Experience report - the format
How is Echometer actually used in practice? And by whom? We want to answer these questions in a number of Echometer testimonials. In this series, we interview some of our users for you.
Our series continues with the experience report from Luca Süess. Luca is Scrum Master at Bison Schweiz AG.
Bison Schweiz AG - with headquarters in Sursee, Lucerne - specializes in the development and implementation of business software for medium-sized companies. The company currently employs over 300 staff.
Echometer: To begin, would you like to introduce yourself?
Luca: Yes, very much! I'm Luca from Switzerland, as you can probably tell from my dialect. I've been with the Bison for 3 ½ years. Our headquarters are in Switzerland, but we also have two branches in Germany. As a Scrum Master, I look after a team that maintains and develops the the ERP solution of a large Swiss retailer. We are a very large team of 16 people and work together in an agile manner. We have been using Echometer for about half a year and use the app regularly.
Experience with agile work
Echometer: Since when have you been working agile?
Luca: In 2011, we took our first steps with Scrum.
Echometer: What does agile work look like in your team?
Luca: Due to the freedom granted to us, our scrum teams can work in a very self-organized way in Bison. Everyone is directly involved with each other, which is why we are in a large team which consists of project managers, requirement engineers, software developers and support. We always work iteratively and incrementally as best as we possibly can. However, the latter is not always easy when introducing a complex ERP solution, as it has many external interfaces. I also have the feeling that we are in a good place in terms of communication and transparency.
Echometer: You have been using Echometer for about half a year. How did you find us and what did you hope to achieve using Echometer?
Luca: I found out through LinkedIn that you have an interesting software tool for retros. After visiting the website, we decided to test the app. Especially in times of Corona and home office – we have now been doing home office for half a year, and will stay like this at least until the end of the year – we were continuously looking for a digital solution.
We didn't want a classic tool where you have a whiteboard and use post-its, but a tool with different questions. Echometer was the first app that we saw in this direction. The app was generally well received by all Scrum Masters in the company, so we decided to start with two test teams and see whether we would like to continue working with Echometer, and equip teams with it.
Supporting teamwork with Echometer
Echometer: How does Echometer support you when you work in a team? Do you have a specific example?
Luca: I think the variety in retrospectives and, to that effect, new food for thought and perspectives are particularly important for us. The app definitely supports us with its structure.
Another advantage is that everyone sees the same picture and the team can exchange ideas with other tools, such as Teams, in other ways. That always worked out very well! And especially in the current digitalized times, the tool helps to carry out retros efficiently, despite team members not being physically present.
How is Echometer used at Bison Group?
Echometer: How do you use Echometer in your company and how do you like the process that you are going through?
Luca: Two teams are currently using the Echometer app regularly. I consciously say regularly, because we don't use them after every sprint. A sprint lasts two weeks for us. At the moment there are individual topics for which we neither use Echometer nor any other tool, in order to be completely flexible. We haven't tried all the new updates yet, though – I would like to try out the new functions in the coming week.
Is there a “favorite feature”?
Echometer: Is there a feature on Echometer that you particularly like?
Luca: Something particularly popular with the team is the balloon in the final summary of the retro, which floats from left to right. My team members always want to click on the balloon, but nothing happens. Funnily enough, this is always a point that is mentioned when I ask them subsequently for feedback on Echometer.
Luca: For a serious answer: We generally like the collaboration that is made possible with Echometer. Personally, as a Scrum Master, I particularly like the overview with the live voting, in which you can prioritize the various topics that have been discussed. The topics are entered by the employees days or hours before the retro through the previously sent survey. Votes can be carried out very easily and transparently on the overview page.
I personally find that the dashboard showing the relative changes in the various topics discussed by the teams another cool feature.
There are the scale questions that the team answers, and there are the percentages that change over time. This way, I can understand how these have changed over time, and whether the team has improved or worsened. The Scrum Master can see in black and white how the team is feeling, and usually my feeling for this is confirmed, or new food for thought arises. With this, topics are tackled that I might not otherwise have tackled directly. These are the two highlights from a scrum master's point of view.
From an employees' point of view, another positive point is that they deal with various topics before the retrospective and can therefore go to the meeting better prepared.
Do you have a “favorite retro theme”?
Echometer: The app has various retro themes to pick from. Are there any themes that you really like really like using or do you have a team favorite?
Luca: Proportionally, I use the theme “Happy – Wondering – Sad” – most often, although the Scrum Master tries of course to bring in more variety and to trigger different food for thought. After this comes “Keep – Stop – Start,” and then there are questions from different themes, which I put together depending on the topic. So far, I haven't been able to try any of the new themes, these being "pandemic" or "sailboat."
Echometer: Yes, we have recently added a few new themes. We are curious what you think about it!
Luca's tip for using the tool
Echometer: Do you have a tip that you would give to other companies that are not yet using Echometer, to which you are now thinking about introducing a retro tool as well?
Luca: I think agile companies are often ready to try out such tools. If you don't try, you can't win! That was part of our thoughts when we tested the tool.
Our interview partner
Scrum Master at Bison Schweiz AG
Echometer: If you look back on the last six months – how would you summarize your time using Echometer?
Luca: It's a great support for the Scrum Master in preparing retrospectives for a team! The complete look of the retrospective has not changed – but that's a good thing. It should still be a format that's recognizable.
Echometer: Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experiences with Echometer!
We have already spoken to Veronika from Bytabo. Look over here to find out more about other experiences!
Did that sound exciting to you? Would you like to get to know Echometer better?
Take this opportunity to create a free demo account and design your next retros with Echometer!
If you are already on board with us and would like to share your experiences as well, please contact Jean!