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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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Nov 24, 2017

When joining a new team or organization we need to be aware of what is going on before we can start our efforts to help the organization. How can we do that? Arif shares with us 3 tools he uses regularly that help him understand the system and define his next actions as a Scrum Master.

 

About Arif Bobat

Arif is an experienced Scrum Master with a passion for enabling teams achieve their potential, Arif loves challenging situations. In the last 5 years he has been made redundant twice and fired twice. He is not afraid of speaking up when he sees anti-patterns and/or a lack of willingness to change behaviours.

You can link with Arif Bobat on LinkedIn and connect with Arif Bobat on Twitter.

Nov 23, 2017

We want to help teams and organizations succeed. This is the focus of our work as Scrum Masters. But here’s the thing, sometimes the team needs to risk failure to go beyond the established patterns of behaviour. In this episode, Arif explains the role of discomfort in the growth of the team and the Scrum Master, as well how to avoid going beyond breaking point.

In this episode we discuss the technique of “Role Playing” as a method to help the team understand their own behaviours.

 

About Arif Bobat

Arif is an experienced Scrum Master with a passion for enabling teams achieve their potential, Arif loves challenging situations. In the last 5 years he has been made redundant twice and fired twice. He is not afraid of speaking up when he sees anti-patterns and/or a lack of willingness to change behaviours.

You can link with Arif Bobat on LinkedIn and connect with Arif Bobat on Twitter.

Nov 22, 2017

There are plenty of opportunities to help teams and organizations change and improve. In this episode we talk about how trying to help teams reduce project risk can help drive change. Arif explains the steps he took to help the team change the way of working by focusing on simply reducing the risk of the project. A simple project management approach that can drive change to our ways of working.

In this episode we discuss the concept of a Walking Skeleton that can help focus the team and reduce project risk.

Nov 21, 2017

In this story that Arif shares with us, he explains how you can focus the team because if you don’t the teams might succumb to indigestion: wanting to do too much. But how can you help the teams escape that anti-pattern? Listen in as Arif describes the steps he took to help the team getting out of that indigestion anti-pattern. As we discuss the anti-pattern we refer to the 3C’s for User Stories, a way to look at User Stories that drives collaboration.

In this week’s book of the week we get a BONUS! Arif recommends Drive! By Dan Pink and Story Mapping by Jeff Patton. Check out why!

 

About Arif Bobat

Arif is an experienced Scrum Master with a passion for enabling teams achieve their potential, Arif loves challenging situations. In the last 5 years he has been made redundant twice and fired twice. He is not afraid of speaking up when he sees anti-patterns and/or a lack of willingness to change behaviours.

You can link with Arif Bobat on LinkedIn and connect with Arif Bobat on Twitter.

Nov 20, 2017

Working with a team that had very little going for them, Arif tried his best. He tried to raise awareness of the problem, he tried to help the team improve, he raised obstacles to management. Was that enough? Listen in as Arif describes his journey in an impossible situation, and explains why - sometimes - you need to get fired as a Scrum Master otherwise you are not doing your job!

In this episode we discuss the GROW model of coaching.

 

About Arif Bobat

Arif is an experienced Scrum Master with a passion for enabling teams achieve their potential, Arif loves challenging situations. In the last 5 years he has been made redundant twice and fired twice. He is not afraid of speaking up when he sees anti-patterns and/or a lack of willingness to change behaviours.

You can link with Arif Bobat on LinkedIn and connect with Arif Bobat on Twitter.

Nov 17, 2017

System conditions - which affect our teams, but are outside their control - are not always simple to tackle, but with this question they will at least be simple to detect. In this episode, Donald shares with us a very powerful question when it comes to understand what is affecting the teams we work with, but is outside their power of influence.

We also discuss some of the anti-patterns that teams get stuck in, when they don’t tackle the system conditions that affect them.

 

About Donald Ewart

For more than 10 years, Don has been a scrum master and coach working in different sectors in London and across the UK as an independent consultant.

With a background of 10+ years in several development roles for web and finance systems, Donald has a good technical knowledge of modern development techniques, and can quickly build rapport and respect with development teams, understanding their issues and helping them to find the right solutions.

You can link with Donald Ewart on LinkedIn and connect with Donald Ewart on Twitter. You can also find out more about Donald’s work in his website.

Nov 16, 2017

Donald traces a path for the teams he works with. This path helps him assess his own success and helps him focus on the next steps that the teams need to go through.

In this episode we discuss leadership, and recommend the book Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet (David Marquet has been a guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast before). We also talk about Powerful Questions, as a tool that helps us, Scrum Masters, spark the right kind of conversions with our colleagues.

 

About Donald Ewart

For more than 10 years, Don has been a scrum master and coach working in different sectors in London and across the UK as an independent consultant.

With a background of 10+ years in several development roles for web and finance systems, Donald has a good technical knowledge of modern development techniques, and can quickly build rapport and respect with development teams, understanding their issues and helping them to find the right solutions.

You can link with Donald Ewart on LinkedIn and connect with Donald Ewart on Twitter. You can also find out more about Donald’s work in his website.

Nov 15, 2017

Donald joined one team and found that they only had a very superficial knowledge of Scrum. They knew the ceremonies, the meetings, the formalities, but something was off. In this episode we discuss how you can “test” if your team really understands Scrum, and how to help the team realize where they are in their journey to adopt Scrum.

 

About Donald Ewart

For more than 10 years, Don has been a scrum master and coach working in different sectors in London and across the UK as an independent consultant.

With a background of 10+ years in several development roles for web and finance systems, Donald has a good technical knowledge of modern development techniques, and can quickly build rapport and respect with development teams, understanding their issues and helping them to find the right solutions.

You can link with Donald Ewart on LinkedIn and connect with Donald Ewart on Twitter. You can also find out more about Donald’s work in his website.

Nov 14, 2017

Featured book

In this episode we introduce a new Feature: the Featured book! A recommendation by our guests that will help you choose which books to read. Every week a new book for you to read.

This week Donald recommends you revisit one of the classics: Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle. Listen in to learn why!

 

About Donald Ewart

For more than 10 years, Don has been a scrum master and coach working in different sectors in London and across the UK as an independent consultant.

With a background of 10+ years in several development roles for web and finance systems, Donald has a good technical knowledge of modern development techniques, and can quickly build rapport and respect with development teams, understanding their issues and helping them to find the right solutions.

You can link with Donald Ewart on LinkedIn and connect with Donald Ewart on Twitter. You can also find out more about Donald’s work in his website.

 

The human connection!

In this episode we discuss how teams, in the forming phase, may get stuck in the avoidance of conflict, and how conflict may actually be a sign that the team is progressing in their journey to be an effective team. It all starts with a human connection! We describe tools and signs that help us detect if our teams are stuck.

 

About Donald Ewart

For more than 10 years, Don has been a scrum master and coach working in different sectors in London and across the UK as an independent consultant.

With a background of 10+ years in several development roles for web and finance systems, Donald has a good technical knowledge of modern development techniques, and can quickly build rapport and respect with development teams, understanding their issues and helping them to find the right solutions.

You can link with Donald Ewart on LinkedIn and connect with Donald Ewart on Twitter. You can also find out more about Donald’s work in his website.

Nov 13, 2017

We sometimes face situations where the teams are not ready to be Agile. In this episode we discuss such a story and talk about what we need to have in place to even get started with Agile. This is a great reminder that we should not try to make all teams Agile or all projects Agile. First we need to discuss and agree on the conditions we need to get started on our Agile journey.

In this episode we talk about the book Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber.

 

About Donald Ewart

For more than 10 years, Don has been a scrum master and coach working in different sectors in London and across the UK as an independent consultant.

With a background of 10+ years in several development roles for web and finance systems, Donald has a good technical knowledge of modern development techniques, and can quickly build rapport and respect with development teams, understanding their issues and helping them to find the right solutions.

You can link with Donald Ewart on LinkedIn and connect with Donald Ewart on Twitter. You can also find out more about Donald’s work in his website.

Nov 10, 2017

When looking at the team and the system conditions that affect its performance we need tools that help us understand the team beyond its physical boundaries (people, room, tools). In this episode we discuss the Integral Agile Model, introduced by Lyssa Adkins and the Agile Coaching Institute. This tool can be used as a system thinking tool to look at the team and understand that overall system that affects the teams we work with.

In this episode we refer to the book Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins.

 

About Venetia Foo

Venetia has been on her agile journey since 2007 and has been a witness to the best and to the worst of it. She is passionate about learning and continuous improvement. She uses a variety of skills to empower and enable teams to perform at their best.

You can link with Venetia Foo on LinkedIn and connect with Venetia Foo on Twitter.

Nov 9, 2017

Scrum Masters are seen as problem solvers. But is it really what they are there to do? Venetia challenges us to think about how we can help the teams take over the problem solving process themselves. How can we do it? How can we motivate teams to “own” the solving of their problems?

These are some of the questions we tackle on this episode where we share many tools for you to help your team own their problem solving process!

 

About Venetia Foo

Venetia has been on her agile journey since 2007 and has been a witness to the best and to the worst of it. She is passionate about learning and continuous improvement. She uses a variety of skills to empower and enable teams to perform at their best.

You can link with Venetia Foo on LinkedIn and connect with Venetia Foo on Twitter.

Nov 8, 2017

Venetia, a Scrum Master got the order from project management: the project must be moved to a new team, hundreds of miles away in another city! Wow, what a challenge!

When we discuss changes on the podcast we very often talk about Agile adoption, Agile transformation or some other “larger” kind of change. Venetia was facing a different story. She was facing a change of team for an existing product! In this episode Venetia shares how they were able to successfully onboard new team members (in a new city!) and change the whole project to that new team over a period of a few months. A real, tangible change that everyone needed to get used to, and execute it at the same time!

 

About Venetia Foo

Venetia has been on her agile journey since 2007 and has been a witness to the best and to the worst of it. She is passionate about learning and continuous improvement. She uses a variety of skills to empower and enable teams to perform at their best.

You can link with Venetia Foo on LinkedIn and connect with Venetia Foo on Twitter.

Nov 7, 2017

Many of us have been in teams where there’s a “dominant” team  member. But have we thought about the possible consequences that it may bring to the team? In this episode we explore the possible consequences that dominant team members can trigger. We also discuss a very unusual way to address such situations, one that takes into account the whole team, not just the dominant team member.

 

About Venetia Foo

Venetia has been on her agile journey since 2007 and has been a witness to the best and to the worst of it. She is passionate about learning and continuous improvement. She uses a variety of skills to empower and enable teams to perform at their best.

You can link with Venetia Foo on LinkedIn and connect with Venetia Foo on Twitter.

Nov 6, 2017

A project is late and we think: let’s add more people. Project Managers all over the world use this technique to try to get their projects on schedule. However it’s not that easy…

In fact, integrating new project team members in an existing team actually changes the dynamic for the whole team! In this episode Venetia Foo walks us through a failure moment, where as Scrum Masters we are part of the integration process for a new team member, but that’s not an easy process at all! Listen to what Venetia learned from that story and what she does now when a new team member joins the team.

 

About Venetia Foo

Venetia has been on her agile journey since 2007 and has been a witness to the best and to the worst of it. She is passionate about learning and continuous improvement. She uses a variety of skills to empower and enable teams to perform at their best.

You can link with Venetia Foo on LinkedIn and connect with Venetia Foo on Twitter.

Nov 3, 2017

Jac shares with us a workshop he uses to help the teams he works with identify the system around them. This is the system that may be helping them (keep), or preventing them (change) to reach their goals. During this episode we talk about some specific tools that help us facilitate this workshop, like for example, the Moving Motivators from Management 3.0.

 

About Jac Hughes

Jac is a scrum master who has a passion to help teams become empowered, autonomous bust mostly importantly productive. Jac has served 7 years in the Royal Navy before moving into the world of IT.

You can link with Jac Hughes on LinkedIn.  

Nov 2, 2017

Jac starts by sharing his value that orients the definition of success: People over Metrics. That is, while metrics are important, we must always consider the people first, not the metrics. Jac describes some of the symptoms of a successful outcome from our Scrum Master work, and shares with us some of the tools he uses to help him get to that successful outcome.

 

About Jac Hughes

Jac is a scrum master who has a passion to help teams become empowered, autonomous bust mostly importantly productive. Jac has served 7 years in the Royal Navy before moving into the world of IT.

You can link with Jac Hughes on LinkedIn.  

Nov 1, 2017

Change is a dreaded word in many work places. They may be associated with fads, change of management, new processes that make our jobs harder, etc. But sometimes - when adopting Agile for example - change is something that helps us all and our customers! How can we help teams, especially teams with a long experience in pre-agile methods, to change and adopt Agile? Jac shares with us the Lego Scrum game and how that helped him bring a new hope to an old organization.

 

About Jac Hughes

Jac is a scrum master who has a passion to help teams become empowered, autonomous bust mostly importantly productive. Jac has served 7 years in the Royal Navy before moving into the world of IT.

You can link with Jac Hughes on LinkedIn.  

Oct 31, 2017

Sooner or later we will be in a situation where someone has committed to a goal that the team did not co-create. A schedule the team did not work on. A plan that the team wasn’t aware of. These are normal anti-patterns that we will deal with in our role as Scrum Masters. And while, in some cases, it is better to run away, we also must be prepared and help our teams and stakeholders to deal with those anti-patterns. In this episode we discuss those anti-patterns, how they can affect the teams we work with and also what we can do to avoid the common pitfalls that come with them.

 

About Jac Hughes

Jac is a scrum master who has a passion to help teams become empowered, autonomous bust mostly importantly productive. Jac has served 7 years in the Royal Navy before moving into the world of IT.

You can link with Jac Hughes on LinkedIn.  

Oct 30, 2017

As Jac puts it: “it was a dream to have the whole team co-located”. But invariably, as Scrum Masters we will face distributed teams. So we must prepare for those teams. There are many possible problems. The lack of interaction, the cultural expectations in different countries, the problems with the remote meeting technology. How are we to prepare to handle these challenges? Jac explores the topic and shares his experience on working well with distributed teams.

 

About Jac Hughes

Jac is a scrum master who has a passion to help teams become empowered, autonomous bust mostly importantly productive. Jac has served 7 years in the Royal Navy before moving into the world of IT.

You can link with Jac Hughes on LinkedIn.  

Oct 27, 2017

In the regular Retrospectives we find the symptoms of the systemic problems we have to face. We can use Retrospectives as the engine to find and create possible improvements to solve those systemic problems. Balazs shares his approach to Retrospectives and some examples of how he applied this approach in his work. We also discuss a critical technique to make the “intangible” problems more concrete and actionable. This technique can take your team from complaining to taking action.

 

About Balazs Tátár

Balazs is a technical project manager, working for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Currently he plays the Scrum Master role in a support team of one of the biggest web project at the European Commission. He is a former technical lead and fan of open source technologies.

You can link with Balazs Tátár on LinkedIn and connect with Balazs Tátár on Twitter.

Oct 26, 2017

When we define success for ourselves we are affecting how we see the work we do. Balazs challenges us to take things step-by-step and define success at the daily level. And only then move on to the work the team does and we do. Finally we should focus on how the team themselves succeed at achieving their goals. Success has many different layers and all of those have a daily implication. Listen in to hear the examples that Balazs shares about how he takes higher level definitions of success to the daily level in the work he does with teams.

 

About Balazs Tátár

Balazs is a technical project manager, working for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Currently he plays the Scrum Master role in a support team of one of the biggest web project at the European Commission. He is a former technical lead and fan of open source technologies.

You can link with Balazs Tátár on LinkedIn and connect with Balazs Tátár on Twitter.

Oct 25, 2017

As Balazs puts it, you don’t expect public sector organizations to be the most Agile organizations ever. However, if you do things right - like Balazs shares with us in this episode - you can make a big impact with relatively small changes. In this episode Balazs shares how he was able to help a team go from ineffective and long daily meetings to sharp, clear and quick daily meetings.

In this episode we refer to Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet. Check out our interview with former captain Marquet right here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

 

About Balazs Tátár

Balazs is a technical project manager, working for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Currently he plays the Scrum Master role in a support team of one of the biggest web project at the European Commission. He is a former technical lead and fan of open source technologies.

You can link with Balazs Tátár on LinkedIn and connect with Balazs Tátár on Twitter.

Oct 24, 2017

Blockers are our most common obstacle. We face them, the team faces them. In fact, most of our time is spent on either solving or helping team and stakeholders solve the most critical blockers to progress. In this show Balazs gives us some tips on how we can get the teams to crush the blockers. Help the team crush their blockers and you will see them blossom and progress faster than you could imagine.

 

About Balazs Tátár

Balazs is a technical project manager, working for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Currently he plays the Scrum Master role in a support team of one of the biggest web project at the European Commission. He is a former technical lead and fan of open source technologies.

You can link with Balazs Tátár on LinkedIn and connect with Balazs Tátár on Twitter.

Oct 23, 2017

Being a Scrum Master to a few local teams can be challenging enough, but how do you support multiple distributed teams? Balazs shares his steep learning curve on working with remote teams and shares also some important etiquette tips on working with remote teams.

 

About Balazs Tátár

Balazs is a technical project manager, working for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Currently he plays the Scrum Master role in a support team of one of the biggest web project at the European Commission. He is a former technical lead and fan of open source technologies.

You can link with Balazs Tátár on LinkedIn and connect with Balazs Tátár on Twitter.

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