Izis Filipaldi: The importance of action points as an Agile Retrospective outcome

As Scrum Masters, we aim to help teams progress in their ability to deliver value. However, it is important that we ask a few questions about the team behavior when reflecting on our own performance. We discuss some of the questions that Scrum Masters can ask to assess their own impact on the teams they serve.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Focusing on action points

Although Izis prefers to use the 3-question retrospective format, she tends to not follow that format strictly. In this segment, we also discuss the importance of having a strong focus on defining and following-up on the action points from retrospectives.

About Izis Filipaldi

Izis’ mission is to help people to improve their knowledge and professional value inside organizations, applying the agile way of working. She has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 7 years, helping people to deliver products, developing an environment free of judgments where they can fail fast and learn faster. Continuous improvement of: people knowledge, product delivery, and work environment, are her 3 main focus on work. And she loves what she does!

You can link with Izis Filipaldi on LinkedIn and connect with Izis Filipaldi on Twitter.

Izis Filipaldi: Scaling the Scrum Master role

Scaling the use of Scrum in any organization is not easy. In this episode, we discuss Izis approach to that challenge from the Scrum Master perspective. Scrum Masters in larger organizations end up having to work with multiple teams. We explore an approach that may help Scrum Masters serve more teams, while amplifying their impact. 

About Izis Filipaldi

Izis’ mission is to help people to improve their knowledge and professional value inside organizations, applying the agile way of working. She has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 7 years, helping people to deliver products, developing an environment free of judgments where they can fail fast and learn faster. Continuous improvement of: people knowledge, product delivery, and work environment, are her 3 main focus on work. And she loves what she does!

You can link with Izis Filipaldi on LinkedIn and connect with Izis Filipaldi on Twitter

BONUS: Does Agile play well in Leadership teams in organizations? – Diana Larsen and Jutta Eckstein

Diana and I were kicking around a few topics for this episode, and we ended up selecting “Agile and Leadership, friends or foes?” The idea is to talk about how Agile and Leadership play together (or not)

In this episode, we talk with Diana Larsen and Jutta Eckstein about what problems Leaders try to fix with Agile, what challenges they have when they try to adopt Agile, and we will do this with the focus on the Scrum Master role, and what they can do by working with the leaders of the organizations they work within.

Let’s start by defining some of the major challenges we see happening out there.

The 3 biggest challenges on how Agile plays (or not) with Leadership

Some of the challenges we mention in this episode are not new. You are probably familiar with many of them. We talk about how Agile requires us to think about leadership as a distributed responsibility that team members need to take on, which is itself a major challenge for Scrum Masters as they help their teams understand what that means in practice. 

We also discuss how important it is to understand that leadership is not simply a “role”, but also something we need to earn, including Scrum Masters.

Finally, we talk about the important role that leaders play for the teams they work with. Specifically in setting the direction that helps the teams adopt quicker processes like Hypothesis-Driven-Development, for example.

How Scrum Masters can cope with these challenges

We then discuss how Scrum Masters can understand, and learn to cope with these challenges. Not surprisingly, Agile Retrospectives come up as a critical tool for Scrum Masters to use when working with teams and their leaders. 

Regarding collaboration with leaders, we discuss how Scrum Masters can help teams focus on the right goals, which need to be defined in cooperation with leaders in the organization.

But there’s a second tool we discuss that complements perfectly the work we do with the retrospectives and helps the teams and leaders understand where they can contribute the most: visualization as a way to establish a shared context.

Do Scrum Masters really need to protect the team from their leaders? 

Stop me if you have heard this one before. Way back when I was taught that Scrum Masters need to protect the team from interference. Although it made sense to me at the time, with the passing of time, and after collecting more than a decade of experience, I have come to value a different approach. 

In this segment, we talk about the need (or not) to protect the team from Leadership interference. 

The goal, of course, is to generate a real collaboration between the team and the leaders in the organization.

The key resources on leadership and Scrum by Diana Larsen, Jutta Eckstein and Vasco Duarte

Given that leadership, and the collaboration between teams and leaders is a critical topic for Scrum Masters, we discuss some of the resources (books, podcasts, articles) we’ve found useful and informative on how to tackle that collaboration. 

Here are the resources we mention: 

 

How about you? What have been your major challenges when working with leaders in your organization? Leave a comment below and share the tools/books/podcasts you’ve found useful. 

About Diana Larsen and Jutta Eckstein

Diana Larsen co-founded and collaborates in leadership of Agile Fluency™ Project. Diana co-authored the books Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great; Liftoff: Start and Sustain Successful Agile Teams; Five Rules for Accelerated Learning; and the seminal “Agile Fluency Model: A Brief Guide to Success with Agile” article.

You can link with Diana Larsen on LinkedIn and connect with Diana Larsen on Twitter

 

Jutta Eckstein works as an independent coach & consultant. 

As a developer, she started with XP in 97/98, started scaling agile in 2001 (and published about that in 2004), and am now Jutta focuses on company-wide agility.

You can link with Jutta Eckstein on LinkedIn and connect with Jutta Eckstein on Twitter

You can learn more at Jutta Eckstein’s website, and check out Jutta’s books on Amazon and LeanPub.

Jutta’s Agile Bossanova book is available here.

Nick Stewart: Focus on people to define and measure success as a Scrum Master

When asking his own success questions, Nick prefers to focus on the people in the team and the team’s direct environment. He asks questions about how those people feel or act, and from that, he derives his own self-evaluation for the role of Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective

There are many reasons why we prefer one or the other Retrospective format. And Nick’s perspective is no different. He has many reasons to like the sailboat retrospective format, and explains why in this episode.

Follow this link, if you want to explore how a previous guest used this specific sailboat agile retrospective format.

About Nick Stewart

Nick has worked in the “Projects Space” for the last 5 years, initially working with business change, then in IT using Prince 2, Waterfall and ultimately found Agile organically through pain of delivering projects using the other methodologies. More recently he has taken on a Delivery Lead role which allows him to continue to learn whilst helping teams deliver continuous value.

You can link with Nick Stewart on LinkedIn and connect with Nick Stewart on Twitter.

Sebastian Reverso: Liquid Organizations and how they help shape your Agile Retrospectives

Are you a Scrum mom? When assessing our own success as Scrum Masters, we must look not only at how the team performs but also how we get there. How we contribute to that team’s success. 

In this episode, we talk about some of the questions you can ask to learn if you are transitioning from that initial Scrum Mom role to an approach that allows the team to grow and continue on their own when you are not available.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liquid organizations, and how to adapt

When we reflect on our success or actions, we often focus on the task, and its success (or not). However, the way people contribute to the team may often be ignored. For example, a team member that is focused on helping others succeed may feel they are “not contributing”. In this episode, we discuss a different approach to retrospectives. An approach inspired by the concept of Liquid Organizations by Stelio Verzera, and that focuses on recognizing the contribution of each team member to the common success. Team members evaluate their peers’ contribution, so that the person who was focused on helping, may feel they contribute, even if they don’t work on many stories.

About Sebastian Reverso

Sebastian is from Tucuman, Argentina. He has been working as a software developer since 2012 and as a Scrum Master since 2017. 

Among his favorite activities are mountain biking and football (soccer).

You can link with Sebastian Reverso on LinkedIn and connect with Sebastian Reverso on Twitter.

Jaime Bartol: The Starfish Agile retrospective, and how it helps your team reflect

It is usually a sign of progress and success when the team is able to execute the Scrum process without needing the presence of the Scrum Master. However, that’s only part of the success definition we discuss in this episode. We also talk about the need to focus on value and to have the team feel that they own the solution they are working on. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Starfish retrospective

When we start experimenting with new retrospective formats, the Starfish retrospective is a good place to start. It allows for several “degrees” in the responses we get from team members, and can easily be adapted for different team contexts. The 5 categories, help consider different aspects from the more traditional: what went well? Not so well? What should we try?

About Jaime Bartol

Jaime has been a ScrumMaster/Agile Coach for 6 years with experience in large organizations as well as startup teams! She has worked with frontend and data engineering teams and even brought Agile to awesome marketing teams! Jaime’s passion is about teams and using Agile/Scrum fundamentals to elevate efficiency, productivity, and joy!

You can link with Jaime Bartol on LinkedIn.

Rachel Martz: how to motivate people for change

When change processes get started, it is usually because of one or more individuals taking ownership and putting their own effort in that change process. Scrum Masters can start the process, but we quickly need to find our first “allies” or the “guiding coalition” for change. In this episode, we talk with Rachel about how we can help those individuals join the guiding coalition, and how to motivate them to help the change process progress.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A Sprint Goal focused retrospective

Rachel has slowly moved away from pre-formatted retrospectives and found that fostering conversations around the Sprint Goals is the way she can help teams more effectively. In this segment, we talk about what that looks like for Rachel’s teams and share some insights on how that approach might also work for you.

About Rachel Martz

Rachel has been in digital product development for over 20 years, having performed every role imaginable. She entered the agile space 13 years ago, doing hands-on product strategy and development modernization. 

Rachel is in the data and analytics industry at the moment and loves being a Scrum Master because it’s the most impactful role she can have for helping improve people’s lives.

You can link with Rachel Martz on LinkedIn.

Angeliki Hertzfeldt: 3 aspects to keep in every Agile Retrospective

Is the team swarming? Are they talking to each other face-to-face, instead of e-mail? Those are just some of the questions that Angeliki asks when assessing the team’s ability to continue to work without the daily presence of the Scrum Master.

We also talk about some of the worrying signs that sometimes Scrum teams show. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: 3 aspects to keep in every retrospective

Angeliki uses many different formats for the Retrospectives she facilitates. But in all of those she tries to keep certain aspects fixed. She shares with us 3 aspects that help her constantly change the format, but keep certain things the same so that the retrospective also feels familiar. 

About Angeliki Hertzfeldt

Angeliki finds that Scrum has transformed her into a better person: in the working environment, with friends and strangers, in social activities, and with her family, as a new mum.

You can link with Angeliki Hertzfeldt on LinkedIn and connect with Angeliki Hertzfeldt on Twitter.

Joost Mulders: Self-reflection using the Lego Agile Retrospective

According to Joost, seeing our own value is a hard task. How to reflect, what to look at, and how to be sure? 

In this episode, we discuss how Scrum Masters can reflect on their contribution to the team, and what kind of behavior to look for that helps Scrum Masters be sure that they are having a positive impact on the team.

Retrospective Format for the Week: The Lego retrospective that uses self-reflection

When teams enter a retrospective, they usually expect to work on the process. Find improvements, plan some changes, and move on to action. In this segment, we discuss a different type of retrospective, one that focuses on the team’s own self-image, and how it helps the team learn about its team members in-depth.

About Joost Mulders

Joost has been an agile practitioner since 2008 and is continuously uncovering new ways to help teams and organizations on their agile journey. He’s taken several roles in that journey, such as Scrum Master, agile coach or management coach. He strives to create work-life fusion with agile, ultrarunning and filmmaking as the main ingredients.

You can link with Joost Mulders on LinkedIn and connect with Joost Mulders on Twitter.

BONUS: Diana Getman – How checklists make Agile teams faster and deliver with high quality, without adding more processes

In this episode, we explore the role that checklists can have in helping teams improve their process and their performance without adding more processes. 

It is a normal tendency to “add more processes” to fix a problem a team is experiencing. In this episode, we challenge that view. Checklists, we argue, are a simple, effective tool that helps you reach a similar goal, but does not require the process to grow, and become bloated. 

2 Common types of checklists that help teams improve how they work

There are several types of items we can add to a checklist. In this segment, we discuss 2 common types of checklists, and how they can help teams. We start by discussing the “process checklists”, which may include important tips on how to execute a certain process. 

The key thing to remember is that checklists don’t replace processes, but are rather a set of reminders, or items that help teams execute a process once they’ve already read and understood the process. 

The second type of checklists we discuss are those that summarize a series of requirements or pre-conditions that a team needs to follow-up on. This may include quality requirements or certain tasks that need to be completed before a certain work item is considered complete. 

The most common checklists Scrum teams use

Scrum teams have a common set of checklists that they use. We discuss the commonly used Definition of Done, and also talk about the importance of having a Definition of Ready, and how that may help teams get started on the right foot when a new Sprint is about to kick-off.

Additionally, we talk about a pre-release checklist. With a pre-release checklist, teams are able to keep a memory of what they’ve learned from the past about meeting the release requirements, and can continuously improve that critical aspect of any team’s process.

In this segment, we also tackle the usual objections that people given when asked to consider the use of checklists. Checklists may be seen as “more bureaucracy”, but instead, they are there to help teams summarize a process that already exists, provides transparency about the process execution, and ultimately it should be a time saver for the team.

How about you? How have you used Checklists in your work? Share your experience in the comments below.

About Diana Getman

Diana Getman has more than 25 years of experience as a project manager leading cross-functional teams, in both startup and non-profit organizations. Diana has held the roles of Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Agile Coach and is the current President at Ascendle, a custom software development firm in Portsmouth, NH.

You can link with Diana Getman on LinkedIn, or visit Ascendle’s blog for more on checklists.