Jeroen de Jong: Keeping a list of the small successes to gain energy and keep focus

When looking to have an impact in the teams we work with, Jeroen suggests that it’s very easy to get lost in the many lofty goals we have, and sometimes feel discouraged by not achieving them for a long time. He suggests we focus on celebrating the small successes  as a way to keep our focus, but also our energy high at all times!

In this segment, we refer to the Getting Things Done method, which we also talked about in the Tuesday episode with Jeroen. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The M&M’s retrospective 

Jeroen shares a fun retrospective that combines our love for sweets with some more serious aspects like asking important questions in certain categories (the colors of the M&M’s) from the team: The M&M’s retrospective!

Jeroen also shares other, less sugar-intensive, options for the same effect. And we also discuss the Agile Monopoly game

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 Jeroen de Jong

Jeroen started his career as a self-employed jack-of-all-trades in IT and is passionate about Agile. He is determined to keep learning and to share his knowledge with others.

You can link with Jeroen de Jong on LinkedIn and connect with Jeroen de Jong on Twitter.

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.

Nick Nielsen: How to NOT adopt Agile/SAFe and what to do instead, a real-life story

In this episode, we hear about a company that was going through a long, 3.5 year journey of Agile transformation. When Nick joined, they had just decided to adopt SAFe, as a way to scale their use of Agile methods. Unfortunately, this is not a story of complete success, as we hear about how a traditional consultancy tried to impose SAFe on the organization, with a top-down, linear (aka Waterfall) plan of adoption. Fortunately, however, the Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters in that organization were able to turn the adoption around, and make it succeed! Listen in to learn about how NOT TO adopt Agile/SAFe.

In this episode, we refer to the 1-2-4-all technique from Liberating Structures, and the Lean Change Management approach to change and transformation.

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.

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.

Linda van Sinten: Creative thinking formats to spice up your retrospectives 

Linda describes her own success as a Scrum Masters through the behaviors she wants to see in the teams she works with. We discuss what we need to do as Scrum Masters to enable those behaviors as well as the importance of asking questions. The goal: to help teams feel enthusiastic about their work!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Creative thinking formats to spice up your retrospectives

Linda prefers to use different formats in most retrospectives, and especially likes to use formats and exercises that encourage creative thinking by the team. These formats help the teams get out of “complaining” and focus on improvements. She describes some formats for us, and we refer to Story Cubes; The 4 L’s; Liberating Structures; 1-2-4-all and other formats you can use to spice up your retrospectives. 

In this segment, we also refer to the Ecocycle planning workshop

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 ​​Linda van Sinten

Linda van Sinten is an experienced Scrum Master and creator of the Liberating Structures Visual design cards. She combines her knowledge of Scrum with the powerful skill of creating visualizations and visual tools to drive teams forward. She has trained over 500 people in making powerful visuals out of ideas, structuring strategies and product visions in Tech, Healthcare and other industries. 

You can link with ​​Linda van Sinten on LinkedIn.

Gonçalo Valverde: A list of questions for Scrum Master self-evaluation

What are some of the questions we can ask ourselves to evaluate our work? Gonçalo shares some of the questions he asks himself, and we discuss how critical it is to evaluate the relationship between the team and the Product Owner.

In this segment, we refer to #NoEstimates, a topic we’ve covered before here on the podcast

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The small add-ons that make retrospectives awesome

There are many ways to facilitate great retrospectives. The format of the retro will influence the success of the retro, but so will the small exercises we use for check-in or check-out. In this segment, we introduce shared visual board like Jamboard or Mural, the use of breakout rooms, Liberating Structures, Kudos, the Core Protocols (which have been featured on the podcast before) and small add-ons that make retrospectives awesome for the team!

In this segment, we also refer to the episodes recorded with Dov Tsal

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 Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter.

Nagesh Sharma: 5 Success questions that Scrum Masters should ask themselves

What are some questions we can ask ourselves to assess the success of our work as Scrum Master? Nagesh shares his top questions, and how he uses those to improve on his own work.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Wicked Questions format from Liberating Structures

The “Wicked Questions” format from Liberating Structures helps the team come up with creative solutions to the wicked problems they have to face. Nagesh shares some examples of what those questions could sound like, and how to introduce the format to the team.

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 Nagesh Sharma

Nagesh is a Professional Scrum Trainer by Scrum.org, He is Co-Founder & CEO of Flowsphere India. His mission drives him in increasing the joy and accomplishment people feel with agile ways of working. Nagesh is a Management 3.0 & collaboration Superpowers Facilitator. Trained more than 3000 people across the globe and an active speaker at various international conferences.

You can link with Nagesh Sharma on LinkedIn and connect with Nagesh Sharma on Twitter.

Willem-Jan Ageling: Liberating Structures as an amplifier for the impact of Agile Retrospectives 

There are many aspects in the team’s behavior that point to a successful outcome of the Scrum Master’s work. However, there’s something that goes beyond process that will tell you the team is able to drive the work forward, and achieve a successful outcome. We discuss that specific topic: focus on progress. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liberating Structures

In this episode, we discuss several Liberating Structures for retrospectives, and how Willem-Jan adapts them to his retrospectives. We focus on the benefits of using those approaches and focusing on solutions with the whole team. We refer to the 1-2-4-all structure and the episodes with two top proponents of Liberating Structures for Scrum Masters: Christiaan Verwijs and Barry Overeem.

About Willem-Jan Ageling

As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum.

You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.

Sami Prentice: Self-organization and collective ownership in Scrum teams

Looking into how teams organize themselves is often a good indicator that our work is having an impact. In this episode, we talk about the need to help teams self-organize, and find ways to sustain their own progress and improvement. Finally, we discuss the key ingredient for success in Scrum teams: having collective ownership for the work they need to.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liberating Structures, TRIZ

Sometimes the best way to help teams focus on what they can improve is to talk about what is the worst that could possibly happen. In this Liberating Structure called TRIZ, the goal is to reflect on what can go wrong, so that the team is then ready to focus on how to avoid that negative outcome.

About Sami Prentice

Sami is a Scrum Master in Denver, Colorado. She used to work in the beer industry before making the switch to Scrum Master and she is passionate about facilitating awesome meetings that don’t suck. 

You can link with Sami Prentice on LinkedIn.

Rik Pennartz: Laugh all the way to a better process, the Meme Agile Retrospective exercise

In this episode, we talk about 3 aspects that Rik focuses on when evaluating the success of his work as a Scrum Master and coach. Listen in to learn what are the three questions he asks of himself and the team.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The meme retrospective

How can you start your retrospective in a funny, yet insightful check-in exercise? In this segment, we talk about the Meme Retrospective exercise. Have every team member look for a meme that described their last sprint. Print those out, and paste them on the wall where you will have the retrospective. You’re sure to get a laugh, while still talking about the real issues the team is facing.

About Rik Pennartz

Rik is an agile coach, who’s worked during the last years at the Volksbank, the Dutch Railways and ABN AMRO bank. Rik also teaches various agile courses such as Professional Scrum Master, DevOps fundamentals and Leading SAFe.

You can find Rik Pennartz at the Cap Gemini Academy.

You can link with Rik Pennartz on LinkedIn and connect with Rik Pennartz on Twitter.