Olsen Turan: A simple, yet effective Retrospective format Scrum Masters can use to build trust

When a Scrum Master joins a team, it is critical to start building trust from the first interaction. In this episode, we talk about what that means in practice and share Olsen’s approach to building trust and opening the communication channels with the team. 

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Casual Conversation

There are many retrospective formats out there, each serving a specific purpose, from problem definition to ideation and so on. However, in this episode, we focus on a simple format that aims at building relationships between team members and between Scrum Master and team members. The format is “the casual conversation”, which has been prepared and is facilitated by the Scrum Master but helps team members feel safe and at ease. 

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

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.

Tom Suter: 5 Requirements for great Agile Retrospectives

When it comes to having a positive impact on the teams, and companies we work with, the way we help teams focus on value delivery is critical. 

In this episode, we talk about how Scrum Masters can enable teams to focus on business value creation with different techniques.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: 5 Requirements for great Agile Retrospectives

Tom’s approach to the Retrospectives is informed by 5 requirements he tries to fulfill for every retrospective. In this episode, we explore what those are, and how to prepare and host impactful retrospectives.

In this segment, we refer to Retromat, and Fun Retrospectives, two websites that help you get more exercises for your retrospectives.

About Tom Suter

As our workforce changes rapidly, Tom suggests it is going to be more and more challenging to attract and keep talent and knowledge, and that’s why we need a healthy and sustainable working environment. Tom is passionate about improving the industry for his children and their generations. 

You can link with Tom Suter on LinkedIn and connect with Tom Suter on Twitter.

Thomas von Busse: Developing Scrum teams through feedback culture

Thomas’ approach is to allow the team space to develop. That perspective requires an approach to the Scrum Master role that is more focused on feedback between team members. In this episode, we talk about how we can help teams improve their team-internal feedback culture. We discuss the Feedback Burger technique for feedback.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The WADE Matrix

The WADE Matrix is a facilitation technique that helps include outside stakeholders to help create a more holistic view of what the team is facing. It also helps find and define improvements that require different perspectives from what the team is normally exposed to.

Thomas has an article (in German) about how to prepare and facilitate a retrospective with the WADE Matrix.

About Thomas von Busse

Thomas is a Scrum Master since 2013. After his Bachelors’s Degree in Software Engineering, he gained experience as a Programmer and uses this deep understanding of how to build software systems to help his Teams get better with each iteration. 

You can link with Thomas von Busse on LinkedIn and connect with Thomas von Busse on Twitter.

Bola Adesope: The Mad/Sad/Glad Retrospective Exercise

There are many aspects that we must consider when evaluating our success as Scrum Masters. Bola reminds us that the way the team acts and behaves is a clear indicator of our influence on their progress as a team. We talk about how our different stances affect the team’s performance, and how we must deliberately move from one stance to the other when the team’s evolution so requires. Listen in to learn how Bola assesses and decides to move to the right stance as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Mad/Sad/Glad technique

The Mad/Sad/Glad exercise from Core Protocols helps the team find out about problems that may not yet be obvious by focusing them on the feelings and the triggers for those feelings. For more on Core Protocols, listen to this episode on the Core Protocols with Richard Kasperowski.

About Bola Adesope

Bola is an experienced Business and Agile Transformation Consultant, Speaker and Coach with in-depth knowledge and experience working with businesses in implementing best practice frameworks, driving changes and solving complex business problems. Bola has worked on several transformation initiatives, coached teams and Scrum Masters. He’s an Agile Coach based in Toronto.

You can link with Bola Adesope on LinkedIn and connect with Bola Adesope on Twitter

Leslie McCormack: The ultimate success goals for Scrum Masters and Scrum teams

Leslie asks a few questions of herself when evaluating her success. We review those questions and why they are important to assess team growth and product success which are the ultimate success goals for Scrum Masters and Scrum teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Rotating exercises to create creative thinking

Scrum Masters must be able to adapt their Agile Retrospective exercises to the needs of the team at that time. In this episode, we talk about multiple exercises you can run, and why it is important to always be ready to facilitate a different exercise. We also discuss some of the downsides of repeating exercises over time.

In this episode, we refer to the Sailboat / Speedboat Restrospective exercise, the 3 L’s Retrospective exercise (similar to the 4L’s Retrospective exercise) and others.

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

Darren Smith: Leadership lessons for Scrum Masters

“Leaders make leaders of other people” is the phrase Darren shares with us to explain his view on what success is for a Scrum Master. By focusing on the team, and what they can do, Darren helps teams grow and become self-sufficient.

In this episode, we refer to Darren Smith’s The Naked Scrum Master blog, as well as the book Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A Walk In The Park

There are many formats that Darren likes to use. In this episode, he advocates the use of the “right” method for the retrospective, at the “right” time. Listen to the story of a team under pressure, and what Darren did to be able to help the team with his retrospective format.

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter.

Addo de Visser: 2 aspects of a successful Scrum Master

In this episode, we talk about how predictable teams are, and the impact that the “energy” in the team can have on their success. We review how you can use these two aspects to measure your success as a Scrum Master or Agile Coach.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: 2-truths and a lie

Addo prefers any format that is not the standard Went well/Didn’t work/To improve. He shares with us an exercise that will help the team members conect on a personal level, and develop the team dynamic at the same time. Two truths and a lie, is a simple exercise to, for example, start a new team off on the right foot.

About Addo de Visser

Addo is a good team player, has a broad experience in different roles (Agile Coach, Scrum Master). Trainer in Agile. He communicates very well within all levels of an organization. He is motivated by structuring, getting people to work together towards a common goal, and bridge the gap between Business and IT. 

Addo is the author of a book on Agile. Addo’s book in English: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”. Addo’s book in Dutch: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”.

Remember: the profit of the book goes completely to program for children in developing countries!

You can link with Addo de Visser on LinkedIn and connect with Addo de Visser on Twitter.

You can also visit Addo’s page on Cap Gemini Academy

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