Donna Marie Lee: Is the team facilitating their Scrum ceremonies when the Scrum Master is away?

A quick way to check if our work as Scrum Masters is having the needed impact is to check if the team is still hosting the Scrum Retrospectives when we are away. If that’s the case, then it is likely that the Scrum Master has done a fairly good work. In this episode, we discuss this and other approaches Scrum Masters can use to assess their contribution to the team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retro Beers

When we think of retrospectives we typically think of a meeting room, people sitting down (or standing) and executing some prepared exercises over the course of the meeting. But that’s not what a retrospective is about. It’s simply a possible format. In this episode, we discuss the 5 stages of retrospectives and how those can be implemented in many different ways.

In this episode, we refer to Retromat, a useful resource to help you plan your retrospective.

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

You can link with Donna Marie Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Donna Marie Lee on Twitter.

Daniel Heinen: a simple Success definition for us as Scrum Masters

There are many possible answers to the question: “what does Success mean for you as a Scrum Master”. And some of those answers can be very detailed and in-depth. But that’s not the only way to look at our success as Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we discuss a simple definition of success. Listen in to learn more about that simple definition, and see how that can help you improve your own work as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Weather Report check-in

The Weather Report retrospective format is a metaphor-based format that helps the team highlight the “clouds” or “storms” they faced in the previous sprints.

You  use this exercise as a check-in (with a short phrase or two from each team member), or as a starter for a deeper conversation about what we might want to do differently in the next Sprint.

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

David Denham on how Scrum Masters can overcome the Impostor Syndrome

Scrum Masters can easily feel the Impostor Syndrome. After all, we are there to help a team, that usually works with a technology we don’t fully understand, and develops a product for a business we might not be familiar with. How can we them overcome the Impostor Syndrome? David suggests that we should focus on a set of simple questions that guide our actions. These questions help us focus on the core role of the Scrum Master, and help us acknowledge our strong points and main responsibilities as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Using metaphors to help generate creative ideas

There are many metaphor formats for retrospectives. The Speed Boat Retrospective, the Amazon Product retrospective, the Sailboat Retro, the Hot-air Baloon Retro, etc. All of these formats help the team be creative about finding the impediments they want to focus on. It helps the team get out of their day-to-day scenarios and think deeper about the issues they want to tackle. Metaphors also help the teams discuss problems that they would otherwise hesitate addressing.

About David Denham

David Denham works as a Scrum Master in Workday in Dublin and is one of the leaders of the Agile-Lean Ireland community and co-organiser of the ALI conference. He previously worked as a UX lead and believes in the power of Product delivery teams being involved in Product Discovery, through practicing Design Sprints. He practices failure every single day by attempting to use his agile coaching skills with his 2 small daughters!

You can link with David Denham on LinkedIn and connect with David Denham on Twitter.

David Sabine on the core job of the Scrum Master

When thinking about what success means for Scrum Masters, David follows the ideas in the Scrum Guide. We reflect on the Scrum Artifacts, and how the Scrum Master’s job can be summarized as increasing transparency of the Scrum Artifacts.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Lean Coffee

In The Lean Coffee, a group of people select a set of topics they want to discuss, then prioritize those topics and discuss them one-by-one, ending with an action or conclusion for each item. For David, this is a technique that helps the team be fully focused on the discussion at hand. It can be a fast-paced conversation (set a shorter time-box) or a leisure-pace conversation (longer time-box) depending on how much time you have available.

About David Sabine

David is a Scrum trainer and an advisor to software development organizations. He is in demand among Canada’s largest enterprises including Scotiabank, Sun Life Financial, and Canada’s Federal Government. He formerly worked with DigitalOcean and, among others. He’s been helping people with the ways they use Scrum since 2007.

You can link with David Sabine on LinkedIn and connect with David Sabine on Twitter.

Silvana Wasitova on How Scrum Masters can Observe Team Members Over Time to Assess Success

As Scrum Masters, we must regularly reflect on the impact of our work. For that, Silvana suggests a few lagging indicators that can help us find out about our impact, and success as Scrum Masters. Looking and reflecting on team members change over time can help us assess and improve our work as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Starfish

Silvana finds that many different possible formats can fit the teams we work with. She shares a resource (Retromat.Org) that helps us find ideas for new formats/exercises, and suggests a format that you can use this week: The Starfish Retrospective format.

About Silvana Wasitova

Silvana Wasitova, Enterprise Agile Coach, helps teams and companies achieve better results through applying and living Agile values and principles. Scrum practitioner since 2005. Silvana lives and breathes the agile value of “People over Process”, and brings that to the forefront of her coaching work with teams and companies, while focused on the client’s audacious goals and desired results. Silvana has aided multinational enterprise Agile transformations in United States, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Indonesia and Switzerland with clients including Yahoo, Nestle, Skype, Microsoft, financial enterprises as well as startups.

You can link with Silvana Wasitova on LinkedIn and connect with Silvana Wasitova on Twitter.

Paulo Rebelo Shares 2 Critical Aspects for our Success as Scrum Masters

In this episode, we explore 2 aspects of our success as Scrum Masters that Paulo developed in his career. These are simple aspects of success that, if we pay attention, can directly improve how we reflect on our work, and help us find better ways to help our teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Happiness Radar

Sometimes we need to help the team find the improvements that are not obvious. In this episode, Paulo shares a retrospective format that focuses on helping the team find the problems that affect their well-being, and how that can help find improvement ideas. This week The Happiness Radar is our featured retrospective format.

About Paulo Rebelo

Paulo Rebelo helps companies to improve using agile and lean principles like Scrum, XP, and Kanban. He currently works at Blackhawk Network in the U.S., helping teams succeed by building great products. His background is a developer, Scrum Master, product owner, project manager, and coach. Paulo is a CSP, CSPO and a CSM from the Scrum Alliance and PMP from the PMI.

You can link with Paulo Rebelo on LinkedIn and connect with Paulo Rebelo on Twitter.

Elizabeth Christensen on The Need to Adapt Scrum to non-SW teams

When supporting a team with the adoption of Scrum, Liz had to consider what the goals of the team were. For that team, success was simply staying at the same level of performance. In this process Liz learned an important lesson about success for Scrum Masters: not all teams have the same definition of success, and we must be aware of what the team mates, how they contribute and accept that Scrum might not work out-of-the-box for all teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Worked well / Didn’t work well / Continue / Goals for next Iteration

When defining the format for the “next” retrospective it is easy to get lost in the many, many options that are out there. In this episode Liz explains why she prefers a format that is familiar, simple and consistent (Worked well / Didn’t work well / Continue / Goals for next Iteration Retrospective Format). We also talk about one of the most important rules: what is discussed in the retro, stays in the retro!

About Elizabeth Christensen

Elizabeth Christensen shares tales from the not-so-cutting-edge, bringing Scrum to Marketing. She is currently developing scrum practices for a marketing team. With a background in business management & team leadership this self-proclaimed scrappy new Scrum Master finds her way in a never-before-experienced opportunity.

You can link with Elizabeth Christensen on LinkedIn.

Kyle Aretae on the success metrics that help Scrum Masters improve

In this episode, Kyle contributes some of his thoughts on metrics, and how they can help Scrum Masters measure their own, and the team’s success. This reflection has led him to define a set of metrics to assess the Agility in a team. Listen in to learn about the metrics that Kyle defines as the success barometer for him as Scrum Master, as well as for the team.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: Repeatable and focusing on positive energy

When Kyle reaches for his favorite retrospective formats he wants one that he is familiar with, and that improves the positive energy in the team. In the retrospective, as well as in other Scrum ceremonies he facilitates he asks 3 questions designed to assess how well that particular instance of the ceremony delivered value. Listen in to learn what are Kyle’s 3 questions.

About Kyle Aretae

Kyle has been programming since ’81. Teaching since ’91. Practicing Agile (Extreme Programming – XP) since 2000. Kyle is always interested first in better ways to understand things and systems. Especially interested in Complex (CAS/VUCA) Systems like building software or the economy at large.

You can find Kyle Areate at, or link with Kyle Areate on LinkedIn.

Faye Thompson on how the Scrum Master must focus on stakeholder happiness as a success measure

When we discuss the success of a Scrum Master, happiness is a word that often comes up. Is the customer happy? Is the team happy? Are some of the questions we must ask ourselves, and in this episode, Faye reviews how we can ask, collect the answer for and use those to help our work as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Single Word Retrospective

In the Single Word Retrospective, the team reflects on how one word impacts their way of working. In this episode, Faye shares one concrete example of what that could look like in practice.

About Faye Thompson

Faye calls herself a Scrum Master and agile coach, and she enjoys working with teams to solve cool business problems while not being jerks to one another.

You can link with Faye Thompson on LinkedIn and connect with Faye Thompson on Twitter.

Ilya Bibik: How Scrum Masters can detect when the team is ready to be self-sufficient

As we evolve our practice, we help the team be self-sufficient. Over time, the team will be able to handle most of the Scrum process itself. But how do we detect when the team is ready for that final step in their maturity? In this episode we talk about the signs Scrum Masters can look for to detect when the team is mature enough to be self-sufficient.

In this episode we refer to Ilya Bibik’s book: How to Kill the Scrum Monster.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Flexible Retro

When we focus on having the Retrospective as a “ceremony”, there’s a risk that it becomes just that: a ritual that has little impact. Ilya’s approach is different. In this episode we describes a very simple format, and how you can make retrospectives fun again. The Flexible Retrospective format.

About Ilya Bibik

Ilya has about 16 years experience in software development and more than 7 years experience in the Scrum Master role. On top of Software engineering, Ilya has also a background as a school teacher and military service that helps him with his Scrum Master role. Recently Ilya published a book “How to Kill the scrum Monster” that he wished he had read 8 years ago.

You can link with Ilya Bibik on LinkedIn and connect with Ilya Bibik on Twitter.