For Christmas, the Fairy Scrum Master is granting you 1 wish. Just One.
Imagine; The Fairy Scrum Master is able to make the single, most painful problem in your team vanish & with no side effects.
The purpose of this retrospective is to use the ‘just one thing’ retrospective format. I usually run this type of retro when a team has many challenges ahead of them, and morale of the team is in danger if the flood gates are opened too far, too quickly. The main objective is getting each team member to identify the 1 thing, above all others, that is causing them most pain or irritation right now.
So with a very minor adaptation, I ran a retrospective for the NewVoiceMedia Scrum masters. They could each select one of their teams, and use their Fairy Scrum Master’s 1 Wish.
We each posted our wishes, and in turn explained a little context around the problem, what we had tried before & what we felt was at the root of the challenge. There was a little cross-questioning for clarity, but we tried not to get into too much detail for fear of leaking our own bias about our problem out to the rest of the team.
Once all wishes were clarified, we allowed 15-20 minutes to each Scrum Master, allowing them to offer up possible idea to try and resolve any of the wishes on the board.
We then returned to our own personal wish, and looked at the ideas we had been given by our peers. We cycled through the list of wishes and their associated solution-offerings, getting clarity from the contributor if necessary.
This was particularly useful for us. Having each listened to the context when the wish was requested, we were now seeing other people’s ideas for solving it. This was great for widening our own tool set for the future.
Each Scrum Master then chose 1 suggested solution to develop into an experiment (think Toyota Improvement Kata).
I have deliberately obliterated the picture, as some of the topics are sensitive, however, you can get the general idea.
Oh, and I should mention: dress-up wings and wand are optional.
I work with Scrum Masters, and have done for more than a decade. I’ve seen many occasions where a Scrum Master, for whatever reason, doesn’t address an obvious issue with the team. And no, I’m not talking of inexperienced scrum masters particularly, nor incompetent ones either. This is about our standard, run-of-the-mill invisible superstars.
How do you get scrum masters to re-examine their team(s) for painful problems they’ve come to believe are unfixable? Or that are so long-standing, they’ve forgotten it is not optimal behaviour?
Once recognised, how do you then get to a resolution for that problem? If the Scrum Master doesn’t believe they can do anything about it this might well be why they have not already addressed it. Its never the easy problems that wait around to be solved!
Over time, even the best of us can become normalised to things that a newcomer would spot immediately. Swarming on this with people you trust can get some new perspectives and some fresh ideas. This might be all that is needed to re-energise you.
It’s a little counter-intuitive, but asking for help is one of the most powerful things you can do.