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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: June, 2018
Jun 29, 2018

In organizations that burden teams with multiple projects, it is natural that some information is not available. Be it because the team is too busy to openly communicate with management, or because there are many stakeholders that are not aligned.

The lack of transparency is a symptom of a systemic problem. In this episode we explore what that might mean in companies that are growing too fast.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

 

Jun 28, 2018

As Scrum Masters, our attention is very much focused on the evolution of the team, and how we can support their development. Using a framework like Shu-Ha-Ri can help us verbalize that evolution and track the progress of the team over time. As we progress in the mastery journey with the team, there are practices and approaches we can take to evaluate the team’s progress and we discuss some of those in this episode.

In this episode we refer to the book #NoEstimates: How to measure project progress without estimation by Vasco Duarte.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Starfish Retrospective

In the Starfish Retrospective we discuss not only what is good, bad or needs to change, but we talk also about other categories. In his approach to the Starfish Retrospective, Denis also asks: what do we want to see more of (continue and do more), or what we want to see less of (continue, but do less of it).

Denis also discusses the “Weather Report” check-in exercise to energize the team and get them in the flow of the retrospective.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 27, 2018

There are different stages in a change process. First we start by getting the early adopters interested and practicing Agile, then we hit the first resistance waves and deal with them. Later we face the late majority and what Jason Little calls the un-movables. In this episode we talk about the change process as a whole and discuss the impact that Communities of Practice can have on an organization’s change journey.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 26, 2018

It’s hard enough to adopt Agile in a company that wants to progress in their Agile journey. But what happens to teams that are stuck in an organization that is still using traditional software development methods? In this episode we discuss the case of a team that wanted to adopt Agile, but everybody else was so far behind that this team got stuck. Although it is useful to look around and look for examples to learn from, when we look around and see only teams that are further behind doesn’t that affect our own Agile journey?

In this episode we refer to the book: The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Donald Reinertsen.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts helps us structure our role as Scrum Master and provides many tips on how to go through the learning journey towards being a better Scrum Master.

In this book Geoff shares a collection of stories and practical guidance, drawn from over ten years of coaching numerous Scrum teams that will guide you on your path to greatness.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 25, 2018

When we get started with Agile there will be a strong temptation to take shortcuts. One very common shortcut is to remove a few roles and think that all will work fine anyway. But is that really true?

In this episode we discuss what happens when we put the roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner in the same person and how we can avoid making the most common mistakes when that happens.

In this episode we refer to the TV series: Silicon Valley.

 

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.

Jun 23, 2018

Distributed teams are a fact of the multinational organizations we work with. Hiding from it is not going to remove that. And crying “distributed agile = bad agile” is only going to alienate people who genuinely need to learn to cope with the fact that distributed teams are the new normal.

There are good and bad ways to adapt to the reality of distributed software, and copying the methods and practices from co-located teams into the digital world is not enough. Molood shares some of the common anti-patterns that arise when we plainly try to copy the co-located team methods into the new distributed reality.

One such example is the communication channels: trying to copy daily meetings from the co-located team into a digital world will eventually bump against the frustratingly low quality sound of some conference room setups. Molood suggests a different route and shows how a team she helped took full advantage of Slack (or any other asynchronous communication channel) to make their daily meetings for effective, and efficient for everyone involved.

About Molood Nori

Molood is often referred to as the queen of remote work in the agile community.

She is the founder of Remote Forever Summit, the first online summit about distributed agile that attracted 2000 people from around the world in 2017.

Molood helps managers, coaches and developers in distributed companies to transform to agile ways of working and similarly helps aspiring agile companies to work more effectively remotely.

She brings along a lot of techniques and experience working remote teams to help companies improve productivity and happiness at work. She is a co-owner of Management 3.0 and published author at places such as Scrum Alliance, Huffington Post, Inc.com and Agile Women magazine.

You can link with Molood Nori on LinkedIn and connect with Molood Nori on Twitter.

 

Jun 22, 2018

Agile Software Development is a new entrant in the Software Development industry. Although it started in 2000, the fact is that many organizations are still in the first stages of adoption.

Inevitably we run into several Agile Theatre problems: missing PO, teams doing Scrum ceremonies to keep the Scrum Master happy, but not really understanding why they are needed. The list goes on.

In this episode we discuss some of those patterns and what we can do as Scrum Masters to understand and learn how to overcome those anti-patterns.

In this episode we refer to the Hands-On Agile Slack for agilists to share their experiences and learn from each other.

 

About Shubhang Vishwamitra

Shubhang is a passionate agile practitioner originally from Bangalore, India. Who's worked in Japan and Finland and is currently based in London and working as scrum master.

Shubhang has an extensive background in software development and agile delivery model in smartphone, travel and finance industries. He believes that having a technical background helps to connect with teams and ease the flow of discussion in solving complex problems.

You can link with Shubhang Vishwamitra on LinkedIn.

Jun 21, 2018

As Scrum Masters we must constantly set the example. One of the examples we need to set is that of Continuous Improvement. Shubhang suggests we should regularly look at what has changed from the moment we started with the team until “now” and consider 5 different aspects when doing that analysis.

In this episode we refer to The Responsibility Process by Chris Avery.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Start-Stop-Continue

The Start-Stop-Continue retrospective format is simple, and helps tackling the “set the stage” phase of a retrospective in a way that delivers quite quickly actionable items.

We also talk about another playful retrospective format: the COOL WALL, based on a feature of the Top Gear television show.

 

About Shubhang Vishwamitra

Shubhang is a passionate agile practitioner originally from Bangalore, India. Who's worked in Japan and Finland and is currently based in London and working as scrum master.

Shubhang has an extensive background in software development and agile delivery model in smartphone, travel and finance industries. He believes that having a technical background helps to connect with teams and ease the flow of discussion in solving complex problems.

You can link with Shubhang Vishwamitra on LinkedIn.

Jun 20, 2018

This is the case of a team that was working well. They understood Agile, they had experience, they practiced Agile. However, there was a problem. The Product Owner was missing. What happened? What were the problems, and what change management approach was used to help the team and the PO collaborate? Listen in to explore this and learn about how role playing can help you tackle tough situations with your team.

 

About Shubhang Vishwamitra

Shubhang is a passionate agile practitioner originally from Bangalore, India. Who's worked in Japan and Finland and is currently based in London and working as scrum master.

Shubhang has an extensive background in software development and agile delivery model in smartphone, travel and finance industries. He believes that having a technical background helps to connect with teams and ease the flow of discussion in solving complex problems.

You can link with Shubhang Vishwamitra on LinkedIn.

Jun 19, 2018

In this episode we explore how leadership can have a huge impact on how teams develop, and what kind of patterns or behaviors take over.

Drawing on the Tuckman model and The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model we explore how managers can help teams improve, instead of trying to manage each team member’s behavior.

Featured Book of the Week: Great Scrum Master by Zuzana 'Zuzi' Šochová

In the Great Scrum Master, Zuzana 'Zuzi' Šochová explores the practices, techniques and approaches she found to be effective in learning to be a great Scrum Master.

 

About Shubhang Vishwamitra

Shubhang is a passionate agile practitioner originally from Bangalore, India. Who's worked in Japan and Finland and is currently based in London and working as scrum master.

Shubhang has an extensive background in software development and agile delivery model in smartphone, travel and finance industries. He believes that having a technical background helps to connect with teams and ease the flow of discussion in solving complex problems.

You can link with Shubhang Vishwamitra on LinkedIn.

Jun 18, 2018

When we work our way through the Scrum Master learning curve, we go through many phases. One of those phases (one that is common for many Scrum Masters) is the Scrum Police phase. Where we focus on form over function, and act as an enforcer, instead of an enabler.

In this episode we discuss how we can grow out of that phase, and what that means for us, in our journey as Scrum Masters.

 

About Shubhang Vishwamitra

Shubhang is a passionate agile practitioner originally from Bangalore, India. Who's worked in Japan and Finland and is currently based in London and working as scrum master.

Shubhang has an extensive background in software development and agile delivery model in smartphone, travel and finance industries. He believes that having a technical background helps to connect with teams and ease the flow of discussion in solving complex problems.

You can link with Shubhang Vishwamitra on LinkedIn.

Jun 15, 2018

Scrum teams are supposed to be fully responsible for their work, and autonomous in the way of working. However, in many organizations line managers are still the ones yielding the power over teams, and even assign work directly to team members. This is one of the system conditions we must face and struggle with as Scrum Masters. In this episode we discuss how to interact with line managers, so that the Scrum team can really be responsible and autonomous as Scrum suggests.

 

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Jun 14, 2018

There are two aspects of success: our own evolution as Scrum Masters, and what the team feels about their own progress. With Sarah we explore some of the questions we can use to reflect on these two aspects of Scrum Master success.

In this episode we refer to the book #NoEstimates, How to Measure Project Progress Without Estimates.

Featured Retrospective Format of the week: The Postcard Retrospective

The postcard retrospective is an invitation to describe the Sprint to ourselves, and find the most important events, and problems as well as wins we had during the Sprint. It is a simple, yet effective and fun way to talk about what we went through in the last sprint.

 

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Jun 13, 2018

Visualization is one of those tools we often ignore, or dismiss because it does not fit the distributed world we live in. However, that’s one of the most important ways to get a change started. In this episode we explore how adding a simple visualization (Kanban Board) helped a team to go from Chaos to a flow of work.

In this episode we refer to Modern Agile, a community of practitioners asking: what’s next for Agile?

 

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Jun 12, 2018

Listening is not the easiest part of the Scrum Master job. However, that’s one of the most important and powerful tools we have in our toolbox. In this episode we explore the case of a team that was entering a spiral of conflict and what was needed to avoid that from going out of control.

Featured Book of the Week: The Human Side of Agile by Gil Broza

The Human Side of Agile by Gil Broza is a book that helped Sarah understand the personal transformation we need to go through when we adopt Agile.

In this episode we also refer to Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

 

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Jun 11, 2018

An issue that we often ignore (or want to ignore?) is the impact of prejudice on our work as Scrum Masters. Maybe it is about being different, or not fitting in the prevalent engineering culture. There can be many differences that make our job as Scrum Masters harder to master.

In this episode with Sarah we explore how sometimes being a woman Scrum Master makes the job even harder than it usually is.

 

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Jun 9, 2018

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, a book we here at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast are helping to publish. This book is inspiring, and will definitely move you to action.

In this episode we discuss some of the many techniques Marcus used in Indonesia while he was helping the team at The Bungsu Hospital literally save the hospital from bankruptcy. And that’s not an over-statement!

This episode is full of emotion, and great stories, but the real deal is the book! You can now purchase Salvation: The Bungsu Story on Amazon (Kindle and print). So go get it, and get inspired!

 

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is a Software / agile consultant from Sweden who was on IT-sabbatical leave in Indonesia, working for the Salvation Army hospitals there. And yes, using techniques from agile in that work even in non-software environments. He talks about that experience on this episode of the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

One of those approaches he is using is Kanban, as Marcus is the author of the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén

And now he’s completed yet another book about his adventures in Indonesia: Salvation: The Bungsu Story which we are publishing together with Marcus.

You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg on twitter.

 

Jun 8, 2018

The planning system, i.e. all the planning approaches, and techniques we use, can often create a set of non-negotiable needs that teams need to fulfill. Starting with up-front planning! If our planning system requires estimates for every possible feature in the roadmap, then the teams will inevitably need to estimate a lot of work that will eventually not be done at all! However, if our planning system is based on “value” instead, then the teams are asked different questions. Jella asks: “What if you would ask “is this worth doing?” instead of how “how much does this cost?”?” What kind of changes to your planning system would that change bring?

 

About Jella Eiffler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself "agile native" (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eiffler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eiffler on Twitter.

Jun 7, 2018

In our work as Scrum Masters, we meet some teams that are already at the point where they can start to take ownership of some (if not all) critical aspects of the work they do. Retrospectives are one great example of that. In this episode we talk about the “self-guided” retrospectives for advanced teams.

 

About Jella Eiffler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself "agile native" (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eiffler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eiffler on Twitter.

Jun 6, 2018

Change is a big scary word in many organizations. But why is that? In this episode we talk about change in a different way. We explore what change would be, if it were the basic operating model of the organization. We talk about Nils Pflaeging’s work, about Complexity and how it affects the way organizations work in reality (as opposed to theory). As Jella says: “Change should be like adding milk to coffee.”

In this episode we mention the book #NoEstimates, How to Measure Project Progress Without Estimates, and Jella’s own journey to #NoEstimates.

 

About Jella Eiffler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself "agile native" (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eiffler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eiffler on Twitter.

Jun 5, 2018

Teams can sometimes enter a negative, destructive cycle whereby their actions make their own situation even worse. In this episode we talk about a team that refused to engage with users, and did not want to host their sprint reviews with stakeholders. Most importantly, we understand why the team entered that cycle and what we can do to help them find their own way to implement one of the most important Agile principles: “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.“

Featured Book of the week: Coaching Agile Teams

The book Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins discusses the different coaching approaches we can take when working with a team, and shares some of the problems we will face throughout that process. It’s a very important book, especially for those getting started in their coaching journey.

 

About Jella Eiffler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself "agile native" (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eiffler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eiffler on Twitter.

Jun 4, 2018

Agile is getting adopted by more and more companies. It is inevitable that some managers will think that Agile is about “faster and cheaper”, but essentially the same as before. But is it? And is the focus on faster and cheaper going to help the teams deliver? In this episode, Jella shares with us a story that was pushed and pressured to deliver faster and cheaper, and what happened. We discuss how to engage management to avoid the “agile is faster and cheaper” anti-pattern, and what we should talk about instead.

 

About Jella Eiffler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself "agile native" (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eiffler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eiffler on Twitter.

 

Jun 2, 2018

Karin has a long experience helping teams and businesses to use self-organization as a way to drive business success. She’s worked as a interim-CEO in several companies where she helped drive major changes and positive business results using the principles and ideas behind self-organization.

Self-organization is not only for small teams. Karin shares with us the stories of the businesses where she worked, and how some fundamental changes enabled not only self-organization, but also major business changes.

Make sure to get complete show notes at www.scrum-master-toolbox.org/.

About Karin Tenelius

Karin has been working with self-organization as a way to help teams improve performance even before Scrum was in the picture. I met up with Karin in Sweden in 2018 and got very interested in her work regarding the coaching way and self-organizing teams.

Karin got Inspired by studying service management and reading books by Ricardo Semler. Thanks to that she developed a radical, practical way of developing, organizing and lead companies and workplaces that allow groups of employees to impact and take charge of the business they are involved in. This approach creates extraordinary results.

You can link with Karin Tenelius on LinkedIn and connect with Karin Tenelius on Twitter.

Jun 1, 2018

The casual reader of HR websites and journals may think that bonuses, and their methods/systems are a very important part of keeping a workforce motivated. They do have an impact, but it is not always as we expect it to happen. In this episode we discuss the type of bonus systems that can easily destroy the productivity of a software organization, and how important it is to pay attention to the “unexpected consequences” that some bonus systems bring with them.

 

About Lynoure Braakman

Lynoure has worked in many roles in the IT, from operations, scrum mastering and requirements analysis to programming, even a little as a tester. She's worked in agile teams since 2000 and loves being an adapter type, bringing in a wider perspective into her projects and to help different types of personalities to work together.

You can link with Lynoure Braakman on LinkedIn and connect with Lynoure Braakman on Twitter. You can also follow Lynoure Braakman’s blog at: Lynoure.net.

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