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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
Feb 15, 2019

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

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

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

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

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

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 13, 2019

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

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

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

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

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

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

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 11, 2019

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

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

 

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

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

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Feb 9, 2019

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

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

About Bas Vodde

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

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

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

Feb 8, 2019

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

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

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

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

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 7, 2019

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

Featured Retrospective for the Week: Open Discussion

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

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

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

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 6, 2019

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

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

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

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

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

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

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

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 4, 2019

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

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

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

 

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

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

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Feb 1, 2019

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

In this episode, we refer to the UK culture.

 

About Nisha Balwatkar

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

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

Jan 31, 2019

Who to involve when evaluating our success as Scrum Masters? In this episode, we review the critical stakeholders, and how to involve them in our own self-evaluation.

In this episode, we refer to the Niko-Niko Calendar and the Happiness timeline, two of the tools you can you to evaluate your success as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective format for the Week: What was good / bad and what actions should we take?

The Good/Bad/Actions format is a simple, yet effective format. Nisha explains how to facilitate this format in a short time frame and how Scrum Masters can prepare to host the retrospective.

 

About Nisha Balwatkar

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

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

Jan 30, 2019

Nisha likes to start with a plan. But her approach is very adaptive. It is not about following the plan, but about kick-starting the change.

Listen in to learn how she addresses teams and involves them in the change process.

 

About Nisha Balwatkar

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

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

Jan 29, 2019

Teams want to excel at their work. So much so, that sometimes they forget that in order to succeed they need to act. In this episode, we talk about the anti-pattern of endless debate and what Scrum Masters can do to help teams overcome that anti-pattern and move on.

Featured Book of the Week: Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn

In Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn, Nisha found practical advice and concrete examples that helped her in her journey as a Scrum Master. She calls it a good point to start your Scrum Master journey.

 

About Nisha Balwatkar

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

Jan 28, 2019

When Nisha got started she loved the logical thinking required for programming. However, the role of the Scrum Master was much more than that. On top of that, being a Scrum Master and trying to program at the same time brought some serious problems that Nisha had to face. Listen in to learn how you can survive the dual role of being a programmer and a Scrum Master (or not).

 

About Nisha Balwatkar

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

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

Jan 26, 2019

Tim was faced with a problem. How to be a leader without any formal power. All Scrum Masters and Product Owners who have felt the responsibility, but not any “line authority” have faced the same problem. You need to help move the project along, but you can’t tell people what to do!

In this episode we explore the concept of Lateral Leadership how it can help you as a Scrum Master or Product Owner.

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

About Tim Herbig

Tim is a passionate product leader, author and speaker who always aims to enable people so they can build products which make a difference.

Currently responsible for Iridion - the leading conversion management platform which is used by more than 1.500 companies around the world.

Besides that, Tim has a huge passion (and weakness) for third wave coffee, delicious burgers, and triathlon.

You can link with Tim Herbig on LinkedIn and connect with Tim Herbig on Twitter. You learn more about Tim’s work at his website.

Jan 25, 2019

Eddie is a native of Ireland. In this episode, we cover some of the key characteristics of that culture and how it affects teams. As Scrum Masters, we can take advantage of those characteristics to help teams create environments where everyone feels valued.

In this episode we also refer to Eddie’s 3 blogs (yes! Three!):

 

About Eddie Kenny

Eddie is an agile coach who has been working with Agile since 2004 using XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban & Scaled Agile. He coaches teams, scrum masters, product owners, leaders, coaches, organizations and little humans. He likes teaching agile with Lego & games and is also co-founder of the LeanAgileBrighton conference.

You can link with Eddie Kenny on LinkedIn and connect with Eddie Kenny on Twitter.

Jan 24, 2019

When we can help a team get to a point where they can release software “on demand”, that’s when we’ve had an impact on the team and been successful in our role of Scrum Master. But that’s just the end goal. As Scrum Masters there are a lot more issues to consider, and Eddie explores those in this episode.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: What went well / not so well

Eddie is a fan of changing the format of the retrospective often. However, when he needs to go back to a familiar format he prefers the “What went well / no so well” simple Retrospective format.

But beware of the “too many actions” anti-pattern!

 

About Eddie Kenny

Eddie is an agile coach who has been working with Agile since 2004 using XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban & Scaled Agile. He coaches teams, scrum masters, product owners, leaders, coaches, organizations and little humans. He likes teaching agile with Lego & games and is also co-founder of the LeanAgileBrighton conference.

You can link with Eddie Kenny on LinkedIn and connect with Eddie Kenny on Twitter.

Jan 23, 2019

Sometimes Scrum Masters need to work with multiple teams. In this episode, we explore an extreme case. As a Scrum Master, Eddie worked in an environment where there were many teams that he needed to work with. What can we do, how can we help that large group of teams change and evolve? Eddie shares 4 aspects we must consider in those environments.

 

About Eddie Kenny

Eddie is an agile coach who has been working with Agile since 2004 using XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban & Scaled Agile. He coaches teams, scrum masters, product owners, leaders, coaches, organizations and little humans. He likes teaching agile with Lego & games and is also co-founder of the LeanAgileBrighton conference.

You can link with Eddie Kenny on LinkedIn and connect with Eddie Kenny on Twitter.

Jan 22, 2019

In Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Eddie learned about how people tend to think, especially in situations where quick decisions are necessary. And he considers that a key asset for change agents like Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we also mention:

 

About Eddie Kenny

Eddie is an agile coach who has been working with Agile since 2004 using XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban & Scaled Agile. He coaches teams, scrum masters, product owners, leaders, coaches, organizations and little humans. He likes teaching agile with Lego & games and is also co-founder of the LeanAgileBrighton conference.

You can link with Eddie Kenny on LinkedIn and connect with Eddie Kenny on Twitter.

Jan 21, 2019

Often we mix-up software delivery with project management. Those are different activities. Both necessary, but quite different. When we focus on project management only, we often miss critical work that is necessary to ship software. In this episode, we discuss why that difference matters and how to help teams move from project management focus to project management + software delivery focus.

In this episode, we refer to the book Dynamic Reteaming by Heidi Helfand. Heidi Helfand was a guest on a past podcast week.

 

About Eddie Kenny

Eddie is an agile coach who has been working with Agile since 2004 using XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban & Scaled Agile. He coaches teams, scrum masters, product owners, leaders, coaches, organizations and little humans. He likes teaching agile with Lego & games and is also co-founder of the LeanAgileBrighton conference.

You can link with Eddie Kenny on LinkedIn and connect with Eddie Kenny on Twitter.

Jan 18, 2019

Ivo has seen organizations stuck to the Project culture and mix the Scrum Master role with other roles. We discuss what might cause that approach, and discuss how national cultures can affect the way people see the Scrum Master role. We discuss Re-inventing Organizations by Laloux (check this Youtube video about Re-inventing Organizations), and why hiring more people is not enough to help organizations grow.

 

About Ivo Peksens

Ivo is an Agile Coach at heart. He tries to live that role every day. His view is that to be somebody like an Agile Coach is a lifestyle, attitude across everything you do. Ivo has been in IT industry about 20 years and has been a Scrum Master and Agile Coach for the last 5 years.

You can link with Ivo Peksens on LinkedIn and connect with Ivo Peksens on Twitter.

Jan 17, 2019

Success is an endless journey for Scrum Masters, but there are tools that help us assess where we are, and also what are the areas we are already successful in. We discuss a Scrum Master self-assessment tool developed by Luca Minudel and refer to the Learning Guide for the Certified Team Coach program by Scrum Alliance (not freely available).

Featured Retrospective for the Week: Mad/Sad/Glad

The Mad/Sad/Glad retrospective format, inspired by the Core Protocols is a retrospective format that helps the team discuss the issues that are causing emotional reactions. Emotions are often symptoms of other problems the team needs to process, and this format helps address those problems.

We also talk about Kudo Cards from Management 3.0 as a way to help teams increase empathy and energy.

 

About Ivo Peksens

Ivo is an Agile Coach at heart. He tries to live that role every day. His view is that to be somebody like an Agile Coach is a lifestyle, attitude across everything you do. Ivo has been in IT industry about 20 years and has been a Scrum Master and Agile Coach for the last 5 years.

You can link with Ivo Peksens on LinkedIn and connect with Ivo Peksens on Twitter.

Jan 16, 2019

There are situations when advocacy is an effective change management strategy. In this episode, we discuss what are the pre-conditions that allow Scrum Masters to use advocacy. From the signs the organization is ready to tips about how to shape your message, we discuss the approaches that have worked for Ivo in the past.

 

About Ivo Peksens

Ivo is an Agile Coach at heart. He tries to live that role every day. His view is that to be somebody like an Agile Coach is a lifestyle, attitude across everything you do. Ivo has been in IT industry about 20 years and has been a Scrum Master and Agile Coach for the last 5 years.

You can link with Ivo Peksens on LinkedIn and connect with Ivo Peksens on Twitter.

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