Scrum Video Tip #8 – Creative Retrospectives

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Braintrust COO, Trainer & Coach Kate Megaw presents 3 creative methods for performing retrospectives.  The modified starfish, boat & learning matrix

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Scrum Video Tip #7 – Effective Retrospectives

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Braintrust COO, Trainer & Coach Kate Megaw has three tips for effective Sprint Retrospectives

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Scrum Video Tip #6 – 3 Tips To Be A More Effective ScrumMaster

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What are three things you can do to be a more effective ScrumMaster? Brian uses his dog Madison to give you clues!

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Annual Performance Reviews – The most un-agile way to provide feedback

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  • Blindsiding people with performance issues that you have been sitting on for some time
  • People acting better (Coming in on-time, etc.) right before their performance review
  • Holding people accountable to un-realistic expectations

Here is the horror story of my worst annual performance review…

It was one of my first reviews after leaving college. I was really looking forward to it because I love feedback. I remember the morning of the review being so excited that I was feeling butterflies in my stomach. I sat down at the table with my 3 bosses and for the next half hour and to my surprise they proceeded to rip me a new one. Turns out that they weren’t happy with my performance. They felt like I wasn’t giving 100% because I wasn’t working every night and weekend, like they were. They even went so far as to say they had contemplated letting me go.

Up until this point I had thought I was doing great and excelling at everything that was being asked of me. They had decided to bottle up all of their frustration and explode on me. I was shocked and bewildered. I couldn’t understand why they would sit on this news and not tell me while I still had time to do something about it. This was the most painful review of my entire career and it left permanent scars behind. I felt betrayed and like I couldn’t trust my 3 bosses any longer. What’s worse I don’t think they ever realized the damage that they caused.

So, if you aren’t going to do performance reviews then what should you do instead?

  • Provide feedback to your team member in the moment – Catch them doing something great, reward them right then. If they step across a line, let them know right away. In today’s culture social media has conditioned us to receiving instant feedback, so why fight it.
  • Encourage your team members to provide feedback to each other at regular intervals – If your team is working in an Agile way then meetings like the daily standup (A daily 15 minute meeting to get the team on the same page) and the retrospective (A meeting to discuss how to improve as a team) are a great opportunity to let each other know how they are doing.
  • Adjust team member compensation as needed – If your organization gives annual cost of living increases they apply it for everyone at the appropriate time. It’s pretty insulting then to go into an annual review and be rewarded with a 3% increase for your “exceeds expectations” rating. Also, if a team member deserves a promotion and/or special compensation then process it immediately. Again, tie the reward to the performance rather than to the ceremony of the annual performance review.

Join me in being an Agile Leader and doing away with the very un-agile practice of annual performance reviews. Even if your organization still requires this practice, you can always behave as an Agile Leader would; review in the moment, submitting the annual paperwork simply as a formality. By leading in this way you will be helping your team members to grow at a much faster rate than you would otherwise.

Center for Agile Leadership - Certified Agile LeaderTo learn more about becoming a Certified Agile Leader (CAL) visit our new site



Got an annual performance review horror story? Please share it as a comment.

Scrum Video Tip # 5 – Managing Your Product Backlog

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Do you have any Stakeholder requests/features that if included in the product will wreck it?

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Braintrust’s Own, Kate Megaw Selected to Co-Chair the Global Scrum Gathering, Orlando 2016

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KateHere at Braintrust, we don’t like to brag on ourselves too much. We prefer to give the attention to our clients who are succeeding at Scrum and changing the world one workplace at a time. But, every once in a while, one of our team members achieves something that is just too big not to share. 

This is one of those occasions. Our very own Chief Operating Officer, Kate Megaw, has been selected to co-chair the Global Scrum Gathering, Orlando 2016

If you are not familiar, Global Scrum Gatherings are presented by The Scrum Alliance and take place 3 times each year. The Orlando 2016 event will be April 18-20, 2016. Because they only happen 3 times per year, the Scrum Alliance® community strives to make each Global Gathering extraordinary. You’ll hear presentations from experts in the field who will inspire you with stories of success, current implementation best practices, and creative applications of the Scrum framework. Meet people from around the world who share your passion and drive for making work more Agile. You’ll share experiences, learn new teaching methods, and return to your team energized and ready to reach the next level. You can also earn Category A SEUs toward your CSP certification by attending these events.

We’re extremely proud of Kate for earning this prestigious honor. It’s going to be a lot of work to co-chair such a large event, but we have no doubt that Kate is going to do great. 

Make your plans to attend because you won’t want to miss Kate in action. 



Braintrust Launches The Center for Agile Leadership!

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CFAL-Logo-Final-01From the Desk of Brian Rabon:

My name is Brian Rabon and you may know me as the President of Braintrust Consulting Group. I’ve had the pleasure to meet and train many of you in our certified Scrum classes over the last eight years and now I have something brand new that I am excited to share with you.

This month, Braintrust is launching our all new, Center for Agile LeadershipTM.

The Center for Agile LeadershipTM is based on a new way of thinking. It’s leadership for the next generation of business. Using the principles of Agile, we will teach individuals how to successfully inspire others and become agents for change within their organization and within their own lives.

Using how we actually run Braintrust rather than theories of leadership, The Center for Agile LeadershipTM will make you a more effective leader in today’s new business environment. We will teach you how to find your passion. We will teach you how to take control of your to-do list. We will teach you how to successfully inspire others and become an agent for change within your organization and your life. When you apply the teachings of the Center for Agile Leadership™, you will be able to build teams that will walk through fire for you.


CAL Badge-01
Our first official training opportunity will be our Certified Agile LeaderTM program.

Through the Certified Agile LeaderTM program, you will gain an understanding of Agile Leadership, including values, principles, tools, and techniques.

  • Become an architect of cultures and organizations that are truly agile.
  • Gain the skills necessary to create productive teams that excel because they have a strong sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  • Add more tools to your toolbox for dealing with change and making decisions.
  • Gain a better understanding for the changing business world and future proof your career.
  • Demonstrate to your organization and your team your dedication to the study of Agile Leadership and your strong desire to be an effective leader.
  • Engage with a company that was founded on Agile Leadership practices and utilizes them on a daily basis.


There is a leader trapped inside all of us. At The Center for Agile Leadership™ we consider ourselves sculptors, much like Michelangelo we chisel and polish away your rough bits, until all that is left is the beautiful leader who was trapped inside.





Brian M. Rabon, CST, PMP

Click here to visit

Contact us to learn more about private on-site options.

Nashville, TN – November 18 – 19, 2015 Reserve your seat now.
Los Angeles, CA – January 13 – 14, 2016 Reserve your seat now.