Miroverse Spotlight: Johanna Torstensson, creator of the Sailboat Retrospective

  • 10 March 2022
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Hi Miro Heroes :heart_eyes:

 

Anna here, your Community Manager.

 

This March, we are celebrating Women’s History Month by hosting a special edition of the Miroverse Challenge, Womxn at Work, and highlighting the most inspiring female creators that contributed templates to our template library. 

 

I’m super excited to share our conversation with @Johanna Torstensson, an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in Karlskrona, Sweden. Johanna is a prominent Miroverse Creator and longtime Miro Community Member who authored one of the most popular templates of 2021 — Sailboat Retrospective. It won Miro users over because it’s a fun, easy, productive way to look back at sprints and identify what went well and what needs to improve.

 

We sat down with Johanna to talk about her career path and get some tips & tricks for aspiring Miroverse Creators, and I’m excited to share her wisdom with the Miro Community. 

 

TL;DR:

  • Best advice for Agile coaches: coaching teams is not about you or what you believe is the way to go, it's all about the team's needs, thoughts, and worries.

  • Best advice for aspiring female leaders: people who are honest, sincere and acknowledge they don´t have all the answers upfront are truly inspiring; be more comfortable with not knowing the solution to the challenge and acknowledge it. 

  • On what an Agile mindset means: it’s all about creating and responding to change in an uncertain and rapidly changing world. 

  • Best advice for Miroverse creators: keep the templates simple and with a fun; the KISS design principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) is the way to go — design for users with some basic training and simple tools, the template should be easy-to-understand even if a beginner tries to use it. 

  • Johanna’s favorite Miroverse Creators: Hyper Island and Anya Dvornikova

 

Want to continue the conversation?

  • If you have a question for @Johanna Torstensson about Agile coaching, team building, hybrid work, or building templates, add it to the thread below. 
  • If you have a favorite retro template (either from Miroverse or your own), post it in the thread as well! 

 

Full Q&A with Johanna Torstensson

 

Please, tell us about yourself. How and why did you get into Agile coaching?

I'm passionate about engaging with people and being part of that collaborative energy happening in the room during problem solving. I´ve had many roles within software development such as Project Manager and Process Owner before moving into Agile coaching 5 years ago when my company started transitioning towards Agile. I found it super exciting to now be part of the Agile Center of Excellency (ACE) where the company's Agile Coaches came together to support and provide agile training to the teams in the organization. Over the years, I have done a lot of agile training  myself and this year, I'm aiming for my certification to be certified Expert professional Agile coach.  

 

I realized early on that coaching teams are not about me or what I believe is the way to go, it's all about them. The team's needs, thoughts, and worries are my main focus. To coach them finding their own team's purpose and how they can find a way together to reach their goal. 

 

 

 

What do you like most about your job?

Change doesn't come easy to people. Change is never linear, but quite messy and has its ups and downs. During the company's transition towards agile we talked a lot about having an Agile mindset. It’s all about creating and responding to change in an uncertain and rapidly changing world. So, even if you have all the best agile toolset and agile processes in place, it all comes down to your mindset. How you respond to change in the end. But when your team hangs in there, and sticks with the changes needed and gradually actually enjoys it in the end - well, that is what I like most about my job! To see the growth of both individuals and as a team together, now proud of what they achieved. 

 

Do you feel like Agile coaching is a male-dominated industry? Or are you seeing it change?

In my role as Agile Coach in Sweden I have collaborated with so many talented women over the years. There are today women shaping the future of Agile coaching, and there are initiatives that drive towards equality and inclusion in the field. I´m optimistic about the values that Agile brings to companies as well as individuals. The values promote diversity and inclusion towards high performing teams.

 

 

What advice would you give to women who are just starting as Agile coaches?

My advice to women just starting as Agile coaches is to own your servant leadership style and stay true to yourself. To me, this is all about being authentic of who you are when coaching and making room for others too. I often come back to Oscar Wilde's quote: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. This is so true. I have found I'm inspired by real people who are honest, sincere and acknowledge they don´t have all the answers upfront. Over the years, I´ve come to be more comfortable with not knowing the solution to the challenge than in the beginning of my coaching career. 

 

How did your job change during and after the pandemic? What are the main insights that you have?

Since I´m coaching distributed teams in my company, we were already used to working with digital tools and virtually boards. The only difference was changing from hybrid format to everyone joining fully remotely from their homes. My key takeaway from the pandemic is the flexibility to choose where and how you want to work. This flexibility is here to stay! We are all different people with different needs to be as efficient and productive as possible. 

 

As an example, during the team's standup I encourage everyone in the office to bring their laptop with them and login to the meeting. This way the remote team members can see everyone's faces in the standup close up, instead of at the far end of a long conference table. This makes all the difference! Using a digital-first mindset where everyone in the team can join from wherever they are, you ensure all collaborate at equal terms. This, independently if they are sitting next to you in the room or hundred miles away.

 

How did you start contributing to Miroverse?

Since I´m a frequent Miro user, I have a lot of Miro templates up my sleeve that I have used with my agile teams. So, when I first heard about Miroverse some years ago, I thought that why not share my favorite ones with others in the Community? In this way, I can also get feedback from users who have tried my templates, which actually gives me ideas for new ones. It can be feedback like “It would have been great if I could sort the ideas on the board somehow!” Comments like these sparks my creativity and can end up in changing the template to color code the stickies, or using emojis to sort them. 

 

 

What are your favorite templates that you contributed and why?

One of my favorite templates I contributed with is the Sailboat Retrospective template, which actually was one of the best 2021 templates at Miroverse. This announcement knocked me off my feet, and I still can't believe it. Over 14K downloads is just mind blowing! It makes me so happy that my favorite template is also liked by others in the Community. I like that it is so simple to understand, only a few steps to complete and can be used in many situations with a team. 

 

Do you have any tips for our Community members who want to become Miroverse creators?

My tips to those of you who might be interested in contributing to Miroverse are to keep the templates simple and with a fun approach. I would say this is a winning concept, since complex boards with a lot of rules and turns might sometimes be overwhelming for teams. So, the KISS “Keep it Simple, Stupid” design principle is the way to go! It means that we design for users with some basic training and simple tools — the template should be easy-to-understand even if a beginner tries to use it. 

 

Do you have any template ideas that you’re excited about? Where do you get ideas for new boards?

Well, I have plenty of ideas I would love to publish! But there is one board idea that is on the top of my creativity list at the moment. It's a template you can use when there is time to get to know each other a little bit more in an easy-going way e.g., when new team members arrive in an existing team or you have a completely new team to start off with. Getting to know each other is always a little bit tricky to do virtually and can be sometimes awkward, if not done right. So, I believe this new Miro template can help out with its simplicity and fun approach. 

 

What are Miroverse creators that inspire you the most?

There are so many impressive Miroverse Creators out there! But if I have to choose, I often end up using templates created by Hyper Island. They are so simple and easy to start using immediately without any fuss. Also, I can´t resist mentioning Anya Dvornikova´s designs as well, they are just so creative and playful! Perfect to bring to the teams a dull Monday morning, to get the energy going!



 


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