BONUS: Learning what makes a great place to work with Woody Zuill and Yves Hanoulle

The idea for this episode started with a conversation with Yves and Woody when recording one chapter for the Tips from the Trenches Audiobook (check out the audiobook). In this episode, we talk about, and try to define what makes a great place to work, or as Woody calls them: wonderful places to work!

Woody starts by describing two different workplaces, one that was “wonderful”, and one that was not. We explore what the differences were between those two places, and what we can learn from those stories as Scrum Masters. 

As Scrum Masters, our role is to help our teams, and our organizations move towards a better place to work, therefore these lessons are critical for us to act on. 

In this segment, we refer to MobProgramming, an approach to teamwork that Woody has been talking and writing about for some years; and Cynefin, a model that tries to describe the differences between different levels of complexity, and defines certain strategies for managing different types of work.

“Turn up the good” a heuristic to build great places to work

Continue reading BONUS: Learning what makes a great place to work with Woody Zuill and Yves Hanoulle

Steen Villumsen: Discovering our personal definition of success for a Scrum Master

Steen suggests that we start by defining success for ourselves. It’s from that reflection that we are able to create an approach to reach that state. Once we have defined what success looks like, then we can start working with the team to reach that level of performance. Listen in to learn what criteria Steen uses in his own definition of success. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Car Retrospective

The Car Retrospective is a metaphor retrospective that helps teams project onto the car what is going on in the team, and how the Sprint went. Listen in to learn how Steen suggests to run this retrospective format. 

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 Steen Villumsen

Steen is an Agile Coach, who calls himself a conceptualiser and a communicator. His focus is on moving people and supporting change through coaching.

You can link with Steen Villumsen on LinkedIn.

Luís Santos Silva: Focusing Scrum teams on outcome-based goals

We must look at the team’s goals when defining team’s success, a key measure of our own success as Scrum Masters. Being Agile, or adopting Scrum are not goals in themselves, so that should not be the focus for the team, even if it needs to be our own. Luís shares some tips on how to help teams define their own goals. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4L’s format, simple and effective

Luís shares his approach to the 4L’s format, and how its simplicity enables him to focus the team on the outcomes and actionable items we want the retrospectives to yield. 

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 Luís Santos Silva

Luís is not your typical Agile Coach as he doesn’t have an IT background. He worked his way from a contact center up to Lean and Agile Coach and is now a Agile Coach team lead at OutSystems.

You can link with Luís Santos Silva on LinkedIn

Bevan Williams: Questions to help you reflect on your success as a Scrum Master

There are a few questions that we can ask ourselves to assess the impact of our work as Scrum Masters. Bevan shares the questions he asks himself, including: does the team own their work board? Do they share and help other teams use their progress information? Do they define and develop their own way of working? 

These questions are reflection queues that help us define where to focus our efforts. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Timeline Retrospective

Bevan likes to mix different retrospective formats, but one of his favorite formats is the Timeline Retrospective, because it takes into account the whole timeline of the Sprint, and gives the team the needed time and input they need to reflect on what happened over the whole Sprint. 

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 Bevan Williams

Bevan is an Agile Coach & Trainer at Think Agile. His career has been driven by his passion of creating inclusive environments where people can be at their best. 

You can link with Bevan Williams on LinkedIn and connect with Bevan Williams on Twitter

Pratik Dahule: Helping teams define their purpose, a step towards Scrum Master success

Pratik suggests that, for us to achieve success in our role as Scrum Masters, we must focus on a single purpose. As Scrum Masters, we can help the teams we work with understand that, and define their own purpose. Pratik also suggests a few questions that we can use to help understand and define that purpose for the team.

In this segment we refer to Vince Lombardi, an American Football coach, and the lessons we can take from his approach to the game.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Exercises to improve the team’s emotional intelligence

In this segment, we start by talking about Emotional Intelligence, as one of the skills that Scrum Masters must bring to the Agile Retrospectives they host, but also help their teams understand. We discuss the Hot Air Balloon retrospective format and the Peaks and Valleys Timeline exercise using the Happiness gradient.

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 Pratik Dahule

Pratik is an Agile Project Manager and Agile enthusiast working in the USA. He leads teams and creates a culture of lifelong learning, constant collaboration and continuous improvement. Pratik has 12 years of experience and is passionate about helping teams in their agile transformation. Outside of work, he has a blogging site ClassactLifestyle.com where he shares insights on books and exotic places to travel.

You can link with Pratik Dahule on LinkedIn

Daniel Lutz: Psychological safety for Agile teams, a sign of Scrum Master success

Psychological Safety (see these episodes for details) is one of the key aspects that Daniel looks for in a team, and also a focus of his work as a Scrum Master. He shares with us some of the signs that indicate the presence, or absence of psychological safety, and recommends we have a retrospective question focused on psychological safety. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A format for quick decision making, and one for new teams

Daniel shares with us why the Agile Retrospectives are the most power tool we have in any transformation or change process we might be involved in. He shares with us 2 different types of retrospective formats. One that is more adequate for teams that are under time pressure and need to get quickly to actions, and improvements, and one for teams that are maybe at a crossroads in their forming process, or are just about to get started. For teams that need to get to quick actions, Daniel recommends the Start, Stop, Continue format or the 1-2-4-all Liberating Structure (see these episodes for more) as these help silent people speak up and get to actions quickly. And for teams that are at a crossroads, or starting their team journey, he recommends the Sailboat 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 Daniel Lutz

Daniel is an organizational agile coach, working full time at a leading European Energy company, scaling agile with around 30 agile teams. After years in Marketing departments, he realized how much more impact he can have as a Scrum Master by empowering people and building cross-functional teams. He also works part-time as a freelance coach and business consultant helping clients on building high performing teams.

You can link with Daniel Lutz on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lutz on Twitter.

Luis Carvalho: Be the best at getting better, the Scrum Master mission!

“We want to be the best at getting better”, this is the key mission of the Scrum Master, as Luis puts it. As Scrum Masters, we should focus on more than “the deliverable” or “the process”, and build the team to be ready to continuously improve over time. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Mourning the end of a project

As so often happens, many Agile teams go from one project to another without a break. However, when we allow that to happen we skip a critical step in the human process of “letting go” of the previous project, teams, processes, and colleagues. 

In this segment, we talk about the Mourning Retrospective, that helps teams, and team members accept that something ends, and a new story starts. A necessary process for psychological balance.

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 Luis Carvalho

Luis is an enthusiast for all things related with organizations, teams, structures and ways of working. He has been working in large scale consumer products for most of his professional life, worked with people of many backgrounds, cultures and locations and made many friends in the process. He loves traveling, food and getting to know people.

You can link with Luis Carvalho on LinkedIn.

Nick Nielsen: Creating a success dashboard for yourself as a Scrum Master

Scrum Masters work on many levels of the organization, and sometimes that makes success hard to spot. Nick shares how he starated using metrics for many different aspects of his work, and how he was able to create a perspective on his own success through constant measurements with a holistic view. 

In this episode, we talk about the DORA metrics

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Tournament of Ideas Agile Retrospective

The Sailboat Retrospective is one of Nick’s favourite formats. He explains that the technique can be easily adopted to many different contexts, and helps people think through their context in a visual manner. In this episode, we also talk about the “tournament retrospective”, where improvement ideas are pitched against each other to find the one idea the team wants to focus on.

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 Nick Nielsen

Nick completed his education at Aarhus University in Denmark and currently works in the Digital Organisation at Grundfos, the worlds biggest pump manufacturer. He views him self as a pragmatic Agile Handyman.

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

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.