As an occasional Scrum Master, working with a distributed team, I have accumulated a link list featuring some useful tools which I want to share here.
This is a sticky board alternative for remote teams.
Present the board in a video conference system and let people collaborate as usually with physical boards.
The boards are customizable (columns, headers, etc.) and you can add comments/votes on the cards. You can drag the cards around via drag & drop.
Sometimes you need more than just sticky notes and want to draw something with you team. Here Webwhiteboard comes in quite handy.
It allows for visual retrospective formats with distributed teams.
Just share the link with the rest of the team and you are ready to go.
This is an online version of planning poker. You can select the type of cards you want to use (like Fibonacci or T-Shirt sizes) and import the stories just per copy&paste.
I like the simplicity of this tool.
Sometimes you just don’t have the right idea for a good retrospective plan.
The Retromat can help here: It provides you with a vast amount of ideas for the typical steps of a retrospective and you can combine them at will. Not all combinations are good, but you’ll get some nice ideas when you are working with it.
If your team members are geographically distant, have different cultural backgrounds and/or the team members don’t know each other already some icebreaker games can help to connect, build trust and establish psychological safety.
The Icebreaker page offers 3 “difficulty” levels with different questions to get to know each other. Just start the retrospective with a random question and let everyone give an answer to it.
After a few sessions you’ll see your team members will feel more connected.
These tools are the ones I have used most so far. Not the only ones but the ones I found most useful as a Scrum Master working with a distributed team.
All are usable for free! (Funretro has a paid version, but can be used with a free account).
Maybe they can help you too.
Other suggestions/comments are very welcome!