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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: December, 2018
Dec 31, 2018

Like many of us, Rade started out as a part-time Scrum Master. A part-time tester and part-time Scrum Master, Rade had to re-think his role.

Many of us go through this process: should I do my “primary” job? Or help the team in my role as a Scrum Master. Rade’s story is both a warning and an inspiration for those of us who are stuck in a part-time Scrum Master role.

 

Dec 29, 2018

There are quite a few books out there about the Scrum Master job. However, the classic that many refer to over and over again here on the podcast is Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts.

In the description of the publisher writes: “Scrum coach Geoff Watts has identified patterns that separate a good Scrum Master from a great one”.

As a podcast for Scrum Masters, we wanted to have Geoff on, to share the key insights in the book, but also what he learned since the book was first published in 2013.

But, before we go into those new lessons learned, let’s quickly review some of the key insights from the book.

About Geoff Watts

Geoff Watts is the founder of Inspect & Adapt Ltd and one of the most experienced and respected Scrum coaches in the world. Geoff helps individuals create great teams by developing a culture of reflection, empowerment, and engagement.
He started using Scrum at British Telecom, one of the first large-scale agile adoptions, Geoff, then coached organizations large and small through their agile journeys.
He’s also the author of 3 books, including Scrum Mastery, from good to great servant leadership. A book we explore in this episode of Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

You can link with Geoff Watts on LinkedIn and connect with Geoff Watts on Twitter.

You can also connect with Geoff Watts on Instagram and on watch Geoff Watts on YouTube.

Dec 28, 2018

When organizations start with Agile, they typically focus on the work that needs to be done at the team level. In many organizations we have “water-scrum-fall”, a little bit of Scrum squeezed inside two big buns of plain waterfall.

The reason for that is that organizations don’t change as a whole. Typically Agile adoption starts in Engineering/R&D and slowly spreads throughout the organization. At some point it bumps against the slow moving, but very powerful finance department. Where are all the financial decisions are made, including how to fund projects, and where Procurement has a key role. How do we change Procurement (buying software development) to fit Agile organizations?

That’s the topic we explore with Mirko Kleiner, a pioneer in the Lean-Agile Procurement movement.

About Mirko Kleiner

Mirko is a founding member of Flowdays, and pioneer of lean-agile procurement. He works as an independent agile coach and interim manager. He has been an avid agileist (Agile Evangelist) for years, but also flexible when it comes adopting the right method.
Mirko is currently working on topics such as: De-Scaled Agile, participative agile transformation and the question "what comes before the agile contract?"

You can link with Mirko Kleiner on LinkedIn and connect with Mirko Kleiner on Twitter.

Dec 27, 2018

When Agile broken into the scene, it was mostly about the techniques to develop releases of the product quickly. However, that was a time when products were released only a few times a year at best. Today products evolve continuously and that changes how product Owners and Product Managers need to interact with the teams. In this episode, we explore some of the key lessons Jeff has learned working with product organizations all over the world. In short: Product Managers also need to adapt to Agile, it’s not just the teams!

About Jeff Gothelf

Jeff is a Product person. He believes too much time and money is wasted on ideas that don’t work. The world, driven by technology, is changing too fast for us to reliably predict what will work. Today’s leaders must inspire and collaborate, not micromanage, to drive agility and innovation in their organizations.
Jeff teaches executives and teams to focus on their customers, learn from mistakes and create an agile culture that continuously improves their products and services and the way they work.
He’s also the co-author of several books on the topics related to Agile Product Development.

You can link with Jeff Gothelf on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Gothelf on Twitter. And for more, visit Jeff Gothelf’s website where he has regular blog posts and the sign-up form for his newsletter.

Dec 26, 2018

In this episode, we explore some of the critical lessons Jeff learned in his own career as a Product Owner. We review the missing aspects in most Product Owner role implementations and discuss the tools that have helped Jeff as a Product Owner first, and later his students.

About Jeff Patton

Jeff Patton is the glue that connects good product management and strategy, lean user experience and agile delivery practices together. He has authored numerous articles, essays, and the story mapping book: “User Story Mapping.” An independent consultant with a unique teaching and speaking style, he uses hand-drawings and engaging storytelling to share his passion for product design.
He’s one of the most vocal advocates of holding the product development process as a holistic, user-centered approach.

You can link with Jeff Patton on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Patton on Twitter. You can also find Jeff’s writings and upcoming Product Owner courses in his site, at http://www.jpattonassociates.com/.

Dec 25, 2018

For several years, the Agile community has been struggling with the use of Agile practices - developed for small teams - in the large. Large organizations or multi-team efforts are the rule, not the exception in the software world. In this episode we explore Nexus, a scaling framework developed by Scrum.org to tackle just that: the use of Scrum in larger organization and multi-team product development efforts.

About Patricia Kong

Patricia Kong is the co-author of "The Nexus Framework for Scaling Scrum" published by Pearson, a public speaker and the Product Owner of the Scrum.org enterprise solutions program which includes the Nexus Framework, Evidence-Based Management, Scrum Studio, and Scrum Development Kit. Patricia is a people advocate and fascinated by organizational behavior and misbehaviors.

You can link with Patricia Kong on LinkedIn and connect with Patricia Kong on Twitter.

 

About Kurt Bittner

Kurt likes to start by understanding client and organizational goals, assess key levers for change and to develop effective solutions that achieve those goals.
In the past, he led multi-year organization transformation efforts with a variety of Fortune 100 clients to improve their ability to deliver effective software solutions with reduced time to market.
He also worked at Ivar Jacobson and Rational Software, both companies that are part of the evolution towards developing methods for large-scale software development.

You can link with Kurt Bittner on LinkedIn and connect with Kurt Bittner on Twitter.

Dec 24, 2018

For this first Christmas 2018 special we focus on scaling Agile, and specifically how the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) can help organizations take Agile and apply it in the large.

There are many systems that require multiple teams to work together. As more and more industries adopt software as a core part of their services and products, we also see many organizations developing many products concurrently, and large engineering organizations that require coordination across tens or hundreds of teams, including non-software teams.

In this episode, we discuss how SAFe can help you take Agile to that type of environments and organizations.

About Dean Leffingwell

Dean Leffingwell, a forty-year software industry veteran. A renowned methodologist, author, multi-entrepreneur, consultant and executive, he has founded multiple software companies. He served as Vice President of Rational Software (now IBM). Later, he helped numerous distributed, multinational corporations implement Agile methods at scale.
He is the author of several books about software development and the creator of the Scaled Agile Framework, a public-facing knowledge base of proven best practices that bring the benefits of software agility to the largest software enterprises. He currently serves as both Chief Methodologist and CEO at Scaled Agile, Inc., which he co-founded in 2011.

Dec 21, 2018

There are cultures that put a high premium of failure. They devise all kinds of approaches to avoid failure. This is in contrast with the Agile perspective of failing fast, in other words, to fail before the failure is catastrophic.

However, as Scrum Masters, we must help our teams, and our organizations be comfortable with small failures, as that is what drives learning and helps the teams evolve.

Small, and quick failures may even be the fastest way to take a team from mediocre to high-productivity.

In this episode we talk about how Scrum Masters can face, and overcome the fear of failure that exists in some cultures.

 

About Massimiliano Fattorusso

Massimiliano has a strong interest in agile methodologies and lean principles. He is keen on sharing lessons learned as a speaker at international and local conferences. Empathy, creativity and drive to innovate is part of his identity. Massimiliano is not afraid of addressing the uncomfortable truth, that’s how he helps bring teams forward.

You can link with Massimiliano Fattorusso on LinkedIn and connect with Massimiliano Fattorusso on Twitter.

Dec 20, 2018

When it comes to being a successful Scrum Master, we need to have a clear definition that helps us make regular decisions about where to put our focus. In this episode, Max shares with us 3 aspects that he has in mind and reflects on when it comes to assessing his progress as a Scrum Master. We also talk about concrete practices that Max has found help reach his own definition of success.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Pre-mortem

Retrospectives are usually about what has happened. How the Sprint went. How the release went. However, sometimes it is useful for the team to reflect on their near future. The Pre-Mortem Retrospective format focuses on that near future. In this episode, Max explains how you can use that format to help improve cross-team collaboration in a multi-team environment

 

About Massimiliano Fattorusso

Massimiliano has a strong interest in agile methodologies and lean principles. He is keen on sharing lessons learned as a speaker at international and local conferences. Empathy, creativity and drive to innovate is part of his identity. Massimiliano is not afraid of addressing the uncomfortable truth, that’s how he helps bring teams forward.

You can link with Massimiliano Fattorusso on LinkedIn and connect with Massimiliano Fattorusso on Twitter.

Dec 19, 2018

Sometimes the changes we address are straight forward. In this episode we explore the deployment of a management method: Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs. As Scrum Masters we work also to support improvements at the organizational level. OKR’s are one management method that many organizations adopt and will probably cross your path.

In this episode we discuss how Scrum Masters can help deploy a process like OKR’s. One of the change processes we must be familiar with.

 

About Massimiliano Fattorusso

Massimiliano has a strong interest in agile methodologies and lean principles. He is keen on sharing lessons learned as a speaker at international and local conferences. Empathy, creativity and drive to innovate is part of his identity. Massimiliano is not afraid of addressing the uncomfortable truth, that’s how he helps bring teams forward.

You can link with Massimiliano Fattorusso on LinkedIn and connect with Massimiliano Fattorusso on Twitter.

Dec 18, 2018

When a team is starting down the conflict path there are signs we can detect early enough to help them. In this episode we talk about the signals of conflict, and when the conflict starts to become to big to solve without management intervention.

Conflict is one of the ways in which teams destroy themselves, listen in to learn about what you can do to avoid, or resolve conflict.

Featured Book of the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

In Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Massimiliano found something that changed his view on how to provide feedback. One takeaway was: “it’s crucial that the person getting the feedback knows that I want the best for them”. Do you care for the people you give feedback to?

 

About Massimiliano Fattorusso

Massimiliano has a strong interest in agile methodologies and lean principles. He is keen on sharing lessons learned as a speaker at international and local conferences. Empathy, creativity and drive to innovate is part of his identity. Massimiliano is not afraid of addressing the uncomfortable truth, that’s how he helps bring teams forward.

You can link with Massimiliano Fattorusso on LinkedIn and connect with Massimiliano Fattorusso on Twitter.

Dec 17, 2018

We’ve heard that cognitive diversity in a team can have a good impact on team performance. Whether that diversity is added by looking at gender, race or any other dimension, the expectation is that when you add more points of view to a team you avoid things like Groupthink, and other related pitfalls. But is that so?

In this episode, we explore a situation when adding cognitive diversity to the team was a big problem. And then we discuss how we can avoid that in our own work.

 

About Massimiliano Fattorusso

Massimiliano has a strong interest in agile methodologies and lean principles. He is keen on sharing lessons learned as a speaker at international and local conferences. Empathy, creativity and drive to innovate is part of his identity. Massimiliano is not afraid of addressing the uncomfortable truth, that’s how he helps bring teams forward.

You can link with Massimiliano Fattorusso on LinkedIn and connect with Massimiliano Fattorusso on Twitter.

Dec 14, 2018

The focus on process and rules of certain cultures (like the Japanese or German cultures) is often regarded as a positive towards the adoption of structured, linear approaches to work. But how about Scrum? How does Scrum fit the Japanese Culture? In this episode, we explore the fit between Scrum and the Japanese culture. While discussing the Japanese cultural context we also explore possible problems with Scrum adoption in multinational companies, where many cultures are mixed in one single organization.

 

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

Dec 13, 2018

A quick way to check if our work as Scrum Masters is having the needed impact is to check if the team is still hosting the Scrum Retrospectives when we are away. If that’s the case, then it is likely that the Scrum Master has done a fairly good work. In this episode, we discuss this and other approaches Scrum Masters can use to assess their contribution to the team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retro Beers

When we think of retrospectives we typically think of a meeting room, people sitting down (or standing) and executing some prepared exercises over the course of the meeting. But that’s not what a retrospective is about. It’s simply a possible format. In this episode, we discuss the 5 stages of retrospectives and how those can be implemented in many different ways.

In this episode, we refer to Retromat, a useful resource to help you plan your retrospective.

 

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

Dec 12, 2018

When teams start a change process, we often look back at single events that may have triggered that change. In this episode, we talk about a different type of process. A process where the Scrum Master helps the team find the right change by asking questions. We discuss the process that questions help trigger, and how that helps the team (and the Scrum Master) find the right time and the right way for change to take hold.

 

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

Dec 11, 2018

In this episode, we discuss the common anti-pattern of teams that are nothing but a loosely coupled group of individuals. Where collaboration is difficult, if not impossible. A group that can’t work well together because they share very little that would make them a team.

We then discuss the approaches, the tools, and strategies that Donna Marie used to help that group of people become a real team.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

In Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts, Donna Marie found practical advice for her journey as a Scrum Master. She especially appreciated the real-life stories that the author shares. Those stories helped her connect with the Scrum Master role as well as learn valuable practices and strategies for her role.

 

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

Dec 10, 2018

Scrum Masters face difficult moments regularly. Helping organizations and teams improve is not a linear process, and sometimes people react emotionally to the changes they are facing. Donna Marie shares a story of when she took that push-back personally. We then discuss how to overcome the temptation to take things personally, and what to do instead.

 

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

Dec 7, 2018

In this week we explore the “system conditions” that can cause catastrophic failure in teams. Specifically, we look at the lack of commitment to quality anti-pattern, where that comes from, and how we can, as Scrum Master, help teams overcome that anti-pattern.

 

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Dec 6, 2018

There are many possible answers to the question: “what does Success mean for you as a Scrum Master”. And some of those answers can be very detailed and in-depth. But that’s not the only way to look at our success as Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we discuss a simple definition of success. Listen in to learn more about that simple definition, and see how that can help you improve your own work as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Weather Report check-in

The Weather Report retrospective format is a metaphor-based format that helps the team highlight the “clouds” or “storms” they faced in the previous sprints.

You  use this exercise as a check-in (with a short phrase or two from each team member), or as a starter for a deeper conversation about what we might want to do differently in the next Sprint.

 

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Dec 5, 2018

When a change process starts it is easy to be tempted to “drive” that change in the organization. However, that’s not always a good option. In this episode, we discuss the possible negative side effects of “driving” change into a team or organization.

How can Scrum Masters get out of the “drive” change anti-pattern? In this episode, we discuss how management can play a major role in helping move to a pull-mode change process and what the role of the Scrum Master is in that type of change.

Listen in to learn about concrete tools and practices that help the Scrum Masters go from “teacher” to “moderator” in the change process.

 

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Dec 4, 2018

When leaders are “strong”, we may have the top-down scrum anti-pattern. When the leader drives what the team does, and the team just follows orders. In this episode, we discuss this Scrum anti-pattern and how we, Scrum Masters, can tackle such situations.

Look out for team burnout, lack of trust from stakeholders and how people hide from the latent conflict. All symptoms that something is about to break.

Featured Book of the Week: Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde

In Scaling Lean & Agile Development by Larman and Vodde, Daniel found a good description of the scaling problems developers usually face when working in large organizations, and why we must take a deliberate approach to help many teams work together (scaling Agile).

 

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Dec 3, 2018

In this episode, Daniel tells us the story of when the Product Owner took a “leader” role, and hid information from the stakeholders. The Product Owner promised many things to management to ensure funding for the project. This is a common anti-pattern in project organizations, but it can have serious consequences in an Agile environment because of the additional transparency that Agile and Scrum bring to the process.

In this episode, we talk about how Daniel and the team handled the difficult and delicate situation they were facing.

In this episode, we refer to the #NoEstimates movement, and the concept of Muda (Type 1) from Lean Manufacturing.

 

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

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