Kathryn Tancos: Tweaking Retrospectives to help silent Agile teams speak up

Even when measuring our success can be difficult, we can define a set of questions that help us reflect and help teams. Kathryn shares some of those questions, as well as a “guideline” for our success as Scrum Masters. Listen in to learn about Kathryn’s success questions. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Tweaking Start/Stop/Continue to help teams that have a hard time speaking up

Kathryn likes to adapt the format to the team. Even when using simple formats, such as Start/Stop/Continue, Kathryn prefers to add some twists so that all team members participate actively. In this segment, Kathryn shares a story of a team that had a hard time speaking up, and what she did to help the team contribute actively in the retrospective. 

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 experience: 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 Kathryn Tancos

Kathryn is a certified Scrum Master focused on Agile transformations and helping teams build a better way of working. How did this Emmy Award-winning news producer become an avid Agilist? Through communication, curiosity, and collaboration, the pillars of successful Agile teams. Her goal is to inspire teams and organizational cultures to foster a sense of self-leadership throughout the transformation journey.

You can link with Kathryn Tancos on LinkedIn and connect with Kathryn Tancos on Twitter.

Rasmus Lund-Jensen: Helping Agile teams deliver, the success focus for Scrum Masters

Scrum Masters help others “do”, and because of that they are further away from the delivery work, making it hard to understand – sometimes – how we contribute to that delivery. Rasmus shares with us tips and questions to ask that helps us understand how we help teams deliver and succeed. 

In this segment, we refer to the Monday episode, where Rasmus talks about an Agile transformation story.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Setting up Conversations, a key Scrum Master skill

Although Rasmus shares with us a structured format, he starts by asking us to create moments of pure conversation with the team. Creating the conditions for conversations to happen on a regular basis is Rasmus’ favorite approach to Agile Retrospectives. The structure format he shares with us is the Sailboat Retrospective, which we’ve covered in the past from multiple perspectives

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 experience: 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 Rasmus Lund-Jensen

Rasmus is an agile coach and Scrum Master from Denmark. He is passionate about finding pragmatic ways for teams to reach their potential. He previously spent six years at the LEGO Group where he learned the power of bad jokes. If people are laughing, it means they are listening. 

You can link with Rasmus Lund-Jensen on LinkedIn and connect with Rasmus Lund-Jensen his website.

Maximilian Dazer: Agile team morale as an indicator of Scrum Master success

Team morale is Max’s focus when it comes to measuring his success as a Scrum Master. He asks a few specific questions which he describes in this episode, and then evaluates the team’s answer to a survey he sends the team members during the Sprint. Max also likes to use some flow metrics (e.g. Cycle time) to reflect on how the team is evolving, as well as help the team select the improvements to put in practice. 

In this episode, we refer to Cycle time, and Cycle time scatter plot.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Scrum Values Retrospective

Max prefers to prepare his retrospectives based on the events of the preceding Sprint. However, he has a format he likes to run with all of his teams, and even at regular intervals. The Scrum Values retrospective is about helping the team reflect on how they grow, and evolve as Agile teams by creating a conversation on how they want to apply the Scrum values as defined in the Scrum Guide.

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 experience: 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 Maximilian Dazer

Maximilian’s goal is to drive change from the bottom. For every team he creates a vision and tries to get them on board to pursue the change together. Maximilian wants to free people from the micromanagement-hell version of “scrum”.

You can link with Maximilian Dazer on LinkedIn.

Lucia Alarcon: Lean Coffee, the swiss army knife of Agile Retrospectives

When it comes to assessing her own success as a Scrum Master, Lucia uses the “health” metaphor to identify and measure critical aspects of a healthy team. In this episode, we talk about The Squad Health Check. The Squad Health Check was also described in these episodes. We also mention Radical Candor, as a feedback framework as well as Clean Language.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Lean Coffee, the swiss army knife of Agile Retrospectives

Lucia likes to try many formats, but there’s one format she often comes back to thanks to its power to spark creative, and insightful conversations. That format is the Lean Coffee Retrospective format, which focuses the team’s conversations instead of trying to cover too many things in a retrospective. In this segment, we also refer to the game Cards Against Humanity, which you can learn more about (and download) by listening to this episode with Ellen Santamaria.

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 experience: 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 Lucia Alarcon

Lucia is a Delivery Lead and a coach working in Wellington NZ, leading an amazing development squad to achieve the delivery of multiple digital initiatives using Agile, creating a culture of empowerment, collaboration and communication. With 15+ years of experience, her professional (and personal!) journey has taken her through a variety of organizations and halfway around the world from Argentina. Lucia loves all things Agile, facilitation and coaching. 

You can link with Lucia Alarcon on LinkedIn and connect with Lucia Alarcon on Instagram

Madhuri Korapati: Team building exercises for Agile Retrospectives

Madhuri starts by sharing her vision for a great Agile team, and then lists some of the questions she asks herself, as well as the team to help gage her own success as a Scrum Master. We also talk about how “work in progress limits” can help teams move quickly towards self-organization.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Great team building retrospectives

Madhuri starts by sharing with us that she prefers to use a different format every time, however, she also shares some of the formats she uses when starting off with a new team. We talk about the “Two truths and a lie” exercise, that helps team members know more about each other, and the “Candy Love” Agile retrospective format which helps create a positive atmosphere in 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 experience: 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 Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Kevin Pedersen: How to define Success metrics for Scrum Masters working with Agile teams

Success is not easy to measure for Scrum Masters. If you ask a manager, you will get a different set of metrics, than if you ask the team, or even other stakeholders. Kevin shares with us how to look for the right metrics with the people you work with: managers, team, product owner, and others. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Conversation focused formats to try in your team

Kevin is a fan of trying a new format for every retrospective he facilitates. However, there’s a common thread among all of those formats he shares: to help teams have great and insightful conversations. In this segment, we refer to Mad/Sad/Glad, The 4 L’s, Lean Coffee and how bringing the team outside the office can generate great conversations. 

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 experience: 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 Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile’s vision ‘to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work’.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter

Mariana Trigo: Icebreakers as boosters for great Agile retrospectives

Looking at how the team executes the process is one of the key aspects that defines the impact and success of the Scrum Master. However, there’s a lot more than process that we should take into account. In this segment, we also discuss the importance of adapting our definition of success to the company we are working with.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The difference an icebreaker makes

When we start a retrospective, we have the challenge to get the team’s attention and focus. Mariana shares how she found and started using icebreaker activities to both address the team-jelling goal, as well as shape the mood for the retrospectives. 

In this segment, we talk about a list of icebreaker activities, which you can get here from the Collaboration Superpower’s website, and we also discuss the use of the Lean Coffee format in the retrospectives.

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 experience: 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 Mariana Trigo

Mariana’s path from Biology to Retail to IT, is a unique path in the search for purpose and the feeling of belonging. Helping development teams to reach their full potential by improving processes and people. Her favorite time is retrospective time, probably connected with her need to constantly get out of her comfort zone. 

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

Tanzil Choudhury: A fresh new look at the Sailboat Agile Retrospective

Tanzil’s definition of success has evolved over time, and revolves around assessing and acting on the idea that companies and teams should be moving “forward” continuously in their Agile journey. 

We dive into some of the questions that Tanzil asks to assess if the teams are able to learn and advance in their journey. We also introduce the concept of “cultural hangover”, which Tanzil uses to describe one of the problems he wants to remove in the teams he works with.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A fresh new look at the Sailboat Retrospective

Tanzil’s retrospective format of choice is the Sailboat retrospective (featured often here on the podcast), but he uses that in a specific way. For Tanzil, the Sailboat retrospective can be a great Futurespective, focusing the team on the future to define their vision. He then uses the Lean Coffee format to discuss the times that come up in the retrospective. 

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 experience: 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 Tanzil Choudhury

Tanzil is a passionate Agilist focused on coaching individuals, teams and organizations towards the Agile transformation journey. Specialized in working with teams and organizations to help them overcome cultural hangovers. 

You can link with Tanzil Choudhury on LinkedIn.

Alex Gbaguidi: Crafting purpose to reach success as an Agile Coach or Scrum Master

Are your teams smiling? That’s one of the questions Alex suggests we ask ourselves. Alex shares some more questions we should go through when evaluating our success as Scrum Masters. However, those tools only help you assess if you need to go back to a core aspect of Scrum and Agile: discussing the purpose of our work. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Lean Coffee, the conversation facilitator

There are many formats we can use with the teams we help. Each team, and each situation may need a different format. However, Alex suggests that there’s a good format to get started with a new team: Lean Coffee. 

In this segment, we also refer to the Retrospective Poker Cards, that can help you be inspired to choose your next retrospective format.

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 experience: 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 Alex Gbaguidi

Alex is an experienced agile practitioner, coach and trainer with twenty years of experience in IT consulting. He is passionate about helping teams discover the best ways of working adapted to their context. He’s worked in many different types of industries (Telecoms, Energy, Finance or Aeronautics) and provides training on many agile frameworks and practices all around the world in French & English.

You can link with Alex Gbaguidi on LinkedIn and connect with Alex Gbaguidi on Twitter

You can join Alex Gbaguidi’s Agile Africa community

Gonçalo Valverde: A list of questions for Scrum Master self-evaluation

What are some of the questions we can ask ourselves to evaluate our work? Gonçalo shares some of the questions he asks himself, and we discuss how critical it is to evaluate the relationship between the team and the Product Owner.

In this segment, we refer to #NoEstimates, a topic we’ve covered before here on the podcast

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The small add-ons that make retrospectives awesome

There are many ways to facilitate great retrospectives. The format of the retro will influence the success of the retro, but so will the small exercises we use for check-in or check-out. In this segment, we introduce shared visual board like Jamboard or Mural, the use of breakout rooms, Liberating Structures, Kudos, the Core Protocols (which have been featured on the podcast before) and small add-ons that make retrospectives awesome for the team!

In this segment, we also refer to the episodes recorded with Dov Tsal

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 experience: 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 Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter.

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