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 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

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: 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

Felix Handler: 4 questions Scrum Masters can reflect on to evaluate their success

Each Scrum Master should spend some time reflecting on their work, and its impact. Felix likes 4 questions that he asks regularly to understand the impact of his work.

He also shares some tips to check if the team is evolving and trusting each other.

Retrospective format of the week: the Starfish retrospective

Similar to the good/bad or keep/drop formats, the Starfish retrospective also focuses on some categories of problems/work. However, it does so in a more subtle way. As Felix describes it, it allows for more space to be creative because of some ambiguous categories like “What should we start doing?”

About Felix Handler

Felix likes to bring out the best in as many people as possible by providing an environment in which people can sustainably thrive. After his Bachelor in Computer Science he wanted to develop people rather than software. He also is part of, a movement for inspiring people.

You can link with Felix Handler on XING and connect with Felix Handler on Twitter.

Leonardo Bittencourt: 3 questions, and many tips on how to be a successful Scrum Master

Leonardo shares with us 3 questions he asks himself when thinking about what defines success for him in his Scrum Master role. During this episode he also shares with us some of the tips he’s collected along the way, and help him tackle the challenges he sees in his work.

Featured Retrospective format for the week: PopcornFlow

PopcornFlow is a method by Claudio Perrone, that helps us be deliberate with our experimental approach. That method can also be used to structure our retrospectives. Read more about PopcornFlow.

Leonardo also shares with us some important resources: The Agile Retrospectives book by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby, and the always useful website.

About Leonardo Bittencourt

Currently Leonardo is a Scrum Master at Equifax Ireland. Focused on building high performance teams through Agile and/or Lean adoption, he is an enthusiastic about Lean and Agile mindset in the Software Development industry as the transformation agent to create great working environment as well as products that matters.

You can link with Leonardo Bittencourt on LinkedIn and connect with Leonardo Bittencourt on Twitter.


Ryan McCann: Scrum Master success is a people puzzle

When we start our roles, we often (and rightly so) focused on the process. How to get people to understand and benefit from the power of Scrum. This focus on process may seem counterproductive because, after all, our success depends on the success of the people around us. But is it? Listen in to learn how Ryan uses his process experience to build trust with the team, which he later on turns into a critical ingredient for his own success as a Scrum Master

Featured Retrospective format for the week: “Proud, thankful, learned”

Ryan breaks the rules once more by introducing, not one, but 2 retrospective formats that empower the team to find, and focus on the most important improvements for them.

The first format is “Proud, thankful, learned”. Three simple headings that help the team focus on, and amplify the positive things that happened during a Sprint. Consider also using this (in a shorter version) as a check-in exercise.

The second format is “Lean Coffee”. A simple way to generate and prioritize possible improvement items.

About Ryan McCann

Ryan is a former waiter, car detailer, line worker, cemetery worker, intern, financial analyst, tech support rep, team lead, QA manager, Scrum Master and Product Owner. Current husband, father, school board member, community volunteer and agile coach. He believes in building trust and social capital, which is not easy for any of us (himself included)…Ryan does his best everyday to help teams make this happen.

You can link with Ryan McCann on LinkedIn and vist Ryan McCann’s website at: