Scrum Master Tip – Many Voices

This is a quick tip that I struggled with when I started as a Scrum Master and wish someone told me about.

Issue to Avoid

One person talking for the majority of the time during retrospectives, although this applies to all meetings.

Why is it a problem?

One voice is not only boring for the others, but you’re very unlikely to get the engagement required to improve.

You’re also potentially missing out on a great idea that someone else hasn’t been able to say.

Potential Solutions

Try not to stand at the front talking all the time.

Try asking each team member to present their points and reason for choosing, instead of handing you their post-it.

Try asking a different team member to take the retrospective.

If you’re not getting much in the way of contributions, directly ask the quietest member of the team to say their thoughts on a particular topic.

Try to ask open questions so it’s difficult to give 1 word response. “What do you think of X?” is much more likely to get a good response than “Is X a problem?”.

If after all the above, you’re still getting little input, it may be because everyone agrees. Encourage someone on the to play devil’s advocate and disagree.

Finally:

Learn the power of silence

Most people hate sitting in a silent meeting. If you keep quiet, someone else will fill the void.

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