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.

Moana Pledger: Lean Coffee, the super flexible and effective Agile Restrospective format

In order to assess her success as a Scrum Master, Moana likes to look at the team members’ ability and willingness to take on the responsibility for learning and adapting to the challenges they face. But there are other signs like the team taking responsibility for preparing and hosting their own retrospectives. Finally, we talk about the idea of “swarming” and how teams that implement that approach ends up achieving more.

In this episode, we talk about the 3-amigo sessions, team health-checks and their role for Scrum Masters, a technique called Satisfactogram, and the “pats-on-back” technique, which is similar to the Kudos Box from Management 3.0.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Lean Coffee

Lean Coffee, a format we referred to in several other episodes, is a good format to help teams explore what is critical for them at that time. Moana describes how this format is a safe format for team members to approach topics that may seem untouchable when using other conversations and retrospective formats. We should also note, that the Lean Coffee format is also very good at helping to discuss the “edge” topics, that could easily be forgotten otherwise.

About Moana Pledger

Mo started her career in education and program management before moving into digital delivery. She’s pretty sure she was a servant-leader before she had even heard the term. Her passion is to build healthy teams and foster the all-important relationship between business and team, which allows a safe space for the magic to happen.

You can link with Moana Pledger on LinkedIn and connect with Moana Pledger on Twitter

Chelsie Raiola: How to measure Scrum team improvements over time

When looking at success for Scrum Masters, measuring improvements on the team, and how they work is usually a big part of the evaluation process. We also look at the outcome of retrospectives and discuss how to measure accountability in the team. 

Finally, we discuss an Agile Coach/Scrum Master assessment approach (Agile Coach NPS by Jason Little) that can help Scrum Masters assess their contribution to the team’s success.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: If this Sprint was a GIF?

Do you like searching for funny GIFs and memes to share with your colleagues? Well, you can make that part of your next retrospective with this format that Chelsie shares with us. 

Here’s one to inspire you


About Chelsie Raiola

Chelsie has been working as a Scrum Master in the Greater Boston Area for just over two years. She has experience working with both co-located and distributed teams developing on-premise and SaaS solutions worldwide. She is an avid lover of technology, dogs, and bullet journals, Chelsie loves finding ways to bring Agile outside of the office.

You can link with Chelsie Raiola on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: Cards Against Agility, a fun Agile retrospective game

When it comes to Scrum Master success, Ellen likes to look at metrics that indicate if her work is having an impact. She suggests that a simple metric around the quality of the Sprint planning may be enough to assess the success for the Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Cards Against Agility

Ellen developed a game called Cards against Agility based on another popular game. Ellen uses this game as a simple way for the team to blow-off some steam, or as she puts it “trash talk in a fun way”. 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Valeria Greco: Speed up the learning cycle with this Agile Retrospective

When talking about success, we learn that Valeria focuses on evaluating the level of collaboration between team members. Listen in to learn about what collaboration “signs” Valeria looks for, and to learn more about what kind and why conflict might be a good thing in a Scrum team.

Featured Retrospective format for the Week: Playing Jenga, the wooden blocks game

In this segment, we discover how Valeria used a concrete game to help the team practice retrospectives in a short period of time. Through the game, Valeria was able to help the team practice “observation”, and speed up the learning cycle greatly. 

You can learn more about the Jenga game from wikipedia and from this YouTube video.

About Valeria Greco

Valeria has worked as a Scrum Master for 4 years. She has experience with both Software development and non-software development Agile teams. When asked what she does for a living, Valeria replies: “I build teams!” And she does it by focusing on building relationships first. As Valeria says: “all my teams will tell you that I like talking about the feelings :-)”

You can link with Valeria Greco on LinkedIn and connect with Valeria Greco on Twitter.

Reinald Kirchner: Walking in pairs, an activity for Agile Retrospectives

The focus, Reinald suggests, should be on creating outcomes/impact, not output/more stuff. He looks into the role of the work with management for the ultimate success of the Scrum Master work. But that’s not where it stops. We talk about inspiration, reviewing our relationships at work, and practical tips on how to keep notes on our work as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Walking in Pairs, outside

An often overlooked aspect of the retrospectives is the atmosphere, and physical space has a direct impact on how team members feel when reflecting on their work. In this episode, Reinald talks about the “walking in pairs” retrospective. A format that requires the whole team to get up and walk outside. Given that walking will activate your body, and your brain, you may actually get more insights from a walking, than a sitting retrospective. Listen in, and give it a try.

About Reinald Kirchner

Reinald is active in the IT industry for more than 20 years. With agile methods and systemic project management he found his role as coach to inspire individuals and teams to learn, have fun and get better at what they want to do.

You can link with Reinald Kirchner on XING and connect with Reinald Kirchner on Twitter.

Dmytro Balaba: 3 different perspectives on Scrum Master success

When considering success for our work as Scrum Masters, Dmytro suggests we should take 3 different perspectives into account. These perspectives help us get feedback, and also consider the stakeholders we need to work with. Listen in to learn about the 3 key perspectives that Dmytro uses in his own success self-assessment.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Easier the Better

In this segment dedicated to Agile Retrospectives we explore why Scrum Masters may want to have multiple formats they are ready to execute on depending on the goals for the retrospective. We also talk about lowering the barrier for retrospective execution with formats that are easy to setup and run.

About Dmytro Balaba

Dmytro calls himself one of the most dedicated Scrum Masters/Agile Coach in the world 🙂 On his right-hand he has a tatoo with golden ratio, Fibonacci sequence. After almost 15 years of work in IT management Dmytro found himself balanced and happy. He’s been a full-time Scrum Master for more than 3 years.

You can link with Dmytro Balaba on LinkedIn and connect with Dmytro Balaba on Twitter.

Andy Grosman: A Christmas Agile Retrospective format to inspire your Scrum Team!

Are you passionate? What is preventing you from finding that motivation and intensity in your work. This is one of the questions that Andy asks us to consider when reviewing our work, and assessing our contribute to the Scrum team.

In this segment, we also talk about the importance of learning how to get things moving, even when we lack the authority.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Christmas Carol retrospective

Sometimes, referring to a familiar experience can help teams find improvement opportunities and generate ideas they would otherwise ignore. In this Agile Retrospective format, Andy shares how a familiar story (A Christmas Carol) can help teams find improvement opportunities and generate improvement ideas

About Andy Grosman

Andy has spent the past decade in various industries from Fortune 500 to small and mid-sized companies including Healthcare, Finance, Training and has a background in sales/marketing. He currently leads a team of Scrum Masters in the digital space as well as coaches teams. He has spoken at regional conferences and Agile Meetups on team-building for Distributed teams, how to blend Agile and personal productivity strategies, and how to influence without Authority. He used to live by the Waterfall but got bit by the Agile bug and now is spreading the Agile Mindset wherever he goes.

You can link with Andy Grosman on LinkedIn and connect with Andy Grosman on Twitter.

Eddy Bruin: StoryCubes as a tool for Agile Retrospectives

Are people asking you for help? This is the question we start Eddy’s definition of success for Scrum Masters. But the conversation does not stop there. We also discuss the role of coaching agreements with the teams, and some of the anti-patterns Eddy witnessed in Agile teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Storytelling with Story Cubes

In this segment, we discuss what might be some of the factors affecting the effectiveness of your Agile Retrospectives. We also discuss how we can use Story Cubes (video example) as a facilitation technique in some of the steps of the standard Agile Retrospective format.

About Eddy Bruin

For many years, Eddy has been using serious games and learning metaphors to help teams and organizations move forward. He is an Agile and Test Coach with the mission to help teams deliver software people actually want to use while also enjoying their work. He helps teams to enable feedback loops continuously and likes to discuss all agile and test topics over a special beer. He loves to go to (un)conferences on serious games (for example Play14, Play4Agile), and also on Agile and Testing.

You can link with Eddy Bruin on LinkedIn and connect with Eddy Bruin on Twitter.

Jim Sammons: The Baseball Agile Retrospective and one important success question for Scrum Masters

“Am I making other people better?” is the question that Jim starts his own success retrospective with. We then dive into the “do no harm” rule that Jim applies to his own work, and how to use Retrospectives in our work and reach a successful outcome.

We talk about the standards that we must ourselves to, as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The Baseball Retro

Although there are many possible games and exercises for Agile Retrospectives, in this Agile Retrospective format – The Baseball Retro -, the focus is on creating an analogy of the Sprint to a baseball game. And how we can use this analogy thinking to find opportunities for improvement.

Listen in to learn how Jim prepares and hosts that retrospective.

About Jim Sammons

Jim is currently a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and works with an amazing team at Insight as an Agile Coach and trainer for their clients around the world. His time as a Scrum Master was awesome and fueled his passion for agility at all levels.

You can link with Jim Sammons on LinkedIn and connect with Jim Sammons on Twitter.