Agile Assessments



Agile Ceremonies is a critical part of the Agile discipline that makes agile teams highly effective. There are reasons for the order and every ceremony has a specific purpose in serving the team.

Sprint Planning

Attendees: PO, SM, Team (mandatory)

Facilitator: Scrum Master

The PO ensures:

  • the backlog is ready for Planning
  • the backlog is reviewed with the team
  • the backlog is adjusted accordingly

The Scrum Master ensures:

  • the team capacity is understood before commitment is made
  • the team is present, rescheduling can be very disruptive
  • the sprint goals are captured and committed by team

The Event

  • Timebox 2-4 hours (per iteration/sprint); mature teams are super fast!
  • Team understands velocity, capacity and commitment.
  • Team aligns on final clarification on stories
  • Team aligns on Sprint commitment (stories and priority)
  • SMEs and external teams’ members are present ONLY as needed

Daily Standup

Attendees: PO, SM, Team (SMEs and Project Manager may attend as observers).

This is a “committed team” meeting.

Facilitator: Scrum Master

The PO attends to answer any requirement questions that arise

The Event

  • Timebox 15 minutes (daily)
  • Delivery team collaborates with each other
  • Scrum Board updates are done prior to stand up

The Agenda

  • Are you blocked? Name what is blocking/impeding you and how you need help!
  • What you did yesterday (since last Stand Up)
  • What you plan to do today

Effective Daily Stand Up Approaches

  • Same time/place each day
  • A “meet after” following Daily Stand Up may be held accordingly (e.g. tech huddle, blocker discussion)
  • Focused, time boxed meeting with concise discussion only about current sprint.

Backlog Grooming

Attendees: PO, SM, Team

Facilitator: Scrum Master & Product Owner

The PO ensures the:

  • Backlog contains the appropriate items
  • Items are prioritized
  • Items at the top of the backlog are ready for estimating

The Event

  • Timebox 1-2 hours per week (up to each team)
  • Helps the team consider new stories before Iteration Planning
  • Provides time to identify dependencies and issues that could impact the next iteration
  • Ensures the PO has a ready backlog for Iteration Planning
  • Agile team members are in attendance and actively engaged
  • SMEs and other teams’ members are invited as needed

Backlog Grooming activities include

  • Create new user stories in response to newly discovered needs
  • Split user stories so that they fit in an upcoming sprint
  • Story description and acceptance criteria alignment
  • Story sizing/estimating established by team
  • Story prioritization reviewed with team
  • Backlog and story quality reviewed by team

Sprint Review

Attendees: Dev Team, Product Owner, Scrum Master, Business Stakeholders, Anybody in the organization with an interest in the product

Facilitator: Scrum Master

PO Role: Proactive participant, Leads System Demo, respond to questions

Rest of Core Team: Proactive participant; Tech Lead/Devs/Testers support Demo

The Sprint Review:

2 parts: Demo & Review always

  • Is open to everyone
  • It is NOT for team but is a time for the team to show off their work to others, get feedback & celebrate accomplishments
  • Is a report out where they could use help on organizational blockers.
  • Comprises a demo that should be shared with stakeholders, business users and end users.

The Event

  • Timebox 1-1.5 hours per sprint / iteration
  • Conduct a Demo of everything completed during sprint
  • Share Team accomplishments from sprint using Dashboard / Metrics
  • Share team struggles or blockers from sprint that negatively impacted team

Sprint Retrospective

Attendees: PO, SM, Team / Facilitator: Scrum Master

PO Role: Participatory*

NOTE: This is often considered a team therapy session.

The Event

  • Timebox 45 minutes-1 hour per sprint/iteration
  • Core Team mandatory
  • Focus on continuous improvement for all things related to the team
  • Held AFTER Sprint Review so that information is fresh in everyone’s mind.
  • Many formats used for this ceremony but most common is:
    • What did we do well? or What is working well?
    • What can be improved?
    • What actions (only 1-2) can we commit to taking on this next sprint to improve upon as a team?


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Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm PST
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm PST

Duration: 1 day workshop
Cost: $475/person


On request this could also be split over 2 days

Learning Outcomes

  1. Who is a Scrum Master?
  2. A day in the life of a Scrum Master
  3. A Sprint in the life of a Scrum Master
  4. Scrum Master Role and Responsibilities
    1. Scrum Master serving The Team (Developers)
    2. Scrum Master serving Product Owner
    3. Scrum Master serving Stakeholders
  5. Scrum Master as a Servant Leader change agent
    1. How to coach your Scrum Team?
    2. How to coach the larger organization?
    3. How to challenge the status quo?
  6. Agile basics – review
    1. Agile Values and Principles
  7. Scrum framework overview – review
    1. Scrum Values
    2. Scrum ceremonies – review
      1. Facilitation in Scrum events
  8. Tools 
    1. Understanding team development stages
    2. How to create engagement using online and in person tools?
    3. Understanding DevOps
  9. Metrics
    1. How to choose the best metrics for your team?
    2. Understanding Team Happiness
  10. Open topics
    1. Challenges faced in day to day work
      1. Brainstorm solutions 
  11. What makes a great Scrum Master? 
  12. How to grow as a Scrum Master
  13. Next steps

Patrick Foster

Agile Coach

Patrick Foster

I’m a leader who serves as an Agile Coach in organizations.

I help senior leadership plan long-term strategic decisions while embracing the Agile mindset.

I also work with teams to help them become self organizing on their journey of providing value to the customers.

I see my clients as creative, resourceful, and whole and I’m here to walk alongside them to achieve business outcomes.

Elena Vassilieva

Innovation Leader Coach & Agile Transformation Adviser

Elena Vassilieva is an executive leadership coach who uses virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate sustainable and immersive feedback for conscious leadership development. Elena integrates principles of Conversational and Emotional IQ and Systemic Team coaching with an Agile/Lean empirical approach to create a personalized holistic coaching
experience. Drawing on her years of training, mentoring, and coaching executives and teams in Agile transformation, she now serves as a trusted advisor for thought leaders who engage in digital transformation.
Elena is an experienced people development leader known for her ability to creatively align business strategy to people’s practices while keeping a passionate focus on workplace culture and values.
Elena is an ICF Certified Coach, ORSC, and AoEC Certified Systemic Team Coach, Certified Visionary Leadership Coach.
As the Scrum Alliance Certified Coach and Certified Agile Leadership Educator, Elena is teaching, training, and coaching teams and individuals to become great Agile professionals and Agile leaders. She brings together diverse and passionate voices dedicated to developing thriving workplace cultures, creating joy and value with the Agile approach, and embracing the agile mindset in work and life environments.
Elena works with leaders and teams around the globe, helping them engage in digital transformation and mapping out powerful organizational shifts to create a sustainable culture focused on learning and innovation. She helps executives in global companies find alignment around cultural and social diversity and aligns around shared purpose, shared values, and business goals.
Elena blends her diverse experiences as a trusted advisor, professional consultant, coach, researcher, and VR documentary producer.

Alireza Boloorchi

PhD in Computer Science

Alireza Boloorchi is passionate about efficiency for the whole. He believes leadership is about the courage in sacrificing localized efficiency for a greater goal. For the last 12 years, he has been helping several large and small organizations to adopt/adapt more efficient process using Agile/Lean values and principles.

He received his PhD in Computer Science and is Certified Scrum Professional by Scrum Alliance. His experience is rooted in software engineering followed up in roles such as Scrum Master, Agile coach, ENT Agile coach, and leadership in Agile organizations.

He has worked/consulted in several industries such as Finance, Game, Semiconductor, manufacturing , etc. Academia has been an important part of his professional life, and He is researching and teaching Agile in the academia as an Adjunct Professor at Oklahoma State University. And serves as reviewer for several journals such as Journal of Super Computing, Network Systems, and Information Science.

Zach Bonaker

Benevolent Trouble-maker

Zach Bonaker is a “benevolent trouble-maker” based in San Diego, California, USA and has more than 10 years of experience assisting organizations with achieving their goals through improved working conditions and team-centric systems of work. With experience guiding Fortune 500 companies to multi-million dollar startups, Zach draws upon agile principles, relationships, and systems thinking to redesign structures into safe, collaborative environments. Zach is an international conference speaker, frequent podcast guest, and contributor to the global agile community. When he isn’t thinking about next-generation agile ideas, Zach can be found enjoying the sunny California weather and connecting with people all over the world.

Michael de la Maza

PhD, MIT, CEC, Co founder

Michael de la Maza is the founder of Heart Healthy Scrum and a Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC). Previously, he was VP of Corporate Strategy at Softricity (acquired by Microsoft in 2006) and co-founder of Inquira (acquired by Oracle in 2011). He is the co-editor of Agile Coaching: Wisdom from Practitioners and co-author of Professional Scrum with TFS 2010 and Why Agile Works: The Values Behind The Results. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from MIT.

Jeff Patton

Chief Troublemaker

Jeff Patton helps companies adopt a way of working that’s focused on building great products, not just building stuff faster. Jeff blends a mixture of Agile thinking, Lean and Lean Startup Thinking, and UX Design and Design Thinking to end up with a holistic product-centric way of working. Jeff is author of the bestselling O’Reilly book User Story Mapping which describes a simple holistic approach to using stories in Agile development without losing sight of the big picture.

Jeff’s a Certified Scrum Trainer, and winner of the Agile Alliance’s 2007 Gordon Pask Award for contributions to Agile Development. You can learn more about Jeff, and find essays and past writing from his columns with, Better Software Magazine, and IEEE Software on his website: 

Amitabh Sinha

Execution Strategy Advisor, CTC

Amitabh (Amit) Sinha is a servant leader entrepreneur, visionary, mentor, trainer and coach. Amit is highly passionate about Agile, it’s principles, values, and the human side. Amit is a people champion and strives to bring out the best in his teams. Amit leverages his expertise in Agile, Scrum, Kanban and people skills to increase team effectiveness and happiness.

Amit has had huge success in transforming teams, departments and organizations. He has led, coached, nurtured and trained hundreds of teams into high performance and happiness! Amit’s teams have often been noted for their high levels of exuberance. Amit helps Scrum Masters, Product Owners, leaders and executives understand the Agile mindset and how to create effective products that delight customers. 

Amit contributes to the community by speaking at various forums and meetups to share his knowledge and wisdom with others. He delivered a popular workshop on happiness and productivity at the global Agile conference August 2019(AA 2019, DC). Amit lives with his wife and three boys in Palo Alto, California.

Rakesh Sadhwani

Business Strategy Advisor

Rakesh Sadhwani is an entrepreneur, businessman, and technical leader who possesses a wealth of industry experience and know-how.  He currently serves as the CEO of an award winning, Bay Area technical staffing and solutions firm, Vertisystem. Rakesh’s expertise includes on-shoring and off-shoring, staff augmentation, business strategy, business development and creating valued partnerships.

What sets Rakesh apart as a leader is his dedication to the relationship first, his genuine commitment to the community, enabling his staff’, and a commitment to doing what is right.  Rakesh is a true partner who sincerely listens and endeavors to deliver value above and beyond your expectations. Rakesh lives with his wife and two daughters in Fremont, California.