Lorna Mason & Jon Lawrence: Two Agile retrospective formats for two different times in the lifecycle of a team

When a team is performing, and they show up and are happy in their work, these are great signs that the Scrum Master has helped the team. All of these are signs that we can be sure to move on, and the team will likely pick-up and own their own process. We also about about how Scrum Masters can help to create an environment where teams can succeed.

In this segment, we talk about “bad jokes” and “dad jokes” as a great way to break the ice in teams or retrospectives. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat as a great new-team retrospective

When we start with a new team, it’s good to have a format that helps us understand the team, and their context. Jona and Lorna suggest we could start with the Sailboat Retrospective and use that to establish a baseline for the team. Then we talk about a retrospective format to use at the end of a cycle with the team, the Awards Ceremony retrospective. This format helps us get closure while learning from what happened during that period.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Lorna Mason & Jon Lawrence

Lorna Mason and Jon Lawrence are both agilists working in an insurance scale-up based in Brighton. Their journey to agile has walked a less ‘traditional’ path of Change Management and Continuous Improvement, to Scrum Master, Delivery Manager and Agile Coach; (proving not EVERY Scrum Master needs to code!). They hold the firm belief that you can be a successful Scrum Master as long as you genuinely care about people and value first; and hold a profound desire to always make things better!

You can link with Lorna Mason on LinkedIn

You can link with Jon Lawrence on LinkedIn.

Usman Kotwal: Helping Agile teams focus on outcomes

When we start working with a team, we need to understand what is their situation, so that we can decide what to start with. As we start to understand the team’s situation, we might need to focus on the organizational impediments to help the team progress. Some useful questions to ask are: is the team engaging with the stakeholders? Are they able to interact with customers/users? Do they have clear impact metrics for their product? What is the level of engagement in the team? 

All of these questions help us, Scrum Masters, understand if the team is ready to focus on, and work on outcomes. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retrospectives for Scrum Masters starting with a new team

The Team Health Check is one of the formats we talk about as a possible “getting started with a new team” format. Usman also recommends the Sailboat Retrospective for Scrum Masters getting started with new teams. 

Once we are “in the rhythm” with a team, Usman recommends some more “free” formats like 1-2-4-all or something from Liberating Structures. Finally, his recommendations is: “help teams make their own choices, as they are much more committed to those”

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Usman Kotwal

Usman is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in the field of data analytics in life sciences. He considers his learning journey to continue forever when it comes to bringing forward change in the ways we work collaboratively. His mission is to help guide the way to empowered product teams.

You can link with Usman Kotwal on LinkedIn.

Jan Neudecker: Business and team focus, the aspects that define Scrum Master success

Jan shares with us two dimensions of the Scrum Master work that define success for him: the business perspective, and the team members perspective. We discuss some of the questions that Scrum Masters can ask themselves in order to help them assess their work thus far, as well as define possible areas for improvement to focus on. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Movie Critic Format

The Movie Critic Agile Retrospective format is the one that Jan shares with us. He focuses on how this format lightens the mood and helps the team share their thoughts without the burden of “being serious”. Jan describes this format as one of several “fun methods” that can help understand how everyone perceived, and experienced the previous iteration. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. /Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Jan Neudecker

Jan is an Agile Coach and Trainer. His vision is to make workplaces more humane, enjoyable and purposeful. An unpleasant diagnosis three years ago had a big impact on how he looks at these topics today. It became his mission to get these topics more into the spotlight of teams and organizations so they are less of a taboo subject in future.

You can link with Jan Neudecker on LinkedIn and connect with Jan Neudecker on Twitter.

If you want to know more about Jan’s fight with cancer, you can follow his blog

Jan also organizes a Scrum User Group in Germany.

Sadia Dibbens: Two critical areas that define the work of the Scrum Master

Sadia shares some of the questions that she asks herself to assess her work as a Scrum Master. In that discussion we talk about the focus on delivering running software, as well as the focus on self-organization. Both of these focus areas define the work of the Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The Elephant In The Room

Sadia chooses to highlight what might be, for some of us, a difficult kind of retrospective: to bring up the elephant in the room. We discuss why that is important and share some formats that we can use to help the team discuss the hard topics. In this segment, we talk about the Lego retrospective, as well as the Movie retrospective

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Sadia Dibbens

Sadia has a long experience in the payments industry, and loves helping teams and individuals. Personally, she likes keeping fit, being involved within the community, and makes sure to put some time aside for volunteering.

You can link with Sadia Dibbens on LinkedIn and connect with Sadia Dibbens on meetup.com.

Nilesh Makan: Learning to listen to, and work with emotions in an Agile team

What is the team happiness in your team? Nilesh suggests that, even if we tend to ignore it,  happiness is a critical aspect of creating a well functioning and productive team. He suggests we start by understanding where the team members are regarding different aspects, even if we need to talk about emotions. Nilesh shares a great tip on how to tackle emotions productively in your team. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Start with the Why/Intent for the retrospective!

When preparing a retrospective, we are reminded by Nilesh that we should focus on the “intent” of the retro. What are we trying to achieve with that ceremony, in “this” sprint? Nilesh also prefers formats that are designed to focus on enabling conversations and dialogue between team members. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Nilesh Makan

Nilesh is the founding Director at Padawan Consulting, where the vision is to build transformed businesses through transformed people. He works with companies in the arena of Digital Transformation, considering how to leverage people, process and technology to design and build innovative solutions.

You can link with Nilesh Makan on LinkedIn and connect with Nilesh Makan on Twitter.

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