Susan McIntosh on how to develop high-performing teams

Our role as Scrum Masters is to help teams develop. Specifically, we need to help them become high-performing. Accomplish their mission in a way that they can be proud of. But how do we get there? How do we help teams develop that level of competence and action? In this episode we review how we can help teams grow and develop. We also discuss the tools we can use to help teams reach a high-level of performance.

Featured Retrospective format: The Starfish Exercise

For those moments when Start/Stop/Continue is not enough. The Starfish exercise can also think about what you want to do more of (amplify) and the things you need to continue to do, but may need to reduce (dampen). Check this episode for the detailed facilitation ideas.

About Susan McIntosh

Susan McIntosh is an agile coach and scrum master, especially interested in training and agile transformations – both fast and slow. She finds analogies to improving workplace culture in her experience in theater, teaching, cooking, and parenting. Susan is an active participant in the agile community in Denver, Colorado.

You can link with Susan McIntosh on LinkedIn and connect with Susan McIntosh on Twitter.

Sebastian Hitzler on how to detect true self-organization

The “obsolete” Scrum Master is a definition of success that many of our guests have described in the past: the Scrum Master isn’t needed anymore. But Sebastian has a different take on it. And he also shares concrete tips on how to assess if a team has indeed out-grown their Scrum Master.


Featured Retrospective format: Sad/Neutral/Happy

In this episode we review Sebastian’s go-to retrospective format when working with the teams he supports. Listen in to learn how he runs this quick, yet effective retrospective format.

About Sebastian Hitzler

Sebastian works as a dedicated Scrum Master for two delivery teams at Fidor Solutions in Munich. The team members are from 10 different countries and spread into 3 different locations in Germany, Spain and Ukraine. Fidor enables clients to become digital banks based on their ecosystem. Sebastian also works with the wider organisation to help them transform with lean and agile.

You can link with Sebastian Hitzler on LinkedIn and connect with Sebastian Hitzler on XING.

Barry Overeem: How to enable and foster self-organization

What is success for a Scrum Master? This is the #1 question Barry gets in his trainings. In this episode we talk about his answer to that question and how we can enable one of they key patterns in Scrum: team self-organization.

Barry shares his own success checklist so that you can use it yourself and assess your path to success.

About Barry Overeem

Barry, the learning facilitator as he calls his blog, considers himself a 100% Scrum Master. It’s such a comprehensive and interesting role that he gives it his full focus and keeps learning and discovering new aspects every day!

You can link with Barry Overeem on LinkedIn and connect with Barry Overeem on Twitter.

You can also check the many resources that Barry Overeem shares on his website!

Joe Anderson on using Retrospectives for self-development as well as team development

As Scrum Masters we are intimately familiar with Retrospectives. We plan, organize and facilitate retrospectives for our team members and even larger chunks of the organization. But when was the last time you did your own personal retrospective? Leading by example is a concrete path for success so do the same things you ask the team to do. In this episode we discuss concrete examples of “leading by example” with Joe Anderson.


Retrospective format of the week

Joe Anderson recommends the Movie Review retrospective.

  1. Ask the team to think of a movie that illustrates what happened in the previous sprint
  2. Ask each team member to review the Sprint as if it was a movie
  3. List down the “ups” and “downs” with the team member speaking
  4. Dot-vote to select the concrete focus for the next Sprint
  5. Help the team decide on a concrete action to tackle the key topic they identified in the retrospective

About Joe Anderson

Joe is a Scrum Master at a small travel technology company with a passion for bringing out the best in people and building deep relationships. He works hard to foster an environment of safety, fun and learning with a focus on relentless improvement.

You can link with Joe Anderson on LinkedIn and connect with Joe Anderson on Twitter.

Arif Bobat: Flirt the breaking point for breakthrough results!

We want to help teams and organizations succeed. This is the focus of our work as Scrum Masters. But here’s the thing, sometimes the team needs to risk failure to go beyond the established patterns of behavior. In this episode, Arif explains the role of discomfort in the growth of the team and the Scrum Master, as well how to avoid going beyond the breaking point.

In this episode, we discuss the technique of “Role Playing” as a method to help the team understand their own behaviors.

About Arif Bobat

Arif is an experienced Scrum Master with a passion for enabling teams to achieve their potential, Arif loves challenging situations. In the last 5 years, he has been made redundant twice and fired twice. He is not afraid of speaking up when he sees anti-patterns and/or a lack of willingness to change behaviors.

You can link with Arif Bobat on LinkedIn and connect with Arif Bobat on Twitter.

Donald Ewart the 3 steps to mastery for Scrum teams

Donald traces a path for the teams he works with. This path helps him assess his own success and helps him focus on the next steps that the teams need to go through.

In this episode we discuss leadership, and recommend the book Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet (David Marquet has been a guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast before). We also talk about Powerful Questions, as a tool that helps us, Scrum Masters, spark the right kind of conversions with our colleagues.

About Donald Ewart

For more than 10 years, Don has been a scrum master and coach working in different sectors in London and across the UK as an independent consultant.

With a background of 10+ years in several development roles for web and finance systems, Donald has a good technical knowledge of modern development techniques, and can quickly build rapport and respect with development teams, understanding their issues and helping them to find the right solutions.

You can link with Donald Ewart on LinkedIn and connect with Donald Ewart on Twitter. You can also find out more about Donald’s work on his website.

Venetia Foo on how to get teams to solve their own problems

Scrum Masters are seen as problem solvers. But is it really what they are there to do? Venetia challenges us to think about how we can help the teams take over the problem solving process themselves. How can we do it? How can we motivate teams to “own” the solving of their problems?

These are some of the questions we tackle on this episode where we share many tools for you to help your team own their problem solving process!

About Venetia Foo

Venetia has been on her agile journey since 2007 and has been a witness to the best and to the worst of it. She is passionate about learning and continuous improvement. She uses a variety of skills to empower and enable teams to perform at their best.

You can link with Venetia Foo on LinkedIn and connect with Venetia Foo on Twitter.

Jac Hughes suggests that we consider people over metrics when measuring success

Jac starts by sharing his value that orients the definition of success: People over Metrics. That is, while metrics are important, we must always consider the people first, not the metrics. Jac describes some of the symptoms of a successful outcome from our Scrum Master work and shares with us some of the tools he uses to help him get to that successful outcome.

About Jac Hughes

Jac is a scrum master who has a passion to help teams become empowered, autonomous but most importantly productive. Jac has served 7 years in the Royal Navy before moving into the world of IT.

You can link with Jac Hughes on LinkedIn.  

Balazs Tatár on the daily implications of our definition of success

When we define success for ourselves we are affecting how we see the work we do. Balazs challenges us to take things step-by-step and define success at the daily level. And only then move on to the work the team does and we do. Finally we should focus on how the team themselves succeed at achieving their goals. Success has many different layers and all of those have a daily implication. Listen in to hear the examples that Balazs shares about how he takes higher level definitions of success to the daily level in the work he does with teams.

About Balazs Tatár

Balazs is a technical project manager, working for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Currently he plays the Scrum Master role in a support team of one of the biggest web project at the European Commission. He is a former technical lead and fan of open source technologies.

You can link with Balazs Tátár on LinkedIn and connect with Balazs Tátár on Twitter.

Samantha Webb on the critical importance of retrospectives

When it comes to defining success, Samantha shares with us a moving story that starts with a piece of feedback she once received from one of her team members. That’s what success looks like. But how do we get there? Samantha shares how she uses the retrospectives as the engine of learning for teams. And as a tool to help ground the teams in the core ideas of their agile journey, so that they can get back to basics when necessary.

In this episode we discuss Agile Retrospective ideas, as well as Samantha’s retrospective format that helps Scrum Masters grow the agile adoption in their teams.  

About Samantha Webb

Samantha is a Scrum Master based in London where she works with clients in a number of different industries. In her spare time she is a game writer and designer and uses Scrum to work on game projects.

You can link with Samantha Webb on LinkedIn and connect with Samantha Webb on Twitter.