Magnus’ Scrum Master Blog

My favourite online meeting tools? A sharpie and a pad of sticky notes

Holding up a sticky note while on a video call

As much as we value individuals and interactions over tools in agile, there is no way around it:

Proper tools are essential for good remote meetings.

If an individual has a bad microphone, we can’t hear them. If they have a bad camera, we can’t see them. If they have a bad internet connection, we will lose them altogether!

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12 remotely useful tips for those being part of a partially distributed team

Partially distributed team

There are many reasons why some teams are partially distributed, with some team members working together in an office and one or more others from somewhere else. Perhaps it hasn’t been possible to hire someone locally with the desired skills, or the team members just value the flexibility to work from home to time to time. Yes, the latter is a partially distributed team too!

Either way, the imbalance between colocated and remote team members means that these teams can be some of the most challenging when it comes to working together as a true team.

Let’s look at some things that can help to reduce the risk of your partially distributed team turning into a “partial team”!

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Some of my older blog posts, republished

Recycling symbol

Before starting this latest incarnation of my blog, I was blogging in a couple of different places. Judging from the traffic, some of those posts still seem valuable to people so I’ve decided to move them here. That way, they won’t disappear when I shut down my older sites.

Rather than rewriting them as I would have using my most current lens, I’ve decided to just post them as-is. So, withour further ado, here are some older posts of mine...

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Do some target practice in your next retrospective

... and get your printable “shooting target” here

Shooting targets used in a retrospective

Regardless of whether you use a print-out (for example using my template below :) or draw one on a whiteboard, a shooting target can be a simple but versatile tool for scoring pretty much anything in your retrospectives.

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Why small Scrum teams rock

Magnus Dahlgren

The more, the merrier, right? Well, not in Scrum.

Every time I’ve been working with a team bigger than the 3-9 people guideline, I’ve experienced how incredibly hard it can be to make Scrum work well in these conditions. And problems can start showing even with teams towards the higher end of what’s “allowed”! In this post, I will share the top 5 reasons I’ve seen why smaller is better.

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Printable weather symbol cards for retrospectives

Preview of weather symbol cards

The sprint weather report is one of my favourites when it comes to agile check-in exercises for retrospectives. I used to run this exercise by printing each symbol on A4, put them up on the board and let people dot vote, but it always felt a bit wasteful to throw away the marked print outs at the end of each retrospective. I have therefore created some cards to use and reuse instead.

In case they are useful to anyone else, I’m posting them here on the blog as a free download.

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10 check-in exercises for agile retrospectives

Check-in exercises for agile retrospectives (heading)'

A quick check-in exercise is a great way to start a retrospective. Not only does it help the group get warmed up and quickly get a feeling for how everyone feels the sprint went. It’s also a really useful tool for you as the facilitator, as a way to assess what’s going on. Is whatever plan you have for the rest of the retrospective the right one or do you need to do something different?

As a facilitator, it’s a good idea to have several different check-ins to choose from, so that you can keep your retrospectives varied and interesting. I will share my favourites in this article.

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