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.

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 12min.me, 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 FunRetrospectives.com 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: MaybeMyDesk.com.

Natalie Cervantes on working with distributed teams

Looking at the outcomes from previous retrospectives, and what has been achieved so far based on those retrospectives, is a good way to assess our impact on the way the team works. This is only one of the methods Natalie uses to assess her success as a Scrum Masters. In this episode we also review some tools Natalie has learned to use in a distributed team environment.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: GOOD / IMPROVE / LOOK BACK

This week we look at a retrospective format that helps us re-evaluate what we achieved from previous retrospectives. Natalie asks us to focus on the positive (what works), what we want to do better (what to improve) and also to look at previous retrospectives to review the achievements to far.

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Tanner Wortham on the Scrum Masters as a conversation facilitator

How many conversations have you helped start as a Scrum Masters. Have you helped the team tackle the problems in a collaborative manner? And what kind of culture do you drive in your team?

These are some of the questions Tanner asks of himself when assessing his impact as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn how he evaluates his performance, and helps teams start and benefit from the conversations they have.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: Creating a container for the team to have a conversation

Tanner challenges us to think of the role of the Scrum Master as a creator of conversations. In this conversation about the role of retrospectives we explore what our role is as a Scrum Master; how that helps the teams; how to measure the outcome of our work in facilitating retrospectives.

About Tanner Wortham

www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Miguel Santos uses metrics to define and reach success as a Scrum Master

Miguel shares with us his approach to define and reach a successful outcome of his work. We explore the role of metrics in defining what we should focus on and improve. After all, without data to backup your ideas, you are just another person with an opinion.

Featured Retrospective format for the week: Start-Stop-Continue

When looking at what to improve, what to amplify in our teams, the start-stop-continue retrospective format helps the team identify not only what they want to change or improve, but also those things that are working well. When we find what is working well, we can then amplify that. Select items from the Continue section of the retrospective and ask: how can we benefit even more from this technique?

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

You can link with Miguel Santos on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Santos on Twitter.


Richard Kasperowski on how to “turn up the good” to help teams succeed

Richard’s perspective is that our Scrum Master success is directly linked to the success of our teams. That much we can all agree. But how do we get there? We discuss the perspective that we need, as Scrum Masters, to help our teams achieve a successful outcome.

In this episde we discuss the “Turn up the good”, an Agile Maxim by Woody Zuill (Check out this interview with Woody Zuill for the details) as the directive for constant change, and improvement in our work with teams.

One possible tool to use when helping teams focus on the good things, and how to improve them further, is the practice of distributing Kudo Cards from Management 3.0.

Retrospective format of the week: The Perfection Game

The Perfection Game is also one of the Core Protocols that help teams focus on improvements, rather than what is not working in their teams. The process is:

  1. Rate your team from 1 to 10, where 10 is best
  2. Say what you like about the team at the moment
  3. Describe what would be needed to get you to rate it as a 10

About Richard Kasperowski

Richard is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author focused on high-performance teams. Richard is the author of The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness. He leads clients in building great teams that get great results using the Core Protocols, Agile, and Open Space Technology. Richard created and teaches the class Agile Software Development at Harvard University. Learn more and subscribe to Richard’s newsletter at

You can link with Richard Kasperowski on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Kasperowski on Twitter.

Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo recommends: measure and visualize everything!

At the start of her journey, Krisztina did not measure success. Later she started measuring many things and making those metrics visible. Over time, she realized that the team benefited from that information and she was also able to assess her own impact on the team. Listen in to learn how Krisztina started using the metrics for her, and her team’s success.


Retrospective format of the week: Simple, yet effective format and a special tip

Good facilitation is a major part of a good Retrospective. This week Krisztina introduces the Scrum Games format for the Retrospective, and shares a very special tip that makes Retrospectives the best moments of the Sprint for the team.


About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects of IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary, she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Viyoma Sachdeva: The “How” is more important than the “How Much”

When defining success we often look for metrics that help us assess the progress of the team. That’s ok, but are you looking at the “how”? How is the team achieving that success is also important? So Viyoma asks 4 different questions that help us ensure that not only are we getting the “measurable” success, but we are also helping the team find their “sustainable pace”.

Retrospective format: 3 questions with written answers

Viyoma’s go-to retrospective format is simple enough. But she uses a practice that helps the team members reflect ahead of the retrospective: write the answers down ahead of the retrospective session. This helps the team reflect with more impact, and come up with solutions that are developed over time, not just the last-minute ideas that many retrospectives end up producing.

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner and has worked in an Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing, retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.