5 Workshops To Improve Using Product- And Sprint Goals

The 5 workshops in one overview

You can try these workshops in a random order, although we did give the flow of these do-it-yourself workshops some thought.

Workshop: Scrum Mythbusters: Is The Sprint Goal Optional In Scrum? 

We designed this tried-and-tested workshop to help Scrum Teams think about the value of (Sprint) goals. Although many Scrum Teams consider them optional, Sprint Goals are really at the heart of how you can successfully navigate complex work. With this string, you create transparency around what happens without Sprint Goals or with Sprint Goals that are unclear. And more importantly, what you can do as a team to improve – together!

Workshop: Help Your Team Get Started With A Product Goals And Sprint Goals 

We designed this do-it-yourself workshop to help your Scrum Team get started with a Product- and Sprint Goal. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new team or have already completed multiple Sprints. It’s never too late to get started with how Scrum is intended. But the importance of a Product- and Sprint Goal is something you probably already experienced yourself…

The string of Liberating Structures contains UX Fishbowl to learn from the stakeholders, Conversation Cafe to share ideas & thoughts about the product, Nine Whys to create the Product Goal, and 25/10 Crowd Sourcing to select the Sprint Goals.

Workshop: Formulate A Clear Sprint Goal During Sprint Planning 

We designed this do-it-yourself workshop to help your team define a clear Sprint Goal during Sprint Planning. The string of Liberating Structures contains Celebrity Interview to clarify the Product Goal, 1-2-4-ALL to select a Sprint Goal, Min Specs to create the Sprint Backlog, and What, So What, Now What to define the Sprint plan.

Workshop: Improve How Your Scrum Team Uses Sprint Goals 

To make the importance of the Sprint Goal clear, it’s easy to dictate the Scrum Guide. The term “goal” is one of the most emphasized concepts. Yet we believe it’s more powerful to let your team discover this by themselves. That’s the intention of this do-it-yourself workshop, which contains the Liberating Structures TRIZ, Discovery & Action Dialogue, and 15% Solutions.

Workshop: Create Better Sprint Goals With Powerful Questions 

This workshop is extra special because it’s only available in our book the “Zombie Scrum Survival Guide“. A Sprint Goal helps Scrum Teams self-organize their collaboration. The Sprint Goal also clarifies the purpose and value of the work on this Sprint. It gives flexibility to the Scrum Team to change their Sprint Backlog as needed in response to sudden changes. But creating clear goals is something many teams struggle with, especially in Zombie Scrum environments. This experiment offers ten powerful questions to help your Scrum Team create clear Sprint Goals. The questions are part of the “50 Powerful Questions” card deck. 

David Fox’s Videos

David Fox created some interesting videos which can be found here: http://davidfoxit.com/media/

Scrum Tips for Scrum Masters with Virtual Meetings (1-2-4-all, W3)

Scrum Master Tips for spreading information (1-2-4-all, W3)

Easy but effective tips for better Sprint Planning (1-2-4-all, critical uncertainties, social network webbing)

Measure you own agility using whats important to you (shift & share, ecocycle planning & panarchy)

Tips and Tricks: The Daily Scrum (1-2-4-all)

Help je Scrum team blokkerende schijnbare tegenstellingen samen te onderzoeken met LS Wicked Questions

Het onderzoeken van een WQ in en met je Scrum team is een zinvolle en creatieve werkvorm, waarmee je onderzoekend recht kunt doen aan twee kanten van de schijnbare tegenstelling om samen voortgang te boeken!

Wouter Tinbergen schreen hierover een mooi artikel: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/help-je-scrum-team-blokkerende-schijnbare-samen-te-met-tinbergen/

Designing a meetup about Liberating Structures

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Last Thursday I facilitated an internal Liberating Structures meetup together with Lars Coppens at ABN Amro. This meeting had a specific goal: How can you use Liberating Structures within Scrum events and especially with a distributed team. The time box and our challenge? Within 1.5 hours introduce several Liberating Structures and explain how to use these structures, so that the can be used with a distributed Scrum team. In this post I will describe how we designed this session.

I started by creating a list of structures I’ve used myself within Scrum events and added structures I could find others have used. You can find the list here.

Experience a structure?

The best way to learn Liberating Structures is not only to learn how to use them but also to experience them yourself. But because of the limited time, we thought people might be disappointed when we only covered a single or maybe two structures. We therefore tried to think about another way to give the participants as much information as possible without making it just a boring one-way presentation.

Information overload

Our first thought was using a Shift & Share. We could set up a station for every Scrum event and just make a presentation out of it. But that would be boring! Instead, we thought of asking the attendees to identify structures that we could use for each event. That automatically made us think of doing Caravan. Wouldn’t it be nice to let the people themselves add additional Structures to the initial list and create a long list of possible structures for each event?

But then we thought of a possible flaw in this plan. A lot of people still don’t know Liberating Structures and are attending this meetup to learn about them. So without briefly explaining the structures, it would probably be very hard for them to select structures for an event. 

Power to the people

We eventually came up with the idea to use Open Space Technology to let the participants pick the structures they want to learn about. This way we had an opportunity to share as much information as possible in a way that people could decide for themselves what they wanted to learn. And maybe we could close the session by asking the participants which structures they would like to experience themselves. With this output, we could structure our future meetups. 

We already had an extensive list of structures that could be used to facilitate Scrum events. So we picked a number of them that could be used for multiple events and wanted the participants to choose from these. 

With the possibility of over 40 participants, how would we find ourselves other facilitators and quickly decide on a schedule? We could just ask them, but what is the fun in that 😉 so what if we would use a Gallery Walk as input for the Open Space?

Our string

The eventual string we came up with looked like this:

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Impromptu Networking (with Folding Spectrogram)

To introduce the participants to each other, we used Folding Spectrogram as a way to form the first pairs for Impromptu Networking.

We used the following invitation for Folding Spectrogram:

  • Form a line, starting with the person which has the least experience in using Liberating Structures in Scrum events and ending with the person with the most experience in this area.

After everyone was paired up, we used the following invitations to start Impromptu Networking:

  • What do you hope to give and get from this session?
  • What is your experience with Liberating Structures and have you ever used them in a Scrum event?
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Gallery Walk

We created posters for the selected Liberating Structures which we spread across the room together with the card from the card deck and an icon of the structure and invited the participants to walk around in silence first to see which structures there were.

Next, we invited them to move to the structure they had the most experience with. We made a mistake to include 1-2-4-All which of course attracted the most people 😉 but luckily there were also people at other structures. For us, this was an indication we might find possible facilitators for the Option Space.

In order to select the topics for the Option Space. We asked the attendees to move to the structure they wanted to know more about.

Option Space Technology

After this, we asked who would want to facilitate one of the structures where people gathered around and quickly found a couple of volunteers. The rest of the slots would be facilitated by Lars and me and therefore, we invited the attendees to create their own schedule using the remaining structures.

We proposed to facilitate each slot using the following steps:

  1. Introduce and explain the selected structure
  2. Using a 1-2-All to answer the following questions:
  • For which Scrum events can you use this structure?
  • Can you use this structure in a distributed environment and how?
  • Can you use this structure within a small team (less than 6 people)?

When the time box was over, we quickly debriefed what we had discovered and introduced an online tool called mentimeter. 

Using Mentimeter.com for distributed facilitation

To wrap up the meeting and gather input for our next meetups. We used the tool mentimeter to ask the participants two questions. 

Mentimeter is an online tool that I use a lot with distributed teams to collect feedback from individuals. I’m still planning on writing a separate article on this, so keep an eye out for it in the future 😉

We could have used a 25/10 to determine which Liberating Structures our public wants to experience during the next meetup. But using the ranking question in mentimeter we could get a similar outcome in less time. And at the same time let everyone experience how easy menti.com can be used.

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As a wrap-up question, we asked the participants for feedback on this session and if they enjoyed it. Luckily most of them did! For me the best feedback we received is that almost a third of them wants to experience more structures in-depth and thinks 1.5 hours might be too short to do so. So, challenge accepted! I’m looking forward to facilitate future meetups!

What do you think of the string we came up with? Do you have any tips on what we could’ve done better? Let me know!

as also published on: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/designing-meetup-liberating-structures-jeroen-de-jong/

Deze 10 principes helpen je meer uit je interacties te halen

Of je nu de grote baas bent bij een multinational of net bent begonnen met je eerste serieuze baan, voor iedereen geldt: jouw succes in het leven is grotendeels afhankelijk van de interacties met de mensen om je heen. Hoe meer je uit die interacties haalt, hoe meer jij uit het leven haalt. Lijkt dat je wat? Dan vind je in de tien principes achter Liberating Structures een bijzonder effectieve methode om dat voor elkaar te krijgen.

  1. Betrek en activeer iedereen
  2. Respecteer anderen en wat anderen te zeggen hebben
  3. Bouw vertrouwen op terwijl je bezig bent
  4. Leer van je fouten
  5. Gebruik de groepsdynamiek om jezelf beter te leren kennen
  6. Benadruk vrijheid en verantwoordelijkheid
  7. Focus je op wat wél mogelijk is
  8. Omarm creatieve destructie
  9. Serieus spelen: Spelenderwijs ontdekken
  10. Start nooit zonder duidelijk doel

Lees het volledige artikel van Ruben Klerkx hier: https://thecreatorscompany.com/blogs/deze-10-principes-helpen-je-meer-uit-je-interacties-te-halen/

Using ‘Critical Uncertainties’ as Retrospective format

Use the Liberating Structure ‘Critical Uncertainties‘ to grow the self-organizing capabilities of the Scrum Team by having them think of the most critical and uncertain realities they might face. Check this article for detailed instructions and examples.

  • (2 min) Explain the overall purpose of Critical Uncertainties: identifying and exploring the most critical and uncertain “realities” and formulate strategies that will help you become successful in these different situations.
  • (5 min) Invite the Scrum Team to make a list of uncertainties they face;
  • (5 min) Ask them to prioritize the most critical factors;
  • (5 min) Select the two most critical and most uncertain (X and Y).
  • (3 min) Give them a large flip chart and ask them to create a grid with two axes — X & Y — with two extremes of <– → for the factor to be represented on each axis.
  • (5 min) Now that they’ve created four potential scenarios, invite them to explore each scenario and discover what each would look like. What behaviour might you observe? What would people say? Encourage them to define these as “markers” they can use to determine which scenario they are in if they would “time travel” to that future. Write down some examples for every scenario;
  • (5 min) Invite the Scrum Team to give each quadrant a name that captures the essence of each scenario. This could be a movie title (e.g. ‘Love Boat’, ‘Endgame’), a book (e.g. ‘The Road’), a quote (e.g. ‘Shoot from the hip’) or something else that immediately captures the essence of that quadrant;
  • (5 min) Invite them to think about which strategies could help in these scenarios;
  • (5 min) Invite the Scrum Team to reflect on which scenario they currently are in and determine a 15% Solution for the strategy you defined.

As stolen from The Liberators Newsletter 😉

Improving the Sprint Review with Liberating Structures

By using this format for the Sprint Review you’ll achieve its purpose: inspect the increment that was created during the Sprint as well as to adapt the Product Backlog based on new insights, ideas, and changes that result from this inspection. The Liberating Structures ensure it’s done in such a way that everyone is continuously involved & engaged. Shaping the next steps becomes a joint effort as well.

Read the complete article here: https://medium.com/the-liberators/improving-the-sprint-review-with-liberating-structures-variant-2-35eb011abc60

Liberating Structures and (distributed) Scrum Events

For an upcoming meetup I’m preparing a session on how to use LS for Scrum Events and especially events where the participants are distributed and joining the event remotely.

Here’s a brief overview of some LS that can be used for the different Scrum events. I’ve marked all structures with an * that I’ve used myself in a distributed setting.

Refinement / Planning

Daily Scrum

Sprint Review

Sprint Retrospective

On the liberating Structures website you can find a design checklist for virtual meetings. Since the link is currently no longer working, you can find the document here: