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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
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.

May 31, 2018

Scrum Masters work and influence many aspects of an organization or project. However, there’s one overarching concern that we must have in mind at all times: “are we delivering real value to our customers and stakeholders?” Lynoure discusses the importance of focusing on value delivery.

In this episode we also talk about team dynamics and mention The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Good / Bad / What to change

Sometimes it is the simpler formats of the retrospective that work best. This week we review some of the classic formats (e.g. Good / Bad / What), and how variation in formats may negatively affect the teams we work with.

 

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.

May 30, 2018

Working with a team is hard enough when the organization is stable and not going through a major upheaval. But when an organization is in massive change, how can we keep teams motivated and engaged with the work? In this episode we discuss the story of a team that was “alone” in the middle of a major organizational change, and what they did to keep the motivation and even going far beyond the call of duty. An inspiring story of how, sometimes, change comes from the team itself!

In this episode we discuss the Agile Fluency Model and refer to Deming’s 14 points for management, a list of points to help transform the role and effectiveness of management.

 

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.

May 29, 2018

Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister is one of the classics in the management of software projects niche. Originally published in 1987, the book focuses on the specific aspects that relate to successfully managing a software development team. In this episode we talk about how it helped Lynoure understand what are the factors that influence a team’s productivity.

 

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.

May 28, 2018

Scrum vs Kanban is a very common debate. Some teams will be adamant that only one of those applies to their context. Whichever you choose, you should be aware of the consequences. In this episode we explore one such process change, and the problems associated.

 

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.

May 25, 2018

On Friday’s we usually discuss system conditions. This episode is no exception, however we also take a look at a method to identify those system conditions before they cause major problems for the teams. We discuss the Spotify Squad Health Check as a method to survey the teams and identify possible impacts that need to be further investigated and mapped to system conditions. This is especially important when companies are growing fast, and we need to keep an eye on what problems might emerge as a result.

 

About Kathy Andersen

Kathy works as a Scrum Master with a team implementing a billing management system for a company called Hudl. Hudl is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and provides video review and performance analysis tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. Kathy took an uncommon route to the software world, and since then she has had the luck of working on a diverse set of projects and teams. You'll find her speaking at conferences and participating in the agile community.

You can link with Kathy Andersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kathy Andersen on Twitter.

May 24, 2018

Kathy presents the FitRep, a performance evaluation system from the US Marines and how it inspired her to create a similar approach for measuring team progress and Scrum Master success. Kathy also shares with us the specific questions she looks at when thinking about her own role.

In this episode we discuss the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott, a book about the styles of communication and their impact.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: If you owned this company…

In this episode we talk about how to effectively prepare for retrospectives with the team, and we discuss one specific “prompt” for a retrospective. Prompts are powerful as they trigger different perspectives in the minds of the participants. In this episode we discuss the prompt: “If I owned this company I would: start / stop / continue”.

 

About Kathy Andersen

Kathy works as a Scrum Master with a team implementing a billing management system for a company called Hudl. Hudl is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and provides video review and performance analysis tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. Kathy took an uncommon route to the software world, and since then she has had the luck of working on a diverse set of projects and teams. You'll find her speaking at conferences and participating in the agile community.

You can link with Kathy Andersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kathy Andersen on Twitter.

May 23, 2018

The adoption of a new process can be a great example of how change happens and is gradually accepted, and then adopted by the teams and team members. In this episode we explore a Kanban adoption, and how the process of Kanban also had an impact on the change itself.

In this episode we talk about ScrumBan, a development approach that tries to pick the best components of both Scrum and Kanban.

 

About Kathy Andersen

Kathy works as a Scrum Master with a team implementing a billing management system for a company called Hudl. Hudl is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and provides video review and performance analysis tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. Kathy took an uncommon route to the software world, and since then she has had the luck of working on a diverse set of projects and teams. You'll find her speaking at conferences and participating in the agile community.

You can link with Kathy Andersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kathy Andersen on Twitter.

May 22, 2018

When a team has a past firmly in the waterfall camp there are some specific problems we should look for. In this episode we talk about one such team, how they looked at requirements and how that impacted their work. We also discuss about the changes we need to go through with the team before they are ready and able to adopt an Agile process.

Featured Book of the Week: The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt

The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt is a book that has often been mentioned on the post. In this episode we discuss how this book can help us understand the concept and ideas behind Systems Thinking.

May 21, 2018

In retrospectives with the team we are looking for improvement opportunities. And often the team members will already have ideas about how to improve the ways of working. But sometimes we need to look for improvement opportunities, and the “The Story of a User Story” retrospective we talk about in this episode may help you find the things that need to change.

Listen in to learn what gaps the team uncovered, and how Kathy and the team recovered from a painful story delivery.

 

About Kathy Andersen

Kathy works as a Scrum Master with a team implementing a billing management system for a company called Hudl. Hudl is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and provides video review and performance analysis tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. Kathy took an uncommon route to the software world, and since then she has had the luck of working on a diverse set of projects and teams. You'll find her speaking at conferences and participating in the agile community.

You can link with Kathy Andersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kathy Andersen on Twitter.

May 18, 2018

When working with teams, we often face bottlenecks. Points in the process that slow everything down. Those bottlenecks are where we should focus our attention if we want to help our team deliver more and faster. For that to happen we need to understand where those bottlenecks come from, and that’s why it is so important to understand the system conditions in play. Bottlenecks are caused by system conditions.

 

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

Read Umer Saeed’s blog.

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

May 17, 2018

When thinking about our success as Scrum Masters, Umer invites us to think about the success of the team as well. But not forgetting that, as Scrum Masters, we have a specific job to do with concrete questions to ask ourselves in order to assess our work and progress.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Fly High Retro

In the Fly High Retrospective we imagine the team is a Kite, and we want it to fly high. So we explore what are the obstacles (telephone lines, or tree branches), as well as the motivators (like wind) and explore - with the team - how to improve.

In this episode we also discuss the Starfish Retrospective and the “Well/ Not So Well / What different in next sprint” formats.

 

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

Read Umer Saeed’s blog.

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

May 16, 2018

Sometimes we have to work on team-level changes. Changes about how to release for example. In this episode we explore one such change, and everything that we need to be aware of when working with team, stakeholders and a process that needs to improve. We may think that team-level changes are simpler or easier than other types of changes, but are they really?

 

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

Read Umer Saeed’s blog.

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

May 15, 2018

Teams sometimes take “timeboxes” in Scrum as something of a “soft rule”. A rule that is ignored when necessary to avoid the hard-truth of failing to deliver in the Sprint. This is just one of the anti-patterns we discuss with Umer in this episode where we explore how we can help teams implement and benefit from Scrum.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum and XP from the trenches by Henrik Kniberg

Scrum and XP from the trenches by Henrik Kniberg is a down-to-earth account of how Scrum and XP were adopted at a Swedish company. It’s a book that focuses on the practices, and the daily insights that we collect when working hands-on with the adoption of Agile.

 

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

Read Umer Saeed’s blog.

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

May 14, 2018

Umer was working in a project where chaos was the approach the teams were taking. Not a good way to start, especially not for a new Scrum Master. This led Umer to learn a few tough,  but critical lessons about how important it is to set expectations and priorities correctly.

 

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

Read Umer Saeed’s blog.

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

May 11, 2018

Sometimes, with the best of intentions, we create policies that actively detract from the team’s ability to deliver. Jeff shares with us such a story, where the team was not able to deliver their product to production. They needed some other team in the loop. That created communication problems, delays and did not help the team deliver more, or better.

This happens when we solve symptoms, not problems. In this episode we explore this story, and how to avoid getting stuck in the symptoms. If we want to help teams we must focus on the real problem, the root causes!

 

About Jeff Maleski

Jeff is passionate about working with and building up both individuals and teams using ideas from Jurgen Appelo's Management 3.0 and Dan Pink's Drive. When leading project teams, Jeff strives for empirical based planning and forecasting, continuous learning, and delivering high quality software products that exceed expectations. Jeff believes in leading by actions and focusing on building relationships with others.

You can link with Jeff Maleski on LinkedIn.

May 10, 2018

When Jeff discovered that Menlo Innovations (from the book Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan) was a drive away from his workplace, he got a few people together and started a journey that would change his view of how work should work. He decided that his work as a Scrum Master was about improving lives.

In this episode we refer to the TED talk by Shawn Anchor about The Happy Secret to Better Work.

Featured Retrospective format: The Sailboat Retrospective

In the sailboat retrospective we use a metaphor to help the team identify the goal, the obstacles (the rocks), the drags on the team performance (the anchor) and the things that push us forward (sailing wind). Through metaphor we help the team explore ideas that they would otherwise skip in a more structured retrospective.

 

About Jeff Maleski

Jeff is passionate about working with and building up both individuals and teams using ideas from Jurgen Appelo's Management 3.0 and Dan Pink's Drive. When leading project teams, Jeff strives for empirical based planning and forecasting, continuous learning, and delivering high quality software products that exceed expectations. Jeff believes in leading by actions and focusing on building relationships with others.

You can link with Jeff Maleski on LinkedIn.

May 9, 2018

Sometimes we do a great job, we help the teams reach a cross-functional collaboration, they are able to release production ready code but… Did we really reach our goal?

Jeff tells a story of a change process where some of the critical ingredients of change were in place, but it was something else that was missing. Listen in to learn about the anti-pattern that revealed itself later on.

 

About Jeff Maleski

Jeff is passionate about working with and building up both individuals and teams using ideas from Jurgen Appelo's Management 3.0 and Dan Pink's Drive. When leading project teams, Jeff strives for empirical based planning and forecasting, continuous learning, and delivering high quality software products that exceed expectations. Jeff believes in leading by actions and focusing on building relationships with others.

You can link with Jeff Maleski on LinkedIn.

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