BONUS: Module 3, Retrospectives Master Class with David Horowitz

This is the third of a multi-part series on Agile Retrospectives with David Horowitz who’s the CEO of Retrium, a company that builds tools to help you facilitate remote retrospectives. The links to Retrium’s Retrospectives Academy below are affiliate links, if you prefer to follow a link that takes you to Retrium’s site, but does not give anything back to the podcast, you can. Just follow this link: Retrium.com. On the other hand, if you want to help us grow this podcast, you can follow the links below or this link to Retrium’s Retrospective’s Academy.

When we start facilitating retrospectives (I still remember the first ones I facilitated), we are often focused on getting the structure right, and we may forget that we can uncover insights at any time during the retrospective. This module is all about increasing our chances of facilitating a productive and effective retrospective. 

Team Norms, a productivity and engagement tool for Scrum Masters

Continue reading BONUS: Module 3, Retrospectives Master Class with David Horowitz

Adrienne Rinaldi: The Google Translate Agile Retrospective

The Scrum Master role is one that demands especially a lot from our emotional intelligence. In this segment, we talk about what Emotional Intelligence looks like in practice for Scrum Masters, and how to learn to improve in that aspect of being a facilitator, a coach and a Scrum Master!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Google Translate Agile Retrospective

When helping a team that did not have English as the mother tongue, Adrienne was forced to innovate and come up with a method that would allow the team to express themselves naturally, while at the same time helping her, as the Scrum Master, facilitate that conversation. She came up with a unique approach: the Google Translate Agile Retrospective! Listen in to learn how Adrienne overcame the language barrier between her and 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 experiences: 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 Adrienne Rinaldi

Adrienne Rinaldi is an Agile Transformation Coach and co-founder with PinnacleTek Consulting. She has a passion for topics such as emotional intelligence in agile leadership, cultural transformations and breaking the norms in hierarchical organizations. She has enabled value-based strategy and business agility at many levels of client organizations: teams, programs and portfolios. When not being an agilist, Adrienne’s activities a published book (about beer and yoga!), mountaineering, hiking (Colorado 14er finisher), kayaking and spending time with friends/family.

You can link with Adrienne Rinaldi on LinkedIn.

Arjay Hinek: How to define success for Scrum Masters

“To be able to help others, you need to define success.” Arjay starts this episode with the reflection on how important it is to discuss and define success for ourselves. We then move on to discuss what are some of the practical approaches he takes to define and measure success in his work with the team and the Product Owners.

The Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Improving the classic Retrospective format of What went well/Tripped us up/Can be improved

Sometimes the easier formats are just what we, Scrum Masters, and the teams need. However, we need to constantly be adapting the format to the needs of the team. In this episode, Arjay shares with us how he’s improved on the standard Retrospective formats, and we talk about how to understand the team well enough so that we can adapt the retrospective format to their needs.

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 experiences: 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 Arjay Hinek

Arjay has been an Agilist for over a decade. In the last few years, he’s focused on Agile and “product development” for non-software applications. A considers himself a teacher at heart, he uses metaphors and story-telling to help others see their challenges from a different perspective and overcome them. 

You can link with Arjay Hinek on LinkedIn and connect with Arjay Hinek on Twitter

You can follow Arjay’s blog at http://goscrumgo.com/.

Leland Newson: Delivering business value as the benchmark for success in a Scrum team

Discussing the definition of Agility, we talk about how to help teams act in an agile way, by moving quickly and with grace. We discuss what that means in practice, and what aspects make a team successful at delivering business value, the ultimate focus for a Scrum Master and the team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Learning Matrix

Leland shares the Learning Matrix, and a retrospective format based on the Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

We also discuss the use of Appreciations, an approach that can help get your retrospective started with the right focus, and energy.

 

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 experiences: 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 Leland Newson

Leland is a SAFe Release Train Engineer and servant leader who is passionate about helping improve the work environment and helping teams uncover better ways to development software. He focuses on collaboration, shortening feedback loops, improving the flow of work through the system and increasing the team’s adaptability so they can quickly respond to changes and satisfy customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

You can link with Leland Newson on LinkedIn and connect with Leland Newson on Twitter.

Ronny Deicke: Organizing the retrospective that your Scrum team needs right now

When it comes to our success as Scrum Masters, Ronny focuses on the team’s journey. He asks if the team is taking brave steps to improve their work, and collaboration with stakeholders. Ronny shares some examples of what might look like in practice.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Organizing the retrospective that your Scrum team needs

Ronny shares that he uses many formats, but that he focuses on preparing a retro that the team needs at that time. In this segment, we talk about several formats, and how to prepare one based on the team’s situation in that Sprint.

 

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 experiences: 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 Ronny Deicke

Ronny is a Scrum Master and Agile coach with a developer and team lead background. Currently working as a part-time Scrum Master and in the rest of the time giving (agile) workshops, supporting people as a coach and Agile Coach. Video game enthusiast and Indie developer on the side.

You can link with Ronny Deicke on LinkedIn and connect with Ronny Deicke on Twitter.

Pieter Verbaarschott: Helping teams feel safe, and empowered as a success metric for Scrum Masters

There’s one phrase Pieter heard that made him understand that his work had had a positive impact on the team. The phrase was: “Psychological safety is more than a buzzword in our team”.

Pieter shares how important it is for us to focus on the dynamics between Scrum Master and team members that help create that aspect of safety, and the ability to contribute at all times.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retrospectives for Engineering minded folks

Not every team member will appreciate having games in the retrospectives they participate in. For those folks, it is important to have some simple, to the point formats in our back pocket to help them engage without feeling awkward. 

In this episode, we talk about simpler formats that focus on triggering conversations between team members.

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 experiences: 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 Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter.

BONUS: Module 2, Retrospectives Master Class with David Horowitz

This is the second of a multi-part series on Agile Retrospectives with David Horowitz who’s the CEO of Retrium, a company that builds tools to help you facilitate remote retrospectives. The links to Retrium’s Retrospectives Academy below are affiliate links, if you prefer to follow a link that takes you to Retrium’s site, but does not give anything back to the podcast, you can. Just follow this link: Retrium.com. On the other hand, if you want to help us grow this podcast, you can follow the links below or this link to Retrium’s Retrospective’s Academy.

In the second instalment of the Agile Retrospectives Masterclass with David Horowitz, we talk about the 5 phases of a successful retrospective, and share tips and ideas for each of those phases to ensure you are prepared and get the team to find and act on breakthrough improvements. 

You can find Module 1 of the Retrospectives Master Class here

It all starts with a simple check-in: “Set the Stage”, Phase 1 of a successful retrospective

When we start a retrospective, usually at the end of a Sprint, the team member’s minds might be on that last bug they just closed, or the story that didn’t get delivered, or the feedback they just got from stakeholders. The Check-in phase of the retrospectives helps all the team members, and the facilitator to get into the retrospective mood. To forget the open threads that will need to be picked up later, and focus on the question: “How can we do even better in the next Sprint?”

In this segment, we talk about the Constellations exercise that helps everyone visualize agreement and disagreement with a specific statement in a way that raises engagement, and increases the energy level of the retrospective. You can find here a detailed description of the Constellation exercise for Agile Retrospectives

We also discuss the “one-word check-in” exercise and the “Mad/Sad/Glad” check-in for Agile retrospectives.  

For retrospectives that try to focus on improving collaboration between team members, David suggests The Circle Of Appreciation exercise

In this segment, we also refer to the classic book: Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby

Gathering Data and Generating Insights, the core of an Agile Retrospective

If we want to enable deeper conversations, we need to be aware that the information that is shared will directly affect the quality of the conversations. Therefore, Agile Retrospectives require special attention to the “gathering data” phase. There are many ways to gather data, and some might even happen during the Sprint, instead of during the retrospective. 

During the retrospective, however, we will visualize that data and help the team make sense of it. 

In this segment, we talk about the timeline exercise, and how to use emotional-queues to help uncover important pieces of information. 

Soft or qualitative data can also be used to augment the use of other data in the timeline exercise. One such way is to use the “journey lines” exercise.

When the data is visible and understandable, then the team focuses on finding insights by analyzing the data and generating possible connections and causal links. Here the challenge for a Scrum Master is to prevent the team from jumping too early into solutions before they deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve. 

David shares some tips to help prevent the team from discussing solutions before they have a shared understanding of the problem. We talk about The 5 Why’s technique, but there are many more. 

Making Retrospectives Impactful: Deciding what to do

Many teams fail in Phase 4, Deciding what to do. But they might fail in quite different ways. For example, some teams might want to commit to too many items at once, while other teams might not commit to any improvement. And finally, the worst problem: those teams that commit to improvements, but work on none of them. 

Great teams, understand well how many improvements they can take from a retrospective, and are clear on the commitment, maybe even including the improvement ideas as items on their Sprint backlog. 

In this segment, we talk about the ICE method for prioritizing improvement ideas and the importance of brainstorming several solutions before deciding what to do. It’s also important to use methods of consensus generation when there are several options that seem equally valuable. The commitment of each team member to the solution to be tried will directly impact their commitment to the work to be done for that solution. 

In this segment, we talk about experiments and the use of such templates as the Hypothesis-Driven Development template by Barry O’Reilly

Phase 5: Close the retrospective

At the end of the retrospective, our goals are to provide closure, a sense of achievement, and energy for the work ahead. 

How can we do that? In this segment, we talk about the “retro on the retro” and the “gif check-out”. Two simple approaches that help the team feel a sense of accomplishment, and also get better at doing future retrospectives. 

Which closing exercises have you used? Share those with us on Twitter or LinkedIn

About David Horowitz

David Horowitz is the CEO of Retrium, a platform for agile retrospectives that has powered over 100,000 retrospectives from thousands of companies across the world.

Prior to co-founding Retrium, David spent a decade at The World Bank as an engineer turned Agile coach.

He has degrees in Computer Science and Economics from The University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Technology Management from The Wharton School of Business.

Learn more about Better Retrospectives with David Horowitz by accessing the FREE Retrospective’s Academy by Retrium: http://bit.ly/retromasterclass

You can link with David Horowitz on LinkedIn and connect with David Horowitz on Twitter

Simon Flossmann: Defining success from Scrum Masters with the customer in mind

Many of our guests start by defining their success in relation to the work they do with the team. Simon takes a different approach. In this episode, we talk about the success aspects for Scrum Masters that are not linked only to the work with the team, but focus more on the value delivered to the end customers.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simplifying the Retrospective format

Sometimes, the topics to discuss are so clear that the format can get in the way. For those times, Simon describes his approach based on a simple format that focuses on the conversation and enables self-organization at the team level.

 

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 experiences: 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 Simon Flossmann

Simon helps teams effectively use Scrum and an agile mindset to deliver products and services that matter! As a Scrum Master and Professional Scrum Trainer, licensed by Scrum.org, he supports teams and organizations of varying sizes in a wide range of business domains, like automotive, home appliance, energy sector, federal government agency, and insurance.

You can link with Simon Flossmann on LinkedIn and connect with Simon Flossmann on Twitter.

You can follow Simon Flossmann’s writings on this home page.

Paddy Corry: Reflecting and requesting feedback as a way to grow into the Scrum Master role

When developers move to a Scrum Master role, they face a completely new set of expectations. Paddy reminds us that reflecting on that change is critical, as well as regularly requesting feedback from the teams we work with.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Influence over what went well/not so well

In this segment, we talk about a classic retrospective format: “What went well, not so well”. Paddy adds a twist to that format, by adding a second dimension to each of the categories: “is this item under our control?” This raises some good conversations in the team, and helps teams that may be facing frustration from not being able to resolve some problems.

 

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 experiences: 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 Paddy Corry

Paddy was a developer for many years, after which he started his Scrum Master journey with special interest for coaching and developing the agile mindset. 

You can link with Paddy Corry on LinkedIn and connect with Paddy Corry on Twitter.

Julio de Lima: Success for QA engineers and Scrum Masters

Julio is a Quality Assurance (QA) engineer, so we discuss what does it mean to be a successful QA engineer in a Scrum/Agile team. In this conversation, we talk about the need to help the whole team feel responsible for the quality of their deliverable. In other words, we talk about how to get the whole team to think like a QA engineer. 

We also talk about the focus on this episode: success as a Scrum Master. In this regard, Julio shares how Scrum Masters can work with QA engineers specifically, to help them improve, and work better with the rest of the team. In this segment, we also discuss some of the pitfalls of estimation.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: People, Process and Technology

Julio’s preferred formats revolve around the triad of improvement: people, processes, and technology. He describes how he usually organizes retrospectives around these three topics, and how teams reacted when he deviated from these 3 topics. 

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 experiences: 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 Julio de Lima

Julio is a Principal QA Engineer working for Capco that believes in the Culture of QA. He has been sharing professional insights and experiences on a daily basis and has more than 4500 students in his 4 online courses. In 2020, he was elected the Brazilian Testing reference practitioner. 

You can link with Julio de Lima on LinkedIn and connect with Julio de Lima on Twitter.