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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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Now displaying: 2019
Mar 19, 2019

Even when teams are motivated, and progressing at a rapid pace, there’s an ingredient that, if missing, can derail the whole project. That ingredient is feedback from customers and users. In this episode, we talk about what happens when feedback is missing and how Scrum Masters can help their teams focus on collecting and reacting to feedback.

Featured book of the Week: Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time

A book that introduces Scrum to a wider audience, Scrum: the art of doing twice the work in half the time by Jeff Sutherland is a book explaining the ideas and principles of Scrum when applied to the wider world of work, not only software development.

In this segment of the episode, we also refer to Edx.Org, a website that focuses on education and includes Agile training as well.

About Henrique Centieiro

Henrique is a Blockchain Product Manager (i.e. dealing with the blockchain related features/user stories of the product). He is passionate about teams and agile, using scrum to manage even his personal tasks.

You can link with Henrique Centieiro on LinkedIn.

 

Mar 18, 2019

Joining a team, it is good to see that they have their tools in order. They can follow-up progress, track what is missing and even leave notes for each other in the items they add to the tool. The problem is when the tool starts to take over the team, instead of the team owning the tool. In this episode, we talk about the tool-Scrum anti-pattern, when the team focuses more on the tool than the things it should enable: communication, collaboration, progress assessment, and metrics.

In this episode we refer to the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries and the work on Hypothesis Driven Development by Barry O’Reilly.

About Henrique Centieiro

Henrique is a Blockchain Product Manager (i.e. dealing with the blockchain related features/user stories of the product). He is passionate about teams and agile, using scrum to manage even his personal tasks.

You can link with Henrique Centieiro on LinkedIn.

Mar 16, 2019

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook). He joins us on this series of Q&A shows to answer questions you’ve submitted. You can submit your questions via our survey (short, about 2 min to fill-in) or by tweeting us @scrumpodcast with #agilejeff.

In this episode, we talk about getting management to be involved and buy-in to the agile transformation.

How to deal with resistance when implementing Agile

 

We’ve all been working with teams that when we suggest: "Hey let's put our burndown on the wall for everyone to know where we are", they go like: "nah, let's skip that, we know what we need to do anyway, let's just work." Whatever change we try to suggest, we feel a lot of resistance.

 

Once, I asked feedback from the team about a retrospective, and one person wrote down "waste of time". Auch! It's like the team didn't like transparency. I felt they didn’t want to work in their own pace, without estimating, without commitments, basically without taking more responsibility

 

It is as if every suggestion to improve our productivity were perceived as an attack on them for being slow. How do you help teams get the habit of trying out new things and putting that inspect and adapt cycle into practice?

Resources and tools


About Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is the author of Actionable Agile Tools, a book with practical tools and practices to help you amplify your impact as a coach and Scrum Master

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

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

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

Mar 15, 2019

In today’s software development world, having multiple cultures in one team is quite common. That presents specific challenges for Scrum Masters, who must be able to help teams where contrasting cultures must co-exist.

In this episode, we talk about the possible challenges Scrum Masters may face when working with multi-cultural teams and also how they can help those teams jell and collaborate productively.

 

About Ajeet Singh

Ajeet is an IT professional with 17 years of delivery experience in application development, system integration and software testing. He’s served as a ScrumMaster for over 3.5 years for the clients of USA, UK and Australian geographies.

You can link with Ajeet Singh on LinkedIn and connect with Ajeet Singh on Twitter.

Mar 14, 2019

Ajeet has come to value 4 specific ways to measure his impact as a Scrum Master. In this episode, we review these 4 benchmarks and how he uses them regularly to improve his approach.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Well/Stop/Start retrospective format

In the Well/Stop/Start retrospective format (see a facilitation guide here), we have a simple format that can trigger important conversations. Especially when team members see each other’s contribution to those 3 categories.

This is a format that suits very well teams that are action-oriented, and have a high degress of collaboration already.

 

About Ajeet Singh

Ajeet is an IT professional with 17 years of delivery experience in application development, system integration and software testing. He’s served as a ScrumMaster for over 3.5 years for the clients of USA, UK and Australian geographies.

You can link with Ajeet Singh on LinkedIn and connect with Ajeet Singh on Twitter.

Mar 13, 2019

QA teams are isolated in many organizations. When Scrum Masters work with those teams, the first challenge is to help them see beyond their silo, and create a definition of success that includes working and collaborating with other teams.

In this episode, we talk about a QA team, and how they were able to transition to a more collaborative way of working, which - for the first time - included other teams.

 

About Ajeet Singh

Ajeet is an IT professional with 17 years of delivery experience in application development, system integration and software testing. He’s served as a ScrumMaster for over 3.5 years for the clients of USA, UK and Australian geographies.

You can link with Ajeet Singh on LinkedIn and connect with Ajeet Singh on Twitter.

Mar 12, 2019

There are many possible habits or behaviors that lead to problems in Scrum teams. In this episode with Ajeet Singh, we discuss 2 of those habits and the related anti-patterns that emerged.

As Scrum Masters, we must pay attention to the behaviors, understand the possible consequences, and help teams recover before it is too late.

 

Featured Book for the Week: Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle

In Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle (aka the black book of Scrum), Ajeet found an holistic understanding of what is Scrum which helped him adopt the ideas and practices.

 

About Ajeet Singh

Ajeet is an IT professional with 17 years of delivery experience in application development, system integration and software testing. He’s served as a ScrumMaster for over 3.5 years for the clients of USA, UK and Australian geographies.

You can link with Ajeet Singh on LinkedIn and connect with Ajeet Singh on Twitter.

Mar 11, 2019

It is one of the mantras in the podcast: “take it to the team”. That mantra helps Scrum Masters focus on helping teams grow and learn from their mistakes. However, there’s a pitfall hiding in that mantra, and that’s when we rely too much on the team. As Scrum Masters we are also the accountability partners for the team. When we don’t pay attention, bad things can happen. In this episode, we discuss the pitfalls of relying too much on the team, and how to avoid this anti-pattern.

 

About Ajeet Singh

Ajeet is an IT professional with 17 years of delivery experience in application development, system integration and software testing. He’s served as a ScrumMaster for over 3.5 years for the clients of USA, UK and Australian geographies.

You can link with Ajeet Singh on LinkedIn and connect with Ajeet Singh on Twitter.

Mar 9, 2019

In this episode we explore the ideas from the book Lean UX, authored by Josh Seiden and Jeff Gothelf (Jeff Gothelf was on the podcast earlier to help us redefine the measure of success for software development).

Lean UX is both an approach and a set of tools that teams and Product Owners can use to help integrate the design/requirements/user research aspects into the team’s work.

For complete show notes, visit https://scrum-master-toolbox.org/.

 

Mar 8, 2019

In multinational companies, the usual communication language (English, in many) is not the native language for many of the team members and even stakeholders. As Scrum Masters we must be aware of this and prepare to avoid the expected misunderstandings and possible conflicts. Tilman shares his tips on what Scrum Masters can to to handle multinational teams that don’t share a common native language.

About Tilman Rumland

Tilman Rumland is an agile coach, expert speaker, and productivity enthusiast. He just released his new workshop series: “getting shit done that really matters to you”. As a scrum master, he implemented agile structures to agrilution, a small scale vertical farming startup, ranked on the Forbes TOP 100 innovative German Startups. Find Tim at https://agrilution.com.

Mar 7, 2019

As we look for a definition of success for a Scrum Master, it is also important that we identify signs that problems may be developing. In this episode, we discuss Tilman’s definition of success, but also the signs that we may not yet have achieved it.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: Appreciation Shower

The Appreciation Shower Agile Retrospective format is a format that Tilman found to have a large positive impact on the team atmosphere. He shares his tips on how to implement this format, and avoid it from being overwhelming.

We also mention the Football Agile retrospective format, where the team describes the Sprint as if it were a football match, including first-half, substitutions, red cards, etc. A fun format to get the team’s creative juices flowing.

About Tilman Rumland

Tilman Rumland is an agile coach, expert speaker, and productivity enthusiast. He just released his new workshop series: “getting shit done that really matters to you”. As a scrum master, he implemented agile structures to agrilution, a small scale vertical farming startup, ranked on the Forbes TOP 100 innovative German Startups. Find Tim at https://agrilution.com.

Mar 6, 2019

When Scrum Masters help teams go through a change process there are few things more important than helping teams “take over”. In this episode, we explore the consequences of not helping the teams take over the change process, and also discuss approaches and tools Scrum Masters can use to help teams hold themselves accountable.

About Tilman Rumland

Tilman Rumland is an agile coach, expert speaker, and productivity enthusiast. He just released his new workshop series: “getting shit done that really matters to you”. As a scrum master, he implemented agile structures to agrilution, a small scale vertical farming startup, ranked on the Forbes TOP 100 innovative German Startups. Find Tim at https://agrilution.com.

Mar 5, 2019

When new team members join a strong team, they may suffer from too much or the wrong kind of humbleness. In this episode, Tilman shares the story of a team member that joined a strong team, but failed to establish himself, failed to speak up and that led to a serious misunderstanding. Listen in to learn how to help team members establish themselves in a new team, even when the process might be intimidating at first

Featured Book of the Week: Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

In Antifragile by Taleb, Tilman found a philosophy that helped him organize his life in a way as to be ready for the possible problems that might appear. He also discusses two other books in the featured book of the week segment: How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, and The way of the superior man by David Deida.

About Tilman Rumland

Tilman Rumland is an agile coach, expert speaker, and productivity enthusiast. He just released his new workshop series: “getting shit done that really matters to you”. As a scrum master, he implemented agile structures to agrilution, a small scale vertical farming startup, ranked on the Forbes TOP 100 innovative German Startups. Find Tim at https://agrilution.com.

Mar 4, 2019

Scrum adoption, just like any other process or framework, is not free from troubles. Especially when organizations are already in the middle of a problematic situation.

In this episode, we review several anti-patterns of Scrum adoption, including hierarchic struggles, abusing the Scrum roles to make them just another set of titles, the extreme attention to the Product Owner role, and many others.

About Tilman Rumland

Tilman Rumland is an agile coach, expert speaker, and productivity enthusiast. He just released his new workshop series: “getting shit done that really matters to you”. As a scrum master, he implemented agile structures to agrilution, a small scale vertical farming startup, ranked on the Forbes TOP 100 innovative German Startups. Find Tim at https://agrilution.com.

Mar 1, 2019

When we work in international teams, the cultures team members bring with them become a critical factor in the work of Scrum Masters. How can we help team members with completely different expectations to work together? In this episode, we discuss the contrast between open and closed cultures, and what Scrum Masters need to do to help those different cultures work well together.

 

About Raluca Mitan

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

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

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

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

Feb 28, 2019

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

 

About Raluca Mitan

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

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

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

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

Feb 27, 2019

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

 

About Raluca Mitan

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

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

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

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

Feb 26, 2019

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

Featured Book for the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

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

 

About Raluca Mitan

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

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

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

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

Feb 25, 2019

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

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

 

About Raluca Mitan

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

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

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

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

Feb 23, 2019

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

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

About Jeff Campbell

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

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

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

Feb 22, 2019

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

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

 

About Doug Knesek

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

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

Feb 21, 2019

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

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

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Kata

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

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

 

About Doug Knesek

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

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

Feb 20, 2019

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

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

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

 

About Doug Knesek

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

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

Feb 19, 2019

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

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

Featured Book of the Week: Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

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

 

About Doug Knesek

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

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

Feb 18, 2019

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

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

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

 

About Doug Knesek

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

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

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