by Alfonz Martinez, Oscar Vaquero Viñes and Josep Vives
Chapter 3 – Lessons learned from our Scrum Masters
All of us are experiencing new challenges working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic. As Scrum Masters we must find mechanisms to help collaboration, communication and to facilitate Scrum ceremonies. This time at ERNI we decided to share our experiences about tools we are using to keep doing Retrospectives ‘as usual’. Retrospectives must be kept, even more on this scenario where inspection, proactivity and mainly adaptation are becoming more and more critical.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin
So let’s start listing some potential challenges are we going to face doing Virtual Retrospectives
- It is more difficult to keep everyone attention.
- It is more difficult to create engagement.
- Maybe we do not have a digital work space where we can store and track what we learnt and decided.
- As a facilitator, you might feel a bit lost checking team mood. You don’t have the body language inputs for example.
- It is much more difficult to do activities and be interactive.
What tools do we have to help with these challenges?
Team Retrospectives, a Microsoft Garage project, is an extension for Azure DevOps that provides a good experience for retrospectives and general feedback board scenarios.
Collect feedback on your project milestones, organize and prioritize, and create and track actionable tasks to help your team improve over time. Optimized for both desktop and mobile. Celebrate the good, improve the bad, and increase productivity with Team
At ERNI some of our Teams are using Azure DevOps and by default we have Retrospective folder enabled.
- Link the retrospectives into the ALM
- Plan tasks associated with the development process
- You have a history of previous retros
- Is free
- Is more developer-oriented rather than a collaborative tool
- Is only available using Microsoft Azure DevOps or Microsoft TFS
MIRO and MURAL
MIRO and MURAL allow you to create a virtual interactive boards that you can use with your Teams. Both are easy to manage, very visual and they include some powerful templates not only for Retrospectives, but also for managing Backlog or help you in design phases.
With these tools you can design a Retrospective in advance, share them with your Team and allow all the team to collaborate in real time. We encourage you to try one of them. You will find that they have different options (e.g. ‘dot voting’) that will help you to boost attention and engagement.
Some of our Scrum Masters have used MIRO tool and they have shared some pros and cons based on their experience:
- You can start with the free mode that allows up to 2 panels
- No extra installation is needed for any of the attendees, a browser is enough
- Each panel has space enough to conduct more than one retrospective
- It has some templates in order to setup different Scrum events (retrospective, planning review,…)
- It offers several tools in order to do the setup. Good for creative people
- Everybody was able to participate without major problems
- People was quite engaged with the environment because it is so visual. Cards and elements can be moved and dragged , which helps focusing the attention of attendees and allows interaction in real time
- The video/audio connections did not suffer any lag (10 participants)
- Even though the payment mode offers extra benefits (such as voting system), the available free toolset offers some workarounds.
- Payment version is a must In order to synchronize the tool with external apps (Jira, Trello, Azure Cards…)
- It takes a time to get used to setup the board, how to move and freeze areas so that attendants do not break anything by accident
- Only 2 dashboards available in the free mode