Nick Vitsinsky on The Island Expedition Agile Retrospective format

Is the team providing feedback openly to each other and stakeholders? That’s one of the key success questions that Nick asks when evaluating his own success as a Scrum Master.

That leads him to find approaches to help teams open up and share their perspective on the work.

In this episode, we also refer to a paper on how to help teams improve their performance. It is based on the same principle that top athletes apply every day: pushing, then resting. A cycle that is guaranteed to improve performance over time.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Island Expedition metaphor format

Nick likes to focus on creativity for the retrospectives he facilitates. He’s found several metaphor-focused formats that work, but one he especially likes is The Island Expedition.

Metaphor-focused formats help the teams be more creative by taking them out of their regular context and pushing them to imagine themselves in a different context.

About Nick Vitsinsky

Nick as more than 10 years in IT started from QA Engineer/Waterfall after two years realized that there should be a different approach to how to develop and ship the software. His philosophy and mindset is: “find out Agile and make it own moto”. He focuses on that on a daily basis.

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

Mili Shrivastava: Help your team be more effective with the KALM Agile Retrospective format

One of the most common, and sometimes forgotten, sensors for a Scrum Master is the daily meeting. Mili asks us to consider how the team members show up for the daily. Are they excited about the day that is starting? Or happy about the results of the day that is ending?

How are you using the Daily stand-up to assess your impact on the team?

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: KALM

Keep your teams focused on the problems they want to solve with this simple format. KALM stands for Keep, Add, Less, More. These are the keywords that Mili asks the team to consider when reflecting on the previous Sprint.

About Mili Shrivastava

Mili has more than 12 years of experience in the software industry. Loves to spend time with her family and is a big fan of outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

You can link with Mili Shrivastava on LinkedIn and connect with Mili Shrivastava on Twitter.

Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst): How to run an agile retrospective meeting that generates insights

Continuing the thread from Monday’s episode with Jassy, we discuss how feedback from the team is a critical source of information and inspiration for Scrum Masters. In this episode, we discuss how to collect feedback from the team, so that the feedback is not biased by your presence, and what are the 4 dimensions of Scrum Master success for Jassy

Featured Retrospective for the Week: Games that inspire insights

Jassy calls himself “not a friend of retrospectives by the book”. He claims to rarely use a “vanilla” format from somewhere else, but prefers to facilitate retrospectives that feel like a game, like a fun thing to do. We discuss metaphor games, and how they help teams find insights they would not find otherwise.

About Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst)

Jassy moved from developer to being a Scrum Master and then a freelancer. He calls himself:  the person to contact for help in On-Boardings, as well as a friend of bottom-up, power to the people! No top-down, no micro-management. No despotism in agile software development.

You can link with Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst) on LinkedIn, or XING and connect with Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst) on Twitter.

Bradley Pohl: Helping teams get started with continuous improvement

There are many challenges teams face that require Scrum Master support. Some of those are related to cross-team dependencies (one of the core aspects for Scrum Masters), but they can also be related to basic improvements in the ways of working. In this episode, we discuss how the team’s outlook on improvement is critical for Scrum Masters and what to look at when evaluating our own contribution to the team.

Featured Agile Retrospective format for the week: What are you looking for out of your work?

When starting with a new team, the questions you ask are critical. Bradley shares with us a format that helps team members understand each other, as well as define the work agreements they need to get them started on the journey to high-performance.

About Bradley Pohl

Bradley is a young Scrum Master working for a mid-sized US bank that is currently undergoing an “Agile Transformation.” As a part of the Transformation, his training consisted of a 4 week Agile boot camp that was designed to build scrum masters from the ground-up. In his free time, he applies lean and agile principles to designing websites and providing social media advertising to local small business as Catch On, at catchontech.com.

You can link with Bradley Pohl on LinkedIn.

Jeremy Willets: using the Speed Car Retrospective exercise to host an impactful Retrospective

Jeremy explains the questions that he asks himself when evaluating his contribution to the team. As Scrum Masters, these are some of the many questions that can help us assess our work and improve our approach to help make teams successful.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Speed Car retrospective format

The Speed Car retrospective format is one of the many metaphor exercises that helps teams get out of the details of what happened and think about the impact those events might have on their performance, just like many aspects have an impact on a race car.

In this episode, we refer to the classic book: Agile Retrospectives by Larssen and Derby.

About Jeremy Willets

Jeremy Willets is a Technical Writer turned Scrum Master/Agile Coach. He’s passionate about bringing Agile to all facets of his organization. He enjoys spending time with his family, making music, and drinking the finest craft beer the world has to offer!

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn and connect with Jeremy Willets on Twitter.

Elena Popretinskaya: What? / So what? / Now what? Scrum Retrospective format from Liberating Structures

A Scrum Master can wear many hats. Specifically, the Scrum Master can be a coach, a mentor and a teacher. All three roles are necessary at different times in our assignments. How do we know which ones to hold? We discuss that in this episode, where we explore Elena’s definition of success for a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective of the Week: What? / So what? / Now what?

Elena found in “Liberating Structures”, a good exercise to help teams reflect on the outcomes, and the necessary changes after a Sprint. In this episode, she shares one facilitation technique that helps facilitate a retrospective even with large teams.

For more on the What? / So what? / Now what? Technique read this blog post.

About Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier 🙂

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

Catrine Björkegren: Questions every Scrum Master should ask when joining a team

When we join a new team, there’s a set of things we should look for in order to know what the team needs help with. In this episode, we talk about what to look out for when joining a team, to ensure that we know what requires our focus. We discuss a set of critical questions every Scrum Master should ask from themselves.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Speedboat Retrospective

Catrine likes this format because it helps move the conversation from complaining to taking action. Listen in to learn how to apply this format in practice and help the team focus on positive action that brings improvement.

 

About Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

Kristopher Stice-Hall: Agile Retrospective format: Turn up the good, what’s going well and how can we make it better?

The hours people put in are a good indicator of the success of the Scrum Master. Are your teams working long hours? Putting in crunch weeks and then laying back for a while? Those are signs that something isn’t working as it should. Scrum and Agile are about sustainable, continuous progress towards our goal.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: What’s going well and how can we make it better?

Starting the retrospective with the team by sharing Kudos (appreciations) can energize and team and get them in the mood to improve their practices. The “what’s going well, and how can we make it better” retrospective format, takes the energy from the Kudos check-in and turns up the good by focusing the teams on how they can continue to build on what’s already working.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

Varun Maheshwari: The Product Owner as a key to Scrum Master success

Scrum Master success is not only about the team, but also about the Product Owner. When we want to help Scrum teams, we should check how the interaction with the Product Owner works, and how to help the team and Product Owner collaborate effectively.

Helping Product Owners also means focusing on the business side of our work and defining together the critical business metrics for the PO and team.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: Conversations as retrospectives

Sometimes retrospectives are simple moments in time where team members have important conversations with each other. Instead of waiting for a retrospective event, Scrum Masters should encourage those conversations every day. In this episode, we also talk about how to help distributed teams hold regular, even daily retrospectives.

About Varun Maheshwari

Varun is a Scrum Master and agile practitioner in Australia. He believes in “being agile” rather than “doing agile”. For him, Agile frameworks are not the goal, but rather “Delighting customers, Zero Defects, Quick ROI, Better team work, Excellent Quality & Shortest ‘Time to Market’” are some of the possible goals.

You can link with Varun Maheshwari on LinkedIn.

Elena Astilleros: How to execute an Agile Retrospective in 30 min or less and still get lots of value from it

Scrum Masters can use their self-check-in every day to assess their progress. In this episode, we talk about questions you can ask yourself to assess your progress and find the areas that are working or need more focus.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The 5 steps, how to execute them when time is of the essence

The Agile Retrospectives steps that Derby and Larsen shared in Agile Retrospectives can take a while to execute in a retrospective setting. Sometimes we don’t have that much time. In this episode, we discuss how we can implement the standard 5 steps of a retrospective even when time is of the essence and we only have 30 min or less.

About Elena Astilleros

Elena coaches people who hate wasting their time with badly run agile ceremonies, meetings or projects. She gives them tools to get more out of their time while sprinkling in a little enthusiasm and cheerleading. You can find some of her tools in the forthcoming book Invisible Leader.

You can link with Elena Astilleros on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Astilleros on Twitter.