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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: 2018
Sep 18, 2018

It’s inevitable that teams bump against problems sooner or later. That’s something all teams go through. However, how the teams decide to react to those problems makes a huge difference. In this episode we talk about the “self identity” that teams develop and how that affects their development and effectiveness as a team. What “self identity” is your team developing?

Featured Book of the Week: Por Un Scrum Popular

In the Spanish version of People’s Scrum by Tobias Mayer (Por Un Scrum Popular by Tobias Mayer and Alan Cyment), the authors go further than in the original English language book. For Claudia the focus on how to work with the organisation and the disquieting role of the Scrum Master were the key takeaways. If you don’t read Spanish, you can find the English book on Amazon.  

 

About Claudia Toscano

Claudia is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master since 2014, she in charge of the Agile Transformation at EPM with a team of 5 other people. Agile and being Mom are the things she enjoys the most.

You can link with Claudia Toscano on LinkedIn and connect with Claudia Toscano on Twitter.

Sep 17, 2018

You’d think that a team of Agile Coaches understands the importance of facilitation. However, that’s not always the case. In this episode we explore how a team of Agile Coaches went through the process many teams go through: from no facilitator, to an external Scrum Master and ...

Listen it to learn what happened next.

 

About Claudia Toscano

Claudia is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master since 2014, she in charge of the Agile Transformation at EPM with a team of 5 other people. Agile and being Mom are the things she enjoys the most.

You can link with Claudia Toscano on LinkedIn and connect with Claudia Toscano on Twitter.

Sep 14, 2018

One way to help teams find their “groove” is to celebrate success. A simple, yet effective, reinforcement technique that helps teams identify, and seek success later on as well.

However, some cultures are better than others at expressing their celebration of success. In this episode we talk about a specific culture, the UK, where the celebration of success is not common. How can a Scrum Master help the team celebrate success, even if the culture does not support that?

 

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

Sep 13, 2018

In this episode we talk about a Retrospective format called Lean Coffee, a format that focuses on surfacing and tackling the issues that teams want to focus on. It’s a great format to host without much preparation, as the team comes up with their own ideas and prioritizes the topics to discuss, having the timeboxed conversations drive them to the actions they want to take during the next sprint to improve their work. In this episode we also mention the Starfish retrospective format.

 

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

Sep 12, 2018

We often work within environments where the “vanilla” Agile approaches are insufficient. In this episode we explore what happens when more traditional organizations are adopting Agile. We talk about the role of the Product Owner in traditional organizations and the critical role that the Scrum Master plays in supporting the Product Owner.

In this episode we discuss the importance of Pilot projects in traditional organizations and what we can do to make sure they succeed.

 

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

Sep 11, 2018

Empowering teams to take initiative, react to the changes that come their way, and quickly adapt is (in principle) a good thing. Or is it? In this episode we explore a story of a team that took their empowerment and turned it into an obstacle. A set of behaviors that caused more problems than solutions. Because sometimes, empowerment is not a good thing. Listen in to learn about this story, and what Darryl learned about empowerment that can help you avoid the same problems.

Featured Book of the Week: The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim et al.

In the Phoenix Project, Gene Kim and his co-authors tell a story based on their real-life experience about how IT needs to change to adapt to the fast paced digital world we live in. For Darryl this book is the best written story that showcases the trials and issues faced on an agile/devops transformation, and the often forgotten direct link to the business struggles and goals.

 

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

Sep 10, 2018

As more traditional companies adopt Scrum, we - the Scrum Masters - are in a particularly tough position. We need to bridge the old world, and the new reality of Scrum. In the old world (PRINCE2, PMI, IPMA Project management, etc.) there were reports. And lots of them. In Agile we believe that the only measure of progress is “running, tested software”. How do we combine the two?

In this episode we talk about how Darryl faced, and ultimately adapted to that reality.

We mention the white paper by Maarit Laanti and Rami Sirkiä about Lean and Agile Financial Planning (PDF Download), which describes a new way to account for software development in the financial planning and tracking of your company.

 

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

Sep 7, 2018

Have you ever heard an “indirect” communicator say that they disagree? Would you even know the difference between a “No” and a “Yes” from an indirect communicator? If you are in a country where “indirect” is the communication approach, but you grew up in a “direct” country, you are likely to miss much of the conversation. In this episode we talk about such a situation, where Joanna had to learn about direct/indirect communication approaches the hard way: by failing.

 

About Joanna Koprowicz

Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.

You can link with Joanna Koprowicz on LinkedIn and connect with Joanna Koprowicz on Twitter.

Sep 6, 2018

Scrum Masters look at different aspects of team’s development. In this episode we talk about the team’s willingness and ability to self-organize and take over some of the ceremonies.

We also discuss the different phases that teams go through, and look at the Tuckman Model of team development as an inspiration to understand the development of a team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Ice Breaker challenge

Instead of focusing on one single format, Joanna inspires us to look at the “ice breaker” exercises we use and seek new ones. After listening to this episode, I’m sure you will want to try several different ice breakers for your next retrospectives!

 

About Joanna Koprowicz

Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.

You can link with Joanna Koprowicz on LinkedIn and connect with Joanna Koprowicz on Twitter.

Sep 5, 2018

One of the aspects of change is the processing of information. As Scrum Masters we can help the teams, and organizations we work with process information better, and visualize that in the context of the shared goals. In this episode we talk about how to use the available data to foster a positive dialog, and trigger change in our organizations.

 

About Joanna Koprowicz

Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.

You can link with Joanna Koprowicz on LinkedIn and connect with Joanna Koprowicz on Twitter.

Sep 4, 2018

Scrum Masters are there to help teams progress. But sometimes teams are the reason, and the reasons why everything must remain the same. However, we as Scrum Masters are there to bring a different perspective. A new way of looking at things. In this episode we discuss one such story, and learn about Joanna’s approach when she was being told: “we can’t change it because that’s how it has always been”...

 

Featured Book of the Week: Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet

The book Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet has been the focus of a BONUS episode here on the podcast. For Joanna, this was a book that helped her understand a new kind of leadership, and what are the factors that remove independent action, and motivation from the people in organizations that are managed with traditional leadership approaches.

Sep 3, 2018

When the deadlines approach, there’s a lot of pressure on the teams. It’s understandable that there is pressure, but why does that happen when the software the team produces often waits for weeks before being put in production or released?

What is a Scrum Master to do in these situations? Listen in while we discuss the pressures teams suffer, and what are the alternatives we have to help organizations and teams through that easy temptation to pile on more pressure

 

About Joanna Koprowicz

Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.

You can link with Joanna Koprowicz on LinkedIn and connect with Joanna Koprowicz on Twitter.

Aug 31, 2018

How would Scrum apply to a culture where the rule is to set more rules. To cover all angles, and to be prepared even for very unlikely scenarios?

In this episode we discuss how Scrum can survive in a culture like the German culture, where people want to have rules for many reasons, and want to prevent all possible mistakes with those rules.

We discuss what might be the impact, and how to adapt, and learn from that cultural perspective.

Rules are good, but how much should we focus on rule-setting vs adapting to the unknown?

 

About Maximilian Fritzsche

Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: "Keep moving forward" - his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”

You can link with Maximilian Fritzsche on LinkedIn.

Aug 30, 2018

“Don’t get frustrated, progress takes time”, that’s a line Max wants you to remember when you start looking into more detail to what it means to be successful as a Scrum Master.

Set aside a time, and follow Max’s approach to evaluating your progress, as well as the team’s progress. In this episode we discuss some of the aspects you may want to consider when evaluating your work, and success as Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Identify Boring Stories

This Retrospective format helps the team find the not-so-obvious problems that they often face when implementing stories. By identifying boring stories they are finding problems in collaboration as well as the enabling practices that are missing, and would make work more fun if they were there.

 

About Maximilian Fritzsche

Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: "Keep moving forward" - his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”

You can link with Maximilian Fritzsche on LinkedIn.

Aug 29, 2018

In this episode Max shares with us the often seen anti-pattern when change gets stuck when middle-management is involved. We explore the reasons for that, and discuss what we can do - as Scrum Masters - to help middle-management understand, adapt and continue the change process.

In this episode we refer to Peter Kruse’s talk about the 8 rules for total gridlock in organizations: https://youtu.be/ZAWCWz1QPL4

 

About Maximilian Fritzsche

Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: "Keep moving forward" - his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”

You can link with Maximilian Fritzsche on LinkedIn.

Aug 28, 2018

The biggest enemy of a team is stagnation. Lack of change or progress in a way a team works is a sure symptom of larger problems, but it is also an indication that the team does not feel secure enough to take risks, fail, learn and eventually progress in their abilities.

In this episode we talk about what might be the reasons for teams to seek security in the lack of change and progress.

Featured Book for the Week: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

The loyal Scrum Master Toolbox podcast listener will have seen this book be mentioned often. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is a seminal work on the team dynamics that can cause a team to fail or thrive, and therefore it is mandatory reading for all Scrum Masters out there. For Max this is the book we must read to understand Trust and how to start our work on that key ingredient for successful teams.

 

About Maximilian Fritzsche

Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: "Keep moving forward" - his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”

You can link with Maximilian Fritzsche on LinkedIn.

Aug 27, 2018

Max’s first Retrospective was an exercise in the limits of planning. He shares with us how he prepared for that, and ultimate how it all failed. From that failure, however, came an important lesson that he still applies today.

Listen in to learn what Max learned about effective retrospectives after the failure despite the detailed plan for his first retrospective.

 

About Maximilian Fritzsche

Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: "Keep moving forward" - his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”

You can link with Maximilian Fritzsche on LinkedIn.

Aug 24, 2018

From respect (a Scrum value) to hierarchy there’s often a very short route. But what is the role of hierarchy in our organizations? Why is it there, what is the benefit we get from it, what is the goal it tries to achieve?

Abbas invites us to think about the role of hierarchy in our organizations, and in our culture. From a multi-cultural background, Abbas explores what hierarchy and respect mean for him, and how it affects the teams and organizations we work with.

In this episode we refer to TEAL organizations, a term that is based on the book: Re-inventing organizations by Frederic Laloux.

 

About Abbas Ghahremani

Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!

He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.

You can link with Abbas Ghahremani on LinkedIn.

Aug 23, 2018

The MAD/SAD/GLAD exercise is a simple approach to cover the different aspects of the previous sprint in a way that elicits emotional thinking. The emotions we have towards the sprint events will help elicit problems, as well as achievements the team experienced during the Sprint.

During the retrospective discussion we also mention other simple, yet powerful techniques that you can use when planning your next retrospective.

 

About Abbas Ghahremani

Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!

He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.

You can link with Abbas Ghahremani on LinkedIn.

Aug 22, 2018

In companies that start they Agile transition it is possible to forget that the ultimate goal is for the business to benefit from Agile, not for the business to be Agile.

Agile, as an approach to product development, was created by practitioners that wanted to help their businesses succeed.

In this episode we discuss the case of a company in a fast-changing market, and how the adoption of Agile turned the attention from business impact to process, and what that meant.

 

About Abbas Ghahremani

Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!

He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.

You can link with Abbas Ghahremani on LinkedIn.

Aug 21, 2018

As Scrum Masters we must constantly be aware of the different personalities and their impact on how the team performs. In this episode we discuss how the Architect role can, easily, have a major impact on the team dynamics.

We also discuss the often forgotten role of the Scrum Master as a facilitator for changes at the team level, together with management.

Featured Book for the Week: Scrum: A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines and boosting productivity by Jeff Sutherland

In Scrum: A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines and boosting productivity, Jeff Sutherland explains precisely and step by step how it operates - and how it can be made to work for anyone. In this book we learn about Scrum as applied to multiple industries, not only in the software industry.

 

About Abbas Ghahremani

Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!

He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.

You can link with Abbas Ghahremani on LinkedIn.

Aug 20, 2018

The way we reward people for the work they do, directly impacts how they act. In this episode we explore the impact of an individual reward system on how Abbas acted, and what he learned from that situation.

We explore motivation, relationships and most of all, the systemic impact of the reward systems we create in corporate environments.

 

About Abbas Ghahremani

Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!

He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.

You can link with Abbas Ghahremani on LinkedIn.

Aug 17, 2018

Collaboration is an often used work to explain how teams can reach their goals. So much so, that we, as Scrum Masters, very often work on improving collaboration. However, collaboration is really a series or trade-offs. In this episode we explore the organizational forces that help or hinder collaboration in our teams.

 

About Andrew Hudson

Andy is a Scrum Master within the Media industry. He's passionate about making work a motivating, enjoyable and empowering place to be. He wants to help teams and individuals reach their full potential and believes developing the right vision and mindset is more valuable to effective teams than any process or framework.

You can link with Andrew Hudson on LinkedIn and connect with Andrew Hudson on Twitter.

Aug 16, 2018

Andrew shares his simple recipe for defining and working towards a successful outcome for our work as Scrum Masters.

We discuss how context is important for our definition of success and how goals help us strive for our own improvement. In the end the invitation is simple: investigate success!

 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Coaching during Retrospectives

Andrew shares two possible retrospective formats for different purposes. The first is the constellation retrospective format which we reviewed in previous episodes.

The second is the use of retrospectives as a coaching opportunity for Scrum Masters. In this episode Andrew describes his approach and experience with the coaching retrospectives.

 

About Andrew Hudson

Andy is a Scrum Master within the Media industry. He's passionate about making work a motivating, enjoyable and empowering place to be. He wants to help teams and individuals reach their full potential and believes developing the right vision and mindset is more valuable to effective teams than any process or framework.

You can link with Andrew Hudson on LinkedIn and connect with Andrew Hudson on Twitter.

Aug 15, 2018

Inevitably, successful teams will grow over time. The product grows, the requests keep coming in, and we need more people to be able to attend to all the needs of the customers, and the business.

But how should we handle the situation when the team grows beyond the manageable 7+-2 size?

In this episode we discuss possible options of how to handle the team size, and what to do when the team is already too big to be a single team.

 

About Andrew Hudson

Andy is a Scrum Master within the Media industry. He's passionate about making work a motivating, enjoyable and empowering place to be. He wants to help teams and individuals reach their full potential and believes developing the right vision and mindset is more valuable to effective teams than any process or framework.

You can link with Andrew Hudson on LinkedIn and connect with Andrew Hudson on Twitter.

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