We hear it often: success is when the Scrum Master is no longer needed. Is it though? In this episode we explore what the Scrum Master responsibility is when the team starts “flowing”. The role of the Scrum Master is not restricted to dynamics of the team, it also includes the collaboration aspects with the rest of the organization, and many other “enabling” factors.
Listen in to learn about Darryl’s experience.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Lean Coffee Format
In this episode we talk about a Retrospective format called Lean Coffee, a format that focuses on surfacing and tackling the issues that teams want to focus on. It’s a great format to host without much preparation, as the team comes up with their own ideas and prioritizes the topics to discuss, having the timeboxed conversations drive them to the actions they want to take during the next sprint to improve their work. In this episode we also mention the Starfish retrospective format.
About Darryl Sherborne
Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Ice Breaker challenge
Instead of focusing on one single format, Joanna inspires us to look at the “ice breaker” exercises we use and seek new ones. After listening to this episode, I’m sure you will want to try several different ice breakers for your next retrospectives!
About Joanna Koprowicz
Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.
“Don’t get frustrated, progress takes time”, that’s a line Max wants you to remember when you start looking into more detail to what it means to be successful as a Scrum Master.
Set aside a time, and follow Max’s approach to evaluating your progress, as well as the team’s progress. In this episode we discuss some of the aspects you may want to consider when evaluating your work, and success as Scrum Master.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Identify Boring Stories
This Retrospective format helps the team find the not-so-obvious problems that they often face when implementing stories. By identifying boring stories they are finding problems in collaboration as well as the enabling practices that are missing, and would make work more fun if they were there.
About Maximilian Fritzsche
Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: “Keep moving forward” – his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”
Scrum Master is a relatively new role, Scrum itself started the rise to popularity in the early 2000’s. That means that, as Scrum Masters, we are performing a relatively undefined role.
Abbas suggests that, as part of our understanding and definition for success we should ask a few questions that help define the role for us and the organization we work with.
Abbas suggests we consider the role from 3 different perspectives: The tactical side; the strategic side; and the culture side.
Listen in to learn more about what each of these perspectives entails.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: MAD/SAD/GLAD retrospective and other techniques
The MAD/SAD/GLAD exercise is a simple approach to cover the different aspects of the previous sprint in a way that elicits emotional thinking. The emotions we have towards the sprint events will help elicit problems, as well as achievements the team experienced during the Sprint.
During the retrospective discussion we also mention other simple, yet powerful techniques that you can use when planning your next retrospective.
About Abbas Ghahremani
Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!
He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.
The second is the use of retrospectives as a coaching opportunity for Scrum Masters. In this episode Andrew describes his approach and experience with the coaching retrospectives.
About Andrew Hudson
Andy is a Scrum Master within the Media industry. He’s passionate about making work a motivating, enjoyable and empowering place to be. He wants to help teams and individuals reach their full potential and believes developing the right vision and mindset is more valuable to effective teams than any process or framework.
Scrum Master success is the visible outcome when team members are performing. The role of the Scrum Master is therefore, at least in part, to help team members grow and improve their approach to work, and collaboration. In this episode we discuss the signs that team members may be ready for a jump in performance, and how to support their growth.
Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: #NoFormat
Scrum Masters that have tried many formats in their Retrospectives may grow tired of the structure that the default Agile Retrospectives book recommended back when Retrospectives were “new”. Gilberto eventually got tired of that approach and created a new approach to retrospectives. Listen in to learn about how an experienced Scrum Master now oragnizes his Retrospectives alone or with the help of team members.
About Gilberto Urueta
Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.
Retrospectives are a critical tool for the Scrum Master. How we use them, how we treat the information from them is critical for our success. In this episode we explore how we can approach retrospectives from our Scrum Master’s role point of view.
Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Hot Air Balloon
The Hot Air Balloon is one of the many metaphor-focused retrospective formats. These formats help the teams talk about the real problems without the pressure of being exact or literal in their descriptions. “It felt as if we had too much ballast”, can be the conversation starter that leads to finding previously undiscussed (and undiscussable?) blockers for the team.
About Zeshan Ilyas
With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.
Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.
As Scrum Masters it is easy to get focused on the team or the organization. However, the customer is the reason for the work we do. In this episode we discuss some of the metrics or questions we can use to assess our success as Scrum Masters. A special focus on the customer is part of the mix!
Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Constellation exercise
The Constellation Retrospective starts with the team standing in a circle, then the facilitator asks a question with a yes/no or agree/disagree answer, and the team moves away from the center of the circle if they say “no” or disagree, and move towards the center if they say “yes” or agree. This exercise allows the teams to see where each team member stands, and helps recognize possible differences that need to be addressed. David also shares a tip on how to make these retrospectives deliver anonymous information that is useful for the Scrum Master but can avoid unnecessary conflict.
About David Spinks
David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.
When we are knee deep in our role as Scrum Masters, we often forget that all success is a function of how we, and the team, and the organization evolve over time.
Jem suggests we should look at what has changed over time to assess our success as Scrum Masters. He also suggests some specific “metrics” you can take into account to measure team and organizational evolution over time.
Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Constellation Game
In the Constellation Game, the goal is to get the whole team to express their views on a specific topic. And because it involves physical movement, rather than just talking it is also a great way to get new team members introduced to the team in a safe atmosphere. Finally, it allows the whole team to see where all other team members are relative to a specific topic.
About Jem D’jelal
Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking 🙂 In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion – helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic”, having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.
A recurring approach to self-evaluation is to define aspects or categories that we should evaluate on a regular basis. Andreas shares his 5 categories, and how he focuses on the reflection and improvement cycle as a Scrum Master. The key message however, is: accept that sometimes – maybe even most of the time – you will progress through baby steps!
Featured Retrospective format of the Week: Lean Coffee
Lean Coffee is a format that allows the team to cover many issues in a short period of time. In this episode we also discuss check-in exercises.
About Andreas Plattner
Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.