrospectives follow a specific set of activities, from the check-in to get everybody focused and in the mood to reflect, to the data gathering. These activities can be organized in many ways. In this episode, we talk about Liberating Structures, a set of activities that you can use in any of the steps of the retrospective.

About Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Bradley Pohl: Helping teams get started with continuous improvement

There are many challenges teams face that require Scrum Master support. Some of those are related to cross-team dependencies (one of the core aspects for Scrum Masters), but they can also be related to basic improvements in the ways of working. In this episode, we discuss how the team’s outlook on improvement is critical for Scrum Masters and what to look at when evaluating our own contribution to the team.

Featured Agile Retrospective format for the week: What are you looking for out of your work?

When starting with a new team, the questions you ask are critical. Bradley shares with us a format that helps team members understand each other, as well as define the work agreements they need to get them started on the journey to high-performance.

About Bradley Pohl

Bradley is a young Scrum Master working for a mid-sized US bank that is currently undergoing an “Agile Transformation.” As a part of the Transformation, his training consisted of a 4 week Agile boot camp that was designed to build scrum masters from the ground-up. In his free time, he applies lean and agile principles to designing websites and providing social media advertising to local small business as Catch On, at catchontech.com.

You can link with Bradley Pohl on LinkedIn.

Jeremy Willets: using the Speed Car Retrospective exercise to host an impactful Retrospective

Jeremy explains the questions that he asks himself when evaluating his contribution to the team. As Scrum Masters, these are some of the many questions that can help us assess our work and improve our approach to help make teams successful.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Speed Car retrospective format

The Speed Car retrospective format is one of the many metaphor exercises that helps teams get out of the details of what happened and think about the impact those events might have on their performance, just like many aspects have an impact on a race car.

In this episode, we refer to the classic book: Agile Retrospectives by Larssen and Derby.

About Jeremy Willets

Jeremy Willets is a Technical Writer turned Scrum Master/Agile Coach. He’s passionate about bringing Agile to all facets of his organization. He enjoys spending time with his family, making music, and drinking the finest craft beer the world has to offer!

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn and connect with Jeremy Willets on Twitter.

Elena Popretinskaya: What? / So what? / Now what? Scrum Retrospective format from Liberating Structures

A Scrum Master can wear many hats. Specifically, the Scrum Master can be a coach, a mentor and a teacher. All three roles are necessary at different times in our assignments. How do we know which ones to hold? We discuss that in this episode, where we explore Elena’s definition of success for a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective of the Week: What? / So what? / Now what?

Elena found in “Liberating Structures”, a good exercise to help teams reflect on the outcomes, and the necessary changes after a Sprint. In this episode, she shares one facilitation technique that helps facilitate a retrospective even with large teams.

For more on the What? / So what? / Now what? Technique read this blog post.

About Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier 🙂

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

Christiaan Verwijs on facilitation as the critical art for Scrum Masters

Sometimes it is hard to keep the team focused on the ceremonies that we facilitate. That’s ok and predictable. However, as Scrum Masters, we must be ready for it. We must be ready to regain the attention of the team on the issue at hand. Remember, the ceremonies are there for a reason. If they feel boring, or long, then they are probably not being used to tackle the important topics in the team’s mind.

In this episode we also talk about a facilitation book: Liberating Structures by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless, and discuss one of the facilitation techniques that Christiaan learned from that and still applies today.

Featured book of the week

 

 

 

 

 

In this week we discuss the lessons Christiaan learned from two inspiring books. The first is about Agile and Scrum: Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber. The second, a completely different book that helps Scrum Masters understand how to work with complexity and ambiguity: Black Swan by Nassim Taleb.

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organizational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.