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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: February, 2019
Feb 28, 2019

How do we trigger empathy towards team members, stakeholders, and other teams? Raluca suggests that a format like “In Your Shoes” will help teams understand the reality others face, and be able to bring that into the retrospective conversations.

 

About Raluca Mitan

Raluca calls herself a recovering Project Manager that discovered Agile and somehow the "good, the bad and the ugly" received distinctive names.

She loves her job and practices Accelerated Learning to achieve her Goals (to become a Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum Alliance, to write a book, acknowledged as an Inventor, share her ideas to the world and with her daughters).

And maybe someday to be a Bonus Podcast guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast :).

You can link with Raluca Mitan on LinkedIn and read Raluca Mitan’s blog.

Feb 27, 2019

Helping an organization adopt Agile is like facing a house, with people inside, and getting an invitation to get it and lead the people in the house. Not an easy task for Scrum Masters. In this episode, we explore that metaphor and talk about the tools and approaches we can use when we are the outsiders, that need to bring change into the organizations and teams we work with.

 

About Raluca Mitan

Raluca calls herself a recovering Project Manager that discovered Agile and somehow the "good, the bad and the ugly" received distinctive names.

She loves her job and practices Accelerated Learning to achieve her Goals (to become a Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum Alliance, to write a book, acknowledged as an Inventor, share her ideas to the world and with her daughters).

And maybe someday to be a Bonus Podcast guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast :).

You can link with Raluca Mitan on LinkedIn and read Raluca Mitan’s blog.

Feb 26, 2019

Distributed teams are notoriously hard for Scrum Masters. But why? In this episode we talk about some of the anti-patterns we can expect in distributed teams and what Scrum Masters can do to help distributed teams jell and overcome those anti-patterns.

Featured Book for the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

In Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Raluca found a book that helped her develop her leadership approach. Kim shares many stories from different leaders and helps the reader understand what makes a good leader with concrete tools and methods.

 

About Raluca Mitan

Raluca calls herself a recovering Project Manager that discovered Agile and somehow the "good, the bad and the ugly" received distinctive names.

She loves her job and practices Accelerated Learning to achieve her Goals (to become a Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum Alliance, to write a book, acknowledged as an Inventor, share her ideas to the world and with her daughters).

And maybe someday to be a Bonus Podcast guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast :).

You can link with Raluca Mitan on LinkedIn and read Raluca Mitan’s blog.

Feb 25, 2019

Sometimes team members will speak up. They might even challenge the Scrum Master. At those times is when we must step back, forget about what we “think is right” and let the team members take the lead. That’s the first step in taking responsibility!

In this episode, we refer to the work on FIXED vs GROWTH mindset.

 

About Raluca Mitan

Raluca calls herself a recovering Project Manager that discovered Agile and somehow the "good, the bad and the ugly" received distinctive names.

She loves her job and practices Accelerated Learning to achieve her Goals (to become a Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum Alliance, to write a book, acknowledged as an Inventor, share her ideas to the world and with her daughters).

And maybe someday to be a Bonus Podcast guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast :).

You can link with Raluca Mitan on LinkedIn and read Raluca Mitan’s blog.

Feb 23, 2019

Scrum Masters understand the importance of having many tools for different situations. The quality of our work is often related to the quality of the tools we have in our toolbox and the context in which they work.

In this episode, we review some of Jeff’s favorite Actionable Agile Tools, a book that collects 19 tools and is now available on Amazon in black and white as well as full color. Not to mention Kindle!

About Jeff Campbell

Jeff is an Agile Coach who considers the discovery of Agile and Lean to be one of the most defining moments of his life and considers helping others to improve their working life not to simply be a job, but a social responsibility. As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organizations both small and large.

Jeff is also involved in the Agile community and is one of the founding members of Gothenburg Sweden’s largest agile community at 1500+ members www.scrumbeers.com, and he also organizes the yearly conference www.brewingagile.org.

You can link with Jeff Campbell on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Campbell on Twitter.

Feb 22, 2019

What can we learn from individualist cultures, and how they affect Scrum and Agile adoption?

We discuss how the Wisconsin natives look at the Scrum values and what might be some of the challenges they face when trying to put those in practice.

 

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Feb 21, 2019

Helping Scrum teams take ownership, and drive their self-improvement is Doug’s definition of success.

We talk about the Nanny McPhee phrase: “When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.” A simple, yet effective heuristic for Scrum Masters!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Kata

The Toyota Kata is a method of reflection and learning that helps people and teams to keep themselves accountable for their work, and how they develop over time.

We discuss the format, how to facilitate a Toyota Kata retrospective and what were the influences (e.g. Deming) that led Doug to choose this format.

 

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Feb 20, 2019

When helping Scrum teams, Scrum Masters must keep this heuristic in mind: Team members don’t take responsibility for “other people’s” proposed solutions.

This heuristic is even more important when it comes to a change process. So Doug suggests we should help teams reflect, learn and improve on their own.

In this episode, we refer to Extreme Programming and the Causal Loop Diagram (the causal loop diagram was described by Antti Tevanlinna in a previous episode).

 

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Feb 19, 2019

When teams come together, even if they have Scrum experience, they don’t always agree on the process. That can paralyze teams. In this episode, we explore a story about a team that was stuck with their definition of the process. All team members had different versions of Scrum in their mind. But still, they needed to progress. Listen in to learn how Doug tackled that problem, and helped the team start to deliver.

In this episode, we talk about the concept of Semantic Diffusion as defined by Fowler, and we discuss the importance of changing the team setup often (something Heidi Helfand discusses on the podcast in a previous episode).

Featured Book of the Week: Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

In Toyota Kata by Mike Rother, Doug found an approach that helps him deal with the natural uncertainty that comes with the Scrum Master role. We want to help teams reach a target condition, but we don’t know all the steps we need to take, so using the approaches in Toyota Kata helped Doug prepare for that uncertainty, and help teams progress even when only the next few steps are visible.

 

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Feb 18, 2019

When we get started as Scrum Masters, especially those that have a Project Management or Management background, we tend to “enforce” Scrum. As our understanding progresses though, we start to learn that there’s a lot of value in helping teams learn by themselves, help them feel confident and take over the process.

In this episode, we discuss that change in our approach to the Scrum Master role, and a lot more!

We talk about Extreme Programming and how that approach should be looked at by Scrum Masters. We also refer to Kent Beck’s Extreme Programming Explained and Martin Fowler’s Refactoring book.

 

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Feb 15, 2019

Anja shares her experience in Germany. We discuss how people express their ideas in that culture, and how direct they can be. We also discuss why that’s important in Scrum, especially in Retrospectives, when we must address topics quickly and find solutions or changes to help the team progress.

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 14, 2019

One of the critical tasks of a Scrum Master is to help team members contribute to the success of the team. When we look at Anja’s Scrum Master success definition, helping team members directly contribute to the team is very high on the list.

In this episode, we cover how Scrum Masters can help new team members feel like they are part of the team and directly contribute to the team from the start.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: What went well/not so well/what can we change?

Anja prefers the classic “What went well/not so well/what can we change?” retrospective format. In her experience, this format gives people the ability to bring up the points that affect them personally. When experimenting with different formats remember that it takes a while for people to get used to new formats.

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 13, 2019

When teams that are new to Scrum start adopting a new way of working, there’s a window of opportunity to help them. When they are still new, and recognize that they need help. In this episode we review the story of a team that had a difficult project ahead, and how Anja and the rest of the organization went about finding a way to help the team.

A reminder that teams sometimes ask for help, and that’s the right time to help them!

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 12, 2019

When teams start working with Scrum they try to follow the process. They organize the process, they keep their meetings, but sometimes forget critical things that are not in the process. In this team, Anja felt frustrated. Something was missing.

Anja started looking for symptoms. At first only frustration, but later the symptoms started to become clearer. The team was missing the feedback! They held the ceremonies, but the concrete actionable feedback was missing. Check out this episode and compare with your team. Are you seeing the same symptoms?

Featured Book of the Week: Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only)

In Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only), Anja found stories that she could relate to. The book is a Scrum fable. Where people in a village need to build a Dragon trap, but they don’t know how. All they have is their ingenuity and ability to collaborate. The book walks you through a full experience of what it looks like to build a Scrum team.

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 11, 2019

Let’s say that we are working with a team that is respecting the Scrum rules. They have their Sprint Planning. They hold their Retrospectives. Everyone talks during the stand-up. At first glimpse this team is doing Scrum right. But there’s one thing missing: delivering value to customers early and often!

Preparing to release value is not value delivery. In this episode, we talk about the teams that miss that critical aspect and what we, Scrum Masters, can do about it.

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 9, 2019

Bas Vodde worked with Craig Larman on creating LeSS, probably the second most popular agile scaling framework in the market at this time.

In this episode, we talk about what is not so well known about LeSS, its origins, and we dive deeper into the topic of scaling. What does it mean, what it does not mean, and how LeSS can help organizations take advantage of agile in large product development teams.

About Bas Vodde

Bas Vodde is a coach, programmer, trainer, and author in the world of modern agile and lean product development. He is the creator of the LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) framework for scaling agile development. He coaches organizations on three levels: organizational,  team, individual/technical practices. He has trained thousands of people in software development, Scrum, and modern agile practices for over a decade.

He is the author of Large-Scale Scrum: More with LeSS,  Scaling Agile and Lean Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum and of Practices for Large-Scale Agile and Lean Development, all together with Craig Larman.

You can link with Bas Vodde on LinkedIn and connect with Bas Vodde on Twitter. You can find out more about Bas Vodde’s work in the Less website.

Feb 8, 2019

With Jen and Jamie, we talk about the fit between the North American culture and Scrum. We dive deeper into some local patterns like the “Minnesota nice”, and discuss about some serious anti-patterns like False Harmony, and the avoidance of conflict.

During the conversation we talk about different perspectives and actions Scrum Masters can take to overcome those anti-patterns.

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

Jen and Jamie (sweet and salty as they call themselves) are passionate about people, relationships, leadership, accountability, common sense, and getting sh*t done! Ultimate dream job would be to coach individuals, teams, and organizations in discovering and cultivating potential and doing things better by identifying people's strengths, passions, and skill sets, along with effective processes and strategy to build a strong, healthy culture.

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 7, 2019

The definition of success for Jen and Jamie is the “Scrum Jedi” pattern described by Angel Medinilla. But there are other patterns Jen and Jamie ask us to consider. In this episode we talk about MobProgramming and the Nanny McPhee Scrum Master pattern. In each of these patterns we find things to learn from and add to our Scrum Master toolbox!

Featured Retrospective for the Week: Open Discussion

When the right format is a very simple format, Open Discussion, can be a great start for a team conversation. Jen and Jamie suggest that asking the team members to describe, in their own words, the events of the Sprint, leading to potentially different perspectives. These differences (when facilitated properly) can help the team understand each other better and find insights on how to improve as a team.

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

Jen and Jamie (sweet and salty as they call themselves) are passionate about people, relationships, leadership, accountability, common sense, and getting sh*t done! Ultimate dream job would be to coach individuals, teams, and organizations in discovering and cultivating potential and doing things better by identifying people's strengths, passions, and skill sets, along with effective processes and strategy to build a strong, healthy culture.

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 6, 2019

When it comes to changes, in agile environments there’s one change that many of us need to be directly involved with. That’s the move from functional teams, to multi-skilled, T-shaped, cross-functional teams.

In this episode we talk about how Scrum Masters can enable, and support that change. From how to introduce the idea, to how to get started, and ultimately how to enable the self-organization of teams that ensures team’s commitment to the change.

In this episode we refer to a presentation by Anton Zotin on Agile transformations and team self-organization. You can also check Anto Zotin’s shows here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

Jen and Jamie (sweet and salty as they call themselves) are passionate about people, relationships, leadership, accountability, common sense, and getting sh*t done! Ultimate dream job would be to coach individuals, teams, and organizations in discovering and cultivating potential and doing things better by identifying people's strengths, passions, and skill sets, along with effective processes and strategy to build a strong, healthy culture.

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 5, 2019

There are many behaviors and dynamics that can lead to problems in a team. Jen and Jamie talk about a team that was feeling defeated and had a negative/complaining attitude towards everything around them. What can cause that? We discuss possible causes and also what we can do as Scrum Masters, when our teams are feeling down and out.

In this episode we refer to the “circles and soup” activity, a game used to efficiently form high-quality plans through retrospective analysis by recognizing factors that are within the team’s control.

Featured Book of the Week: Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

In the Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, Jen and Jamie found a good follow-up on another Lencioni book: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. This is a book that can help you grow as a Scrum Master, and think about those personal characteristics that make certain people great team players.

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

Jen and Jamie (sweet and salty as they call themselves) are passionate about people, relationships, leadership, accountability, common sense, and getting sh*t done! Ultimate dream job would be to coach individuals, teams, and organizations in discovering and cultivating potential and doing things better by identifying people's strengths, passions, and skill sets, along with effective processes and strategy to build a strong, healthy culture.

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 4, 2019

Jen and Jamie share with us one of the common anti-patterns around the Scrum Master role. Many seem to think that the Scrum Master is an admin person. Setting meetings, ensuring the teams have post-its, etc. But could not be farther from the truth.

In this episode, we discuss how we can avoid the Admin anti-pattern, and how to set the right expectations with teams and the wider organization.

In this episode we refer to the book The Power of Now by Eckhart.

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

Jen and Jamie (sweet and salty as they call themselves) are passionate about people, relationships, leadership, accountability, common sense, and getting sh*t done! Ultimate dream job would be to coach individuals, teams, and organizations in discovering and cultivating potential and doing things better by identifying people's strengths, passions, and skill sets, along with effective processes and strategy to build a strong, healthy culture.

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 1, 2019

Having worked in multiple countries, and with multiple teams, Nisha has learned that we must consider the Scrum team’s culture as well as the national culture. She invites us to consider how team and national culture play together and embrace the culture instead of fighting it.

In this episode, we refer to the UK culture.

 

About Nisha Balwatkar

Nisha started her career as a programmer for the love of logical reasoning and technology and soon found herself trapped in the mismanagement of software teams affecting the work and efforts put in by the teams. She always had a feeling she could fix it and eventually moved to be a scrum master. She enjoys helping out teams and see the joy of success by identifying and fixing small things.

You can link with Nisha Balwatkar on LinkedIn and connect with Nisha Balwatkar on Twitter.

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