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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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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.

Jun 11, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: When Protection Hinders Progress, A Guide to Tackling 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, Kirsi shares an insightful story about a large team working on regulatory reporting that struggled with psychological safety. Even if the team tried to shut out Agile coaches, leadership noticed alarming employee satisfaction scores and helped the change get started. Kirsi reveals how the Product Owner's protective approach stifled team growth and collaboration. She explains the anti-patterns observed and offers tips on how to address such challenges by taking a more directive stance and encouraging continuous improvement. Learn how small changes can make a big difference in a team's dynamics and success.

Featured Book of the Week: Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching by Bob Galen

Kirsi discusses Bob Galen's book, "Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching," highlighting its comprehensive approach to Agile coaching. She emphasizes the importance of the Agile coaching contract, even for internal coaches, and shares how it helps in setting clear expectations. Kirsi also explores the significance of journaling for self-reflection. This book is not just for coaches but also for Scrum Masters seeking to deepen their understanding and practice of Agile coaching.

[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 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 10, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: The Power of Collective Change in 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 shares a story about an organization struggling with large, complex teams and numerous dependencies. As an Agile Coach, she facilitated a reorganization around the customer journey. With half the team based on another continent created a big stress for Kirsi and her colleagues. Attempting to manage everything herself, she faced burnout. Through this challenge, Kirsi learned the importance of teamwork in driving change. She discusses creating a change team, leveraging eager participants, and establishing a change agent network to maintain engagement and representation. Discover the key steps Kirsi took to facilitate a successful reorganization and the valuable lessons she learned.

 

[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 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 7, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Motivating Scrum Teams with User-Centric Approaches, Product Owner Best Practices

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: Motivating Teams with User-Centric Approaches, PO Best Practices

In this segment, Rebecca shares an inspiring example of a Product Owner (PO) who excelled by focusing on the end-users' needs and facilitating direct communication between the team and users. Through live interviews and feedback sessions, the PO enabled the team to achieve quick wins and foster innovation. This approach created a motivated and empowered team. 

The Bad Product Owner: Directive POs and Team Demotivation

In this segment, Rebecca discusses common anti-patterns of Product Owners (POs), such as being overly technical or directive, which can demotivate and disempower teams. She shares a story of a friction-filled relationship between a PO and a team, emphasizing the importance of POs agreeing on the problem to be solved and allowing the team to develop solutions. 

 

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 6, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Evaluating Product Value, Metrics for Scrum Masters and Product Owners

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 success episode, Rebecca emphasizes the importance of driving positive change both within the team and the organization. She discusses metrics such as fun, trust, and motivation, and the challenges of ensuring the Product Owner (PO) helps the team deliver value. Rebecca shares tips on evaluating value and focusing on product-related metrics. What does success mean for Scrum Masters, and how can you measure it effectively?

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: I Like/I Wish/I Wonder

In this segment, Rebecca shares her favorite retrospective format: "I Like/I Wish/I Wonder." This simple, non-confrontational format encourages team members to provide feedback in a positive and constructive way. Rebecca highlights the importance of preparing for retrospectives by considering the team's context and emotional state. Discover how this format can help reduce conflict and promote open communication in your retrospectives.

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 5, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Engaging with the C-Suite, A Key Strategy in Change Leadership 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.

In this episode, Rebecca discusses her experience leading a group of Scrum Masters through a difficult organizational change. Eight months into their agile journey, they realized the need for more influence and created an Executive Action Team (EAT). This gave them direct access to the CTO and enabled more significant changes in the organization. Rebecca emphasizes the importance of using data to support change initiatives and empowering teams to solve their own problems. How can you leverage executive support and data to drive agile transformations? Listen to find out!

 

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 4, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Transforming Agile Team Dynamics with Structured Feedback, And The Critical Importance of Feedback Delivery

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, Rebecca shares a story about a team that struggled with "terminal niceness," avoiding necessary feedback in an effort to maintain an artificial harmony. By introducing a feedback format learned from a seminar, Rebecca helped the team communicate more openly and effectively. The transformation led to better team dynamics and a more collaborative environment. Listen in to learn what was the format that helped Rebecca transform this team’s take on feedback.

Featured Book of the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Rebecca discusses how "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott transformed her perspective on feedback. Initially wary of feedback due to past negative experiences, Rebecca learned that feedback is a crucial part of professional growth for her and her teams. She highlights key insights from the book, such as the importance of constructive one-on-one feedback and how it can be a positive tool rather than just criticism. Listen in to discover how "Radical Candor" reshaped Rebecca’s approach and why feedback is essential in agile environments.

 

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 3, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: The Penny Game Debacle, A Collaboration Change Gone Wrong And Other Lessons 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.

In this episode, Rebecca shares a story about working with a high-profile team struggling to finish their work within the sprint boundaries. Rebecca found out that the company had not provided sufficient agile training for the teams, which ultimately resulted in too much work-in-process, and other anti-patterns. Rebecca discusses her efforts to help the team focus and collaborate better, only to face resistance from the team's manager. She shares a failed attempt to use the Penny Game to help the team understand flow and collaboration, but this only resulted in conflict. Rebecca emphasizes the importance of understanding team dynamics and gaining consent before trying to build trust. Listen to this episode, and learn how you can navigate similar challenges and foster better team engagement.

 

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 1, 2024

BONUS: Mastering Work Intake For Agile Teams with Tom Cagley and Jeremy Willets

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 BONUS episode, Tom and Jeremy discuss the main ideas from their latest book on agile transformation and work intake management: Mastering Work Intake: From Chaos to Predictable Delivery. They share some of the main the challenges teams face when trying to adopt agile practices and offer practical strategies for improving work intake processes.

The Trigger for the Book

"Most people who try to transform and be agile don't do it well. They fail multiple times because they say 'yes' to everything, which is a lack of control on work intake."

Tom emphasizes that many teams struggle with agile transformation, often due to poor management of work intake. He has built a career helping teams that have attempted and failed at this multiple times. The main issue is that they end up saying "yes" to every request, leading to a chaotic work environment, lots of work started, and very little finished.

"We got started during the pandemic. We looked at many books on the topic and saw that it wasn't tackled very well. 'Actionable Agile' and 'Why Limit WIP' by Jim Benson inspired us."

Defining Work Intake and avoiding common mistakes

"We are drowning in work. We use metaphors to define work intake and see that work always finds a way to get done. Initially, we titled this book 'Work Entry' because of the idea that work is pushed to people, who naturally say 'yes' because they want to help."

"Work has a way of getting started. Recently, I had water in my basement. I didn't know where it came from, but the water found a way in. We see this over and over at work. Work just gets in, often because saying 'no' feels career-limiting."

Tom likens unmanaged work intake to water leaking into a basement—inevitable and hard to control. This analogy underscores how work finds its way into a team's backlog, often because rejecting tasks seems risky.

"Jumping the queue is a very common mistake. Important work always gets done, but we don't always go through the process of identifying what's truly important. This leads to 'fast switching' between tasks and 'neglected WIP.'"

Tom highlights the mistake of allowing work to bypass proper prioritization, leading to constant context switching, which makes teams slow, and neglected tasks which rarely or never get completed.

"The goal conflict anti-pattern is another issue. Much of work intake is about the relationships that lead to decision-making."

Jeremy discusses how conflicting goals and poor relationship management can lead to self-defeating work intake processes.

Key Strategies for Managing Work Intake, and Avoiding the Over-Planning Anti-pattern

"In the book, we present patterns to handle intake management and discuss the Product Owner's (PO) role. The PO is critical for managing work intake in Scrum, requiring discipline from both the PO and the team."

Jeremy outlines the importance of having a disciplined Product Owner to manage work intake effectively.

"The problem of team design often causes issues. Many teams work on features while supporting systems that deliver value to customers. This lack of focus is problematic. Building a solid DevOps framework is crucial."

"Agility means flexibility. We need to prioritize and select work more frequently, getting feedback often to determine if the work is necessary. Refer to 'Lean Startup' for more insights."

Jeremy advocates for flexibility and frequent prioritization over rigid, upfront planning.

"Mapping who is involved in work intake decisions is key. Understanding the feedback loop and how it's integrated into decision-making helps manage work intake better."

Tom emphasizes the importance of understanding decision-making processes and who are the stakeholders, to be able to improve those processes through collaboration.

Different Types of Work Mean Different Decision Making!

"People work on features, defects, support, etc. Each requires different management patterns. Recognizing team constraints is crucial for effective work intake."

Tom explains the need for tailored strategies for different types of work, based on team constraints. Only this “whitebox” approach to work management can help us build a work intake process that helps us manage the work in a way that leads to faster deliveries and more productivity.

As an example, Tom and Jeremy share a story about a company wanting to move to the cloud. Unfortunately, the CEO's decision overlooked the engineers' lack of skills, which led to big problems. This story puts emphasis on the importance of aligning work intake with team capabilities.

A Top Tip: Be Mindful and Deliberate About Accepting Work Into Your Backlog!

"We help teams be deliberate about work acceptance by emphasizing relationships and decision-making processes. Effective work intake management reduces disruptions."

Tips For Product Owners 

"Manage work intake across the entire product. It's more than just planning." 

"PO is an active role. Help the team make decisions and sequence work."

Tips For Scrum Masters

"Don't overlook work intake. Involvement in this aspect is crucial to avoid anti-patterns." "Defend team boundaries to control work intake."

The Impact of Applying These Ideas

"It would be a lot calmer and more orderly."

"We would get a lot more things done, avoiding the anti-pattern of rewarding work starts over finishes."

About Tom and Jeremy

Tom Cagley is an experienced agile coach and consultant specializing in helping teams manage work intake and improve their agile practices.

You can link with Tom Cagley on LinkedIn. You can also listen to Tom’s podcast, the SPAMCast.

Jeremy Willets is a seasoned agile practitioner and author who has collaborated with Tom on numerous projects, including this book.

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn.

May 31, 2024

Doug Rabow: Continuous Feedback As A Forcing Function For Focus, and Productivity 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: Continuous Feedback As A Forcing Function For Focus, and Productivity in Agile Teams

Highlighting the characteristics of an extraordinary Product Owner, Doug shows the importance of questioning, transparency, and customer collaboration in that role. This episode also shows how great Product Owners manage to maintain clarity and progress amidst project uncertainty, and offers insights into practices that promote continuous feedback and adaptive project management.

The Bad Product Owner: The Perils of Isolation, A Product Owner Anti-Pattern That Derails Agile Teams

Doug shares what can happen when the  Product Owner works in isolation. Doug also explains how this approach can derail team progress. Learn about the crucial role of collaboration and problem definition in the Product Owner's responsibilities.

 

[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 Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

 

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

May 30, 2024

Doug Rabow: Daily Standups as a Success Barometer in Agile, And Other Lessons 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.

In this segment, Doug discusses the dual aspects of success for Scrum Masters: defining it and demonstrating it to others. We also talk about how the quality of daily standups reflects the overall health of the Agile practices in the team. We also explore how fostering an environment of good-faith feedback and continuous improvement can lead to success for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Asking Questions

In this segment about Agile Retrospectives, Doug highlights the importance of asking pointed, empathetic questions during retrospectives to uncover deep insights about team dynamics and challenges. We learn about the role that well-crafted questions play in driving continuous improvement. And learn how Doug's approach of integrating impactful questions into conversations, helps teams to navigate and overcome obstacles more effectively.

 

[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 Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

 

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

 

May 29, 2024

Doug Rabow: Agile Governance, Creating Transparency and Overhauling Project Management to Fit Agile Product Development

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, Doug shares his strategies for improving visibility and governance in project management through tools like JIRA. He explains how creating transparency enhances governance and accountability in agile teams. This episode also offers a practical look at setting up light governance frameworks that enable real-time, pull-based reporting to facilitate better decision-making and project management.

 

[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 Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

 

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

 

May 28, 2024

Doug Rabow: Prioritize, Visualize, Execute, A Lean Approach to Work Management 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.

Doug explores some of the critical aspects of team management that ensure efficiency and clarity. Doug also shares how visual management is essential for maintaining focus on top priorities within teams. We learn about the Five S from Lean, and how simplifying and visually organizing work can prevent priority confusion and, in the end, improve productivity.

Featured Book of the Week: The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker

In this episode, we explore lessons from The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker beyond manufacturing. Doug describes how The Toyota Way applies to strategic management and software development, focusing on high-quality, small batches. Discover how continuous feedback drives continuous improvement, and what Agile learned from Lean Manufacturing.

 

[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 Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

 

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

May 27, 2024

Doug Rabow: The Delicate Dance of Driving Change, Learning How To Time Change Input 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.

When facilitating change, jumping in too quickly can be problematic. Doug shares a story of his experience stepping into a less competitive industry, eager to implement numerous improvements. However, the existing team was content with their workflow, which created resistance to Doug’s ideas. In this episode, we explore how Scrum Masters can help drive change without overwhelming their teams. And how facilitators can balance improvement enthusiasm with team readiness, and why involving the team in the change process is crucial.

 

[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 Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

 

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

May 24, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: Breaking Down Walls, Strategies for Collaborating with an External PO

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: Courage, Empathy and Action, Qualities of Great PO’s

In this segment, Patty discusses the qualities of courage, empathy, and active listening that define exceptional POs. How do these traits foster team equality and enhance performance? Gain insights into how a PO can act as a catalyst for team cohesion and why building strong relationships within the team is crucial for success.

The Bad Product Owner: Breaking Down Walls, Strategies for Collaborating with an External PO

In this segment, Patty explores the anti-pattern of the Product Owner that is external to the team, and the challenges it presents. How does a PO that sees themselves as external to the team impact team dynamics? Patty discusses her firsthand experience dealing with this common issue and provides practical tips for Scrum Masters aiming to bridge the gap between the team and an externally positioned PO. Learn strategies to enhance involvement and neutralize the us-vs-them mentality.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 23, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: How Consistency Helps Building Trust as a 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.

What does it mean to truly walk the walk of a Scrum Master? Patty shares her insights into the core qualities of a successful Scrum Master, from mindfulness to consistency in action. And how Scrum Masters can cultivate trust and demonstrate their reliability to their teams. Discover Patty's personal strategies for self-reflection, managing stress, and fostering team achievement.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective

Patty chooses the Sailboat Retrospective as a favourite retro format. This is a dynamic tool for teams seeking to reflect and identify paths for improvement. Explore how this simple yet powerful visual metaphor can help teams navigate through their agile journey, focusing on both their anchors and winds—what holds them back and what propels them forward.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 22, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: The Listening Tour, Listening, Leading, and Learning to Inspire Change Adoption

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 address some of the essentials of change management. Patty shares her approach to fostering open communication and trust among teams. What does it really take to lead change effectively? Patty shares her experiences from a "listening tour" where discovering pain points led to transformative solutions. How can understanding diverse perspectives within a team lead to better problem-solving? Learn about the strategies Patty employed to encourage teams to identify and tackle their biggest challenges together.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 21, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: Beyond the Blame Game, A Simple Technique That Transformed A 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.

Have you ever wondered why some teams succeed while others stumble? Patty shares a compelling story of a team entrenched in blame and how she guided them towards accountability and success. What happens when a product's failure turns into a blame game? Explore how Patty used a simple flowchart to transform team interactions and process understanding, turning a negative environment into a collaborative success story.

Featured Book of the Week: A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

In this episode, Patty discusses how Daniel H. Pink's "A Whole New Mind" ignited a spark that drove her to action. What makes creative problem-solving an essential skill in today's world? Patty reflects on the transformative power of switching to focus on creativity over memorization and how the book inspired her to step into a coaching role. Patty also shares her key takeaways from another of Pink's works, "The Power of Regret”. Learn about how understanding your deepest regrets can guide personal and professional growth. How can regrets propel us towards more courageous decisions?

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 20, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: The Leap of Faith, How Business Coaching Redefined A Career Path

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.

Have you ever felt stuck in the monotony of a job, simply "punching the clock"? This episode follows Patty's journey from a traditional classroom teacher to an innovative business owner and coach. Witness how a simple decision to leave the education sector led Patty to explore the realms of entrepreneurship and personal growth. What triggers someone to leave a stable job and venture into the uncertain world of business? How did embracing coaching transform Patty's approach to work and life? Dive into her story of transformation, the trials of building a business from scratch, and the invaluable lessons learned from hiring a business coach.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 18, 2024

BONUS: Transitioning from Non-Tech to Tech Roles with Mariana Trigo, A Guide For Scrum Masters, and 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.

In this episode, Mariana Trigo, a pioneer in assisting professionals transition from non-tech to tech roles, shares stories about transitioning from non-tech to tech jobs.

Starting the Transition

"It’s all about realizing that your career is not moving forward and finding out what will work for you in the tech industry."

Mariana began her journey in the tech world in 2021, identifying a significant demand for professionals seeking to pivot their careers into technology. She observed that despite having good jobs, many were dissatisfied and felt their careers stagnated. This led her to found Tekya, a company dedicated to aiding professionals in moving to tech without a coding background and leveraging their careers to build their dream life.

"Conquering the mindset that you can perform even if you are not tech-savvy is the first step towards building a career that truly gives you the life you want."

One of the first hurdles Mariana noticed was the limiting beliefs held by individuals. Many feel inadequate and struggle to convince hiring managers of their worth due to a lack of tech-specific skills.

Essential Skills for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

"Hire for character, train for skills. Focus on small improvements to continually develop both yourself and your teams."

Mariana stresses the importance of soft skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and servant leadership. These skills are pivotal for anyone aspiring to roles like Scrum Master or Agile Coach.

"Understanding and mastering the hard skills of your chosen tech role will not only improve your confidence but also build trust with your team."

Hard skills are equally crucial, with Mariana emphasizing the need to understand the Scrum framework, Agile methodologies, organization, metrics, and engineering best practices. She also mentions the importance of becoming familiar with the tech vocabulary specific to each company.

For learning these essential skills, Mariana suggests starting with understanding the day-to-day routine of a Scrum Master or Agile Coach. She recommends finding courses that cover both soft and hard skills necessary for these roles.

"Changing your mindset is crucial. Be prepared to invest time and some money into structured learning paths like those offered by Tekya."

Building a Professional Identity

"Showcase how your past experiences have prepared you to add value in the tech industry."

Mariana advises starting immediately to tailor your LinkedIn profile and other professional materials to reflect your new career path, emphasizing past experiences and how they relate to your future in tech.

"The support from a professional community can be the most comforting part of your transition journey."

Networking is vital in the tech industry. Mariana encourages speaking with those already in the role and participating in communities like Tekya to find mentors and expand your professional circle.

"Understand the mission of the company and align it with your values to increase your chances of getting hired."

When it comes time to apply for jobs, Mariana recommends focusing on companies whose mission and products you are passionate about. Ensuring your LinkedIn profile and cover letters are top-notch will help you stand out.

Further Learning and Resources

"Real stories from real people can provide the motivation and roadmap for your own career transition."

For those eager to learn more about this employment transition, Mariana suggests listening to success stories from individuals who have successfully made the transition.

About Mariana Trigo

Mariana Trigo's professional journey began in biology, transitioned through retail, and found its niche in technology. She excelled as a Scrum Master and grew into an Engineering Manager role, always focusing on helping teams deliver more effectively and enjoyably. In 2021, she launched Tekya to empower professionals to move into tech roles, enhancing their careers and achieving their life dreams without necessarily having a coding background.

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

You can follow Mariana’s work as a coach and Tekya, her company’s work with budding Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters on Instagram and LinkedIn.

May 17, 2024

Peter Müller: How a Product Owner Can Foster Agile Team Success with Collaboration and Inspiration

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 a PO Can Foster Agile Team Success with Collaboration and Inspiration

In this segment, Peter celebrates the qualities of an exemplary Product Owner who champions shared ownership and visionary leadership. Peter explains how a confident and forward-thinking Product Owner can significantly impact a team’s performance and satisfaction. He also shares examples of how such Product Owners facilitate a proactive environment, encourage stakeholder engagement, and lead by envisioning a collective future. 

The Bad Product Owner: Transforming the Micro-Manager, How Scrum Masters can Help PO’s

This segment unveils the challenges and setbacks of a micro-managing Product Owner. Peter examines how such behaviors can demoralize a team, stifle creativity, and lead to a passive work environment. Through various anecdotes, he illustrates the pitfalls of excessive control and the importance of fostering a shared ownership culture within agile teams. We also discuss some possible strategies that can help Product Owners overcome the urge to micromanage and instead build a collaborative team dynamic.

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

May 16, 2024

Peter Müller: From Guidance to Self-Governance, Cultivating Autonomous Decision-Making 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.

When it comes to defining success, Peter focuses on the critical role of a Scrum Master in facilitating team autonomy and decision-making capabilities. Peter shares a success story where a team transitioned from dependency on external decision-makers to self-management. He discusses strategies for Scrum Masters to help teams recognize and overcome their own decision-making barriers. Listen to find out what makes a Scrum Master successful, and how they can foster a culture of self-awareness and proactive decision-making within their teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Scale retrospective based on Solution Focused Coaching

In this week’s spotlight on retrospective formats, Peter introduces the Scale Retrospective, inspired by solution-focused coaching techniques. This format encourages team members to envision an ideal future state and explore the steps necessary to bridge the gap from their current position. Peter delves into the nuances of facilitating such sessions, emphasizing the importance of minimal preparation and targeted questions that foster deep reflection and actionable insights.

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

May 15, 2024

Peter Müller: Fostering Future Agile Leaders, An Inside Look at the Apprentice Program for Agile Coaches and 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.

In this episode, Peter introduces us to an innovative “Apprentice Program” designed to cultivate accountability and enhance skills among developers, scrum masters, and product owners. This transformative initiative not only equips participants with practical agile skills but also fosters a cohesive agile community within the organization. By involving leadership and aligning learning objectives with organizational needs, the program sets a precedent for sustainable, organization-wide agile adoption. What can other organizations learn from this approach to develop agile leaders effectively? Learn how the Apprentice Program Peter and his colleagues set up can help you overcome a stalled Agile adoption.

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

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