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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: October, 2015
Oct 30, 2015

How do we get started mapping the system conditions we must face every day? Dennis suggests that you understand the stakeholders that the team needs to interact with. By understanding the map of the system you can then dig deeper with Expectation Mapping to understand what the team is expected to deliver to all those stakeholders. This will help you map the key system conditions. Use also visualization to understand how those other stakeholders interact among themselves and use Circles of Influence to understand what the team can affect on its own, and what they need help with.

About Dennis Wagner

Dennis is an Agile Coach with a lot of experience in the technical side of software development. Dennis has worked with teams in different industries, is thinking of writing a book about continuous delivery (bug him if you want to know more), and he loves, really loves his work.

You can connect with Dennis Wagner on LinkedIn and XING, and you can connect with Dennis Wagner on Twitter.

Oct 29, 2015

To define success for us as Scrum Masters we need to define also what it means not to succeed. Dennis defines what is failure, and uses 2 concrete tools to check the situation all the time. The tools are 5 Why’s and a simple powerful question: “how are we succeeding?”

Each of these tools tackles a different purpose that Dennis explains in this episode.

About Dennis Wagner

Dennis is an Agile Coach with a lot of experience in the technical side of software development. Dennis has worked with teams in different industries, is thinking of writing a book about continuous delivery (bug him if you want to know more), and he loves, really loves his work.

You can connect with Dennis Wagner on LinkedIn and XING, and you can connect with Dennis Wagner on Twitter.

Oct 28, 2015

Dennis and I explore many different options to shape our recruiting process, from ZAPPOS, to Fredric Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations, to a conclusion that the recruiting interview is a very inefficient way to recruit the right people. Teams are almost like families, after all we share 40+ hours of time every week together. We need to find other ways to find the right people.

About Dennis Wagner

Dennis is an Agile Coach with a lot of experience in the technical side of software development. Dennis has worked with teams in different industries, is thinking of writing a book about continuous delivery (bug him if you want to know more), and he loves, really loves his work.

You can connect with Dennis Wagner on LinkedIn and XING, and you can connect with Dennis Wagner on Twitter.

Oct 27, 2015

Teams never get into trouble because of one single reason. We discuss several patterns that get teams in trouble, and especially two patterns that relate to team-stakeholder and team member-team member relationship. Dennis explains one tool that he uses to detect these relationship anti-patterns that can destroy teams.

About Dennis Wagner

Dennis is an Agile Coach with a lot of experience in the technical side of software development. Dennis has worked with teams in different industries, is thinking of writing a book about continuous delivery (bug him if you want to know more), and he loves, really loves his work.

Oct 26, 2015

We become Scrum Masters because we want to help teams, organizations, and ourselves to make a difference in the world, to create better working places. However, sometimes we want that too much. Dennis explains one such case and a key lesson he learned.

We also refer to Don Reinertsen’s book The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development. We discuss a tool that you can use to manage expectations with the teams you work with: Expectation Mapping.

 

About Dennis Wagner

Dennis is an Agile Coach with a lot of experience in the technical side of software development. Dennis has worked with teams in different industries, is thinking of writing a book about continuous delivery (bug him if you want to know more), and he loves, really loves his work.

You can connect with Dennis Wagner on LinkedIn and XING, and you can connect with Dennis Wagner on Twitter.

Oct 23, 2015

We explore Systems Thinking with Matthew, and describe a 3 step process to apply Systems Thinking in our Scrum Master work:

  1. Look at “touch time” the time that the work items are actually worked on. Matt shares with us an example of what this means in practice
  2. Find out where are the queues and where the work “stops” and waits
  3. Make the work visual, make it transparent

This process will help you to understand the system of work and diagnose the systemic problems that you will need to address.

We mention the Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking by Gerry Weinberg and Toyota Production System by Liker, both great primers to Systems Thinking applied in practice.

About Matthew Heusser

Matthew Heusser is the co-author of Save our Scrum, co-chair of the enterprise track at Agile2015, And he is also an author at CIO.com. Matt Software is a delivery consultant/writer and Collaborative software geek since before it was cool.

You can find Matthew Heusser on LinkedIn, and connect with Matthew Heusser on Twitter.

Oct 22, 2015

A common answer to the success question on the podcast is “when I’m no longer needed”, but that isn’t a great career advancing answer. So we explore what happens after “I’m no longer needed”.

About Matthew Heusser

Matthew Heusser is the co-author of Save our Scrum, co-chair of the enterprise track at Agile2015, And he is also an author at CIO.com. Matt Software is a delivery consultant/writer and Collaborative software geek since before it was cool.

You can find Matthew Heusser on LinkedIn, and connect with Matthew Heusser on Twitter.

Oct 21, 2015

Matthew shares with us a story of a disaster hire, and why the regular hiring process is not likely to succeed. He finishes with a value bomb: he shares with us a tip that will help you hire the right person every time! Don’t believe me? Listen up!

About Matthew Heusser

Matthew Heusser is the co-author of Save our Scrum, co-chair of the enterprise track at Agile2015, And he is also an author at CIO.com. Matt Software is a delivery consultant/writer and Collaborative software geek since before it was cool.

You can find Matthew Heusser on LinkedIn, and connect with Matthew Heusser on Twitter.

Oct 20, 2015

Many will think that having daily standups + iterations + user stories is enough to “do” Scrum. Well, that can be very far from what Scrum is about. In this episode we discuss some of the most critical anti-patterns in teams that end up under-performing or even worse: dis-integrating.

We also mention two very important books for every scrum master: Agile Software Development by Cockburn, and Team of Teams by McChrystal.

About Matthew Heusser

Matthew Heusser is the co-author of Save our Scrum, co-chair of the enterprise track at Agile2015, And he is also an author at CIO.com. Matt Software is a delivery consultant/writer and Collaborative software geek since before it was cool.

You can find Matthew Heusser on LinkedIn, and connect with Matthew Heusser on Twitter.

Oct 19, 2015

It’s never hard to break with the status quo, and communicating the adoption process, positioning the change and managing the expectations can become the most important job for us as Scrum Masters. This was the hard-earned lesson that Matt shares with us in the podcast.

We also mention the book Agile Software Development With Scrum by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle, and refer to the 3 amigos: “The Three Amigos meeting is about the transition from user stories to scenarios. It is meant to happen before development starts, part of a good test first approach. It is meant to happen just before development starts.”

About Matthew Heusser

Matthew Heusser is the co-author of Save our Scrum, co-chair of the enterprise track at Agile2015, And he is also an author at CIO.com. Matt Software is a delivery consultant/writer and Collaborative software geek since before it was cool.

You can find Matthew Heusser on LinkedIn, and connect with Matthew Heusser on Twitter.

Oct 16, 2015

Listening, taking notes and asking questions are the tools that Gitte uses to understand that system conditions that affect the teams that she works with. Look at who talks to whom, who eats alone, how each team member reacts to each other.

How to get people to talk? Create the spaces for conversation to happen, like watercoolers, coffee machines, etc.

About Gitte Klitgaard

Gitte is a very pragmatic world-changer. She wants to make the world a better place today, not tomorrow. She’s also very experienced agile coach and regular speaker. But here’s the punch line: she talks about things that no one else talks about. She lives by the mantra "why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?” and she says that her best coaching tools are listening and making people think.

You link with Gitte Klitgaard on LinkedIn, and connect with Gitte Klitgaard on twitter.

Oct 15, 2015

Success for a scrum master is when people start to take responsibility for their work, and collaborate to get problems solved. Gitte also mentions the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING in the idea of cross-functional teams. We discuss the book: Flow by Csikszentmihalyi.

About Gitte Klitgaard

Gitte is a very pragmatic world-changer. She wants to make the world a better place today, not tomorrow. She’s also very experienced agile coach and regular speaker. But here’s the punch line: she talks about things that no one else talks about. She lives by the mantra "why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?” and she says that her best coaching tools are listening and making people think.

You link with Gitte Klitgaard on LinkedIn, and connect with Gitte Klitgaard on twitter.

Oct 14, 2015

How do you hire an entire team? How to cope with different personalities? What to do about the coaches and Scrum Masters that turn into process police? These are just some of the questions we discuss in this episode.

About Gitte Klitgaard

Gitte is a very pragmatic world-changer. She wants to make the world a better place today, not tomorrow. She’s also very experienced agile coach and regular speaker. But here’s the punch line: she talks about things that no one else talks about. She lives by the mantra "why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?” and she says that her best coaching tools are listening and making people think.

You link with Gitte Klitgaard on LinkedIn, and connect with Gitte Klitgaard on twitter.

Oct 13, 2015

Gitte explains why teams sometimes forget to think and they that is a self-destruction pattern. Being agile requires us to be flexible, and when we stop thinking the best we can do is follow orders. Asking questions and being ready to sit back and listen helps us bring the thinking pattern to our team’s day-to-day work.

About Gitte Klitgaard

Gitte is a very pragmatic world-changer. She wants to make the world a better place today, not tomorrow. She’s also very experienced agile coach and regular speaker. But here’s the punch line: she talks about things that no one else talks about. She lives by the mantra "why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?” and she says that her best coaching tools are listening and making people think.

You link with Gitte Klitgaard on LinkedIn, and connect with Gitte Klitgaard on twitter.

Oct 12, 2015

People who have been successful all have one thing in common: they tend to fall back to the old ways that worked in the past. Gitte tells us a story of when this happened to her, how she overcame those temptations and why it is important to have different points of view in one project.

About Gitte Klitgaard

Gitte is a very pragmatic world-changer. She wants to make the world a better place today, not tomorrow. She’s also very experienced agile coach and regular speaker. But here’s the punch line: she talks about things that no one else talks about. She lives by the mantra "why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?” and she says that her best coaching tools are listening and making people think.

You link with Gitte Klitgaard on LinkedIn, and connect with Gitte Klitgaard on twitter.

Oct 10, 2015

We explore Leadership, what it means, and why it is such an important discipline for Scrum Masters.

Sean is an officer in the Canadian army reserves, turned Agile Coach. He shares with us what he learned about leading teams in his military career. How those lessons apply to knowledge work, and how to develop our Leadership skills.

In the armed forces, we look at leaders as someone who will be with us in harms way. To be able to function effectively as teams, leaders need to learn to work with teams in a manner that builds trust and empathy. Scrum Masters can learn a lot from how that is achieved in high-pressure situations.

The book mentioned on the topic of Trust: The 5 Dysfunctions of a team by Lencioni, includes many examples and practices on how we can help build trust within our teams. We also refer to Turn the Ship Around by Marquette, a book dedicated to explore the topic of leadership filled with lessons for Scrum Masters.

We also discuss what it means to be a successful leader, and review some of the Agile Manifesto principles that bear directly on leadership, and the practice of that discipline.

We are temporary stewards of our profession

Sean helps us to challenge our personal visions of leadership, what it means for our profession, and how it should influence our actions. “What type of organization do you want to build?”, Sean asks.

To help us develop our own understanding and vision of leadership Sean recommends 3 books:

 

About Sean Dunn

Sean is an Enterprise Agile Coach with IHS Global. He has been involved with agile development for 8 years as a developer, product owner, and agile coach.  Prior to his exposure to agile development Sean spent 13 years in the Canadian Army.  In fact, Sean is known to point out that the Army is far more agile than most people think.

That background in the Canadian Army influenced his view of Leadership and the role of Leadership in creating and developing great teams.

You can connect with Sean Dunn on LinkedIn, check out Sean Dunn on the Scrum Alliance or email him at sean.dunn@ihs.com.

Oct 9, 2015

There are many sources of inspiration that help us understand how to “see” the system. Daniel mentions the Logical Thinking Process by Dettmer, and The Goal by Goldratt as good places to start understanding the system and how to address it. But the real tool we all already use and can have a large impact on our understanding and influence is the Retrospective meeting. Daniel suggest the Circles and Soup Retrospective as a way to help the team understand the system and act on it.

About Daniel Hommel

Daniel is a ScrumMaster and Agile Coach with a strong background in Software Engineering. His first touch point with Agility was starting to use the Extreme Programming practices in 2007. After some years of working more on the technical side in recent years his interest has shifted to facilitation, coaching, guiding continuous improvement and working with people in general.

You can connect with Daniel Hommel on Twitter.

Oct 8, 2015

There are many ways to look at success. Daniel chooses to look at it from the learning point of view. He wants to see teams learn, and run experiments. He mentions the book Lean Change Management by Jason Little as an inspiration for the experiment mindset. As Daniel puts it: being fast is good, but being able to change direction quickly is much better.

About Daniel Hommel

Daniel is a ScrumMaster and Agile Coach with a strong background in Software Engineering. His first touch point with Agility was starting to use the Extreme Programming practices in 2007. After some years of working more on the technical side in recent years his interest has shifted to facilitation, coaching, guiding continuous improvement and working with people in general.

You can connect with Daniel Hommel on Twitter.

Oct 7, 2015

The “Lying Game” is what we all play in the recruiting process. And that’s why the default approaches to recruiting are not very effective. We try to go beyond the “lies” with better questions of different recruiting processes, but that’s only part of what is needed to hire the best Scrum Masters. Daniel explains how we can go beyond the first impressions and build a recruiting process that is beneficial for both sides, the employer and the future employee.

About Daniel Hommel

Daniel is a ScrumMaster and Agile Coach with a strong background in Software Engineering. His first touch point with Agility was starting to use the Extreme Programming practices in 2007. After some years of working more on the technical side in recent years his interest has shifted to facilitation, coaching, guiding continuous improvement and working with people in general.

You can connect with Daniel Hommel on Twitter.

Oct 6, 2015

Building trust in the team is a key challenge for all Scrum Masters. We have many tools we can use to build that trust and Daniel suggest some concrete tools.

Start by reviewing The 5 Dysfunctions of a team by Lencioni, then try other exercises like the Moving Motivators, Personal Maps or other Management 3.0 Workout.

About Daniel Hommel

Daniel is a ScrumMaster and Agile Coach with a strong background in Software Engineering. His first touch point with Agility was starting to use the Extreme Programming practices in 2007. After some years of working more on the technical side in recent years his interest has shifted to facilitation, coaching, guiding continuous improvement and working with people in general.

You can connect with Daniel Hommel on Twitter.

Oct 5, 2015

Many Scrum Masters start their career as part-time Scrum Masters. A few books read, a course or two attended, and here we go. What could go wrong? In this episode Daniel explains his first project, and the mistakes that come from lack of experience and part-time assignment.

We also discuss the book Product Development Flow by D. Reinertsen in the context of creating the necessary conditions for learning.

About Daniel Hommel

Daniel is a ScrumMaster and Agile Coach with a strong background in Software Engineering. His first touch point with Agility was starting to use the Extreme Programming practices in 2007. After some years of working more on the technical side in recent years his interest has shifted to facilitation, coaching, guiding continuous improvement and working with people in general.

You can connect with Daniel Hommel on Twitter.

Oct 2, 2015

Natalie explains her approach to understanding and visualizing the system conditions that affect the teams she works with:

  1. Start by asking “how are the tools, practices and policies affecting the team’s I work with?”
  2. Then take a pen and draw the links between the different observations, do this with the whole team. Expect to hear many different perspectives, and help the team make sense of those different views.
  3. Use also metrics, but not just one. Look at several metrics and ask people to look beyond a single metric, and beyond the metrics. What do these metrics tell us?
  4. Identify possible underlying conditions that affect the team.

Always keep in mind, that this process will be different for every team you work with, each team is different.

As a developer turned Agile coach, Natalie Warnert understands and embraces what it takes to build great products. Natalie focuses teams on embracing Agile values to build the right product and build the product right. Natalie is currently coaching the Cart/Checkout teams for Best Buy Dotcom and recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.

You can link with Natalie Warnert on LinkedIn, connect with Natalie Warnert on Twitter, read her blog at nataliewarnert.com, and visit her project page Women in Agile.

Oct 1, 2015

There are many ways to measure success, and it’s not easy to choose just one of them. Natalie chooses to focus on the questions that the team asks. Are they asking questions that challenge you? Are they asking questions that make you feel uncomfortable? Natalie also suggests you focus on how your own questions make you feel. The job of the Scrum Master is not easy, and the questions we ask are supposed to be a critical part of our job. How many uncomfortable conversations did you have last week?

As a developer turned Agile coach, Natalie Warnert understands and embraces what it takes to build great products. Natalie focuses teams on embracing Agile values to build the right product and build the product right. Natalie is currently coaching the Cart/Checkout teams for Best Buy Dotcom and recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.

You can link with Natalie Warnert on LinkedIn, connect with Natalie Warnert on Twitter, read her blog at nataliewarnert.com, and visit her project page Women in Agile.

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