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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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Now displaying: February, 2015
Feb 27, 2015

How do we help organizations to recognize the value that scrum teams can bring, and the obstacles they face in the process? Stephen Thomas shares his recipe and describes a few ideas of how the retrospectives can be an effective practice to help organizations evolve and get better. 

Stephen’s recipe for organization improvement:

  • Help the teams understand their progress with a physical (as opposed to digital) and visual burndown (colorful if possible).
  • Write the principles on the wall and make sure people see them regularly. Point to them when needed.
  • Have lots of wall space for teams to use and create their shared view of their work.
  • Help start and facilitate organization-level retrospectives, because improving one team is not enough for lasting change. 
  • Make the team independent 

 

Before implementing all of this, make sure that the organization has the necessary knowledge to work in an agile manner, helping organize training if needed, and working with stakeholders regularly.

About Stephen Thomas

Stephen has been managing digital projects since 2004. Initially specialising in e-learning, he now looks after multiple projects that range from rapidly produced native apps to large-scale social networks. Based in Oxford, he is also one of the founders of the DOPM meetup.

 

 

You can connect with Stephen Thomas in LinkedIn, and follow Stephen Thomas on Twitter.

Feb 26, 2015

Defining success for scrum masters is not easy, but it is necessary for us to achieve it. Does it have to do with reaching the sprint goal? Or a regular daily goal? Can a scrum master be successful when the team does not release software regularly? And how about the customer’s view? How can the customer help us define and assess success as Scrum Masters? 

 

Stephen shares how he struggled to define success for him as Scrum Master, and why that was hard. 

Feb 25, 2015

 

What should we do to help choose the best people for our teams and organizations? Especially if we already believe the recruiting interview is not the best possible, or even most effective method to bring out the best in people. Stephen has a few ideas on how to prepare for the recruiting process, and how to setup a way to watch the candidates in action before finalizing the recruitment process.

Feb 24, 2015

What can you do, as a Scrum Master when the team is stuck in a pattern of negativity and self-destruction? Stephen explains the situation of a team that was in that situation, and what were the symptoms that characterized the problems the teams were facing. He discusses how communication suffers, how the us versus them dynamic emerged and how hard it was to help the team in that situation. We also discuss the techniques you can use to help the team get out of that pattern of self-destruction.

Feb 23, 2015

 

How can we help teams learn as Scrum Masters? What fails when they don’t? And what is the role of ceremonies like the retrospectives in Scrum? These and other questions are tackled in this episode. Stephen also discusses how the search for control can actually have a negative impact on the success of the team.

Feb 20, 2015

Organizations need to be supported every day in their agile journey. Mario Lucero shares his insights about that process. He mentions that inequality of teams and managers can threaten your agile adoption process and suggests a way to help organizations effectively adopt Agile.

Feb 19, 2015

Scrum masters help teams when they create an environment where teams can, and are willing to take ownership and responsibility for what they deliver. Teams that take ownership are then ready to start solving their problems.

Feb 18, 2015

Recruiting is not easy, but when you are recruiting for an offshore team you face even more problems. How to select the right candidate? The role of language in the relationship with the client, and how to handle multiple cultures are also topics in this episode.

Teams face cultural barriers, and remote stakeholders. In this offshore context recruiting is not easy.

Feb 17, 2015

Team dynamics are affected by many factors, including certain individual behaviors. Teams that exhibit some of the symptoms referred by Mario may be in trouble. We need to learn about those symptoms and have strategies to deal with those.

Feb 16, 2015

This story starts with an US based company acquiring a Latin American software development organization. Mario shares what happened after that, and what he learned from the experience, where distributed agile development was the main method of development.

Books mentioned in this interview

Mario also talks about videos that are worth watching, here are some:

 

Feb 13, 2015

How do we define and involve the right stakeholders? What are the tools we can use to find and involve them? How do help stakeholders find alignment and help the team?

Matt also shares a checklist he uses to evaluate his work as a scrum master.

Feb 12, 2015

Matt tells us how he defines success for the Scrum Master role. The key characteristics and how to link it all up to business value. He also mentions the technique he uses as a “barometer” of his success as a Scrum Master.

Feb 11, 2015

How can you find if a person you are recruiting is a “team player”. Matt explains his experience in one situation where he missed that aspect, and what he learned from that. He gives a recipe of how you can screen for team fit when recruiting Scrum Masters.

Feb 10, 2015

 

Matt explains how the focus on the negative can emerge from the harmless need for “venting” your frustration. Too much venting can have disastrous consequences on the team’s morale and motivation. He also offers an antidote for that negativity in this episode.

Feb 9, 2015

Matt tells us about a failed agile transition, and what he learned from that experience. He also talks about one of the biggest threats to agile transitions all over the world: the “shiny object syndrome” that affects many organizations today.


Matt also recommends a book: Scrum and XP from the trenches by Henrik Kniberg: http://www.amazon.com/Scrum-Trenches-Enterprise-Software-Development/dp/1430322640

Feb 6, 2015

If you thought that Jeff Kosciejew learned about being a great Scrum Master from his software industry experience you’d be wrong. Jeff learned a lot about being a servant leader, and a champion for a high-performance culture in his days as a Bank Manager. He shares his story of how his Scrum-like principles and values helped him create a superior Bank experience for his customers. He details how he was able to build a self-organizing team in his Bank branch and how he learned to be a servant leader. It’s all about people, people! :)

Feb 5, 2015

Jeff Kosciejew discusses the three key questions for defining success and shares how his experience as a musician informed the definition of success as a Scrum Master. A very inspiring story of how Scrum Masters can fundamentally affect their team’s performance and each of the team member’s well-being.

Feb 4, 2015

Jeff Kosciejew shares his own, hard-earned, experience on how to hire great people. Including how to know in advance what skills you need, using conversation as a way to filter out candidates that are a bad fit and the Agile Coaching Competency framework. His most important question in recruiting interviews is one he asks himself: “will this Scrum Master fit our culture?”

 

Agile Coaching Competency Framework

Lysa Adkins from the Agile Coaching Institute has been developing an Agile Coaching Competency framework. Read more about it at the Agile Coaching Institute site.

 

Using NPS to evaluate your work as an Agile Coach

 

Jeff, also refers to Jason Little’s personal Agile Coach NPS, a way to evaluate your own impact in the team and organization you work for

 

Feb 3, 2015

The worst enemy of this particular team, according to Jeff Kosciejew, was the pattern of avoidance. Avoiding problems is one of the pitfalls that our teams deal with.

Feb 2, 2015

On this Fail Monday episode, Jeff Kosciejew shares his ideas on how to look beyond the teams as the focus of our work as Scrum Masters. He also shares his very colorful and diverse history, and how being a Bank Manager helped him become a better Scrum Master.

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