Steve Jaccaud: The signs of a great Scrum team

When a great Scrum Master works with a team, you don’t see the Scrum Master, you see the team succeeding and moving beyond their previously usual level of performance. In this segment, we discuss a few signs that we can use – as Scrum Masters – to assess if the team is starting the journey from good to a great Scrum team!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4 L’s, I Long for, I Learned, I Liked, I Lacked

Steve tries to focus his work and his retrospectives on the aspects of continuous improvement. Because of that, he tries to find formats that don’t get in the way of the conversations that he wants to foster in the team. In this segment, we also discuss a tip to help teams be creative but keep the retrospective to the right topics without long rabbit-hole discussions.

About Steve Jaccaud

Steve is an Enterprise Agile Coach, Volunteer, Speaker, and Musician in Boston, Massachusetts. When he’s not leading workshops with creative software organizations, he’s probably working on an album or deep in meditation!

You can link with Steve Jaccaud on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Jaccaud on Twitter.

Willem-Jan Ageling: Liberating Structures as an amplifier for the impact of Agile Retrospectives 

There are many aspects in the team’s behavior that point to a successful outcome of the Scrum Master’s work. However, there’s something that goes beyond process that will tell you the team is able to drive the work forward, and achieve a successful outcome. We discuss that specific topic: focus on progress. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liberating Structures

In this episode, we discuss several Liberating Structures for retrospectives, and how Willem-Jan adapts them to his retrospectives. We focus on the benefits of using those approaches and focusing on solutions with the whole team. We refer to the 1-2-4-all structure and the episodes with two top proponents of Liberating Structures for Scrum Masters: Christiaan Verwijs and Barry Overeem.

About Willem-Jan Ageling

As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum.

You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.

Justin Chapman: How to find what Agile Retrospective format works for your team

Justin’s definition of success revolves around the success of the team and the product itself. We discuss how Scrum Masters can find out what is success for the product, and help their teams focus on product success. In this episode, we also talk about the need to involve the executives in the definition of success for the product.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: How to find what retrospective works for your team

In this segment, Justin asks the question: “do you really know what kind of retrospective would work for your team?” We explore this question and how Justin works with the team to define what would be the best approach for them, and for their context.

About Justin Chapman

A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master. 

Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog:

You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.

Dimitri Favre: Helping Scrum teams take ownership of their improvements

How can the Scrum Master step out of the “leader” role, and let the team learn to lead itself? We discuss simple techniques that Dimitri experimented with to make sure that the team does not lean on the Scrum Master, but rather takes the initiative.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Circles of Influence

Circles of Influence is a tool we’ve referenced often here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, and Dimitri’s favorite retrospective format uses that tool. Through this format, Dimitri helps the teams he works with a focus on what they can influence, rather than despair over what they can’t.

About Dimitri Favre

Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers. 

Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book.

You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.

George Mathews: Dealing with pressure and stress in Scrum teams

When the team feels pressure from the outside, the behavior of the people on the team changes. At first, it might be simple things, like being late or forgetting to get back to a team member, but later those problems may escalate to full-out conflict. In this segment, we talk about the importance of learning when the team is stressed, and work through those causes for stress as Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we refer to an #AgileOnlineMeetup with Bob Galen where he shares his perspective on how Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches can ensure that their own stress levels are not overwhelming. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simpler is better

George favors a simpler retrospective format for the retrospectives he hosts. In this segment, we explore some of the simpler formats we can use, and why their use matters for the team.

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Mandy Sunner: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

At the end of every Sprint, teams show their progress to key stakeholders. As Scrum Masters, we benefit from that ceremony to understand our impact and improve our work. In this episode, we talk about why it is critical for Scrum Masters to improve those ceremonies and focus on the feedback that stakeholders give. That feedback can become our fuel for improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

In retrospectives, we want to focus the teams on what we can do to become a better team. In this episode, we talk about Sprint Goals, and why those goals are important to help the teams be able to reflect better and have better retrospectives.

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Tony Richards: Helping Scrum teams be aware of their anti-patterns (and patterns)

When Scrum Masters start working with a team, they might feel the need to intervene often. It might be just to get the team to start talking, or for the team members to respect each other’s turn to speak. However, when we evolve our practice and start seeing some success is when we are able to step back and use “mirroring” to let the team understand their own behavior. Just like us, team members are also often blind to their own behavior patterns, a successful Scrum Masters will help team members be less blind to their own behavior patterns.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Powerful Questions Walk

Tony found an approach that helps teams dive deeper into their experience and find improvement opportunities they would otherwise ignore. In this episode, he describes the Powerful Questions Walk exercise and how it improves the team’s ability to learn and reflect.

In this episode, we refer to the Coaching Cards by Deborah Preuss (PDF Download).

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

Olsen Turan: A simple, yet effective Retrospective format Scrum Masters can use to build trust

When a Scrum Master joins a team, it is critical to start building trust from the first interaction. In this episode, we talk about what that means in practice and share Olsen’s approach to building trust and opening the communication channels with the team. 

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Casual Conversation

There are many retrospective formats out there, each serving a specific purpose, from problem definition to ideation and so on. However, in this episode, we focus on a simple format that aims at building relationships between team members and between Scrum Master and team members. The format is “the casual conversation”, which has been prepared and is facilitated by the Scrum Master but helps team members feel safe and at ease. 

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Sami Prentice: Self-organization and collective ownership in Scrum teams

Looking into how teams organize themselves is often a good indicator that our work is having an impact. In this episode, we talk about the need to help teams self-organize, and find ways to sustain their own progress and improvement. Finally, we discuss the key ingredient for success in Scrum teams: having collective ownership for the work they need to.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liberating Structures, TRIZ

Sometimes the best way to help teams focus on what they can improve is to talk about what is the worst that could possibly happen. In this Liberating Structure called TRIZ, the goal is to reflect on what can go wrong, so that the team is then ready to focus on how to avoid that negative outcome.

About Sami Prentice

Sami is a Scrum Master in Denver, Colorado. She used to work in the beer industry before making the switch to Scrum Master and she is passionate about facilitating awesome meetings that don’t suck. 

You can link with Sami Prentice on LinkedIn.

Tom Suter: 5 Requirements for great Agile Retrospectives

When it comes to having a positive impact on the teams, and companies we work with, the way we help teams focus on value delivery is critical. 

In this episode, we talk about how Scrum Masters can enable teams to focus on business value creation with different techniques.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: 5 Requirements for great Agile Retrospectives

Tom’s approach to the Retrospectives is informed by 5 requirements he tries to fulfill for every retrospective. In this episode, we explore what those are, and how to prepare and host impactful retrospectives.

In this segment, we refer to Retromat, and Fun Retrospectives, two websites that help you get more exercises for your retrospectives.

About Tom Suter

As our workforce changes rapidly, Tom suggests it is going to be more and more challenging to attract and keep talent and knowledge, and that’s why we need a healthy and sustainable working environment. Tom is passionate about improving the industry for his children and their generations. 

You can link with Tom Suter on LinkedIn and connect with Tom Suter on Twitter.