I have recently become scrum master for an established team that has been doing many parts of Scrum, but has not had a scrum master. The team is great team who does well and I have been trying hard to continue with what they are doing that works, while still seeking ways to improve and adapt.
The team is all in the same time-zone, but they all work remote. This has only been a problem for me in one way, the Sprint Retrospective. Perhaps in part because the meeting is held using an online tool, I often times have very long periods of silence after I ask a question. While I don't worry too much about silence, from individual discussions I know there are things that are not being brought up, and I also feel we are not being very efficient where the meeting is longer than it should be due to the silence. I am fairly certain the main problem is since everyone is on their own machines and our program doesn't allow everyone on the team to be on webcam at the same time (team is too large atm, another story), they are just kind of ignoring most of the meeting and working through them.
Here are some things I have either tried or am thinking of trying, can anyone chip in on those and let me know if they have tried some of these and had success or not, or have other little things you have done to encourage participation? To be perfectly clear I am confident in the team, and also that we will improve, but I would love to hear of other ideas to help if I am not thinking of something, or validation of a good idea.
Main thing I have just started doing is talking more to team members individually, and asking them why they think the team devolves into silence sometimes. This is simple but my main plan to improve our meeting communication.
I have toyed with the idea of doing safety checks, I don't think that's the problem but still might do one to be sure.
I have done some anonymous polls or questions, but haven't had much response from those.
I have considered having random team members run the retrospective, to see if that helps everyone be more comfortable. This is in part because I am the new team member, so that was my thought there.
I have sought feedback after meetings on what they liked and didn't like, but haven't got much response there either.
I do keep the meetings as short as possible and try to add some things in so they are not boring.
Any insight from experience is appreciated, just trying to make sure I am doing the right things and not missing something important.