Kathy Andersen on FitRep, applying lessons from the Marines to following progress for teams

Kathy presents the FitRep, a performance evaluation system from the US Marines and how it inspired her to create a similar approach for measuring team progress and Scrum Master success. Kathy also shares with us the specific questions she looks at when thinking about her own role.

In this episode we discuss the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott, a book about the styles of communication and their impact.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: If you owned this company…

In this episode we talk about how to effectively prepare for retrospectives with the team, and we discuss one specific “prompt” for a retrospective. Prompts are powerful as they trigger different perspectives in the minds of the participants. In this episode we discuss the prompt: “If I owned this company I would: start / stop / continue”.

About Kathy Andersen

Kathy works as a Scrum Master with a team implementing a billing management system for a company called Hudl. Hudl is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and provides video review and performance analysis tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. Kathy took an uncommon route to the software world, and since then she has had the luck of working on a diverse set of projects and teams. You’ll find her speaking at conferences and participating in the agile community.

You can link with Kathy Andersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kathy Andersen on Twitter.


Umer Saeed on success as a Scrum Master and a Scrum team

When thinking about our success as Scrum Masters, Umer invites us to think about the success of the team as well. But not forgetting that, as Scrum Masters, we have a specific job to do with concrete questions to ask ourselves in order to assess our work and progress.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Fly High Retro

In the Fly High Retrospective we imagine the team is a Kite, and we want it to fly high. So we explore what are the obstacles (telephone lines, or tree branches), as well as the motivators (like wind) and explore – with the team – how to improve.

In this episode we also discuss the Starfish Retrospective and the “Well/ Not So Well / What different in next sprint” formats.

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

Jeff Maleski on Menlo Innovations and inspiring work

When Jeff discovered that Menlo Innovations (from the book Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan) was a drive away from his workplace, he got a few people together and started a journey that would change his view of how work should work. He decided that his work as a Scrum Master was about improving lives.

In this episode we refer to the TED talk by Shawn Anchor about The Happy Secret to Better Work.

Featured Retrospective format: The Sailboat Retrospective

In the sailboat retrospective we use a metaphor to help the team identify the goal, the obstacles (the rocks), the drags on the team performance (the anchor) and the things that push us forward (sailing wind). Through metaphor we help the team explore ideas that they would otherwise skip in a more structured retrospective.

About Jeff Maleski

Jeff is passionate about working with and building up both individuals and teams using ideas from Jurgen Appelo’s Management 3.0 and Dan Pink’s Drive. When leading project teams, Jeff strives for empirical based planning and forecasting, continuous learning, and delivering high quality software products that exceed expectations. Jeff believes in leading by actions and focusing on building relationships with others.

You can link with Jeff Maleski on LinkedIn.

Lucas Smith shares his 5 Scrum Master success benchmarks

The questions we ask from ourselves, and the team asks from themselves are critical to influence our behaviour and decisions. In this episode we explore 5 different aspects for a successful Scrum Master, and what Lucas has learned about them.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: The Starfish Retrospective

The Starfish format is popular, and we have discussed it here on the podcast. But Lucas brings an interesting twist: add a personal question to the retrospective to create a safer environment. Listen in to learn how Lucas applies that idea.

About Lucas Smith

Lucas has been a developer, manager, and agile coach and trainer with Boeing. Currently works a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and is the owner of LitheWorks. Lucas enjoys helping people and organizations improve the way they work to be more creative, effective, and efficient.

You can find Lucas Smith’s company at litheworks.com.

You can link with Lucas Smith on LinkedIn.

Michael Küsters: success for a Scrum Master is a mature team

The success of a Scrum Master can be seen in its outcome. When something happens. Michael shares with us his successful outcome: a mature team! Listen in to learn what that means for Michael and some of the ways he has been able to help teams mature.

Featured retrospective format of the week: Open conversation

Conversation can open up the biggest issues that the team has in mind. And sometimes a good, open conversation is the best way to get the team to open up. In this episode Michael shares his approach to organising and facilitating a retrospective around the concept of having an “open conversation”.

About Michael Küsters

Michael helps companies and people become more agile by providing coaching, training and consulting in agile frameworks, principles and mindset.

Michael has consulted for a wide range of companies from small start-up to international corporation, transforming teams, divisions and entire organizations. He is a seasoned veteran with Scrum, Kanban, XP, LeSS and SAFe, Lean and Six Sigma and harnesses this vast experience for his clients’ success.

Michael is a Thought Provoker helping organizations become more agile.

You can link with Michael Küsters on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Küsters on Twitter.

Jeff Bubolz on the importance of having the team measure their own success

Success is when a team has reached a point where they improve regularly, and perhaps don’t even need a Scrum Master present at every meeting, or facilitating every session with the team. When that happens it is time to move on to other topics. Is the team learning how to measure themselves and the flow of work? In this episode we talk about team self-measurement and how the team can learn from starting and maintaining their own dashboard.

In this episode we refer to the book Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts.

In this episode we refer to the team dashboard created by Troy Magennis of Focused Objective.

Featured retrospective format of the week: Have the team own the retro

Learning happens at the team level. The retrospectives are the key ceremony where that aspect of our work is most visible. In this episode we talk about the different phases of the retrospective and how get teams to own the retrospective.

We refer to the book Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen.

About Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.


Petr Holodňák on the importance of a shared goal to spark improvements

Our efforts to improve, and help the team improve are often focused on actions. Undoubtedly, we must focus on constant action that leads to improvement. But how do we get the teams to take initiative to improve, and collaborate with other stakeholders? In this episode, we review the importance of having a clear goal as the spark for the improvement cycle to start.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: Immediate Retro

Often we organize retrospectives at the end of the Sprint. But is that the best time to solve problems? It may be! But not always. So what to do when we need to act now? The Immediate Retro, of course! Petr explains his view of why the Immediate Retro is important, and how to go about it.

About Petr Holodňák

Petr has a small consulting company where he helps businesses overcome obstacles of ever-faster changing environment, growth problems, stale processes, poor performance, lacking company culture etc. Petr helps companies be more adaptable through empowering their people. Petr also does some pro-bono consulting. Recently for example for a Liberal/democratic school in Prague. His passion is introducing modern management (we can call that “Agile”) to “old school” businesses like heavy industry, manufacturing and so on. Petr wants to help build a brighter future! You can find Petr’s business at: www.cerebra.czYou can link with Petr Holodňák on LinkedIn.

Daniel Hooman: Learning as the metric for Scrum Master success

Agile is an approach to software development that is based on quick learning cycles: we do something, we check the results and then we learn from those results. This cycle (previously known as the PDSA/PDCA cycle) is about creating a learning loop that helps us develop the right product, with the right method, and continuously learning how to make that happen.

In this episode Daniel shares how he applies that same thinking to defining success for the work of a Scrum Master. In this episode we refer to Growth Hacking, and the concept of the One Metric that Matters, the metric that helps us find the learning opportunities.

Featured Retrospective format for the week: Daily Retrospective

Daniel suggest that we hold a quick retrospective every day instead of once per Sprint. Five minutes at the end of the day can help quickly solve some impediments, without having to wait for the end of the Sprint. He also suggests that we be very quantitative in our analysis. Listen in to learn a few examples that Daniel has applied in this work.


About Daniel Hooman

Agile coach from Scrum Data since 2010. Daniel comes from a strong Business intelligence background. He is passionate about large scale product development, organisational structure and culture, being idealistic pragmatist, framework agnostic.

You can link with Daniel Hooman on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Hooman on Twitter.

Chad Beier 5 steps to success Scrum Masters need to be aware of

Scrum Masters become a force for change over time. This “fate” we meet, sooner or later, requires us to be aware of different stages in our role. In this episode we discuss 5 steps that are critical in a Scrum Master’s journey according to Chad.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: The Thirty-Five

There are many retrospective formats that try to illustrate or visualize problems and opportunities. This week we talk about a completely different approach. A format named after the process of the retrospective. The Thirty-Five format for a retrospective is based on the idea that it is easier to prioritize when we compare only two items. This is a very cool format for quick group prioritization, where the prioritization naturally emerges from the discussion happening in the pairs. A great format for that difficult prioritization step that helps you choose the action to take this Sprint!

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.

Heidi Araya on 4 characteristics of successful teams

Heidi shares with us 4 characteristics she has identified in successful teams, the ultimate measure of our Scrum Master success.

We also talk about how retrospectives can be used to assess our own impact as Scrum Masters.

In this episode we mention a tool you can use to keep a finger on the happiness pulse of your team: BlogYourMood.com Do you have experience with that tool? Please share that below!

Retrospective format of the week: The Futurspective

In Futurspectives (for example: success criteria futurspective) we look at the future. We understand what it would look like to “succeed” and we backtrack, asking what got us there. Heidi suggest you use this format if you want the team to “step out” of the complaining cycle. We also discuss how to turn those Futurspectives into actionable output.

About Heidi Araya

Heidi is an Agile coach who has been working with remote teams since 1999. She aims to show teams and enterprises the value of a cohesive vision and mission, systems thinking, and self-organizing teams. An active member of the Agile community, she trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide.

You can link with Heidi Araya on LinkedIn and connect with Heidi Araya on Twitter.

You can join Heidi and other coaches every month for a virtual meetup at https://www.coachingagilejourneys.com.

Get The Booklet!
How to deliver on time and eliminate scope creep By scoping projects around outcomes and impacts, not requirements!
Get the Product Owner Booklet!
Avoid scope creep! And learn to scope projects around impacts and outcomes, not requirements!
Get These Valuable Lessons Today!
Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
Internal Conference
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works