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Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

Every week day, Certified Scrum Master, Agile Coach and Business Consultant Vasco Duarte interviews Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches from all over the world to get you actionable advice, new tips and tricks, improve your craft as a Scrum Master with daily doses of inspiring conversations with Scrum Masters from the all over the world. Stay tuned for BONUS episodes when we interview Agile gurus and other thought leaders in the business space to bring you the Agile Business perspective you need to succeed as a Scrum Master. Some of the topics we discuss include: Agile Business, Agile Strategy, Retrospectives, Team motivation, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Backlog Refinement, Scaling Scrum, Lean Startup, Test Driven Development (TDD), Behavior Driven Development (BDD), Paper Prototyping, QA in Scrum, the role of agile managers, servant leadership, agile coaching, and more!
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Jul 23, 2018

When we start our journey as Scrum Masters, we are not only learning something that is new to us, but we are also learning something that is new to everyone else. Scrum is new, even in it’s 20 or so years of life, there’s not been time to develop enough knowledge to claim a “definitive body of knowledge about Scrum”. Therefore, learning something that is yet undefined is a critical part of our journey as Scrum Masters.

Despite that realization, it is common to feel “we” are the failure, when in fact, we are just learning a new art. In this episode we discuss the impact of failure in ourselves, not just our learning, and we touch on how to bring the insights that Scrum helps uncover to the rest of the organization.

 

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

Jul 20, 2018

In this reference filled episode we talk about change, how to involve people in change, the different approaches to management and many other topics.

We also discuss one of the possible skills you can use as a Scrum Master: the energy level you put into the role. Finally, we discuss tips on how to engage with teams and team members so that your role as a Scrum Master is easier and pleasurable.

In this episode we refer to Non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg, Theory X and Theory Y of management and David Marquet’s book: Turn the Ship Around!. If you are interested in David Marquet’s work, please check also our interview with him here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 19, 2018

When we are knee deep in our role as Scrum Masters, we often forget that all success is a function of how we, and the team, and the organization evolve over time.

Jem suggests we should look at what has changed over time to assess our success as Scrum Masters. He also suggests some specific “metrics” you can take into account to measure team and organizational evolution over time.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Constellation Game

In the Constellation Game, the goal is to get the whole team to express their views on a specific topic. And because it involves physical movement, rather than just talking it is also a great way to get new team members introduced to the team in a safe atmosphere. Finally, it allows the whole team to see where all other team members are relative to a specific topic.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 18, 2018

“When change is pushed onto people, you end up with a lot of passengers” - Jem says. If on top of that you focus on the change “blockers” instead of the “early adopters”, you’ve got the perfect storm against change. In this episode we talk about different approaches to change, approaches that focus on enabling change, instead of pushing change.

In this value-bomb filled episode we refer to the Lean Change Management, as well as the ADKAR change model.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 17, 2018

When strong personalities are in positions of power, their ideas become “law”. But sometimes the leaders are themselves prisoners of their own approach to work. In this episode we discuss how we, as Scrum Masters, can help those leaders recognize the anti-patterns they create and overcome those obstacles to the performance of the team.

Featured Book for the Week: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho tells the story of a pilgrimage and journey where the hero of the story goes through many challenges and is pushed to learn more about himself, and face the world without fear. This book was an inspiration for Jem when he was introducing the Scrum Master role to a new organization, and he was himself a new Scrum Master. Fear is part of the journey, and this book helped Jem accept and overcome that fact.

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 16, 2018

As an unlikely Scrum Master Jem went through a journey of adapting to a new industry, and a new role. In his eagerness to bring value to the organization and teams he worked with he focused on taking on more responsibility. But is that a good idea? What happens when the Scrum Master also takes the Product Owner role? Listen in as we discuss the anti-pattern of the Scrum Master that is also the Product Owner.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 14, 2018

As Scrum Masters we are constantly facing a changing environment. Every Scrum Master needs to learn about change, change methods and tools that work in practice. In this episode we dive deep into the change approach that Mike Burrows developed based on his experience as a coach and leader in the software industry.

Mike introduced what he called a “values-model” for Kanban adoption in his blog post titled Introducing Kanban Through Its Values.

In that blog post he introduced some of the ideas that today compose Agenda Shift, a more extensive approach to introducing a change approach that focuses on outcomes.

About Mike Burrows

Champion and enabler of outcome-oriented transformation & strategy, Agendashift founder, 2-time author (Agendashift, Kanban from the Inside).

Consultant, coach, trainer, and international keynote speaker. Former Executive Director, interim CTO, global development manager. Interim delivery manager for two UK government digital 'exemplar' projects. Winner, Brickell Key award for community contribution.

You can link with Mike Burrows on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Burrows on Twitter.

Jul 13, 2018

In The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni describes an anti-pattern that often develops in teams: the lack of accountability. When we accept failure not as a part of the learning process, but rather as a tabu: something we can never talk about, and therefore not learn from.

In this episode we talk about what happens when that pattern develops at the organizational level, when entire departments stop holding themselves accountable.

In this episode we also talk about Skin In The Game by Nassim Taleb, as an antidote to a common anti-pattern: decoupling the people making decisions from the actual results.

 

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

Jul 12, 2018

A recurring approach to self-evaluation is to define aspects or categories that we should evaluate on a regular basis. Andreas shares his 5 categories, and how he focuses on the reflection and improvement cycle as a Scrum Master. The key message however, is: accept that sometimes - maybe even most of the time - you will progress through baby steps!

Featured Retrospective format of the Week: Lean Coffee

Lean Coffee is a format that allows the team to cover many issues in a short period of time. In this episode we also discuss check-in exercises.

 

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

Jul 11, 2018

Helping organizations and teams change can sometimes be a very frustrating experience for the experienced Scrum Master. To lead a change process it is not enough to “know” what needs to be changed. The change happens only when people realize what they have to gain, and what needs to change for that to happen. In this episode we discuss how sometimes being patient is the best thing we can do to help change move along.

 

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

Jul 10, 2018

When working with multiple teams, in a multi-team Scrum project, we may face what Andreas faced: the finger pointing anti-pattern. This is especially common in environments where no one wants to “be wrong” or take risks.

Even if learning and growing requires taking risks and sometimes “being wrong”, the fact is that no one wants to be that team that delays the project, so the finger pointing starts.

But how can a Scrum Master overcome that problem? How can the Scrum Master help the teams collaborate? That’s the topic of this episode.

Featured Book of the Week: Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn

Andreas read Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn early in his Agile journey and it influenced his thinking and how that affects and is affected by the local contexts.

In this episode we also refer to The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

 

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

Jul 9, 2018

The line manager role is a critical role in any organization. When line management is confused, and scared Agile cannot be easily adopted. The reasons for the fear may well be imaginary, but the fear is real and drives their behavior.

In this episode we talk about the very critical role of the line manager in organizations adopting Agile.

 

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

Jul 7, 2018

This is an episode about #NoProjects, #NoEstimates and introduces a unique, and 1-time-only workshop by Allan and Vasco that will take place in August 21st, 2018 in Zurich, just before the ALE2018 Unconference. Check out this page about the #NoProjects and #NoEstimates Workshop to know more.

In the past few years a few new trends have emerged in the Agile community that have challenged some of the basic assumptions of how software should be delivered. The first one, #NoProjects is challenging the idea that software work is best managed as a project. As Allan puts it in this episode: “Successful software does not end. It continues. And projects are for temporary endeavours, that have a known start and fixed end. That’s now how software is developed today.”

With that start to the episode you can expect that many unconventional (and inconvenient?) ideas will be shared in this podcast focused on the latest trends in how to manage software development.

 

About Allan Kelly and Vasco Duarte

Allan Kelly has helped companies large and small enhance their agility and boost their digital offering. Some of his clients include: Virgin Atlantic, Qualcomm, The Bank of England and Reed Elsevier. He has also developed Agile games such as Value Poker, Time-Value Profiles and Retrospective Dialogue Sheets.

He’s also been a busy book author. He’s published, so far: "Dear Customer, the truth about IT", "Project Myopia", "Continuous Digital", "Xanpan" and  "Business Patterns for Software Developers”.

 

Vasco Duarte is a managing partner at Oikosofy where he wants to change the world, one company at a time. He’s also the regular host at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

Product Manager, Scrum Master, Project Manager, Director, Agile Coach are only some of the roles that he’s taken in software development organizations. Having worked in the software industry since 1997, and Agile practitioner since 2004. He as worked in small, medium and large software organizations as an Agile Coach or leader in agile adoption at those organizations.

Vasco was one of the leaders and catalysts of Agile methods and Agile culture adoption at Avira, Nokia and F-Secure.

You can read more from Vasco at his blog: http://SoftwareDevelopmentToday.com

Jul 6, 2018

The need for control is something that affects many of our behaviors. In organizations that is translated into several anti-patterns that detract from the ability of the team to deliver value. Status reporting instead of delivering, wanting to know what will happen before it happens and wanting to be “sure” of the future are just some of the many anti-patterns we see in organizations that are in the jaws of the need for control.

What can Scrum Masters do to overcome the anti-patterns and help organizations succeed without controlling everything that is to happen? This is what we discuss in this episode.

 

About Mark Cruth

Mark has been playing in the Agile space since 2009, helping multiple organizations move towards a more Agile perspective on work across several industries, including manufacturing, eCommerce, and FinTech. Today Mark works as an Agile Coach for Quicken Loans, as well as operates his own Consulting company called Teal Mavericks.

You can link with Mark Cruth on LinkedIn and connect with Mark Cruth on Twitter.

Jul 5, 2018

During our journey as Scrum Masters we often struggle with the meaning of success. Mark’s approach hinges on two aspects: eliminating the need for the role, and connecting with the “why”. In this episode we discuss how those two aspects shape Mark’s own self-evaluation and the role he takes on when working with teams.

In this episode we talk about the Energize your Retrospectives deck that Mark prepared for Agile Midwest, and we discuss the Shu-Ha-Ri model of learning.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Bubble-up format

Just like in football or basketball tournaments we have the “brackets”, we can use the same metaphor to bubble-up the main issues the teams want to solve during the retrospectives. Mark describes how he uses this format, and why it may be important for your team.

 

About Mark Cruth

Mark has been playing in the Agile space since 2009, helping multiple organizations move towards a more Agile perspective on work across several industries, including manufacturing, eCommerce, and FinTech. Today Mark works as an Agile Coach for Quicken Loans, as well as operates his own Consulting company called Teal Mavericks.

You can link with Mark Cruth on LinkedIn and connect with Mark Cruth on Twitter.

Jul 4, 2018

Some teams get to a point where they are ready to take ownership of their own work and process. When that happens it is good to have a conversation and map-out the team’s journey to taking over and working without the daily presence of a Scrum Master. In this episode we talk about that journey, and how we, Scrum Masters can and should help the teams in their journey to self-organization.

 

About Mark Cruth

Mark has been playing in the Agile space since 2009, helping multiple organizations move towards a more Agile perspective on work across several industries, including manufacturing, eCommerce, and FinTech. Today Mark works as an Agile Coach for Quicken Loans, as well as operates his own Consulting company called Teal Mavericks.

You can link with Mark Cruth on LinkedIn and connect with Mark Cruth on Twitter.

Jul 3, 2018

Teams need to take ownership of their own work, so that they can effectively focus on delivering running, working software every Sprint. However, sometimes there are strong personalities in the team. We may want to ignore that anti-pattern, but it won’t ignore us. In this episode we talk about one such story, where the Architect in the team wanted to overrule the team members, and even escalated the issue to the team’s manager. Listen in to learn about Mark’s role in that story, and how we, as Scrum Masters, can handle similar situations.

Featured Book of the Week: 10% happier by Dan Harris

The book 10% happier by Dan Harris is a true story of how Dan found a way to keep focused, but lose the stress and self-doubt. For Mark however, this was a book about learning to focus on the events in front of him. The “now” that must be our focus as Scrum Masters.

 

About Mark Cruth

Mark has been playing in the Agile space since 2009, helping multiple organizations move towards a more Agile perspective on work across several industries, including manufacturing, eCommerce, and FinTech. Today Mark works as an Agile Coach for Quicken Loans, as well as operates his own Consulting company called Teal Mavericks.

You can link with Mark Cruth on LinkedIn and connect with Mark Cruth on Twitter.

Jul 2, 2018

When we start our journey as a Scrum Master we are taking a leap into a new world. It’s not just that Scrum Master is a new profession. It is also that the lessons that served us so well in the past, are no longer the best approaches. In this episode we talk about how different the role of Scrum Master is, and what we should focus on.

 

About Mark Cruth

Mark has been playing in the Agile space since 2009, helping multiple organizations move towards a more Agile perspective on work across several industries, including manufacturing, eCommerce, and FinTech. Today Mark works as an Agile Coach for Quicken Loans, as well as operates his own Consulting company called Teal Mavericks.

You can link with Mark Cruth on LinkedIn and connect with Mark Cruth on Twitter.

Jun 29, 2018

In organizations that burden teams with multiple projects, it is natural that some information is not available. Be it because the team is too busy to openly communicate with management, or because there are many stakeholders that are not aligned.

The lack of transparency is a symptom of a systemic problem. In this episode we explore what that might mean in companies that are growing too fast.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

 

Jun 28, 2018

As Scrum Masters, our attention is very much focused on the evolution of the team, and how we can support their development. Using a framework like Shu-Ha-Ri can help us verbalize that evolution and track the progress of the team over time. As we progress in the mastery journey with the team, there are practices and approaches we can take to evaluate the team’s progress and we discuss some of those in this episode.

In this episode we refer to the book #NoEstimates: How to measure project progress without estimation by Vasco Duarte.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Starfish Retrospective

In the Starfish Retrospective we discuss not only what is good, bad or needs to change, but we talk also about other categories. In his approach to the Starfish Retrospective, Denis also asks: what do we want to see more of (continue and do more), or what we want to see less of (continue, but do less of it).

Denis also discusses the “Weather Report” check-in exercise to energize the team and get them in the flow of the retrospective.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 27, 2018

There are different stages in a change process. First we start by getting the early adopters interested and practicing Agile, then we hit the first resistance waves and deal with them. Later we face the late majority and what Jason Little calls the un-movables. In this episode we talk about the change process as a whole and discuss the impact that Communities of Practice can have on an organization’s change journey.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 26, 2018

It’s hard enough to adopt Agile in a company that wants to progress in their Agile journey. But what happens to teams that are stuck in an organization that is still using traditional software development methods? In this episode we discuss the case of a team that wanted to adopt Agile, but everybody else was so far behind that this team got stuck. Although it is useful to look around and look for examples to learn from, when we look around and see only teams that are further behind doesn’t that affect our own Agile journey?

In this episode we refer to the book: The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Donald Reinertsen.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts helps us structure our role as Scrum Master and provides many tips on how to go through the learning journey towards being a better Scrum Master.

In this book Geoff shares a collection of stories and practical guidance, drawn from over ten years of coaching numerous Scrum teams that will guide you on your path to greatness.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 25, 2018

When we get started with Agile there will be a strong temptation to take shortcuts. One very common shortcut is to remove a few roles and think that all will work fine anyway. But is that really true?

In this episode we discuss what happens when we put the roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner in the same person and how we can avoid making the most common mistakes when that happens.

In this episode we refer to the TV series: Silicon Valley.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 23, 2018

Distributed teams are a fact of the multinational organizations we work with. Hiding from it is not going to remove that. And crying “distributed agile = bad agile” is only going to alienate people who genuinely need to learn to cope with the fact that distributed teams are the new normal.

There are good and bad ways to adapt to the reality of distributed software, and copying the methods and practices from co-located teams into the digital world is not enough. Molood shares some of the common anti-patterns that arise when we plainly try to copy the co-located team methods into the new distributed reality.

One such example is the communication channels: trying to copy daily meetings from the co-located team into a digital world will eventually bump against the frustratingly low quality sound of some conference room setups. Molood suggests a different route and shows how a team she helped took full advantage of Slack (or any other asynchronous communication channel) to make their daily meetings for effective, and efficient for everyone involved.

About Molood Nori

Molood is often referred to as the queen of remote work in the agile community.

She is the founder of Remote Forever Summit, the first online summit about distributed agile that attracted 2000 people from around the world in 2017.

Molood helps managers, coaches and developers in distributed companies to transform to agile ways of working and similarly helps aspiring agile companies to work more effectively remotely.

She brings along a lot of techniques and experience working remote teams to help companies improve productivity and happiness at work. She is a co-owner of Management 3.0 and published author at places such as Scrum Alliance, Huffington Post, Inc.com and Agile Women magazine.

You can link with Molood Nori on LinkedIn and connect with Molood Nori on Twitter.

 

Jun 22, 2018

Agile Software Development is a new entrant in the Software Development industry. Although it started in 2000, the fact is that many organizations are still in the first stages of adoption.

Inevitably we run into several Agile Theatre problems: missing PO, teams doing Scrum ceremonies to keep the Scrum Master happy, but not really understanding why they are needed. The list goes on.

In this episode we discuss some of those patterns and what we can do as Scrum Masters to understand and learn how to overcome those anti-patterns.

In this episode we refer to the Hands-On Agile Slack for agilists to share their experiences and learn from each other.

 

About Shubhang Vishwamitra

Shubhang is a passionate agile practitioner originally from Bangalore, India. Who's worked in Japan and Finland and is currently based in London and working as scrum master.

Shubhang has an extensive background in software development and agile delivery model in smartphone, travel and finance industries. He believes that having a technical background helps to connect with teams and ease the flow of discussion in solving complex problems.

You can link with Shubhang Vishwamitra on LinkedIn.

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