Daily personal retrospective


I was listening to a podcast earlier in the week. The title was along the lines of 3 things you can do to make yourself a better scrum master. As things go, I have no idea what 2 of the 3 were, but the one that stuck has been echoing around my head for days.

The statement was this. Good scrum masters do a daily personal retrospective. They find a time to reflect on how they have done during the day and how they can learn and grow for the next.

This has struck a real chord in me and a challenge. I know, I often fail to live up to this ideal. It is true, that one of my biggest personal values is always looking for growth opportunities, but I saw something quite profound in the statement.

The value of personal daily reflection (which is at the heart of any good retro) has been well documented. HBR has explored why you should reflect daily. This is a bonus for you. The thing is as a scrum master (or agile coach, product owner or developer) your state of mind and your growth affects others.

The people around me are a big part of the why I try to do better. If it helps, I should be doing it, but I’m not doing it on a daily basis. And if it is so good for us, why don’t we do it?

The excuses can come thick and fast and some are legitimate, but many are just that, excuses. They don’t stand up under the light of examination.

The excuses I have used include tiredness, nothing exciting happening, not knowing where to start and sheer forgetfulness. To be honest they are pretty weak.

So, if I don’t want to make excuses, but instead do something about it how can I start?

Here’s a few things I’m going to try.

Pick a time daily and stick to it
I catch a train home. I often try to finish of a bit of work, but I find network connections can be a real pain on the first leg of my journey. So this week, I am going to try to spend those first 5 minutes doing my daily retro

Figure out what works
I think I’m going to go for a 1 line journal style in my work book to keep it focused and to the point. Again the benefits of journaling are well covered. Huffpost has a great article on it. I’ve been meaning to do it forever. I guess this is an easy way to start

Pick an action
I think my next line should be something to do, watch, read or consider for the following day.

Forgive myself if I don’t get it right
I know I’m human, if I miss a day I haven’t blown it. I am right here giving myself permission to start again without recrimination.

Experiment for a set period of time
I’m going to do this each day this week coming and will happily update at the end of the week. I will continue the experiment for 4 work weeks and see how I feel. I’m also happy to update.

Ask others
Finally and to finish this off, I want to know what others do. Many people on this site keep journals and actively participate in self-improvement. How do you stay fresh and come back to each new day with something to try?

Please share your thoughts and ideas. I’d love to hear from you and your experiences.

Responding to change

Depending on your culture and climate, many will find themselves in “reactive” mode all day… so +1 to the idea of setting aside a time to reflect. So so important to taking the long view, and having a remote chance at changing things for the better.

If an idea is good for the scrum master, it might just be good for the entire team :slight_smile:

I’ve started an experiment with https://www.teammood.com/en/

Currently 60 folks participate, over 80% do so every day. It’s anonymous, and there’s a comment function. Sort of a collective journal.

TeamMood as the ability to add “tags” so I can segment by team, by role. (Need to be careful not to create ability to drill down to too small of a set of people… else safety goes out the window)

The ability to show results by team, by iteration, makes for a great icebreaker at a retro

The ability to look at things over time is really powerful:

58 AM

And finally, as Coach, if i can glean insights into the impact of a systemic change (guess when the new eVP showed up and started to exercise a top down, command and control initiative ;P)

Coaches and scrum masters can focus communication efforts accordingly:


I’ve just dropped it in my little ‘a’ agile hipchat channel. Cool idea to think about.




TeamMood just came out with a Slack Integration - a bot that gives you a (per user adjustable) prompt on a set schedule.

The TeamMood dev team is very open to user feedback… not if/where HipChat integration is on their roadmap.

Otherwise you have the option of a prompt via email, again on a per user set schedule.


Update 1: I’ve really enjoyed this. It has helped me put the day’s work at a little distance. I feel better. My head feels a little clearer.

I’m not sure the effects on my work or role, but well worth continuing next week.


It has been a tumultuous month in the intervening time. Some good and some bad. I have noticed the times I don’t do my daily journal.

I find that with the daily journalling, I am less reactive and more given to being aware of my actions. Well worth the time. I have started this back up again. I like it and would very much recommend it.


How to amplify that practice ?
Perhaps teammood.com !