Eddy Bruin: StoryCubes as a tool for Agile Retrospectives

Are people asking you for help? This is the question we start Eddy’s definition of success for Scrum Masters. But the conversation does not stop there. We also discuss the role of coaching agreements with the teams, and some of the anti-patterns Eddy witnessed in Agile teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Storytelling with Story Cubes

In this segment, we discuss what might be some of the factors affecting the effectiveness of your Agile Retrospectives. We also discuss how we can use Story Cubes (video example) as a facilitation technique in some of the steps of the standard Agile Retrospective format.

About Eddy Bruin

For many years, Eddy has been using serious games and learning metaphors to help teams and organizations move forward. He is an Agile and Test Coach with the mission to help teams deliver software people actually want to use while also enjoying their work. He helps teams to enable feedback loops continuously and likes to discuss all agile and test topics over a special beer. He loves to go to (un)conferences on serious games (for example Play14, Play4Agile), and also on Agile and Testing.

You can link with Eddy Bruin on LinkedIn and connect with Eddy Bruin on Twitter.

Jim Sammons: The Baseball Agile Retrospective and one important success question for Scrum Masters

“Am I making other people better?” is the question that Jim starts his own success retrospective with. We then dive into the “do no harm” rule that Jim applies to his own work, and how to use Retrospectives in our work and reach a successful outcome.

We talk about the standards that we must ourselves to, as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The Baseball Retro

Although there are many possible games and exercises for Agile Retrospectives, in this Agile Retrospective format – The Baseball Retro -, the focus is on creating an analogy of the Sprint to a baseball game. And how we can use this analogy thinking to find opportunities for improvement.

Listen in to learn how Jim prepares and hosts that retrospective.

About Jim Sammons

Jim is currently a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and works with an amazing team at Insight as an Agile Coach and trainer for their clients around the world. His time as a Scrum Master was awesome and fueled his passion for agility at all levels.

You can link with Jim Sammons on LinkedIn and connect with Jim Sammons on Twitter.

Martin Lambert: The Empathy Agile Retrospective Format How-to

When it comes to success as a Scrum Master, Martin asks us to consider the “little things”. For example: “how does your team react to adverse situations?” This and other questions help Martin assess his work as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn about the other questions that Martin asks himself to assess his own success as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Empathy Retrospective

In this retrospective format, Martin focuses on helping team members understand their colleagues’ perspectives. We discuss how to “warm-up” the team to this format, as well as how to execute the format. Learn also why this format is important, and what you can expect from it.

About Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England, and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: How do we measure the Scrum Master role?

A question Dirk has heard often (and you might have too!) is: how should we measure the Scrum Master role? That led him to think about possible metrics to present to stakeholders. In this episode, we discuss possible Scrum Master metrics as well as the “self-check” questions you can ask yourself when evaluating your own success and evolution as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Customizing your Retrospectives

At some point, the formats you are used to may not be enough, and you need to find another format for the issues at hand. In those situations, Scrum Masters must be comfortable with customizing the retrospective format for their team. In this segment, we discuss tools and approaches you can take to customize your next retrospective to the team’s specific needs.

A useful tool, which has been referred to before on the podcast is Retromat.org. However, there are some caveats when using that tool. Listen in to learn about possible drawbacks and how to overcome those.

About Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

Stanislava Potupchik: in Scrum, we produce value through the actions of people

When it comes to the success of a Scrum Master, Stanislava likes to focus on the conflicts that emerge in the team, and ask if they have been solved, and if people are collaborating again.

I the end the value we produce is fully dependent on what people contribute, in Scrum, we only produce value through people!

Featured Retrospective of the Week: The simple matrix

Stanislava likes to refer back to the previous action points from the previous retrospectives and examine what has changed. She asks, for all items listed: “has it changed in the previous 2 weeks?” This way she focuses the conversations on the core outcome of the retrospective: the changes we want to implement to improve our work.

About Stanislava Potupchik

Stanislava is not only a serious games facilitator and a team coach, but she also spends a considerable amount of time rock-climbing and hiking, traveling with her partner and son, and drawing zentangles.

You can link with Stanislava Potupchik on LinkedIn and connect with Stanislava Potupchik on Twitter.

Susanne Taylor: Using Liberating Structures in Agile Retrospectives

While it is tempting to define success as an end state for the work of the Scrum Master, it is important to recognize that the journey (how we get there) is also important. In this episode, we talk about a method to reflect on our work, and how that can help us navigate the challenges we will face as Scrum Masters. Take this episode, and reflect on your role, learn from what you have faced in the past, and keep the journey going.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Liberating structures, the 3 W’s

We’ve talked about Liberating Structures in a past episode, in this segment we talk about the “What?, So What?, Now What?” technique. We also discuss how we can bring team members into the retrospective so that they are present and focused on the retrospective.

About Susanne Taylor

Susanne is a transition coach, which translates to roles as: change management facilitator, organizational development consultant, scrum master, agile coach and community manager. (Often simultaneously.) Susanne has learned to be adaptable and resilient after having lived in Alaska, Japan, Taiwan and now Germany. She is passionate about accompanying people on journeys of transformation. (And she considers herself an introvert.)

You can link with Susanne Taylor on LinkedIn and connect with Susanne Taylor on Twitter.

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.

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.