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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: April, 2018
Apr 30, 2018

It is common to claim that we must user-centric, or listen more to users, or even involve users more in the product development. But Lucas has an extreme case of that message for us. Listen in to learn how being yelled at by users can totally change your perspective on what is value, and make you want to change the product development process.

 

About Lucas Smith

Lucas has been a developer, manager, and agile coach and trainer with Boeing. Currently works a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and is the owner of LitheWorks. Lucas enjoys helping people and organizations improve the way they work to be more creative, effective, and efficient.

You can find Lucas Smith’s company at litheworks.com.

You can link with Lucas Smith on LinkedIn.

Apr 27, 2018

Some of the anti-patterns that cause problems in our organisations are: thinking only about efficiency, separating skills and having only specialists, and trying to maximise utilisation of people’s time.

In this episode we discuss how those anti-patterns become system conditions and what we can do as Scrum Masters to overcome them. Listen in to learn about Michael's simple solution to get a team to quickly overcome these critical anti-patterns.

 

About Michael Küsters

Michael helps companies and people become more agile by providing coaching, training and consulting in agile frameworks, principles and mindset.

Michael has consulted for a wide range of companies from small start-up to international corporation, transforming teams, divisions and entire organizations. He is a seasoned veteran with Scrum, Kanban, XP, LeSS and SAFe, Lean and Six Sigma and harnesses this vast experience for his clients' success.

Michael is a Thought Provoker helping organizations become more agile.

You can link with Michael Küsters on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Küsters on Twitter.

Apr 26, 2018

Conversation can open up the biggest issues that the team has in mind. And sometimes a good, open conversation is the best way to get the team to open up. In this episode Michael shares his approach to organising and facilitating a retrospective around the concept of having an “open conversation”.

 

About Michael Küsters

Michael helps companies and people become more agile by providing coaching, training and consulting in agile frameworks, principles and mindset.

Michael has consulted for a wide range of companies from small start-up to international corporation, transforming teams, divisions and entire organizations. He is a seasoned veteran with Scrum, Kanban, XP, LeSS and SAFe, Lean and Six Sigma and harnesses this vast experience for his clients' success.

Michael is a Thought Provoker helping organizations become more agile.

You can link with Michael Küsters on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Küsters on Twitter.

Apr 25, 2018

A software company wins a bid to build a software product. They realise that the time and money they have to deliver that project is way shorter than what they have done in the past. What do you do?

Many companies start their Agile journey in a similar situation. They have chewed too much and it is time to get creative. A few google queries later, and Agile is the next big thing. But now we have two problems: an impossible project and a change process! Listen in to learn how Michael turned the situation around for that client with the help of the team, of course.

 

About Michael Küsters

Michael helps companies and people become more agile by providing coaching, training and consulting in agile frameworks, principles and mindset.

Michael has consulted for a wide range of companies from small start-up to international corporation, transforming teams, divisions and entire organizations. He is a seasoned veteran with Scrum, Kanban, XP, LeSS and SAFe, Lean and Six Sigma and harnesses this vast experience for his clients' success.

Michael is a Thought Provoker helping organizations become more agile.

You can link with Michael Küsters on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Küsters on Twitter.

Apr 24, 2018

Autonomy is one of the key aspects in Daniel Pink’s motivation triggers: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose. However, there is such a thing as too much autonomy. In this episode we explore the story of a team that was too autonomous. Listen in to learn what problems that led to, and how you can help your team avoid those problems.

Featured book of the week: Humble Inquiry

Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein is a book about the gentle art of asking and not telling. One of the core skills for a Scrum Master: asking the right questions.

 

About Michael Küsters

Michael helps companies and people become more agile by providing coaching, training and consulting in agile frameworks, principles and mindset.

Michael has consulted for a wide range of companies from small start-up to international corporation, transforming teams, divisions and entire organizations. He is a seasoned veteran with Scrum, Kanban, XP, LeSS and SAFe, Lean and Six Sigma and harnesses this vast experience for his clients' success.

Michael is a Thought Provoker helping organizations become more agile.

You can link with Michael Küsters on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Küsters on Twitter.

Apr 23, 2018

In this episode we explore a possible anti-pattern: the IT - Business conflict. It may start softly with some minor disagreements over priority, but if unchecked it can grow much bigger. In this episode we discover Michael’s own story of trying to bridge the gap between IT and Business, and also what he learned does not work. From Michael’s story we can learn how to tackle that possible conflict.

 

About Michael Küsters

Michael helps companies and people become more agile by providing coaching, training and consulting in agile frameworks, principles and mindset.

Michael has consulted for a wide range of companies from small start-up to international corporation, transforming teams, divisions and entire organizations. He is a seasoned veteran with Scrum, Kanban, XP, LeSS and SAFe, Lean and Six Sigma and harnesses this vast experience for his clients' success.

Michael is a Thought Provoker helping organizations become more agile.

You can link with Michael Küsters on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Küsters on Twitter.

Apr 21, 2018

In this episode we explore The Core Protocols, a set of ideas developed by Jim and Michele McCarthy as they investigated the causes of performance improvement in teams.

During that research Jim and Michele discovered that high-performance teams did a lot of things in a similar way, and we explore some of those patterns that successful teams take on.

The Core Protocols not only describe the patterns of successful teams, but also act as a “map” of the things we need to consider when helping our teams.

It all started in a lab: how the core protocols were developed

Jim and Michele were studying teams way back in the 1990’s. They started to study teams to see if they could duplicate the success of a team that had worked on Visual C++ at Microsoft. The question was: what do teams need to reach that level of performance. We discuss the initial story and finding that led Jim and Michele to further study what was to be become The Core Protocols, and the impact that the initial research had on the modern Core Protocols.

How a team doubled their productivity with the help of The Core Protocols

When Richard started applying The Core Protocols he started to see large impact on the teams he was helping. In one case, while working with a client, Richard observed a doubling in productivity for one team. In the episode Richard describes the overall process he implemented to help that team as well as The Core Protocols that he took on as part of developing the work with the team.

The biggest challenges when applying The Core Protocols

Just like any other tool, model or technique, The Core Protocols have their challenges. We discuss the main challenge that Richard has faced: the techie that thinks emotions have no place at work.

The “emotions are out” mindset is pervasive, especially in engineering cultures, but is that really how teams work? We explore why that perspective endangers the team’s well being and productivity, and discuss alternative ways to handle the emotions we all have in our places of work. A book we refer to is: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

Applying The Core Protocols in our work as Scrum Masters

The Core Protocols are especially useful for us as Scrum Masters. We can use those in many specific aspects of our work. Whether you are thinking about how to improve the flow of the daily meeting, or the safety for the team in the planning meeting, Richard describes specific aspects of our work that benefit from The Core Protocols, and which protocols to apply.

We refer to The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness by Richard Kasperowski and Software for Your Head: Core Protocols for Creating and Maintaining Shared Vision by Jim and Michele McCarthy.

 

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.

 

Apr 20, 2018

One of the least spoken about system conditions is the deep belief that “more is better”. Many organisations make decisions and organize their work based on that model: more features = more success for the product. But is it really like that?

Looking at the system conditions also means understanding what are the deeply held beliefs that the organisation acts on, and shape its ways working.

 

About Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.

Apr 19, 2018

Success is when a team has reached a point where they improve regularly, and perhaps don’t even need a Scrum Master present at every meeting, or facilitating every session with the team. When that happens it is time to move on to other topics. Is the team learning how to measure themselves and the flow of work? In this episode we talk about team self-measurement and how the team can learn from starting and maintaining their own dashboard.

In this episode we refer to the book Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts.

In this episode we refer to the team dashboard created by Troy Magennis of Focused Objective.

Featured retrospective format of the week: Have the team own the retro

Learning happens at the team level. The retrospectives are the key ceremony where that aspect of our work is most visible. In this episode we talk about the different phases of the retrospective and how get teams to own the retrospective.

We refer to the book Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen.

 

About Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.

Apr 18, 2018

When we visualise the work, how it flows in the organization we discover the real bottlenecks that prevent us from delivering. In this episode we study the case of an organisation that was divided into component teams instead of feature teams. That was discovered thanks to visualisation. But the hard work was about to start. How do we help an organisation transform from component teams to feature teams?

Listen in to hear Jeff’s journey through the change process, and what approaches he successfully used.

 

About Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.

Apr 17, 2018

Retrospectives can sometime be affected by an atmosphere of negativity. When the team is only complaining, but not looking forward we have a challenge. In this episode we explore such a situation. And how simple changes helped Jeff turn the atmosphere around, from complaining to figuring out what “we” can do to improve the situation.

Featured Book of the week: Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni

This week we discuss a book that talks about working with our clients (Scrum Masters serve coaching/service clients), and how we are often conflicted as to the right course of action.

Great Scrum Masters are able to deal with that conflict, showing vulnerability while not being afraid of it. Listen in to learn how this book influenced Jeff’s approach to being a Scrum Master.

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty.

 

About Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.

Apr 16, 2018

An untold story in the Scrum Master community is that not all of us started out as Agilists. That’s my case, and also Jeff’s case. In this episode we explore the personal transformation that Jeff went through: from skeptic to advocate of Agile in his organisation.

How this happened? A high pressure project which Jeff could not solve alone. He had to “take it to the team”, let them solve it on their own. How did they do it? With an Agile approach, of course. Because that’s what you develop when the pressure is high and you want to make sure you succeed. Listen in to learn about Jeff’s journey and how that was affected by how a team reacted to pressure to deliver.

 

About Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.

 

Apr 13, 2018

Scrum was “born” in the IT world, and it is still mostly applied in that environment. But the lessons that Scrum can teach us go over industrial borders. In this episode we learn how the ideas in Scrum can apply to an old-world industrial company. At the same time we explore what kind of systemic conditions Petr uncovered in that assignment and how he tackled them.

 

About Petr Holodňák

Petr has a small consulting company where he helps businesses overcome obstacles of ever-faster changing environment, growth problems, stale processes, poor performance, lacking company culture etc.

Petr helps companies be more adaptable through empowering their people.

Petr also does some pro-bono consulting. Recently for example for a Liberal/democratic school in Prague. His passion is introducing modern management (we can call that "Agile") to "old school" businesses like heavy industry, manufacturing and so on. Petr wants to help build a brighter future!

You can find Petr’s business at: www.cerebra.cz.

You can link with Petr Holodňák on LinkedIn.

Apr 12, 2018

Often we organize retrospectives at the end of the Sprint. But is that the best time to solve problems? It may be! But not always. So what to do when we need to act now? The Immediate Retro, of course! Petr explains his view of why the Immediate Retro is important, and how to go about it.

 

About Petr Holodňák

Petr has a small consulting company where he helps businesses overcome obstacles of ever-faster changing environment, growth problems, stale processes, poor performance, lacking company culture etc.

Petr helps companies be more adaptable through empowering their people.

Petr also does some pro-bono consulting. Recently for example for a Liberal/democratic school in Prague. His passion is introducing modern management (we can call that "Agile") to "old school" businesses like heavy industry, manufacturing and so on. Petr wants to help build a brighter future!

You can find Petr’s business at: www.cerebra.cz.

You can link with Petr Holodňák on LinkedIn.

Apr 11, 2018

Petr has been working with a democratic school in Prague. At first blush it may seem hard to get a democratic school to find a common direction and productive collaboration. After all, isn’t it natural that kids want to skip class? Maybe. But there’s a lot you can do with teachers to help find a better way. In this episode we explore how mixing Management 3.0 practices, Scrum and continuous experimentation brought about a very positive change. Agile works outside IT!

 

About Petr Holodňák

Petr has a small consulting company where he helps businesses overcome obstacles of ever-faster changing environment, growth problems, stale processes, poor performance, lacking company culture etc.

Petr helps companies be more adaptable through empowering their people.

Petr also does some pro-bono consulting. Recently for example for a Liberal/democratic school in Prague. His passion is introducing modern management (we can call that "Agile") to "old school" businesses like heavy industry, manufacturing and so on. Petr wants to help build a brighter future!

You can find Petr’s business at: www.cerebra.cz.

You can link with Petr Holodňák on LinkedIn.

Apr 10, 2018

Scrum is a starting point. The goal of Scrum is to unlock the ability that the teams have to continuously improve and get better at satisfying the customer in a way that is sustainable for both the company and the business.

In this episode we review a story of a team that was not yet on the Scrum and improvement journeys. There was no trust. No clear leader. How to start a team on the improvement journey? Listen in to learn how Scrum can help you get started.

Featured book of the week: Re-inventing organizations by Laloux

Petr shares with us several books, but starts with Re-inventing organizations by Frederic Laloux. Laloux shows that every time humanity has shifted to a new stage of consciousness in the past, it has invented a whole new way to structure and run organizations, each time bringing extraordinary breakthroughs in collaboration.

We also refer to the work by Nils Pfläging about how to Organize for Complexity, and the oft-referred The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

 

About Petr Holodňák

Petr has a small consulting company where he helps businesses overcome obstacles of ever-faster changing environment, growth problems, stale processes, poor performance, lacking company culture etc.

Petr helps companies be more adaptable through empowering their people.

Petr also does some pro-bono consulting. Recently for example for a Liberal/democratic school in Prague. His passion is introducing modern management (we can call that "Agile") to "old school" businesses like heavy industry, manufacturing and so on. Petr wants to help build a brighter future!

You can find Petr’s business at: www.cerebra.cz.

You can link with Petr Holodňák on LinkedIn.

Apr 9, 2018

As Scrum Masters we need to pay attention to much more than the process we are supposed to help develop. It is usually said that Scrum has two outcomes: the product we want to develop, and the team that is able to develop it. But there’s a third outcome. That third outcome is the organization that is able to sustain the team that delivers the product! Listen in as Petr walks us through a story where pushing harder, and punishing people ultimately led to big problems. Learn how you can avoid those anti-patterns!

 

About Petr Holodňák

Petr has a small consulting company where he helps businesses overcome obstacles of ever-faster changing environment, growth problems, stale processes, poor performance, lacking company culture etc.

Petr helps companies be more adaptable through empowering their people.

Petr also does some pro-bono consulting. Recently for example for a Liberal/democratic school in Prague. His passion is introducing modern management (we can call that "Agile") to "old school" businesses like heavy industry, manufacturing and so on. Petr wants to help build a brighter future!

You can find Petr’s business at: www.cerebra.cz.

You can link with Petr Holodňák on LinkedIn.

Apr 7, 2018

Tom and Mary Poppendieck have authored several books over the years about what needs to change in how we develop software to be able to meet the demands of the market, competition, and the growth in complexity of technology businesses. A recurring pattern they have witnessed is that people keep trying to discover a “silver bullet”. We explore why that is a bad idea, and some of the changes in product development that makes that basically an impossible quest.

 

About Mary and Tom Poppendieck

Mary Poppendieck started her career as a process control programmer.

Mary considered retirement in 1998, but decided to focus instead on helping bring to the world a new paradigm. She wrote the award-winning book Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit in 2003 to explain how the lean principles from manufacturing offer a better approach to software development.

You can link with Mary Poppendieck on LinkedIn and connect with Mary Poppendieck  on Twitter.

Tom Poppendieck has 25 years of experience in computing including eight years of work with object technology. Tom led the development of a world-class product data management practice for a major commercial avionics manufacturer that reduced design to production transition efforts from 6 months to 6 weeks.

You can read Mary’s essays about Software and Product development at LeanEssays.com.

Apr 6, 2018

In many organizations, especially late majority companies, the Agile adoption is often overwhelmed with a tool change. Instead of adoption Agile, we adopt JIRA or SAFe, or Scrum, or Kanban. All of those are forms of tools (entities we use to achieve something else).

When we work with organizations, we need to keep an eye out for this anti-pattern, as it detracts from the real adoption of Agile as a way of working, a mindset and a set of orienting values and principles.

In this episode we talk about how to overcome the tool-fetish anti-pattern that many organizations enter when they start their Agile adoption.

 

About Daniel Hooman

Agile coach from Scrum Data since 2010. Daniel comes from a strong Business intelligence background. He is passionate about large scale product development , organisational structure and culture, being idealistic pragmatist, framework agnostic.

You can link with Daniel Hooman on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Hooman on Twitter.

Apr 5, 2018

Agile is an approach to software development that is based on quick learning cycles: we do something, we check the results and then we learn from those results. This cycle (previously known as the PDSA/PDCA cycle) is about creating a learning loop that helps us develop the right product, with the right method, and continuously learning how to make that happen.

In this episode Daniel shares how he applies that same thinking to defining success for the work of a Scrum Master. In this episode we refer to Growth Hacking, and the concept of the One Metric that Matters, the metric that helps us find the learning opportunities.

Featured Retrospective format for the week: Daily Retrospective

Daniel suggest that we hold a quick retrospective every day instead of once per Sprint. Five minutes at the end of the day can help quickly solve some impediments, without having to wait for the end of the Sprint. He also suggests that we be very quantitative in our analysis. Listen in to learn a few examples that Daniel has applied in this work.

 

About Daniel Hooman

Agile coach from Scrum Data since 2010. Daniel comes from a strong Business intelligence background. He is passionate about large scale product development , organisational structure and culture, being idealistic pragmatist, framework agnostic.

You can link with Daniel Hooman on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Hooman on Twitter.

Apr 4, 2018

We talk about change, and change becomes the goal. When we talk about other goals, then those other goals become the topic. In this episode we explore how we can make change happen faster by moving the focus away from change, and more into the business goals that justify the change.

In this episode we refer to Lean Change Management by Jason Little, the change model by the name ADKAR, and we talk about Growth Hacking, an agile marketing approach that focuses on growth instead of change management.

 

About Daniel Hooman

Agile coach from Scrum Data since 2010. Daniel comes from a strong Business intelligence background. He is passionate about large scale product development , organisational structure and culture, being idealistic pragmatist, framework agnostic.

You can link with Daniel Hooman on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Hooman on Twitter.

Apr 3, 2018

When companies or teams start to grow, the initial roles we play need to change. Some prefer to focus on one specialty, and growth enables (through hiring of more people) some people to hide from some of the work and focus on only one skill. But is that what we need in an Agile team?

In this episode we discuss the delicate balance between being a specialist and being able to collaborate with the whole team. Specialization leads to hand-offs, which makes work slower, and communication harder. How can we strike the balance between specialization (which we need) and collaboration?

In this episode we also refer to the book The Living Company by Arie de Geus, and the 5 stages of grief, a model that helps understand change at a personal level.

Featured book of the week: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a book by Ben Horowitz, who is a cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz a famous Venture Capitalist company. Horowitz is also on of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, and in this book he offers essential advice on building and running a startup as well as many other things they don’t teach you in business school.

 

About Daniel Hooman

Agile coach from Scrum Data since 2010. Daniel comes from a strong Business intelligence background. He is passionate about large scale product development , organisational structure and culture, being idealistic pragmatist, framework agnostic.

You can link with Daniel Hooman on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Hooman on Twitter.

Apr 2, 2018

Daniel started his Agile transition a long time ago, when those adopting were mostly early adopter companies, eager to change. Today, in 2018, we are faced with more and more late majority companies. Companies that may not even be ready to start their transition, but they ply on. In this episode we review some of the challenges you can expect when working with late majority company, and help them Cross the Chasm.

In this episode we refer to The Microsoft Solution Framework  a development process that tries to incorporate Agile good practices in the application development lifecycle developed by Microsoft. The MSF is also available in book format here.

“Crossing the Chasm”, “early adopters” and “late majority” are terms that Moore used in this classic book about technology adoption: Crossing the Chasm, Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

 

About Daniel Hooman

Agile coach from Scrum Data since 2010. Daniel comes from a strong Business intelligence background. He is passionate about large scale product development , organisational structure and culture, being idealistic pragmatist, framework agnostic.

You can link with Daniel Hooman on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Hooman on Twitter.

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