Yousef T. Fahoum: Helping Scrum teams own and drive the improvement conversations

For us to reach a successful outcome of our work, we must be able to learn all the time, and get to a point where the team takes initiative in starting, and facilitating the conversations needed. Yousef recommends we keep on reading, and learning about what we might be missing to get there. He shares some tips that have worked for him to help teams own the improvement process and conversations.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Tips on how to run successful Starfish retrospectives

The Starfish Retrospective, is Yousef’s go-to format because of how it facilitates the type of conversations that bring ideas and improvements. Yousef shares some tips on how to successfully run the Starfish retrospective format.

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About Yousef T. Fahoum

When starting out as a ScrumMaster and BA years ago Yousef passionately followed the ScrumMaster Podcast. Yousef is a SAFe Enterprise Coach at Elabor8 with experience implementing Agile and SAFe at some of the largest and most recognized brand leaders across industry domains in the U.S. and Australia.

You can link with Yousef T. Fahoum on LinkedIn and connect with Yousef T. Fahoum 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.

David Gentry: how the Starfish Agile Retrospective leads quickly to actions for the team 

Is your team more like a Golf team or a Hockey team? That’s one of the questions David asks himself when assessing his impact as a Scrum Master. Checking the Scrum Guide, for a list of responsibilities may also be a good way to get started assessing your success as a Scrum Master, but don’t forget to adapt to the local reality, a core idea of Agile that also applies to the Scrum Master work. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Starfish Retrospective

The Starfish retrospective is a format that David finds leads more often to concrete actions, the final goal of a retrospective. In this segment, we also talk about the importance of having many formats in your toolbox, so that the retrospectives don’t get boring and stop delivering results. 

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility. 

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry 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.

Darryl Sherborne on the role of the Scrum Master outside the team work

We hear it often: success is when the Scrum Master is no longer needed. Is it though? In this episode we explore what the Scrum Master responsibility is when the team starts “flowing”. The role of the Scrum Master is not restricted to dynamics of the team, it also includes the collaboration aspects with the rest of the organization, and many other “enabling” factors.

Listen in to learn about Darryl’s experience.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Lean Coffee Format

In this episode we talk about a Retrospective format called Lean Coffee, a format that focuses on surfacing and tackling the issues that teams want to focus on. It’s a great format to host without much preparation, as the team comes up with their own ideas and prioritizes the topics to discuss, having the timeboxed conversations drive them to the actions they want to take during the next sprint to improve their work. In this episode we also mention the Starfish retrospective format.

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

You can also find out more about Darryl’s work at his company website:

Denis Salnikov on how to evaluate team progress in their Agile journey

As Scrum Masters, our attention is very much focused on the evolution of the team, and how we can support their development. Using a framework like Shu-Ha-Ri can help us verbalize that evolution and track the progress of the team over time. As we progress in the mastery journey with the team, there are practices and approaches we can take to evaluate the team’s progress and we discuss some of those in this episode.

In this episode we refer to the book #NoEstimates: How to measure project progress without estimation by Vasco Duarte.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Starfish Retrospective

In the Starfish Retrospective we discuss not only what is good, bad or needs to change, but we talk also about other categories. In his approach to the Starfish Retrospective, Denis also asks: what do we want to see more of (continue and do more), or what we want to see less of (continue, but do less of it).

Denis also discusses the “Weather Report” check-in exercise to energize the team and get them in the flow of the retrospective.


About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.


Umer Saeed on success as a Scrum Master and a Scrum team

When thinking about our success as Scrum Masters, Umer invites us to think about the success of the team as well. But not forgetting that, as Scrum Masters, we have a specific job to do with concrete questions to ask ourselves in order to assess our work and progress.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Fly High Retro

In the Fly High Retrospective we imagine the team is a Kite, and we want it to fly high. So we explore what are the obstacles (telephone lines, or tree branches), as well as the motivators (like wind) and explore – with the team – how to improve.

In this episode we also discuss the Starfish Retrospective and the “Well/ Not So Well / What different in next sprint” formats.

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

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.

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.

Susan McIntosh on how to develop high-performing teams

Our role as Scrum Masters is to help teams develop. Specifically, we need to help them become high-performing. Accomplish their mission in a way that they can be proud of. But how do we get there? How do we help teams develop that level of competence and action? In this episode we review how we can help teams grow and develop. We also discuss the tools we can use to help teams reach a high-level of performance.

Featured Retrospective format: The Starfish Exercise

For those moments when Start/Stop/Continue is not enough. The Starfish exercise can also think about what you want to do more of (amplify) and the things you need to continue to do, but may need to reduce (dampen). Check this episode for the detailed facilitation ideas.

About Susan McIntosh

Susan McIntosh is an agile coach and scrum master, especially interested in training and agile transformations – both fast and slow. She finds analogies to improving workplace culture in her experience in theater, teaching, cooking, and parenting. Susan is an active participant in the agile community in Denver, Colorado.

You can link with Susan McIntosh on LinkedIn and connect with Susan McIntosh on Twitter.