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Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast: Agile storytelling from the trenches

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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Jul 12, 2024

Esther Schmit: The Power of a Positive Product Owner in Agile Teams

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: The Power of a Positive Product Owner in Agile Teams

In this segment, Esther shares an inspiring story about a Product Owner who truly excelled in his role. This PO was a student who brought enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, and a supportive attitude to the team. Esther discusses how his positive energy and eagerness to help had a ripple effect, boosting the team's morale and performance. 

The Bad Product Owner: Customer First, How to Avoid PO’s from Focusing on Technical Details

In this segment, Esther shares how Product Owners who come from a technical background can become micro-managers for the team. She explains how these POs can sometimes get too involved in technical decisions, which can negatively affect the team's autonomy and effectiveness. Esther also shares tips on how Scrum Masters can help Product Owners can shift their focus from technical details to customer goals and business outcomes. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Esther Schmit

Esther is a freelance Agile Coach and Scrum Master, leading Agile Pro Center, which provides online Agile Coaching, Training, and Mentoring for Scrum Masters. Esther also hosts the Online Scrum Master Summit.

You can link with Esther Schmit on LinkedIn, and visit her site Agile Gatherings.

Jul 11, 2024

Esther Schmit: Setting and Achieving Goals with an Agile Approach to the Scrum Master Role

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

When it comes to defining Scrum Master success, Esther talks about the importance of setting personal goals and regularly checking in on them. She offers practical tips, such as defining your own success criteria, making your goals visible, and asking for feedback from teams and stakeholders. Esther also talks about the value of reflecting on each ceremony and how you can use metrics like Return on Time Invested (ROTI) to gauge effectiveness. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Story Cubes Retrospective

When it comes to retrospectives, Esther believes that varying retrospective formats helps to keep team members engaged. She shares practical tips, such as using Story Cubes and encouraging team members to talk about themselves to build better relationships. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Esther Schmit

Esther is a freelance Agile Coach and Scrum Master, leading Agile Pro Center, which provides online Agile Coaching, Training, and Mentoring for Scrum Masters. Esther also hosts the Online Scrum Master Summit.

You can link with Esther Schmit on LinkedIn, and visit her site Agile Gatherings.

Jul 10, 2024

Esther Schmit: Tips for Effective SAFe Implementation, Even if Teams are Already Using Agile Processes

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, we discuss scaling in Agile, and the challenges of transitioning teams from Scrum or other team-level Agile processes, to SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework). Esther describes common anti-patterns and resistance to change. She also shares insights on how to support teams, managers, and Scrum Masters through Agile coaching and other support groups, like community of practice. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Esther Schmit

Esther is a freelance Agile Coach and Scrum Master, leading Agile Pro Center, which provides online Agile Coaching, Training, and Mentoring for Scrum Masters. Esther also hosts the Online Scrum Master Summit.

You can link with Esther Schmit on LinkedIn, and visit her site Agile Gatherings.

Jul 9, 2024

Esther Schmit: Bridging Communication Gaps Between Agile Teams, The Communication Challenge

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Esther shares a challenging experience with two teams that struggled due to poor communication and unwillingness to collaborate. She provides tips on facilitating retrospectives and one-on-one conversations to address communication issues and set clear expectations. Listen to learn a method to improve communication in your teams.

Featured Book of the Week: Mister Mindset by Michael Pilarczyk

Esther discusses "Master your Mindset, Live a Meaningful Life: A book about mental health and personal success" by Michael Pilarczyk, a book focused on changing your mindset to improve the quality of life. She explains how understanding and altering one's mindset can positively influence professional and personal lives, especially for Scrum Masters who facilitate and support teams. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

 

About Esther Schmit

Esther is a freelance Agile Coach and Scrum Master, leading Agile Pro Center, which provides online Agile Coaching, Training, and Mentoring for Scrum Masters. Esther also hosts the Online Scrum Master Summit.

You can link with Esther Schmit on LinkedIn, and visit her site Agile Gatherings.

Jul 8, 2024

Esther Schmit: The Power of Feedback, Lessons from a New Scrum Master

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Esther talks about her initial experiences as a Scrum Master, feeling overwhelmed when her colleagues sought her guidance even if she only had a few months on the job. She discusses the importance of seeking feedback and asking for help, even when feeling uncertain. Esther emphasizes starting our work from a place of curiosity and validating understanding among team members. How do you overcome the fear of asking for help and ensure effective communication within your team?

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Esther Schmit

Esther is a freelance Agile Coach and Scrum Master, leading Agile Pro Center, which provides online Agile Coaching, Training, and Mentoring for Scrum Masters. Esther also hosts the Online Scrum Master Summit.

You can link with Esther Schmit on LinkedIn, and visit her site Agile Gatherings.

Jul 5, 2024

Milica Lubinic: Product Owner Anti-Pattern, The Renamed Project Manager

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: Balancing Involvement and Authority in Product Ownership

Milica highlights how great Product Owners involve their teams in decision-making while maintaining responsibility for final decisions. She discusses tools for prioritization and the importance of structured approaches to processing team input. Scrum Masters can help PO’s balance ownership and shared decision making with the teams and stakeholders.

The Bad Product Owner: The Renamed Project Manager

Milica discusses a common anti-pattern in Product Ownership: simply renaming project managers as Product Owners, without role clarity or team involvement. She shares tips for distributing cognition between PO’s and their teams. She also emphasizes the importance of clear role definitions and external training for PO’s, stakeholders, and teams. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Milica Lubinic

Milica is a Mom and Professional and Organizational Coach who is all about dealing with complexity, whether it's child development or organizational/team/individual transformation and growth. She found her true calling in the world of Agile, Cynefin, and Progressive organizational cultures. Creating safe spaces for innovation, nurturing trust, and sparking engagement is her true passion.

You can link with Milica Lubinic on LinkedIn.

Jul 4, 2024

Milica Lubinic: Measuring Psychological Safety in Agile Teams

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Milica emphasizes the importance of team trust and psychological safety, which are difficult to measure. She suggests using surveys to initiate meaningful conversations and reflections about these critical aspects. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Solution-Focused Retrospectives

Milica introduces her favorite retrospective format, focusing on future goals and leveraging existing strengths. This approach contrasts with the root cause analysis engineers often prefer, offering more actionable solutions and a variety of choices. This approach is based on insights from Solutions-focused Coaching.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Milica Lubinic

Milica is a Mom and Professional and Organizational Coach who is all about dealing with complexity, whether it's child development or organizational/team/individual transformation and growth. She found her true calling in the world of Agile, Cynefin, and Progressive organizational cultures. Creating safe spaces for innovation, nurturing trust, and sparking engagement is her true passion.

You can link with Milica Lubinic on LinkedIn.

Jul 3, 2024

Milica Lubinic: Consent-based Decision-making for Agile Organizations

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Milica shares insights from her experience in a company undergoing Agile transformation. She highlights the misalignment in decision-making processes and the need for consent-based decision-making. By facilitating retrospectives with leadership and creating guides for new decision-making approaches, she navigated through various challenges. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Milica Lubinic

Milica is a Mom and Professional and Organizational Coach who is all about dealing with complexity, whether it's child development or organizational/team/individual transformation and growth. She found her true calling in the world of Agile, Cynefin, and Progressive organizational cultures. Creating safe spaces for innovation, nurturing trust, and sparking engagement is her true passion.

You can link with Milica Lubinic on LinkedIn.

Jul 2, 2024

Milica Lubinic: How to Foster Long-lasting Change for Agile Teams Without Micromanagement

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Milica tells the story of a team’s struggle with sustainable change. Despite good intentions, the team lead’s constant reminders about incomplete actions led to a lack of ownership. She emphasizes the importance of developing habits for sustainable improvement and allowing teams to maintain ownership of changes. How can teams foster long-lasting change without micromanagement?

Featured Book of the Week: The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown

Milica discusses Brené Brown’s "The Power of Vulnerability" (audiobook) and how it transformed her understanding of belonging versus fitting in. This distinction helped her foster true belonging in her teams, where members felt safe to be themselves and contribute their best. This book addresses a question that is critical for Scrum Masters: How can we create environments that nurture genuine belonging?

 

[IMAGE HERE] Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

 

About Milica Lubinic

Milica is a Mom and Professional and Organizational Coach who is all about dealing with complexity, whether it's child development or organizational/team/individual transformation and growth. She found her true calling in the world of Agile, Cynefin, and Progressive organizational cultures. Creating safe spaces for innovation, nurturing trust, and sparking engagement is her true passion.

You can link with Milica Lubinic on LinkedIn.

Jul 1, 2024

Milica Lubinic: Curiosity Over Assumption, How to Enter a New Agile Team or Company Without Triggering Resistance

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Milica tells the story of a pivotal failure from the start of her career. She entered a company that, at first sight, already practicing scaled Scrum and aligned with Agile values. Milica was eager to contribute. However, she quickly discovered underlying taboos and a lack of true transparency. Her push for more openness led to unexpected resistance, teaching her the importance of curiosity and avoiding assumptions. Listen to learn how we can navigate the current status of Agile adoption without making premature judgments.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Milica Lubinic

Milica is a Mom and Professional and Organizational Coach who is all about dealing with complexity, whether it's child development or organizational/team/individual transformation and growth. She found her true calling in the world of Agile, Cynefin, and Progressive organizational cultures. Creating safe spaces for innovation, nurturing trust, and sparking engagement is her true passion.

You can link with Milica Lubinic on LinkedIn.

Jun 29, 2024

BONUS: Agile Mindsets in Tech Entrepreneurship With Bao Tran

In this BONUS episode, we explore the world of technology, innovation, and intellectual property with Bao Tran, a seasoned tech entrepreneur. As the founder and CEO of PowerPatent, Inc., and co-founder of Azpire Health, Bao shares his journey and offers advice for aspiring tech entrepreneurs and established businesses alike.

The Journey into Technology and Entrepreneurship

"You need very good people on the engineering side who can iterate quickly." 

Bao Tran started his career with ambitions of entering investment banking but ultimately found his calling as a patent lawyer. This shift led him to explore the tech industry deeply, where he recognized the importance of having a strong engineering team and maintaining exclusivity for products. He highlights the pitfalls of using platforms like Kickstarter, where competitors can easily copy innovative ideas, emphasizing the necessity of strong IP protection.

Structuring Teams for Flexibility and Scalability

"Build around a core team but also bring diversity into the team." 

Bao stresses the importance of having a core team that is close-knit for quick communication while also recruiting diverse talent to bring fresh perspectives. He advises focusing on problem-solving rather than falling in love with a particular technology, ensuring the team remains flexible and scalable as the company grows.

Recruiting Talent for Tech-Focused Companies

"Balance new people with fresh ideas and those with more experience." 

Hiring the right talent is crucial, and Bao’s approach includes balancing newcomers with fresh ideas and seasoned professionals. He underscores the importance of a clear vision in product development, offering stock options as part of the salary package, and protecting IP early. Bao also introduces the concept of a "long tail approach" to product development, where continuous innovation and iteration play key roles.

Advising Startups on Patent Strategy

"Identify unique product features and anticipate how competitors might replicate them." 

For startups, Bao advises laying the foundation by identifying unique product features that can be patented. He recommends anticipating how competitors might design around these features and considering licensing opportunities across different industries to expand the utility of the patents.

Impressive Examples of Patents Adding Value

"This battery company reduced energy costs and even started feeding back into the grid." 

Bao shares success stories from his investments, including a company that used patented battery technology to reduce energy costs for small to medium businesses and eventually integrated these batteries into the power grid. He highlights the versatility of software patents and their applicability across various industries.

Recommended Resources

For those preparing their companies for growth, Bao recommends exploring resources like the PowerPatent YouTube channel and PatentPC.com. These platforms provide valuable information on fundraising, patent strategies, and more.

About Bao Tran 

Bao Tran is a tech entrepreneur specializing in AI, blockchain, and digital twin technologies. He is the founder and CEO of PowerPatent, Inc., where he innovates the patent process through automation, and co-founder of Azpire Health, which leverages tech in healthcare. Bao is an angel investor at TVC and represents Silicon Valley at the Boston Global Forum. He holds a JD, MBA, and BSEE from top institutions.

You can link with Bao Tran on LinkedIn or connect with Bao Tran via email at Btran@powerpatent.com.

Jun 28, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: The Impact on Agile Teams of Poor PO Leadership Skills

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: How the Scrum Master’s Feedback Transformed a Product Owner

What key changes transformed this PO from a liability to an asset? In this segment, Avipaul shares a success story of a PO who, after receiving feedback, improved collaboration and team engagement. By connecting with team members and understanding the domain deeply, this PO bridged gaps between the team and customers, and ultimately became a great PO!

The Bad Product Owner: The Impact of Poor PO Leadership Skills

How can Product Owners avoid these pitfalls to foster a healthier team dynamic? In this segment, Avipaul outlines common anti-patterns of Product Owners who try to act as team leads, micromanage, and interfere in technical discussions. We also discuss how these behaviors can cause resentment and hinder team performance. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 27, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: Measuring Scrum Master Impact Beyond the Lean and Agile Metrics

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Avipaul explores the the many sides of success for Scrum Masters. Beyond metrics like cycle time and throughput, he emphasizes the importance of team smiles and voluntary contributions. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Timeline Retrospective

In this segment, Avipaul introduces the Timeline Retrospective, ideal for reflecting on the end of a phase. This format connects team members' emotions to their journey, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of their shared experiences. The timeline retrospective can highlight the human sides projects, and enhance the team’s ability to reflect and learn.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 26, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: How to Introduce Agile to Teams That Resist Adoption, and Make Friends

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Avipaul shares his experience leading change in a group of three teams. Facing issues like missing retrospectives and poor team dynamics, he used 1:1 sessions and training to introduce Agile concepts. We also explore how "pain point" sessions led to effective retrospectives and how collaboration with HR improved team dynamics. Listen in to explore some strategies that can enhance Agile implementation in resistant teams.

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 25, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: Why Agile Processes Matter, And Help Avoid Deathmarch Projects

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Avipaul shares the story of a team working on an iPad app under tight deadlines. They skipped Scrum events, leading to chaos and missed deadlines. In this episode, we explore some of the most common anti-patterns that come from skipping or avoiding Agile processes and the importance of structure for teams, especially when under tight deadlines. 

Featured Book of the Week: The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

In this segment, Avipaul shares how "The Coaching Habit" by Michael Bungay Stanier,  transformed his approach as a Scrum Master. The book's seven powerful coaching questions, especially "And what else?", helped him enhance his coaching skills and deepen his 1:1 interactions. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

 

About Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 24, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: Turning Conflict into Collaboration, An Agile Coach’s Hard-earned lesson

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Avipaul shares a deeply personal failure story as an Agile coach. Reporting to the VP of Engineering, he clashed with a condescending product director. This tension escalated until a senior leader intervened, prompting Avipaul to change his approach. Discover how understanding the director’s perspective and focusing on what the organization needed at the time helped Avipaul overcome anger and frustration. In this episode we also explore the crucial lessons that Avipaul learned about aligning personal values with professional interactions.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 21, 2024

Jaques Smit: How to Help Product Owners Manage Many Stakeholders

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: How Saying “No” Helps PO’s Succeed

What makes a Product Owner successful in managing large teams? In this episode, Jaques shares an example of a Product Owner who managed a large team successfully by setting clear boundaries and saying "no" unless convinced otherwise. This approach led to a well-functioning team and better innovation. Jaques emphasizes the importance of clear communication and structured leadership.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping Product Owners Manage Many Stakeholders

How can Product Owners manage stakeholder expectations effectively? Jaques shares his experience with a Product Owner (PO) working with an unmanageable number of stakeholders and communication lines. The PO's habit of saying "yes" to everyone led to overwhelming challenges. Jaques shares insights on effective PO practices, including setting boundaries and creating smaller, more productive teams.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 20, 2024

Jaques Smit: Mastering Team Dynamics, Tips for Scrum Masters

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

How can Scrum Masters harness conflict to drive team success? In this episode, Jaques explores the concept of conflict in teams and its role in growth. He emphasizes the need for Scrum Masters to manage team dynamics, facilitate decision-making, and promote effective feedback. Jaques shares tips on conflict resolution and the importance of continuous learning and adaptation for Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Team Coaching Conversation

Jaques introWhat retrospective techniques can enhance team understanding and growth? duces his favorite Agile Retrospective format: the Team Coaching Conversation. He explains the steps, starting with silent writing, followed by dot-voting and a coaching conversation led by team members. This format fosters understanding and growth, with actionable insights discussed later.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 19, 2024

Jaques Smit: The Role of Coaching in Organizational Change, A Key Skill For Agile Coaches

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

How can leaders effectively motivate and guide teams through significant changes? Jaques shares his journey in leading a traditional development team towards creating their own games. He highlights the challenges of facilitating change without sufficient coaching skills and the importance of creating a desire for change. Jaques introduces ADKAR, SCARF, and coaching techniques, ultimately leading to successful organizational transformation.

In this episode, we also refer to Constructivist Learning, and Adult learning theory

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 18, 2024

Jaques Smit: Beyond the Drama Triangle, Patterns in Conflict Resolution for Agile Teams

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Jaques shares the story of a long-term game development team's recurring issues despite changes in personnel. Several Product Owners had left because of burnout. However, with every new PO the team cycled through the same patterns, eventually leading to the PO’s leaving. Jaques realized the team was stuck in a Persecutor-Victim-Rescuer dynamic, and tried to help the team by bringing in outside assistance. Through this story, Jaques discusses the importance of addressing underlying conflicts, enhancing conflict resolution skills, and avoiding the drama triangle.

Featured Book of the Week: Leadership is Language by David Marquet

How can the language we use as leaders influence team dynamics? Jaques discusses "Leadership is Language" by David Marquet (David Marquet has been a previous guest on the show) and its impact on his approach to workplace challenges. The book helped him realize the importance of language in shaping behavior and leadership conversations. Jaques shares how the book helped him facilitate leadership discussions and improve team communication.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

 

About Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 17, 2024

Jaques Smit: Sprint Goals Gone Wrong, Leadership Lessons from a Game Development Team

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Jaques shares an experience with a game development team struggling to meet their goals. Despite his efforts to implement sprint goals and keep the team accountable, he faced resistance. Apparently lost with the process of setting goals, the Product Owner (PO) stepped back, pushing Jaques to take ownership and set the goals, which further re-enforced the team’s attitude of not taking ownership. Jaques reflects on the importance of coaching with an open mind and the challenges of directive leadership. He shares insights on enabling constraints and the Cynefin framework.

In this episode we also refer to Clinton Keith’s work as well as the #NoEstimates book.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 15, 2024

BONUS: Incorporating Planet Earth as a Stakeholder in IT Development with Marjolein Pilon

In this BONUS episode, we talk to Marjolein Pilon about her innovative approach of considering Planet Earth as a key stakeholder in software development. Through practical examples and actionable tips, she inspires teams to make meaningful changes towards a greener future.

How to Bring Sustainability To Our Work As Scrum Masters

"Frustration about climate change and wanting a better future for my children led me to explore the carbon footprint of our IT work."

Marjolein's passion for environmental sustainability began with personal frustrations about climate change. Feeling that she had done all she could at home, she extended her concerns to her professional environment by asking about the carbon footprint of IT. This led to the creation of a 'planet retrospective,' where her team brainstormed ways to reduce their environmental impact. This approach proved to be so effective that she began facilitating these retrospectives for other teams, spreading the importance of seeing the planet as a stakeholder.

Reframing Projects for Sustainability

"Taking a simple first step can break down complexity and build motivation."

Marjolein shares a story of a team that significantly reduced their carbon footprint by taking small, easy steps. Starting with the elimination of an unnecessary test environment, the team moved on to more substantial changes, such as optimizing database queries and shutting down unused applications outside office hours. Their efforts culminated in a 45% reduction in their carbon footprint, serving as an inspiration for other teams.

Considering Planet Earth as a Stakeholder

"We started looking at our software from the Planet Earth's perspective."

For Marjolein, considering Planet Earth as a stakeholder means incorporating environmental considerations into every stage of software and product development. This perspective shift encourages teams to think about the long-term impacts of their work on the environment.

Measuring Environmental Impact

"Use costs as a proxy to convince managers to run sustainability sprints."

Marjolein explains that measuring the environmental impact of software decisions can be straightforward. For on-premise servers, energy bills provide clear data, while cloud services like AWS and Azure offer carbon footprint dashboards. She advises teams to monitor metrics like disk access, memory versus disk usage, and query times to understand and reduce their carbon footprint.

Making Sustainability Relatable For Agile Teams

"We include planet earth and climate impact in the sprint reviews and definition of done."

Marjolein emphasizes integrating sustainability into daily workflows, such as sprint reviews and definitions of done. This makes the concept of sustainability more tangible and actionable for smaller teams and startups. She explains how even small actions can have a significant collective impact.

Balancing Innovation and Sustainability

"Simple steps can align innovation, speed to market, and sustainability."

Marjolein highlights the importance of balancing innovation, speed to market, and sustainability. By taking simple, actionable steps, teams can align these seemingly competing demands effectively.

Recommended Resources

Marjolein recommends the book "The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World" by  Roman Krznaric

For teams looking to integrate long-term environmental considerations into their development processes, this book provides a framework for thinking beyond immediate goals and considering the impact on future generations.

About Marjolein

Marjolein is an enthusiastic freelance Scrum Master and Agile Coach, committed to making the IT community more carbon-efficient. With a passion for Planet Earth and a knack for facilitating creative teams, she embodies agile and scrum values, promoting team autonomy and continuous improvement. Marjolein shares her insights on her website https://theagileplayground.com/.

You can link with Marjolein Pilon on LinkedIn.

Jun 14, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: A Great Product Owner who Encouraged Experimentation and Built an Inspired Team

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: Encouraging Experimentation and Building an Inspired Team, How Great POs work!

Kirsi highlights the qualities of an exemplary Product Owner who inspires and guides their team effectively. This PO was modest yet visionary, capable of simplifying complex requirements and fostering a collaborative environment. Kirsi shares how this PO encouraged experimentation and learning, creating an inspired and productive team. Discover the traits that make a Product Owner truly great and how they can positively impact their team's performance.

The Bad Product Owner: The Indecisive Product Owner

Kirsi discusses the anti-pattern of an indecisive Product Owner who lacks direction and decision-making skills. She explains how this leads to a lack of progress and team direction. Kirsi shares tips on how to coach Product Owners to make time for the team, avoid excessive meetings, and focus on the product vision. Learn the common pitfalls of an indecisive PO and how to overcome them.

In this episode, we refer to the Sprint Checklist, a tool you can use to help the PO better manage their time to be available for the team when necessary. You can download the Sprint Checklist tool for Scrum Masters, here.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

 

About Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Jun 13, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: The Role of Psychological Safety in Scrum Mastery

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Kirsi defines success for Scrum Masters through her experience. She discusses the joy of seeing teams achieve their goals independently and the importance of psychological safety. Kirsi shares a story of how practicing prioritization techniques with Product Owners led to improved collaboration and decision-making. She emphasizes the need for Scrum Masters to create a safe environment for teams to practice and grow, ultimately leading to their success.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Start/Stop/Continue

Kirsi shares her favorite Agile retrospective format, "Start/Stop/Continue." She explains how its simplicity leads to actionable results, especially when time is limited. Kirsi also highlights an anti-pattern where retrospectives run out of time for discussing improvement actions. She provides tips on how to open retrospectives with a focus on the team's ways of working to ensure meaningful outcomes.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Jun 12, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: Understanding the Complexities of Driving A Large Scale Agile Transformation

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, Kirsi helps us understand the complexities of leading change in a large organization. She shares how a change team with representatives from various roles and a virtual setup facilitated a smooth transition to new teams. The use of pulse surveys, questionnaires, and a transparent Kanban board helped maintain alignment and trust throughout the process. Kirsi offers practical tips, such as starting with a common cadence and allowing teams to adjust later, and the importance of self-reflection surveys for continuous improvement. Discover the techniques that made this reorganization a success.

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

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