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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
Aug 14, 2018

Andrew introduces the Scrum Values and how many team-related anti-patterns come from now following those values. We also discuss the importance of enabling and helping surface diffcult conversations before it is too late, and things turn sour.

In this episode we refer to the interview with Karin Tenelius on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

Featured Book of the Week: Drive by Daniel Pink

The book Drive by Daniel Pink reminds us that what drives human behavior is not exactly what we expect. Rewarding has an impact, but that impact is limited, and the rewards matter. Daniel Pink explores the sources of motivation and engagement in this book. Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery come out as the most important aspects we must attend to as Scrum Masters.

 

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 13, 2018

After a successful assignment with one team, Andy moved on and started work with a new team. However, things were not as easy, or as simple as he expected. In this episode we talk about how every new team is a new experience, and we need to find our groove, rhythm and approach as Scrum Masters, to ensure that we are not surprised by the differences between teams and contexts.

Learning to adapt to new organizations, and new teams is a key skill for Scrum Masters and we discuss how we can do that.

 

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 10, 2018

Scrum Masters are roles in an organization, and as such, it is affected by the same pressures that every person in the organization suffers from. In this episode we talk about the CTO that wanted the Scrum Master to “push change” into the organization and what that means for the role.

In this episode we refer to the interview with Karin Tenelius, where she details how we can bring difficult topics into the conversation in a constructive manner.

 

About Gilberto Urueta

Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.

You can link with Gilberto Urueta on LinkedIn and connect with Gilberto Urueta on Twitter.

Aug 9, 2018

Scrum Master success is the visible outcome when team members are performing. The role of the Scrum Master is therefore, at least in part, to help team members grow and improve their approach to work, and collaboration. In this episode we discuss the signs that team members may be ready for a jump in performance, and how to support their growth.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: #NoFormat

Scrum Masters that have tried many formats in their Retrospectives may grow tired of the structure that the default Agile Retrospectives book recommended back when Retrospectives were “new”. Gilberto eventually got tired of that approach and created a new approach to retrospectives. Listen in to learn about how an experienced Scrum Master now oragnizes his Retrospectives alone or with the help of team members.

 

About Gilberto Urueta

Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.

You can link with Gilberto Urueta on LinkedIn and connect with Gilberto Urueta on Twitter.

Aug 8, 2018

IT is a fast-growing industry. One of the common obstacles for companies growing fast is that they can’t hire the right people or quickly enough to meet the needs of product development or product support. In this episode we discuss how a simple change framework, based on the Agile ideas, helped Gilberto coach the HR team to transform the hiring process. If you are in a phase of fast growth, this episode is for you!

 

About Gilberto Urueta

Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.

You can link with Gilberto Urueta on LinkedIn and connect with Gilberto Urueta on Twitter.

Aug 7, 2018

In this episode we tackle the problem of the teammate that was always late, and how trying to talk about the problem made the situation even worse. We often tend to talk about problems, but sometimes that’s the worst possible solution. Listen in to learn about one of those stories, and hear how Gilberto and the team turned the situation around, avoiding losing a team member that needed their support.

Featured Book of the Week: Por Un Scrum Popular by Tobias Mayer and Alan Cyment

In “Por Un Scrum Popular” (a translated adaptation of Tobias Mayer’s The People’s Scrum), Gilberto found a description of Scrum that he could get excited about. A more approachable version of Scrum that fit well his view of how Scrum could help teams.

 

About Gilberto Urueta

Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.

You can link with Gilberto Urueta on LinkedIn and connect with Gilberto Urueta on Twitter.

Aug 6, 2018

When we start our role as Scrum Masters in a new team, sometimes we suffer from the “new guy” syndrome. The new guy is the person that everyone tries to tolerate, but mostly ignore. That’s what happened to Gilberto. How can a Scrum Master recover from “new guy” syndrome in a hierarchical culture? Listen in as we discuss the process with Gilberto.

In this episode we refer to the interview with Karin Tenelius where we discuss a new approach to management of self-organized teams.

 

About Gilberto Urueta

Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.

You can link with Gilberto Urueta on LinkedIn and connect with Gilberto Urueta on Twitter.

Aug 3, 2018

Scrum teams can be very productive. Some teams can deliver working software to customers or production several times per day. However, some Scrum teams are stuck, unable to deliver and reach high levels of productivity.

Silo departments, functionally aligned, but separating end-to-end activities can destroy a Scrum team’s ability to reach their potential. In this episode we discuss some of the reasons why that is, and what we, Scrum Masters, can do about it.

 

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

Aug 2, 2018

The Hot Air Balloon is one of the many metaphor-focused retrospective formats. These formats help the teams talk about the real problems without the pressure of being exact or literal in their descriptions. "It felt as if we had too much ballast”, can be the conversation starter that leads to finding previously undiscussed (and undiscussable?) blockers for the team.

 

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

Aug 1, 2018

Change Leadership is expected to come from the leaders of an organization. And although that usually happens, sometimes the leaders forget that the change they are driving affects them as well. In this episode we talk about how management can be brought into the Agile adoption process, and be an active part of supporting it and set the example for the rest of the organization.

 

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

Jul 31, 2018

Planning is not the ultimate solution to problems we face. Agilists know this to be true, and it is even one of the values in the Agile Manifesto: Responding to Change Over Following A Plan.

But planning is still necessary, and a critical part of how teams and organisations work. As Scrum Masters, the planning discipline is one of the key aspects we should focus on. In this episode we talk about one possible evolution of planning for our teams. From hard estimates, to Story Points.

Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins

The coaching stance and the ability to help team members progress in their own learning journey is critical for us, Scrum Masters. In Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins describes and teaches us about Coaching as an approach to help teams, and how that affects our Scrum Master role.

 

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

Jul 30, 2018

Agile adoption is a process that can create fear in the organization. Not the least of which because it changes team composition (from component and functional teams to cross-functional teams). How do we identify the fears in the organization and address them may be the difference that makes Agile succeed or fail.

 

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

Jul 27, 2018

Scrum adoption

When organizations adopt Agile and Scrum in particular, the usual reason is “faster and better”. However, that can be a smell that the organization has not yet understood the real reasons why they are adopting a new approach to managing their work. This focus on “faster” may drive more work into the “in progress” column and clog up the whole organization with work that is started, but not finished. As Scrum Masters, we must understand the stated, and real reasons for Agile adoptions in the organizations that we support, so that we can address the systemic problems that will inevitably arise!

 

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

Jul 26, 2018

As Scrum Masters it is easy to get focused on the team or the organization. However, the customer is the reason for the work we do. In this episode we discuss some of the metrics or questions we can use to assess our success as Scrum Masters. A special focus on the customer is part of the mix!

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Constellation exercise

The Constellation Retrospective starts with the team standing in a circle, then the facilitator asks a question with a yes/no or agree/disagree answer, and the team moves away from the center of the circle if they say “no” or disagree, and move towards the center if they say “yes” or agree. This exercise allows the teams to see where each team member stands, and helps recognize possible differences that need to be addressed. David also shares a tip on how to make these retrospectives deliver anonymous information that is useful for the Scrum Master but can avoid unnecessary conflict.

 

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

Jul 25, 2018

When David met this team, it was clear that the team had a serious problem in managing their work. There were more than 150 items in progress with 12 people in the team. The recipe for disaster. During his work David recognized that maybe Scrum wasn’t going to be the best approach for this team, and did what a good Scrum Master should do: helped the team adopt a method that was right for them. Listen in to learn how sometimes, Scrum Masters have to help teams adopt other methods.

 

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

Jul 24, 2018

When teams are stuck in their Agile adoption, it is tempting to bring in more training, do more teaching and expect that to solve the problem. In reality, however, the situation is much more complicated. We need to understand the real reasons for the team’s lack of progress, and adapt our approach to the reality we face. Training may be a good option, but it certainly isn’t the only one. In this episode we talk about a team that was stuck, not completing sprints, no tester in the team, etc. And we cover some practical tips on how to deal with similar situations.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey

In the Scrum Field Guide, Mitch Lacey lays out advice for the Scrum practitioner’s first year. It is a practical advice-filled book that will help you face, and overcome the most common problems that Scrum Masters face in their first few months on the job.

 

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

Jul 23, 2018

When we start our journey as Scrum Masters, we are not only learning something that is new to us, but we are also learning something that is new to everyone else. Scrum is new, even in it’s 20 or so years of life, there’s not been time to develop enough knowledge to claim a “definitive body of knowledge about Scrum”. Therefore, learning something that is yet undefined is a critical part of our journey as Scrum Masters.

Despite that realization, it is common to feel “we” are the failure, when in fact, we are just learning a new art. In this episode we discuss the impact of failure in ourselves, not just our learning, and we touch on how to bring the insights that Scrum helps uncover to the rest of the organization.

 

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

Jul 20, 2018

In this reference filled episode we talk about change, how to involve people in change, the different approaches to management and many other topics.

We also discuss one of the possible skills you can use as a Scrum Master: the energy level you put into the role. Finally, we discuss tips on how to engage with teams and team members so that your role as a Scrum Master is easier and pleasurable.

In this episode we refer to Non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg, Theory X and Theory Y of management and David Marquet’s book: Turn the Ship Around!. If you are interested in David Marquet’s work, please check also our interview with him here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 19, 2018

When we are knee deep in our role as Scrum Masters, we often forget that all success is a function of how we, and the team, and the organization evolve over time.

Jem suggests we should look at what has changed over time to assess our success as Scrum Masters. He also suggests some specific “metrics” you can take into account to measure team and organizational evolution over time.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Constellation Game

In the Constellation Game, the goal is to get the whole team to express their views on a specific topic. And because it involves physical movement, rather than just talking it is also a great way to get new team members introduced to the team in a safe atmosphere. Finally, it allows the whole team to see where all other team members are relative to a specific topic.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 18, 2018

“When change is pushed onto people, you end up with a lot of passengers” - Jem says. If on top of that you focus on the change “blockers” instead of the “early adopters”, you’ve got the perfect storm against change. In this episode we talk about different approaches to change, approaches that focus on enabling change, instead of pushing change.

In this value-bomb filled episode we refer to the Lean Change Management, as well as the ADKAR change model.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 17, 2018

When strong personalities are in positions of power, their ideas become “law”. But sometimes the leaders are themselves prisoners of their own approach to work. In this episode we discuss how we, as Scrum Masters, can help those leaders recognize the anti-patterns they create and overcome those obstacles to the performance of the team.

Featured Book for the Week: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho tells the story of a pilgrimage and journey where the hero of the story goes through many challenges and is pushed to learn more about himself, and face the world without fear. This book was an inspiration for Jem when he was introducing the Scrum Master role to a new organization, and he was himself a new Scrum Master. Fear is part of the journey, and this book helped Jem accept and overcome that fact.

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 16, 2018

As an unlikely Scrum Master Jem went through a journey of adapting to a new industry, and a new role. In his eagerness to bring value to the organization and teams he worked with he focused on taking on more responsibility. But is that a good idea? What happens when the Scrum Master also takes the Product Owner role? Listen in as we discuss the anti-pattern of the Scrum Master that is also the Product Owner.

 

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking :) In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion - helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic", having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Jul 14, 2018

As Scrum Masters we are constantly facing a changing environment. Every Scrum Master needs to learn about change, change methods and tools that work in practice. In this episode we dive deep into the change approach that Mike Burrows developed based on his experience as a coach and leader in the software industry.

Mike introduced what he called a “values-model” for Kanban adoption in his blog post titled Introducing Kanban Through Its Values.

In that blog post he introduced some of the ideas that today compose Agenda Shift, a more extensive approach to introducing a change approach that focuses on outcomes.

About Mike Burrows

Champion and enabler of outcome-oriented transformation & strategy, Agendashift founder, 2-time author (Agendashift, Kanban from the Inside).

Consultant, coach, trainer, and international keynote speaker. Former Executive Director, interim CTO, global development manager. Interim delivery manager for two UK government digital 'exemplar' projects. Winner, Brickell Key award for community contribution.

You can link with Mike Burrows on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Burrows on Twitter.

Jul 13, 2018

In The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni describes an anti-pattern that often develops in teams: the lack of accountability. When we accept failure not as a part of the learning process, but rather as a tabu: something we can never talk about, and therefore not learn from.

In this episode we talk about what happens when that pattern develops at the organizational level, when entire departments stop holding themselves accountable.

In this episode we also talk about Skin In The Game by Nassim Taleb, as an antidote to a common anti-pattern: decoupling the people making decisions from the actual results.

 

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

Jul 12, 2018

A recurring approach to self-evaluation is to define aspects or categories that we should evaluate on a regular basis. Andreas shares his 5 categories, and how he focuses on the reflection and improvement cycle as a Scrum Master. The key message however, is: accept that sometimes - maybe even most of the time - you will progress through baby steps!

Featured Retrospective format of the Week: Lean Coffee

Lean Coffee is a format that allows the team to cover many issues in a short period of time. In this episode we also discuss check-in exercises.

 

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

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