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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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Jan 22, 2018

I’m sure you’ve seen it before. The project is approved with a set of requirements, and the team is given the “list of requirements” (maybe as a requirements document even!) and told to estimate and deliver.

Now, let’s not beat around the bush, this is not Agile. There’s no adaptability, there’s no inspect & adapt, the team has little chance to bring their creativity into the project. So, what is a Scrum Master to do?

Listen in to learn what Kimberley did, and what she learned from it.

In this episode we refer to Improv Theatre and how it may improve the team work.

 

About Kimberley Miller

During the day, Kimberley is the Scrum Master at Hudl with over 5 years of experience in helping to implement Scrum in both software companies and standard business units. Kimberley is also an actress on stage and film, with a Masters in Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

You can link with Kimberley Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Kimberley Miller on Twitter.

Jan 20, 2018

Many Scrum Masters have a past in Project Management. The growing adoption of Agile has brought Agile and Scrum to the attention of many Project Management Organizations (PMOs) in larger (and in some small) organizations.

The PMO was the traditional “execution” office of organizations. Governing the starting, financing, and reporting of projects.

With a growing adoption of Scrum for software development that has changed.

In this episode we talk with Tanner Wortham, who spend 10 years in the US Marines and ended up in a project management job. Like many of us, his company started adopting Scrum and he became the Scrum Master.

About Tanner Wortham

Tanner is the author of a popular agile blog at www.SpikesAndStories.com. He's helped many organizations in their journey toward agility and currently works at LinkedIn. He's been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Jan 19, 2018

We begin by sharing some of the anti-patterns that are caused by systemic problems, and then dive into 4 perspectives that help Christiaan identify and understand systemic problems.

 

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organisational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Jan 18, 2018

If we want to reduce the definition of success to one metric, then it is hard to argue with the “level of self-organization”. And that simple metric means so much, it drives so much of the improvements we want to see in the teams and organizations we work with.

In this episode we review why that might be the most important metric for us to follow-up on regularly, and what that means in practice. Including signs that self-organization is happening.

 

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organisational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Jan 17, 2018

We see Scrum be used more and more to help manage teams in all industries. In this episode we explore a story of how a Scrum Master, Christiaan, helped a CEO step back and allow the team to flourish. This helped both the CEO and the team, and as a result the company achieve success.

In this episode we discuss some of the lessons from a previous BONUS episode with David Marquet, author of Turn the Ship Around!

 

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organisational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Jan 16, 2018

Sometimes it is hard to keep the team focused in the ceremonies that we facilitate. That’s ok, and predictable. However, as Scrum Masters we must be ready for it. We must be ready to regain the attention of the team on the issue at hand. Remember, the ceremonies are there for a reason. If they feel boring, or long, then they are probably not being used to tackle the important topics in the team’s mind.

In this episode we also talk about a facilitation book: Liberating Structures by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless, and discuss one of the facilitation techniques that Christiaan learned from that and still applies today.

 

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organisational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Jan 15, 2018

Often, as Scrum Masters we see managers behave in ways that are counter the principles of Scrum. In this episode we review such a situation. A manager and the team are in the same room for a workshop that Christiaan is facilitating. The conversation about the importance of safety comes up. What happens next? Listen in to learn what happened and what Christiaan learned from his failure in that meeting.

 

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organisational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Jan 12, 2018

When a transition to Agile is ongoing there are a lot of aspects that are new to the organization. Those aspects may lead to problems later that are seen as “change resistance”. Krisztina shares with us an adoption approach that is quite different: All-in change. She describes her own journey and the benefits she observed in using that approach.

 

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects to IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the a project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Jan 11, 2018

Good facilitation is a major part of a good Retrospective. This week Krisztina introduces the Scrum Games format for the Retrospective, and shares a very special tip that makes Retrospectives the best moments of the Sprint for the team.

 

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects to IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the a project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Jan 10, 2018

Adopting Scrum is a hard journey for most even when the conditions are right. But how about driving change in an organization that is adopting Scrum from scratch, and is historically a top-down command and control organization? Krisztina shares her own story of how that went, and the hard-earned lessons she collected at that time.

 

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects to IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the a project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Jan 9, 2018

Teams complain. I mean, who can blame them? Often they have to deal with corporate policies that would destroy the motivation of even the most excited Agile adopter. As Scrum Masters we know this. But how do we get the teams out of the complaining negative spiral of death? Listen to this episode to learn how Krisztina was able to turn the meetings around, helping the team focusing on improving, rather than complaining. She also shares the concrete tips and tricks she used in her approach.

In this episode we refer to the book Kanban in Action by Joakim Sundén and Marcus Hammarberg. Shameless plug: Marcus Hammerberg is writing a book with Oikosofy on how he used Kanban to save a hospital from bankruptcy, twice! Check it out.

 

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects to IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the a project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Jan 8, 2018

Many Scrum Masters transition from a Project Management position. This transition is not easy. It requires a change in stance (towards facilitation, instead of management) which is not always easy to achieve. In this episode we talk with Krisztina about one of the common anti-patterns that new Scrum Masters face: they lead the conversation. Listen in to learn about how Krisztina detected and later changed that pattern to one that works much better for the team and delivers better results in the end.

 

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects to IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the a project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Jan 5, 2018

Are the team members afraid? Do you hear a lot of “blame” words, or “us against them” comments? This may be because some of the patterns that Viyoma describes are active in your organization. Listen to this episode to find out what those patterns are and how Viyoma tackled them in the past.

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum master and Product Owner and have worked in Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing , retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Jan 4, 2018

When defining success we often look for metrics that help us assess the progress of the team. That’s ok, but are you looking at the “how”? How is the team achieving that success is also important. So Viyoma asks 4 different questions that help us ensure that not only are we getting the “measurable” success, but we are also helping the team find their “sustainable pace”.

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum master and Product Owner and have worked in Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing , retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Jan 3, 2018

“Developing software for the shelf” is a common term that refers to the anti-pattern of developing software that no one uses. In this episode Vyioma shares with us the story of a team that was doing just that. Creating software that was not used. What did she do? What were the practices to engage stakeholders? How to get the team to care again? Listen to this episode to hear the story and Vyioma’s solution to those questions.

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum master and Product Owner and have worked in Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing , retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Jan 2, 2018

The team was being asked to measure individual velocity and compare that with each other’s velocity. Problems ensued! In this episode we talk about the individual focus, and why that may be catastrophic for the teams. How do we get out of that anti-pattern? That’s the topic of today’s episode, where we share alternative metrics, and other tools that can help the team focus again on collective success.

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum master and Product Owner and have worked in Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing , retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Jan 1, 2018

As new Scrum Masters we are sometimes overwhelmed with all the things that require our attention. It’s ok! You are not alone. When we start looking at the problems the teams are facing it is easy to be driven to act immediately. After all, many of us have been there before. However, there’s an issue with this. First is that we don’t know what the team has already tried. They can tell us their view. So we must first listen. Second, and most important, we don’t know what will actually work. So let’s experiment. In this episode Viyoma shares how she helped a team learn how to experiment and solved a serious blocker with the team’s help.

 

About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum master and Product Owner and have worked in Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing , retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.

Dec 29, 2017

Johanna Rothman is a prolific Agile author with at least 13 books at the time this is being written. She has worked as an Agile manager, and has consulted many Agile managers all over the world. In this episode she shares some of the hard-earned lessons from her very active career. All of that and much more is also available in her book: Create your Successful Agile Project.

We start by reviewing some of the most effective practices that Johanna discovered and developed over her career - and there’s a lot to learn, so dig in!

As an example, Johanna shared how she had little success with Agile Retrospectives until Diana Larsen and Esther Derby’s Agile Retrospectives book came out. Another example is how she discovered the importance of having ~1 day User Stories, a practice that I also discovered and wrote about in the NoEstimates Book.

 

About Johanna Rothman

People know Johanna as the “Pragmatic Manager.” She provides frank advice—often with a little humor—for really tough problems. She helps leaders and managers do reasonable things that work.

She has written many books. At least 13 if my count is right.

She also writes articles for all kinds of places, including Better Software, IEEE Software, and Cutter IT Journal to name just three. She's keynoted on five continents and is not sure (yet) she wants to go to Antarctica.

Johanna can help you create projects, teams, and organizations that work.

You can link with Johanna Rothman on LinkedIn and connect with Johanna Rothman on Twitter.

Dec 28, 2017

Far too many companies act as if Product Development was a shopping trip: they get a list of things to “buy”, typically Features. Then they create documents explaining that shopping list: Roadmaps, Backlogs, PowerPoint presentations, Post-its on walls, you name it. And then they execute. Here’s the thing: if you act as if Product Development is a shopping trip all you will do is spend a lot of money and get lots of Features you don’t really need.

EXTRA BONUS: to get 30% off Barry’s Hypothesis Driven Development course you can go to www.leanagile.study  and use discount code THIRTYCPOFF before the end of December 2017.

About Barry O’Reilly

Barry O’Reilly is a business advisor, entrepreneur, and author who has pioneered the intersection of business model innovation, product development, organizational design, and culture transformation.

Barry works with business leaders and teams from global organizations that seek to invent the future, not fear it. Every day, Barry works with many of the world’s leading companies to break the vicious cycles that spiral businesses toward death by enabling experimentation and learning to unlock the insights required for better decision making and higher performance and results.

Barry is co-author of the international bestseller Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale—included in the Eric Ries Lean series, and a Harvard Business Review must read for CEOs and business leaders.

You can link with Barry O’Reilly on LinkedIn and connect with Barry O’Reilly on Twitter.

You can also contact Barry O’Reilly through his site, and sign up to his newsletter to get the latest news about Hypothesis Driven Development.

Dec 27, 2017

Karl starts this episode by describing how he discovered the need to bring Agile to the level of strategic decision making. He tells the story of a team that was, by all measures, successful. They were delivering software, they were achieving their technology goals, but the business was not booming. What was wrong? This was the start of a long journey for Karl. During that journey he discovered that there were a lot more topics that required an Agile approach. Not the least of which Strategy. Which had to become Agile Strategy.

 

About Karl Scotland

Over the last 15 years he’s been an advocate of Lean and Agile approaches to achieve this, working with companies including the BBC, Yahoo!, EMC Consulting, Rally Software, Cisco and SDL. During this time, he was a pioneer of using Kanban Systems and Strategy Deployment for product development, a founding member of both the Lean Systems Society and Limited WIP Society, as well as being active in the community and a regular conference speaker. He has been awarded the honorary Brickell Key Community Contribution Award at the 2013 Lean Kanban North America conference.

You can link with Karl Scotland on LinkedIn and connect with Karl Scotland on Twitter.

Dec 26, 2017

In this special episode we welcome JB Rainsberger. An experienced Agilist from Extreme Programing background. We start the episode discussing what are the patterns of Agile adoption that work in practice. During that conversation we discuss also a good way to help others “get” what Agile is about. JB has developed this approach over the years, and learned from many failed attempts to “sell” Agile. We also refer to the work by Gerry Weinberg on how to be a consultant to your organization.

 

About JB Rainsberger

B. Rainsberger (Twitter @jbrains, http://www.jbrains.ca) helps software companies better satisfy their customers and the businesses they support. He’s an Extreme Programming fundamentalist, but in a *good* way. He helps software professionals increase their capacity to deliver value for their employer, their teammates, and most importantly for themselves. When he isn’t wandering Europe helping clients and attending conferences, he helps clients from the comfort of his home in Atlantic Canada, one conversation at a time.

You can link with JB Rainsberger on LinkedIn and connect with JB Rainsberger on Twitter.

If you want to know more about JB’s work you can check his web-site, or ask JB Rainsberger  question on ask.jbrains.ca. Invite your developers to visit JB Rainsberger’s Test Driven Development course. JB Rainsberger blog is at: http://blog.thecodewhisperer.com

Dec 25, 2017

In this episode we cover the very broad topic of coaching. We dive deeper in the meaning of the term, and what that means for Scrum Masters.

We start by defining what coaching is, and Ryan makes the case for Coaching as a profession and a career path. Coaching is in the end - citing Ryan - about “revealing insights about the systems of work without actually resolving them.”

Ryan describes the process we can use to live up to this statement, and shares his own hard-earned insights about the role of a coach working the Agile teams and organizations

EXTRA BONUS!: an episode from Ryan’s own podcast, Agile For Humans

In this podcast we include Ryan’s Agile for Humans podcast episode #65. Listen to the end to get this special extra bonus!

About Ryan Ripley

Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.

You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.

Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans. Be sure to check it out!

Dec 22, 2017

System conditions are patterns that happen over and over again in organizations but the teams can’t solve on their own. With Susan we explore an approach that can help us detect those anti-patterns that can be traced back to the system, the policies and rules setup in that organization. In this episode we discuss a pattern of behavior in teams that can help us pinpoint the system conditions they struggle with.

 

About Susan McIntosh

Susan McIntosh is an agile coach and scrum master, especially interested in training and agile transformations - both fast and slow. She finds analogies to improving workplace culture in her experience in theater, teaching, cooking, and parenting. Susan is an active participant in the agile community in Denver, Colorado.

You can link with Susan McIntosh on LinkedIn and connect with Susan McIntosh on Twitter.

Dec 21, 2017

Our role as Scrum Masters is to help teams develop. Specifically, we need to help them become high-performing. Accomplish their mission in a way that they can be proud of. But how do we get there? How do we help teams develop that level of competence and action? In this episode we review how we can help teams grow and develop. We also discuss the tools we can use to help teams reach a high-level of performance.

Featured Retrospective format: The Starfish Exercise

For those moments when Start/Stop/Continue is not enough. The Starfish exercise can also think about what you want to do more of (amplify) and the things you need to continue to do, but may need to reduce (dampen). Check this episode for the detailed facilitation ideas.

 

About Susan McIntosh

Susan McIntosh is an agile coach and scrum master, especially interested in training and agile transformations - both fast and slow. She finds analogies to improving workplace culture in her experience in theater, teaching, cooking, and parenting. Susan is an active participant in the agile community in Denver, Colorado.

You can link with Susan McIntosh on LinkedIn and connect with Susan McIntosh on Twitter.

Dec 20, 2017

When we have a huge change in front of us. The organization is growing. It can’t be stopped. How do we handle the change that is inevitable? How do we help the organization evolve and change?

In this episode we review how conversations can help us in our role as change agent. Where to use conversations, what they are good for, and how to spark the right kind of conversations.

 

About Susan McIntosh

Susan McIntosh is an agile coach and scrum master, especially interested in training and agile transformations - both fast and slow. She finds analogies to improving workplace culture in her experience in theater, teaching, cooking, and parenting. Susan is an active participant in the agile community in Denver, Colorado.

You can link with Susan McIntosh on LinkedIn and connect with Susan McIntosh on Twitter.

 

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