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Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast: Get 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. Join Vasco Duarte as he interviews guests to get you the latest and best tips on how to be an effective, and impactful Scrum Master.
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Feb 24, 2017

As Scrum Masters we are trained to see problems as the “enemy”, the entity to be attacked, and if possible eliminated. But is that the case? Always? In a healthy system we should know what are the problems we are facing. That does not mean that we should solve all of those problems, however. After all it is a system. Solving one single problem may eliminate many other side-effects. Listen in to learn how Islam understands and develops his view of a healthy system.

 

About Islam Ismail

Islam Ismail is a senior agile project manager and Scrum Master at Wirecard Technologies GmbH in Munich, Germany. In his current role in PMO and with teams he focuses on scaling agile and unifying processes across divisions.

He was an electronics engineer for five years and a technical manager for six years before making the switch to software in 2011.

Fueled by his passion for the agile field, Islam moved to Munich, Germany, in 2014 where he enriched his knowledge and experience.

Outside of work, he enjoys reading, traveling, playing soccer with friends and spending time with his wife and two lovely daughters.

You can link with Islam Ismail on LinkedIn and connect with Islam Ismail on Twitter.

Feb 23, 2017

Knowing what we mean by success is hard, but necessary. The next step however is also critical: how to know if we are progressing towards that goal. Islam shares with us the aspects of success he considers as a Scrum Master, and he also shares tools and metrics he uses to assess his own work.

 

About Islam Ismail

Islam Ismail is a senior agile project manager and Scrum Master at Wirecard Technologies GmbH in Munich, Germany. In his current role in PMO and with teams he focuses on scaling agile and unifying processes across divisions.

He was an electronics engineer for five years and a technical manager for six years before making the switch to software in 2011.

Fueled by his passion for the agile field, Islam moved to Munich, Germany, in 2014 where he enriched his knowledge and experience.

Outside of work, he enjoys reading, traveling, playing soccer with friends and spending time with his wife and two lovely daughters.

You can link with Islam Ismail on LinkedIn and connect with Islam Ismail on Twitter.

Feb 22, 2017

One of the change processes we need to constantly be working on is the Continuous Improvement cycle for the team, and organization. In this episode we talk about how we can help teams adopt tools, that will help them communicate better, share information with teams that are off-site, and generally avoid dependency-related problems. Tools are not the solution, but supporting the teams to use tools effectively is one of the change processes we need to help teams with.

 

About Islam Ismail

Islam Ismail is a senior agile project manager and Scrum Master at Wirecard Technologies GmbH in Munich, Germany. In his current role in PMO and with teams he focuses on scaling agile and unifying processes across divisions.

He was an electronics engineer for five years and a technical manager for six years before making the switch to software in 2011.

Fueled by his passion for the agile field, Islam moved to Munich, Germany, in 2014 where he enriched his knowledge and experience.

Outside of work, he enjoys reading, traveling, playing soccer with friends and spending time with his wife and two lovely daughters.

You can link with Islam Ismail on LinkedIn and connect with Islam Ismail on Twitter.

Feb 21, 2017

Great teams live and die by their ability to collaborate. Collaboration is a key skill for all in the team. But what can we do when that collaboration is not emerging? Islam shares a story of a team that exhibited several collaboration anti-patterns, and what we can do as Scrum Masters about it.

 

About Islam Ismail

Islam Ismail is a senior agile project manager and Scrum Master at Wirecard Technologies GmbH in Munich, Germany. In his current role in PMO and with teams he focuses on scaling agile and unifying processes across divisions.

He was an electronics engineer for five years and a technical manager for six years before making the switch to software in 2011.

Fueled by his passion for the agile field, Islam moved to Munich, Germany, in 2014 where he enriched his knowledge and experience.

Outside of work, he enjoys reading, traveling, playing soccer with friends and spending time with his wife and two lovely daughters.

You can link with Islam Ismail on LinkedIn and connect with Islam Ismail on Twitter.

Feb 20, 2017

The roles in Scrum were created for a reason, trying to “merge” those roles into one person comes with many dangers. In this episode we explore the case of the senior tech lead who was also the Product Owner for the team, and the problems that come from that.

Islam also shares tips on how to deal with that case, if you have to face it.

 

About Islam Ismail

Islam Ismail is a senior agile project manager and Scrum Master at Wirecard Technologies GmbH in Munich, Germany. In his current role in PMO and with teams he focuses on scaling agile and unifying processes across divisions.

He was an electronics engineer for five years and a technical manager for six years before making the switch to software in 2011.

Fueled by his passion for the agile field, Islam moved to Munich, Germany, in 2014 where he enriched his knowledge and experience.

Outside of work, he enjoys reading, traveling, playing soccer with friends and spending time with his wife and two lovely daughters.

You can link with Islam Ismail on LinkedIn and connect with Islam Ismail on Twitter.

Feb 18, 2017

Nonviolent communication is a method of a communication process developed by Marshall Rosenberg beginning in the 1960s. It focuses on three aspects of communication: self-empathy (defined as a deep and compassionate awareness of one's own inner experience), empathy (defined as an understanding of the heart in which we see the beauty in the other person), and honest self-expression (defined as expressing oneself authentically in a way that is likely to inspire compassion in others).

Melissa was made aware of Non-violent communication via the work of Bob Marshall (check out his episode on Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast), and his blog where he published several articles about Nonviolent Communication. Thanks to this work, and some of the Marshall Rosenberg Nonviolent communication videos on YouTube, Melissa got started with NVC. A journey that changed her view of communication and what matters when it comes to building stronger teams.

But how can we, as Scrum Masters benefit from this method?

A simple context where NVC may be useful is when teams and team members want to get and give feedback. NVC can be very useful to phrase our feedback in a way that highlights what we are looking for (our needs being met) without expressing judgement over others (our opinions of them). But that’s only one of the contexts where NVC may be useful. There are many others.

I bet your team has a lot of written communication with stakeholders and within the team. Is that right? Well, then you know that written communication has a lot of potential for misunderstandings and to generate conflicts. How can we avoid that? By using better approaches to communicate. Melissa also explains how we can use NVC ideas to make written communication less conflictuous and more likely to have the impact we hope.

What we need to be able to communicate effectively

NVC is a good method to structure our communication, but before we can use that method we need to understand how we feel. NVC, being a needs/emotions driven communication method requires us to be aware of our own emotions and feelings. So we need to learn about emotions and needs. And especially we need to enlarge our vocabulary about needs and feelings so that we can communicate them in a way that is understandable by others. This is especially important if you are not a native speaker of the language you use at work.

Where should I get started if I want to know more about NVC?

When it comes to getting started with NVC, Melissa has a few recommendations for us. The first is the book by Marshall Rosenberg: Nonviolent communication, A Language of Life, but is also very important to practice every part of the method as well as read and learn about emotions, feelings(PDF) and needs.

In this episode Melissa also shares simple practices you can take into use immediately to help you practice NVC and help your team learn about, and maybe even get started with NVC.

About Melissa Lang

Melissa has worked in many diverse jobs over the last 20 years: ethnomusicologist, cook, IT project manager, agile coach. In all of those jobs, her main focus has been on strengthening team work and facilitating communication. As a dedicated agilist for 10+ years Melissa has worked at a range of companies, from start-up to multi-national corporation. Currently she is coaching teams from Barcelona and Hamburg at Xing AG where she has been employed since December 2011.

You can connect with Melissa Lang on Twitter and link with Melissa Lang on XING or LinkedIn.

If you want to follow Melissa’s writings, be sure to follow her blog over at Medium.

Feb 17, 2017

How do we understand the system conditions affecting our teams? Anssi shares with us how he does that, and why his approach is important for Scrum Masters to get a good grasp of what Systems Thinking is really about.

In this episode we refer to Gerald Weinberg’s Introduction to General Systems Thinking book, a good primer for those interested in learning more about Systems Thinkin.

 

About Anssi Lehtelä

Anssi is a new born optimist, team work enthusiast, and a big supporter of get more done by doing less things. Developer , tester, and the "process guy".

You can link with Anssi Lehtelä on LinkedIn and connect with Anssi Lehtelä on Twitter.

Feb 16, 2017

Anssi shares his 4-area model for Scrum Master success and also some of the indicators and metrics he uses to evaluate his own work.

 

About Anssi Lehtelä

Anssi is a new born optimist, team work enthusiast, and a big supporter of get more done by doing less things. Developer , tester, and the "process guy".

You can link with Anssi Lehtelä on LinkedIn and connect with Anssi Lehtelä on Twitter.

Feb 15, 2017

Change brings uncertainty, fear and perhaps even chaos to teams and organizations. Change processes can be forced and cause more problems than what they are supposed to help with. How can we avoid this? How can we bring in the necessary changes, perhaps even big changes, without causing chaos? Listen to Anssi as he shares one such story with us.

In this episode we talk about the Lean Change Management book by Jason Little.

 

About Anssi Lehtelä

Anssi is a new born optimist, team work enthusiast, and a big supporter of get more done by doing less things. Developer , tester, and the "process guy".

You can link with Anssi Lehtelä on LinkedIn and connect with Anssi Lehtelä on Twitter.

Feb 14, 2017

Teams evolve, people move on and new team members join the team. Those moments are prime candidates for disaster. New team members bring new ideas and they change the internal team dynamics. This, in turn, can lead to chaos and problems. How can we avoid such problems? Listen to Anssi’s story and what he recommends you take into account if you are about the hire new team members.

 

About Anssi Lehtelä

Anssi is a new born optimist, team work enthusiast, and a big supporter of get more done by doing less things. Developer , tester, and the "process guy".

You can link with Anssi Lehtelä on LinkedIn and connect with Anssi Lehtelä on Twitter.

Feb 13, 2017

Retrospectives can sometimes become just formalities and fail to deliver improvements, or worse: fail to motivate the team to improve the way they work. Anssi shares with us a story of such a situation and his own alternative to formal retrospectives that he still uses today. Do you have retrospectives that fail to deliver value? This episode is for you!

 

About Anssi Lehtelä

Anssi is a new born optimist, team work enthusiast, and a big supporter of get more done by doing less things. Developer , tester, and the "process guy".

You can link with Anssi Lehtelä on LinkedIn and connect with Anssi Lehtelä on Twitter.

Feb 10, 2017

Listen in to know what tools Alexandre uses to build his own view of the system that affects the teams we work within.

In this episode we mention The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge, and the Causal Loop Diagram tool to help us build a map of the conditions in play at the system level and how they interact.

 

About Alexandre Thibault

Alexandre is a Canadian computer scientist that became ScrumMaster and Agile Coach after 15 years as a programmer. For 4 years now, he helps directors and managers creating work environments where team members are engaged in their work using intrinsic motivation.

You can link with Alexandre Thibault on LinkedIn and connect with Alexandre Thibault on Twitter.

Feb 9, 2017

Alexandre wants to take into account different aspects of the work we do as Scrum Masters to build his own view of success. He also shares his approach to building his assessment of success.

In this episode we mention Impact Mapping by Gojko Adzic, a great technique to help see why we are embarking on a change process.

 

About Alexandre Thibault

Alexandre is a Canadian computer scientist that became ScrumMaster and Agile Coach after 15 years as a programmer. For 4 years now, he helps directors and managers creating work environments where team members are engaged in their work using intrinsic motivation.

You can link with Alexandre Thibault on LinkedIn and connect with Alexandre Thibault on Twitter.

Feb 8, 2017

Alexandre shares the tools he’s used in the past in change processes. The focus is on helping the teams go through the change process by visualizing and participating in the process itself. Listen in to hear about some of the games you can use to introduce a team to a necessary change.

 

About Alexandre Thibault

Alexandre is a Canadian computer scientist that became ScrumMaster and Agile Coach after 15 years as a programmer. For 4 years now, he helps directors and managers creating work environments where team members are engaged in their work using intrinsic motivation.

You can link with Alexandre Thibault on LinkedIn and connect with Alexandre Thibault on Twitter.

Feb 7, 2017

Blame culture develops when teams, or team members have different expectations. Conflict ensues, and the blame dance starts. Can that be avoided? How? Alexandre shares with us his own recipe for getting out of a Blame Culture environment, even if you get there in the middle of the action.

 

About Alexandre Thibault

Alexandre is a Canadian computer scientist that became ScrumMaster and Agile Coach after 15 years as a programmer. For 4 years now, he helps directors and managers creating work environments where team members are engaged in their work using intrinsic motivation.

You can link with Alexandre Thibault on LinkedIn and connect with Alexandre Thibault on Twitter.

Feb 6, 2017

Agile is not something a team can adopt in isolation. The people who interact with that team need to adopt it as well. Alexandre shares with us the story of a CEO that did not adopt Agile, but asked the teams to do so. In this episode we talk about what happened, why it is important to get that kind of stakeholders to adopt Agile.

Some of the links we discuss on this show:

 

About Alexandre Thibault

Alexandre is a Canadian computer scientist that became ScrumMaster and Agile Coach after 15 years as a programmer. For 4 years now, he helps directors and managers creating work environments where team members are engaged in their work using intrinsic motivation.

You can link with Alexandre Thibault on LinkedIn and connect with Alexandre Thibault on Twitter.

Feb 3, 2017

Philipp works in a contractor for software development, and - as he says - the customer interaction is one of the key system conditions. How we work with, how often we meet, etc. are just some of the possible system conditions we need to look into. But he also gives examples of some of the system metrics that can help us understand if our efforts to improve the system have an impact.

 

About Philipp Eisbacher

Philip works as a ScrumMaster and Lead. Recently moved to Berlin to face a new challenge in setting up a new site for his company and building up teams from scratch. His current challenges are remote collaboration, corporate growth and finding a good butcher in Berlin for the next Barbecue Season. He wants to share his problems, but also insights that he gets on a daily basis.

You can link with Philipp Eisbacher on LinkedIn and connect with Philipp Eisbacher on Twitter.

Feb 2, 2017

In one form or another we need some definition of success in order to assess if we have reached that state. And those metrics can focus on many aspects of our work, or outcome of our work. Philipp suggests we focus on behavior metrics and explains what that could look like.

 

About Philipp Eisbacher

Philip works as a ScrumMaster and Lead. Recently moved to Berlin to face a new challenge in setting up a new site for his company and building up teams from scratch. His current challenges are remote collaboration, corporate growth and finding a good butcher in Berlin for the next Barbecue Season. He wants to share his problems, but also insights that he gets on a daily basis.

You can link with Philipp Eisbacher on LinkedIn and connect with Philipp Eisbacher on Twitter.

Feb 1, 2017

Philipp walks us through the story of his company, and how the change process that once worked, failed to work after the company grew beyond a certain size. He also shares what are some of the symptoms that can indicate that the change process is failing. And they are not the ones you would expect…

 

About Philipp Eisbacher

Philip works as a ScrumMaster and Lead. Recently moved to Berlin to face a new challenge in setting up a new site for his company and building up teams from scratch. His current challenges are remote collaboration, corporate growth and finding a good butcher in Berlin for the next Barbecue Season. He wants to share his problems, but also insights that he gets on a daily basis.

You can link with Philipp Eisbacher on LinkedIn and connect with Philipp Eisbacher on Twitter.

Jan 31, 2017

We’ve reviewed the concept of re-teaming by Heidi Helfand, Philipp reminds us in this episode why changing team structure is so important and how that can improve the group’s performance over time.

 

About Philipp Eisbacher

Philip works as a ScrumMaster and Lead. Recently moved to Berlin to face a new challenge in setting up a new site for his company and building up teams from scratch. His current challenges are remote collaboration, corporate growth and finding a good butcher in Berlin for the next Barbecue Season. He wants to share his problems, but also insights that he gets on a daily basis.

You can link with Philipp Eisbacher on LinkedIn and connect with Philipp Eisbacher on Twitter.

Jan 30, 2017

We’ve reviewed the importance of fostering and having the right conversations in a team or organization. This is one of our critical roles as Scrum Masters: conversation facilitators. In this episode we talk about conversations as the main work-materialization tool based on the work by Finnish management writer Esko Kilpi. His articles are well worth reading if you are interested in how to foster the right conversations in your organization.

 

About Philipp Eisbacher

Philip works as a ScrumMaster and Lead. Recently moved to Berlin to face a new challenge in setting up a new site for his company and building up teams from scratch. His current challenges are remote collaboration, corporate growth and finding a good butcher in Berlin for the next Barbecue Season. He wants to share his problems, but also insights that he gets on a daily basis.

You can link with Philipp Eisbacher on LinkedIn and connect with Philipp Eisbacher on Twitter.

Jan 27, 2017

Purpose and Alignment are key system conditions that will either help our teams succeed or ensure that they fail. The lack of alignment is one of the most important topics for us to focus on and work on from a systemic point of view. David shares with us how he finds the lack of alignment and how to take steps to rebuild that alignment with the team and stakeholders.

David ends this episode with a brilliant quote: “Being Agile is a direction of travel, not a goal or an end state".

 

About David Williams

David is an experienced manager with excellent product management and project management skills using agile principles. Extensive experience managing teams and developing for embedded, PC and web based software and electronics for scientific and industrial applications.

He is passionate about creating teams with innovative cultures that are fully engaged in their work that is aligned to the company’s strategy for success.

His focus points are:

- Delivering projects with the highest business value

- Building high performance teams, that work hard and are passionate and fully engaged

- Creating an innovative culture that everyone wants to be part of so that we can make a difference

- Understanding people and getting them to work together in a safe environment where they can take risks.

- Designing products that exceed the customer’s wildest dreams.

- Embracing and driving change

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

Jan 26, 2017

As Scrum Masters we very often focus on metrics that help us understand how others see our work. David reminds us that it is also important for us to look inside, at how we feel to know if we are being successful. David shares with us many personal metrics that will help us understand if we are being successful.

 

About David Williams

David is an experienced manager with excellent product management and project management skills using agile principles. Extensive experience managing teams and developing for embedded, PC and web based software and electronics for scientific and industrial applications.

He is passionate about creating teams with innovative cultures that are fully engaged in their work that is aligned to the company’s strategy for success.

His focus points are:

- Delivering projects with the highest business value

- Building high performance teams, that work hard and are passionate and fully engaged

- Creating an innovative culture that everyone wants to be part of so that we can make a difference

- Understanding people and getting them to work together in a safe environment where they can take risks.

- Designing products that exceed the customer’s wildest dreams.

- Embracing and driving change

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

Jan 25, 2017

This is a JUMBO episode with David where we talk about change management, how to engage with teams that are involved in change as well as how to help them overcome their fear of change.

But this is also a JUMBO episode because David shares with us many tips on how to help teams take the most out of Visual Task Boards. Listen in to get many, many ideas on how to improve the way your teams use physical Task Boards.

In this episode we mention the book Lean Change Management by Jason Little.

 

About David Williams

David is an experienced manager with excellent product management and project management skills using agile principles. Extensive experience managing teams and developing for embedded, PC and web based software and electronics for scientific and industrial applications.

He is passionate about creating teams with innovative cultures that are fully engaged in their work that is aligned to the company’s strategy for success.

His focus points are:

- Delivering projects with the highest business value

- Building high performance teams, that work hard and are passionate and fully engaged

- Creating an innovative culture that everyone wants to be part of so that we can make a difference

- Understanding people and getting them to work together in a safe environment where they can take risks.

- Designing products that exceed the customer’s wildest dreams.

- Embracing and driving change

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

Jan 24, 2017

Many things have been said about trust and how important it is for a team to work well together. David shares a story of a team where trust was eroded, why that happened and how the team was affected by that. We also discuss how to recover from the lack of trust in a specific context. We mention the book The 5 dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni.

 

About David Williams

David is an experienced manager with excellent product management and project management skills using agile principles. Extensive experience managing teams and developing for embedded, PC and web based software and electronics for scientific and industrial applications.

He is passionate about creating teams with innovative cultures that are fully engaged in their work that is aligned to the company’s strategy for success.

His focus points are:

- Delivering projects with the highest business value

- Building high performance teams, that work hard and are passionate and fully engaged

- Creating an innovative culture that everyone wants to be part of so that we can make a difference

- Understanding people and getting them to work together in a safe environment where they can take risks.

- Designing products that exceed the customer’s wildest dreams.

- Embracing and driving change

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

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