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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, 2018
Feb 28, 2018

Organizational change is a constant in our lives. We are faced with tiny changes, or big changes all the time. And how we react to those changes is a critical part of succeeding or not with the change. In this episode, Ryan shares the story of an agile transformation he went through, and how he focused on the people aspects much more than in the process to help that change succeed. He also shares some of the tools he used in that change, and we discuss how using questions can help people find the right change for them, without anyone pushing them to change.

 

About Ryan McCann

Ryan is a former waiter, car detailer, line worker, cemetery worker, intern, financial analyst, tech support rep, team lead, QA manager, Scrum Master and Product Owner. Current husband, father, school board member, community volunteer and agile coach. He believes in building trust and social capital, which is not easy for any of us (himself included)…Ryan does his best everyday to help teams make this happen.

You can link with Ryan McCann on LinkedIn and vist Ryan McCann’s website at: MaybeMyDesk.com.

Feb 27, 2018

On Tuesdays we focus on the moments when the teams get into trouble. But Ryan breaks the pattern this week, and shares with us a moment when a team went from a problem, so a pattern of excellence. Listen in to learn how the team Ryan was working with took responsibility for a serious customer problem, and quickly rallied to a solution. So quickly, in fact, that the customer even emailed them to thank them for their work!

Featured Book of the week: Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

Kanban” is one of the movement’s most praised books. In this book David Anderson introduces his view on how Kanban can help with introducing change in an organization. Ryan particularly liked this quote: “we do kanban because we believe it provides a better way to introduce change”.

 

About Ryan McCann

Ryan is a former waiter, car detailer, line worker, cemetery worker, intern, financial analyst, tech support rep, team lead, QA manager, Scrum Master and Product Owner. Current husband, father, school board member, community volunteer and agile coach. He believes in building trust and social capital, which is not easy for any of us (himself included)…Ryan does his best everyday to help teams make this happen.

You can link with Ryan McCann on LinkedIn and vist Ryan McCann’s website at: MaybeMyDesk.com.

Feb 26, 2018

Some of us are lucky to have a good experience with our first try at using Scrum. Some, even more lucky, can get great results during the first 2, 3, 5 or more times they help a team adopt Scrum. But, whether we like it or not, eventually we will face a time when Scrum just doesn’t work as we expect. What do do then? Listen in to learn what Ryan went through in just such a situation and what he did to recover from that.

 

About Ryan McCann

Ryan is a former waiter, car detailer, line worker, cemetery worker, intern, financial analyst, tech support rep, team lead, QA manager, Scrum Master and Product Owner. Current husband, father, school board member, community volunteer and agile coach. He believes in building trust and social capital, which is not easy for any of us (himself included)…Ryan does his best everyday to help teams make this happen.

You can link with Ryan McCann on LinkedIn and vist Ryan McCann’s website at: MaybeMyDesk.com.

Feb 24, 2018

Can we apply Agile ideas to the definition and execution of Strategy for our businesses? Trent Hone, award winning Naval historian, Karl Scotland, Agile Strategy pioneer, and Henri Mårtensson, long time author on the topic of business strategy got together to discuss just that.

This is the second episode on the topic of Agile Strategy, and you can find the other episode on Agile Strategy here.

For a complete set of show notes and resources from this episode (and there are a lot), visit http://scrum-master-toolbox.org/ and click on this Roundtable episode. 

About the participants

Trent Hone is a Managing Consultant with Excella Consulting (blog) and an award-winning naval historian. He helps software and IT organizations improve their art of practice, increase effectiveness, and accelerate learning. Trent regularly writes and speaks about organizational learning, doctrine, and strategy and how the three interrelate. He has presented at the Annual North American Agile Conference, Lean Kanban North America, Lean Agile Scotland, the Society of Military History's Annual Meeting, the McMullen Naval History Symposium, and other conferences. His latest book, Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898–1945, will be published in June 2018.

You can link with Trent Hone on LinkedIn and connect with Trent Hone on Twitter. You can also read Trent Hone’s blog.

 

Karl Scotland has, over the last 15 years 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.

 

Henrik Mårtensson is a systems thinker. He works with companies and other organizations to solve complex problems:

  • How to make companies more agile and resilient
  • How to make work more fun and engaging
  • How to shape and communicate strategies effectively
  • How to reduce costly lead times

Henrik writes to bridge the current gap between theory and practice in management and leadership. He provides strategy coaching, and helps improve processes. His presentations, live and on video casts, have been seen by more than 70,000 people.

You can link with Henrik Mårtensson on LinkedIn and connect with Henrik Mårtensson on Twitter.

has, over the last 15 years 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.

 

Henrik Mårtensson is a systems thinker. He works with companies and other organizations to solve complex problems:

  • How to make companies more agile and resilient
  • How to make work more fun and engaging
  • How to shape and communicate strategies effectively
  • How to reduce costly lead times

Henrik writes to bridge the current gap between theory and practice in management and leadership. He provides strategy coaching, and helps improve processes. His presentations, live and on video casts, have been seen by more than 70,000 people.

You can link with Henrik Mårtensson on LinkedIn and connect with Henrik Mårtensson on Twitter.

Feb 23, 2018

The role of the Product Owner is critical for the success of a Scrum team. However, that’s also one of the roles that is the most affected by company policies and culture. Product Owners are not usually shielded from management, and in fact sometimes they are management. In this episode we talk about a Product Owner that was also the CEO of the company. What can we do when the Product Owner is so hard to reach? Listen to what Natalie has learned about engaging absent Product Owners.

 

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Feb 22, 2018

Looking at the outcomes from previous retrospectives, and what has been achieved so far based on those retrospectives, is a good way to assess our impact on the way the team works. This is only one of the methods Natalie uses to assess her success as a Scrum Masters. In this episode we also review some tools Natalie has learned to use in a distributed team environment.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: GOOD / IMPROVE / LOOK BACK

This week we look at a retrospective format that helps us re-evaluate what we achieved from previous retrospectives. Natalie asks us to focus on the positive (what works), what we want to do better (what to improve) and also to look at previous retrospectives to review the achievements to far.

 

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Feb 21, 2018

In many organizations Project Management is the defining paradigm for developing and delivering products to the market. How do we bring Agile to such organizations? Natalie shares with us a story of such a transition. We discuss concrete ways to bring Agile practices to that organization without overwhelming everybody, and explore ways to make that changes sustainable over time.

 

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Feb 20, 2018

Silos are very useful if you want to store cereals for a long time. However, in knowledge work organizations, silos do more harm than good. In this episode we explore how the silo culture can infect a team and lead to serious problems. Including lack of collaboration, having some people overloaded, while others are kept waiting, etc. We also discuss the impact silos have on team performance. How many different silos do you have on your team? Listen in to learn about the many silos that can develop in a single team!

Featured book of the week: NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates

This week we feature the book: NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates. A book that describes how you can help forecast completion dates for Agile projects even if the team has not estimated the size of all the stories in the backlog.

 

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Feb 19, 2018

In a high stakes project, like the one Natalie describes, it is tempting to start focusing on the schedule from the start and spend time trying to predict how long things will take. But is that the best us of our time and talents as Scrum Masters? Listen in to learn what Natalie learned about making projects a success that require very little focus on duration or effort estimation.

In this episode we discuss the book NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates.

 

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Feb 16, 2018

Tanner’s military background has taught him that team members need to help cover for each other. And they can’t do that by seating on their own silos and working only on one type of tasks. Tanner explains how he got trained in multiple skills in his military career and how that can help us as Scrum Masters.

In this episode we discuss the LeSS framework for large-scale Scrum and how to use the Causal Loop Diagram to understand the system we work within.

 

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. 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.

Feb 15, 2018

How many conversations have you helped start as a Scrum Masters. Have you helped the team tackle the problems in a collaborative manner? And what kind of culture do you drive in your team?

These are some of the questions Tanner asks of himself when assessing his impact as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn how he evaluates his performance, and helps teams start and benefit from the conversations they have.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: Creating a container for the team to have a conversation

Tanner challenges us to think of the role of the Scrum Master as a creator of conversations. In this conversation about the role of retrospectives we explore what our role is as a Scrum Master; how that helps the teams; how to measure the outcome of our work in facilitating retrospectives.

 

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. 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.

Feb 14, 2018

Tanner joined a team where the “Scrum Master as a secretary” had evolved. When he brought in a new approach that caused problems, and confusion. How to deal with that change? Listen in as Tanner describes his approach of collaborating with the Product Owner to bring about a change in ways of working, and how to tackle those difficult situations we inevitably face over time.



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. 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.

Feb 13, 2018

In this story Tanner shares how a team he took over was struggling to improve. When looking at the situation he detected a pattern: the Product Owner was not delegating any work to the team. In this story we explore the idea that fixing Symptoms never solves real problems for the team, and that the Product Owner’s approach has a significant impact on how the team works. And we give out some important tips about what affects culture in the teams we work with.

Featured book of the week: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game is a Sci-Fi novel about a future encounter with an alien civilization. What does that have to do with being a Scrum Master you ask? Listen in to learn the lessons we can take from that story, and apply to our roles as Scrum Masters.

 

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. 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.

Feb 12, 2018

Working with a team that is under pressure from someone high-up in the organization is never easy. How about if that person is also changing their mind regularly? And interrupting the team with new ideas all the time? In this episode we explore such a situation. The VP is constantly asking the team for new things, interrupting their work, and requesting everything in very short timeframes. How can we help as Scrum Masters? Ask the right questions. Listen in to learn about how to ask the right questions.

 

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. 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.

Feb 9, 2018

If something worked in the past, it must work with new teams in the future. Or must it? In this episode we explore how the system around the team significantly affect what works in practice. The same daily meeting format may have worked in some teams before, but how is this new team’s context affecting the format of the daily meeting? As Scrum Masters we must be aware of the team culture, the management culture, the technical tools and other critical system conditions. Only then can we know what might work, and what will not work in that team’s context.

 

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

You can link with Miguel Santos on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Santos on Twitter.

Feb 8, 2018

Miguel shares with us his approach to define and reach a successful outcome of his work. We explore the role of metrics in defining what we should focus on and improve. After all, without data to backup your ideas, you are just another person with an opinion.

Featured Retrospective format for the week: Start-Stop-Continue

When looking at what to improve, what to amplify in our teams, the start-stop-continue retrospective format helps the team identify not only what they want to change or improve, but also those things that are working well. When we find what is working well, we can then amplify that. Select items from the Continue section of the retrospective and ask: how can we benefit even more from this technique?

 

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

You can link with Miguel Santos on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Santos on Twitter.

Feb 7, 2018

Agile at scale is all the rage, but is that what we should be focus on? Miguel shares a story of how change management is hard even in the small things that need to improve. As Scrum Masters we need to learn to deal with change in the small, with the team, only then are we ready to take it further and apply what we learn to larger problems and eventually to larger organizations. Just like in software development, let’s ask the question: what’s the smallest change that could work to get us towards our goal?

 

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

You can link with Miguel Santos on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Santos on Twitter.

Feb 6, 2018

When teams face problems they have a choice: avoid, or confront. Which of these patterns does your team adopt when faced with problems? This can make the difference for the teams that want to grow and improve. In this episode we review the story, and the consequences that teams face when they can’t face the problems they are going through.

In this episode we discuss the Retrospectives’ Prime Directive, a rule we can follow to ensure that Retrospectives stay focused on improvements, rather than blame.

Featured book of the week: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is a book that we’ve covered often here on the podcast. So often that we even included it in a bundle offer we had for our listeners: 4 books every Scrum Master should read! In this book Patrick Lencioni walks us through a process of building a team that is not able to collaborate, where trust isn’t present. The goal: a functioning high-performance team.

 

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

You can link with Miguel Santos on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Santos on Twitter.

Feb 5, 2018

There are plenty of available frameworks, processes, models and other “processed” Agile packages. So many that the distracted Scrum Master can be forgiven for thinking that one of those will work for his team. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Listen to this episode, where Miguel explains how he came to the realization that Agile adoption is just the start of the Agile journey, and what you can do about it as a Scrum Master.

 

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

You can link with Miguel Santos on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Santos on Twitter.

Feb 3, 2018

Al Shalloway is a veteran of the software industry, and one of the early adopters of Agile. His company NetObjectives has even been podcasting on the Agile space way before Agile was popular. NetObjectives started their Lean And Agile Straight Talk Podcast way back in 2006, and you can still find many of their episodes on iTunes.

Business Value, the forgotten goal

In this episode we start by talking about the concept of “Business Value”, which is often forgotten in favor of some process goal like “adopt agile”. One can ask: what is the value of adopting Agile if we end up going bust?

But it is not so easy to define business value. In this episode we explore what might be the meaning or definition of business value in our organizations. We also discuss how we can help our teams focus on impact, not just more features delivered. And we end up talking about the need to have a process that adapts to many different organizations. Al talks about FLEX, a model NetObjectives developed after working with many organizations and understanding what is not working today when we try to scale Agile.

Feb 2, 2018

When looking at the systemic causes for problems we see in the team, we need to take into account many aspects: trust, metrics, conversations, relationships. Where to start? Richard suggests that we look at the Comparative Agile diagnostic and the Agile Fluency model and diagnostic. But of course, those are just starting points. A lot of the work needed to identify systemic problems is to listen to the conversations happening in the team, and with stakeholders. In this episode, Richard describes the process he uses to observe and analyze the conversations happening in the team, so that he can pinpoint systemic problems.

 

About Richard Kasperowski

Richard is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author focused on high-performance teams. Richard is the author of The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness. He leads clients in building great teams that get great results using the Core Protocols, Agile, and Open Space Technology. Richard created and teaches the class Agile Software Development at Harvard University. Learn more and subscribe to Richard’s newsletter at www.kasperowski.com.

You can link with Richard Kasperowski on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Kasperowski on Twitter.

Feb 1, 2018

Richard’s perspective is that our Scrum Master success is directly linked to the success of our teams. That much we can all agree. But how do we get there? We discuss the perspective that we need, as Scrum Masters, to help our teams achieve a successful outcome.

In this episde we discuss the “Turn up the good”, an Agile Maxim by Woody Zuill (Check out this interview with Woody Zuill for the details) as the directive for constant change, and improvement in our work with teams.

One possible tool to use when helping teams focus on the good things, and how to improve them further, is the practice of distributing Kudo Cards from Management 3.0.

 

About Richard Kasperowski

Richard is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author focused on high-performance teams. Richard is the author of The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness. He leads clients in building great teams that get great results using the Core Protocols, Agile, and Open Space Technology. Richard created and teaches the class Agile Software Development at Harvard University. Learn more and subscribe to Richard’s newsletter at www.kasperowski.com.

You can link with Richard Kasperowski on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Kasperowski on Twitter.

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