Usman Kotwal: Helping Agile teams focus on outcomes

When we start working with a team, we need to understand what is their situation, so that we can decide what to start with. As we start to understand the team’s situation, we might need to focus on the organizational impediments to help the team progress. Some useful questions to ask are: is the team engaging with the stakeholders? Are they able to interact with customers/users? Do they have clear impact metrics for their product? What is the level of engagement in the team? 

All of these questions help us, Scrum Masters, understand if the team is ready to focus on, and work on outcomes. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retrospectives for Scrum Masters starting with a new team

The Team Health Check is one of the formats we talk about as a possible “getting started with a new team” format. Usman also recommends the Sailboat Retrospective for Scrum Masters getting started with new teams. 

Once we are “in the rhythm” with a team, Usman recommends some more “free” formats like 1-2-4-all or something from Liberating Structures. Finally, his recommendations is: “help teams make their own choices, as they are much more committed to those”

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 Usman Kotwal

Usman is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in the field of data analytics in life sciences. He considers his learning journey to continue forever when it comes to bringing forward change in the ways we work collaboratively. His mission is to help guide the way to empowered product teams.

You can link with Usman Kotwal 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

Philip Rogers: How to measure Scrum team happiness and team satisfaction

When we try to assess our impact and success as Scrum Masters, we can look at team happiness and satisfaction. Measuring those will help us assess our impact, and there are simple ways to do it. In this episode, we talk about the Niko Niko Calendar (the Niko Niko Calendar has been previously discussed also in other episodes) and the ideas from the Spotify Health Check approach.

Featured Retrospective From for the Week: Pick Discussion Questions

Philip shares with us a format that can be set up relatively quickly and focuses on helping the team get started with a productive discussion on some of the most pressing topics for them. Philip shares some of the questions he uses when starting this kind of retrospective, and suggests we use a Futurespective to help teams gain fresh insights on their approach to work. 

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 Philip Rogers

Phil is a father of four children and a volunteer paleontologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is also an “agile whisperer” (coach) who has worked with scores of teams in the spirit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and simply finding creative ways to collaborate and have fun in the workplace.

You can link with Philip Rogers on LinkedIn and connect with Philip Rogers on Twitter.

Kathy Andersen on how to find the impactful system conditions

On Friday’s we usually discuss system conditions. This episode is no exception, however we also take a look at a method to identify those system conditions before they cause major problems for the teams. We discuss the Spotify Squad Health Check as a method to survey the teams and identify possible impacts that need to be further investigated and mapped to system conditions. This is especially important when companies are growing fast, and we need to keep an eye on what problems might emerge as a result.

About Kathy Andersen

Kathy works as a Scrum Master with a team implementing a billing management system for a company called Hudl. Hudl is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and provides video review and performance analysis tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. Kathy took an uncommon route to the software world, and since then she has had the luck of working on a diverse set of projects and teams. You’ll find her speaking at conferences and participating in the agile community.

You can link with Kathy Andersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kathy Andersen on Twitter.

Kimberley Miller on how to use self-assessment to drive team success

In this episode, Kimberley explains how she uses the Squad Health Check with her teams, and how that drives her to reach a successful outcome with the teams that she works with.

Listen in to learn about the changes Kimberley applied to the now famous Spotify Squad Health Check, based on her own experience.

Featured Agile Retrospective for the week

In this episode, we explore “The 3 Little Pigs” retrospective. A fun way to help the teams talk about the no-so-good things without the pressure or the judgment of other formats.

About Kimberley Miller

During the day, Kimberley is the Scrum Master at Hudl with over 5 years of experience in helping to implement Scrum in both software companies and standard business units. Kimberley is also an actress on stage and film, with a Masters in Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

You can link with Kimberley Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Kimberley Miller on Twitter.

Adrian Kerry on the tools you need to understand the system you are part of

When we work with organizations and teams that adopt Scrum, we need to have an understanding of what might be the inherent organizational and personal barriers to adoption. There are a number of tools we can use to learn about which barriers are active, and from that generate ideas about what might be the next step.

In this episode we refer to Henrik Kniberg’s Scrum Checklist (PDF), the Spotify Squad Healthcheck, and Adrian’s own post about the journey towards applying Scrum.  

About Adrian Kerry

A Scrum Master who specialises in Mobile and User Centred Design based approaches, Adrian comes from a testing background and he still finds that he champions making testing easier for the teams he works with. Due to that Adrian is also a strong advocate of XP practices (and, from that, BDD)

You can link with Adrian Kerry on LinkedIn.

 

Paru Madhavan asks us to focus on the team, to understand the system

Start with the team! Paru asks us to consider the team when looking at the overall system. We can use the Squad Health Check (also the Atlassian version) survey or some other similar tool to understand how the system is influencing the performance of the team. As we go through the questions, then consider how the external (to the team) factors may be influencing the team. Listen in to learn how Paru uses these tools and other tools to help understand the system around the team.

About Paru Madhavan

Paru works as Scrum Master across two squads at OFX. She’s worked in Agile teams and in various roles such as Business Analyst, Product Owner and Scrum Master since 2011. To her, Agile and software development just go hand in hand!

You can link with Paru Madhavan on LinkedIn and connect with Paru Madhavan on Twitter.

Kiryl Baranoshnik shares 2 tools that help uncover the system around our teams

If fish are dying in an aquarium, we should look into the conditions of that aquarium and not try to coach the fish to survive against all odds. The same should happen in organizations, and tools like Spotify’s Squad Health-check or the Agility Health Radar can help us know if our teams are thriving or dying in the aquarium that are our organizations.

About Kiryl Baranoshnik

captureKiryl Works and lives in Minsk, Belarus. He is an experienced ScrumMaster and Agile Ambassador with EPAM Systems. Accredited ICAgile trainer with AgileLAB. Co-founder and leader of a local Agile/PM community. Former software developer.

 

You can link with Kiryl Baranoshnik on LinkedIn and connect with Kiryl Baranoshnik on Twitter.

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