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.

How focusing on a single metric improved team performance – Guest post by Marcus Hammarberg

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

This is the third post on a series by Marcus Hammarberg about how metrics can help engage, motivate and ultimately push a team towards success! (See other blog posts in this series here)

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

How focusing on a single metric improved team performance

Now that we had a metric that mattered to everyone and this truly was the “talk of the hospital”, we experienced a wave of change.

Not surprisingly the first groups to engage was the people in charge of bringing more people to the hospital; the marketing team.

It turned out that making the “number of patients served”-metric visible throughout the hospital, was what was needed to get them activated. But when we did, the lid of their passion and creativity jar was blown off! We started to see real ownership in their behavior. As if The Bungsu was their very own hospital.

Before I knew it, I found myself in a workshop where the two ladies of the marketing department blurted out 25 ideas on how to get more patients. And 3 or 4 of them were really low hanging fruit that we could do the very next day. For example:

  • Go to the nearby clinics and advertise our availability for surgery and treatments that the clinics could not handle
  • Offer free transport from the big hospitals to our hospital for treatments that the big hospitals had a waiting list for
  • Suggest that our freelancing doctors would do all their surgery in our hospital

These were very simple changes that had been dragging on in decision-making boards. Now the decisions were quick to make – because the need and impact were clear to see.

Just a few days after we started to track “number of patients served per day” these actions brought the metric up to a whopping 133 patients served per day! Twice the normal number of patients and a level that has not been seen in a long time.

This taught me, in a very impactful way, how a single metric can transform the performance of a team. In this case, the marketing team.

Do you need the one metric that matters to engage your team? This booklet is for you!

In the Bungsu’s Pirate Code for Visualization downloadable booklet I will go into details on how we made this “one metric that matters” engaging, kept it relevant and ultimately saved the hospital by keeping our focus there – using what we referred to as the Bungsu Pirate Code. Click here to download your guide to using the “one metric that matters” in your own team.

This is a very actionable tool that you can you use today in your organisation to make your visualizations matter to everyone all the time.

The Bungsu Story is a fascinating account of a real-life crisis, and how Agile, Lean and Kanban saved the Hospital from bankruptcy! Twice! Get ready for the journey, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story (available on Amazon), an inspiring and actionable story about how simple tools can help transform the productivity and impact of an organization. The real-life stories in The Bungsu can help you transform the productivity of your team. Marcus is also an renowned author and consultant in the Kanban community, he authored the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén.
You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg 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.

How a single metric can help the team members engage and become a real team – Guest post by Marcus Hammarberg

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

This is the second post on a series by Marcus Hammarberg about how metrics can help engage, motivate and ultimately push a team towards success!

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

Click to learn more about how you can help your PO

Keeping engagement when the bad news hit – Becoming a team!

Continue reading How a single metric can help the team members engage and become a real team – Guest post by Marcus Hammarberg

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.

How the right metric, communicated the right way can engage your team. By Marcus Hammarberg

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation. Their finances were at an all-time low after years of decline in patient visits. Their operational permit had not been renewed and they were operating on probation, the staff was disengaged and blasé … oh, and one more thing: the roof of the entire second floor had collapsed.

Still, to my great surprise, not many people were upset, engaged or even cared about the survival of the hospital.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day, had not only an operational permit but also got awards for their services, happy and engaged staff … oh yes, and they had a newly renovated roof.

We didn’t hire or fire a single person during this time – and all the work to save The Bungsu was done by the people in the hospital, I merely acted as a guide for new ways of working.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

We soon realized that the scary state of the hospital’s finances was not only our number one priority but it was also too vague for the staff when expressed in numbers. Billions of rupiah in deficit didn’t mean a thing for the staff.

First of all, those numbers were unrelatable for the average employee, even if we broke it down per day. Saying “we need 18.000.000 rupias per day” to someone that earns 1.000.000 per month doesn’t spark engagement.

We need 18.000.000 rupias per day!

Secondly, and perhaps most important, the staff in the hospital was not interested in budgets, forecasts or financial plans. They worked with patients! We needed something more concrete and closer to their day-to-day reality.

Armed with those two realizations we started to track “the number of patients we served per day”. We hoped this concrete metric would engage the staff. The numbers of presented were truly awful; our financial target was 134 services sold per day and we were averaging on 60-70. Half of what we needed to be able to improve the financial situation!

our financial target was 134 services sold per day and we were averaging on 60-70. Half of what we needed to survive!

I was shocked but the reaction in the room was something very different. Indifferent, unfocused or the occasional shrug. Almost angry, I got up and added a new line, for the number of patients required to break-even; 120. In my upset mood I blurted out:

Below this line we lose money by having the hospital open and we may need to close it!

That got their attention. The jaws of the 70 people in the room dropped to the floor at once. We now had our one metric that matters and most importantly: everyone understood it.

In the next blog post, you will see how this metric, visualized and understandable not only helped us focus on what is important but also made us into a team.

Do you need the one metric that matters to engage your team? This booklet is for you!

In the Bungsu’s Pirate Code for Visualization downloadable booklet I will go into details on how we made this “one metric that matters” engaging, kept it relevant and ultimately saved the hospital by keeping our focus there – using what we referred to as the Bungsu Pirate Code. Click here to download your guide to using the “one metric that matters” in your own team.

This is a very actionable tool that you can you use today in your organisation to make your visualizations matter to everyone all the time.

The Bungsu Story is a fascinating account of a real-life crisis, and how Agile, Lean and Kanban saved the Hospital from bankruptcy! Twice! Get ready for the journey, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story (available on Amazon), an inspiring and actionable story about how simple tools can help transform the productivity and impact of an organization. The real-life stories in The Bungsu can help you transform the productivity of your team. Marcus is also an renowned author and consultant in the Kanban community, he authored the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén.
You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg on twitter.

Eduardo Ribeiro: The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective Format

When working with teams, the team’s metrics should also become the Scrum Master’s metrics. In this episode, we talk about metrics that teams use but can also be important for Scrum Masters to assess their success, and help the teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective Format

The Hot Air Balloon Retrospective format is a format that helps teams use a metaphor to explore their current problems (ballast) and the things that are working well (heat, wind, etc.) Metaphors help teams get out of their minute task focus and focus more on themselves as a group.

About Eduardo Ribeiro

Eddy is passionate about helping people, teams, and organizations foster a culture of continuous improvement where experimentation and embracing change becomes part of their DNA.

He’s also the author of the Beyond Lean Agile Blog, a Co-Founder of the Lean Coffee Portugal Community, Founder of Agile Online Community and Co-Founder & Director of Startup Grind Porto.

You can link with Eduardo Ribeiro on LinkedIn and connect with Eduardo Ribeiro on Twitter.