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Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

Every week day, Certified Scrum Master, Agile Coach and Business Consultant Vasco Duarte interviews Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches from all over the world to get you actionable advice, new tips and tricks, improve your craft as a Scrum Master with daily doses of inspiring conversations with Scrum Masters from the all over the world. Stay tuned for BONUS episodes when we interview Agile gurus and other thought leaders in the business space to bring you the Agile Business perspective you need to succeed as a Scrum Master. Some of the topics we discuss include: Agile Business, Agile Strategy, Retrospectives, Team motivation, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Backlog Refinement, Scaling Scrum, Lean Startup, Test Driven Development (TDD), Behavior Driven Development (BDD), Paper Prototyping, QA in Scrum, the role of agile managers, servant leadership, agile coaching, and more!
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Now displaying: 2019
Jul 18, 2019

Isaac focuses on the team’s self-image as a way to reflect on his success as a Scrum Master. For that he uses a survey-style NPS questionnaire where he asks the team members how likely they are to ask other people to join their team. 

A simple approach that was discussed in a previous episode with Jeff Kosciejew, and explained further in a blog post by Jason Little

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Tools for dynamic retrospectives

For Isaac, Agile Retrospectives are not only about finding the next improvement actions. They are also about building a team spirit that carries the team forward into the next sprint in a state of energized motivation. In this segment, we talk about many tools that you can use to keep your Agile Retrospectives fresh and high-energy. We refer to Retromat.org and Tastycupcakes.org, two sites that you can use to find formats that work in your team and your organization.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

About Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

You can link with Isaac Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Isaac Garcia on Twitter

Jul 17, 2019

It is a scary change, when Scrum Masters must go from focusing on the team to focusing on the organization. However, this is something that most Scrum Masters will have to face in their career. 

In this episode with Isaac Garcia, we learn about the circles of influence that help us understand what we can influence (and what we can’t); we discuss Causal Loop Diagram, a tool to understand organizational dynamics that affect our teams; and the ideas behind “flow”, a way to view organizations that focuses on allowing the teams to find their performance levels. 

In this episode, we refer to the book The Goal, by Goldratt

For more on Causal Loop Diagrams and their use for Scrum Masters, check this episode with Antti Tevanlina where we explore how you can use CLD’s to understand the causes of the problems affecting the 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

About Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

You can link with Isaac Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Isaac Garcia on Twitter

Jul 16, 2019

When Isaac joined this team, he encountered a team that had failed to deliver and was low on motivation. Isaac focused on helping the team find their motivation, organized a kick-off to get the team to come together around a goal, and a common vision, only to see management remove people from an already overwhelmed team… What should a Scrum Master do when that happens? We discuss that, and critical lessons learned about what we can influence (or not) as Scrum Masters. 

In this episode, we refer to the circles of influence, a tool to help Scrum Masters focus on what they can influence and accept what they can’t.

Featured Book for the Week: The Phoenix Project

In The Phoenix Project, Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford chronicle the story of a company that is on the brink. They walk the reader through the process of understanding what is holding the organization back, and what the hero of the story will learn to help turn the company around.

For Isaac, this is a book that teaches important techniques and helps Scrum Masters make a difference in their place of work.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

About Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

You can link with Isaac Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Isaac Garcia on Twitter

Jul 15, 2019

As Scrum Master, we are constantly paying attention to the team’s performance, and what can be done to help them progress. However, in some cases, the problems are beyond the Scrum Master’s reach. In this episode, we talk about the case when the Scrum Master must face the fact that the team just isn’t up to the task they have. What should a Scrum Master do in those cases? Listen in to learn about such a case, and the hard lesson Isaac learned about helping teams and their organizations when the team just aren’t up to the task.

In this episode, we refer to the book Coaching Agile Teams, by Lyssa Adkins.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

About Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

You can link with Isaac Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Isaac Garcia on Twitter

Jul 12, 2019

In this episode, we talk about the Product Owner role as a leadership role and explore the possible anti-patterns that emerge when the PO takes on a micro-management approach to his work.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

The Great Product Owner: The Product Owner as a leadership role

Gilson starts us off with a quote by Marty Cagan: “the team can only be as good as the Product Owner”. After that we talk about how teams and Product Owners can collaborate better. From the daily meeting to the goals/responsibilities of the Product Owner. Finally we talk about the Product Owner role as a leadership role.

The Bad Product Owner: The micro-managing Product Owner

The Product Owner role is a critical role for Scrum. When we can’t get the right people, and the right mindset for the person in that role, we often face big problems. In this episode, we talk about the Product Owner that was also a micro-manager, and how that affects the team, leading to a host of anti-patterns.

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Gilson Souza

Gilson has worked with Scrum for over ten years, first as a software engineer, then taking in both roles of Scrum Master and Developer and currently 100% dedicated as Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, he truly believes in empowered and self-organizing teams and works inside and outside of the team to achieve it.

You can link with Gilson Souza on LinkedIn and connect with Gilson Souza on Twitter.

Jul 11, 2019

Scrum Masters have the unusually hard task of helping others succeed. That’s something we must take into account when we look at our own success in the role of the Scrum Master. In this episode, we talk about practical things we must do to help teams, and discuss the signals that tell us in advance if the team is progressing.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Powerful Check-in Exercises

When a Retrospective starts, Scrum Masters face the challenge that team members are thinking of the million different things that happened recently, and probably in a hurry to get home or to the next work item. In those cases, it is critical to have a powerful check-in exercise that will help bring the team members to the right state of mind and focus for the Retrospective to have an impact.

In this segment, we talk about the importance of check-in exercises, and how to prepare exercises that generate insights, therefore providing already critical input for the Retrospective.

About Gilson Souza

Gilson has worked with Scrum for over ten years, first as a software engineer, then taking in both roles of Scrum Master and Developer and currently 100% dedicated as Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, he truly believes in empowered and self-organizing teams and works inside and outside of the team to achieve it.

You can link with Gilson Souza on LinkedIn and connect with Gilson Souza on Twitter.

 

Jul 10, 2019

It’s common to hear the “build a guiding coalition for change” mantra. It is part of a famous change management model (The Kotter 8-step change model), and a practical tip that we all can benefit from. However, how is that done in practice? In this episode, we talk about an Agile transformation at a large, distributed organization and how Gilson and others were able to build that guiding coalition for change.

In this episode, we also refer to the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.


About Gilson Souza

Gilson has worked with Scrum for over ten years, first as a software engineer, then taking in both roles of Scrum Master and Developer and currently 100% dedicated as Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, he truly believes in empowered and self-organizing teams and works inside and outside of the team to achieve it.

You can link with Gilson Souza on LinkedIn and connect with Gilson Souza on Twitter.

Jul 9, 2019

We often talk about cross-functional teams on the podcast. We talk about the advantages when it comes to flow, and getting things done quicker. However, there are pitfalls we should be aware of. One of the pitfalls is when the team members in a team start to “cluster” and become like sub-teams inside the team. As Scrum Master, we must be aware of this possible anti-pattern and ready to tackle it quickly. Listen in to learn how Gilson detected and countered the sub-team anti-pattern.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

Featured Book for the Week: Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins

In Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, Gilson found an out-of-the-box explanation for the Scrum Master role that helped him get out of the traditional task-driven, project manager-like role that many Scrum Masters still take.

In this segment, we also mention the book Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan.

About Gilson Souza

Gilson has worked with Scrum for over ten years, first as a software engineer, then taking in both roles of Scrum Master and Developer and currently 100% dedicated as Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, he truly believes in empowered and self-organizing teams and works inside and outside of the team to achieve it.

You can link with Gilson Souza on LinkedIn and connect with Gilson Souza on Twitter.

Jul 8, 2019

As Scrum Masters start their journey they only have the description of Scrum. However, even when a team we work with “does” all of the Scrum ceremonies, they may be something more important. In this episode, we analyze the case of a team that was “doing” scrum, but when Gilson left, they went back to the previous way of working. As Scrum Masters, we need to learn from those failures. We explore possible causes for this anti-pattern, and tips on how to help teams understand what Scrum really is about.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

About Gilson Souza

Gilson has worked with Scrum for over ten years, first as a software engineer, then taking in both roles of Scrum Master and Developer and currently 100% dedicated as Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, he truly believes in empowered and self-organizing teams and works inside and outside of the team to achieve it.

You can link with Gilson Souza on LinkedIn and connect with Gilson Souza on Twitter.

Jul 5, 2019

This week we share simple, yet effective Product Owner patterns and discuss the anti-pattern that can emerge when the PO is also the team manager.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

The Great Product Owner: simple patterns with a great impact

Great Product Owners have a strong identification with the product. They can say “no” to certain ideas, but above all, they see themselves as much more than owners of a list we call Product Backlog.

These are just some of the good patterns great Product Owners exhibit, but there are more. Listen in to find out what are the other good patterns David has found in highly effective Product Owners.

The Bad Product Owner: The Product Owner that was also the team manager

Many of the Product Owner anti-patterns come from the role they play in the organization. In this segment, we talk about the Product Owner that was also a team manager, and how those two roles can become a source for problems when they are held by the same person.

In this segment, we refer to Product Mastery, by Geoff Watts. Geoff has been on the podcast before to talk about great Scrum Masters and Product Owners. We also refer to the book by Bob Galen: Scrum Product Ownership: Balancing Value from the Inside Out.

 

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility.

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter.

Jul 4, 2019

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website. 

Is your team more like a Golf team or a Hockey team? That’s one of the questions David asks himself when assessing his impact as a Scrum Master. Checking the Scrum Guide, for a list of responsibilities may also be a good way to get started assessing your success as a Scrum Master, but don’t forget to adapt to the local reality, a core idea of Agile that also applies to the Scrum Master work.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Starfish Retrospective

The Starfish retrospective is a format that David finds leads more often to concrete actions, the final goal of a retrospective. In this segment, we also talk about the importance of having many formats in your toolbox, so that the retrospectives don’t get boring and stop delivering results.

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility.

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter.

 

Jul 3, 2019

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

There’s often a misconception in certain organizations that Agile is just shorter waterfall projects. That’s very far from reality. In this episode, we talk about how David’s team showed - by example - the power of an agile way of working, and how that inspired other teams to change.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility.

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter.

Jul 2, 2019

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

When everything is going well, and there’s little to no feedback, the experiment Scrum Master should be a skeptic. Feedback is the fuel for great Agile teams. in this episode, we talk about the big problems that can emerge when the team forgets to collect feedback during 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.

Featured Book for the Week: The people’s Scrum

In The People’s Scrum by Tobias Mayer, David found a book that helped him reflect on the role of the Scrum Master, and change some of these ideas.

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility.

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter.

 

Jul 1, 2019

Having a project management background is a good experience for Scrum Masters, however, it can also be a problem. In this episode, we talk about the possible anti-patterns that come with a project management background and how to avoid them in your role 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.

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility.

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter.

Jun 28, 2019

This week we talk about the dictator Product Owner and the Product Owner that enables his team by helping them set clear and understandable goals.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

The Product Owner Anti-pattern for the week: The mistrusting dictator anti-pattern

Trust between the Product Owner and the team is critical. When there’s a lack of trust, the PO is tempted to control instead of listening to the team. As Scrum Masters, we must look out for the signs that there’s no trust between PO and team, and act on it.

The Great PO pattern for the week: Focusing on clear and understandable goals

There are many things that great Product Owners do, but one of the most relevant is to set clear, and understandable goals for the team. In Great Product Owner segment, we talk about goals and collaboration. We also talk about how Great Product Owners distribute decisions to the team and rely on the team to help them in their work.

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Jun 27, 2019

Long suggests that Scrum Masters collect feedback from the team to assess their success. The method he suggests is the team NPS: “How likely are the team members to recommend that others join the team?” We also talk about how it is important to measure and reflect to reach a successful outcome for our work as Scrum Masters.

In this Article, you can read how Jason Little (a previous guest on the podcast) used the NPS survey to evaluate his own work.

In a previous episode with Jeff Kosciejew we also reviewed the use of NPS for Scrum Master performance self-evaluation.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

Featured Retrospective format of the Week: Liberating Structures

Retrospectives follow a specific set of activities, from the check-in to get everybody focused and in the mood to reflect, to the data gathering. These activities can be organized in many ways. In this episode, we talk about Liberating Structures, a set of activities that you can use in any of the steps of the retrospective.

About Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

 

Jun 26, 2019

Change can happen at any time, it does not need to be large or involve many teams. As Scrum Masters, we help the teams change continuously. In this episode, we talk about a change of perspective in a Product Owner team that led to positive changes and create a collaborative environment. We also talk about what was the role of the Scrum Master when it comes to helping change happen in that 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

About Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Jun 25, 2019

Although Scrum was developed in a software environment, the fact is that Scrum can be applied to many different types of teams. In this episode, we learn about how Long applied Scrum in a marketing team, and the anti-patterns he had to face in that environment.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website

Featured Book for the Week: Lean Startup by Eric Ries

If you got started with Scrum and then discovered Lean Startup, you probably found it to be in line with what you had practiced before. However, Long discovered the Lean Startup book by Eric Ries before learning Scrum, and it reshaped his thinking about what is possible.

About Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Jun 24, 2019

Having helped a team reach a high-level of performance, it is easy to think that the team will continue to perform for a long time. In this episode, we explore how a team change (a new Product Owner) can reverse a positive trend, and impact the team’s performance. Listen in to learn why that happened, and how you can prevent it from happening to your 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.

About Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Jun 21, 2019

This week, the discussion about the Product Owner role is all about collaboration with the 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.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

With two guests this week, we also cover 2 examples of a good Product Owner. Firstly, we talk about the importance of bringing information and data to the team to help them understand and be part of the decision making for the product.

Secondly, we talk about the need for Product Owners to allow the team to give their input, and be heard when it comes to product decisions. Great Product Owners allow their teams to contribute their own ideas and therefore feel invested in the success of the product.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

The two anti-patterns we discuss this week are related to the collaboration (or lack thereof) between the team and Product Owner.

The first anti-pattern is about the Product Owner that was an outside “customer” (from another department) to the team. When that happens, there’s the temptation to let the PO lead, and not challenge them. Collaboration happens when the PO brings their view, listens, and then makes decisions together with the team.

The second anti-pattern is about the Product Owner as an expert. When the PO is an expert, they might feel they have to bring in all the answers, and therefore make it more difficult for the team to feel ownership and contribute to the product. It can also happen that the PO becomes a micro-manager. All signs to look out for.

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

Jun 20, 2019

Scrum Master’s success is dependent on the team’s approach to solving their own problems. In this episode, we talk about how teams that take ownership of the process, make decisions on their own and find their own incremental improvements are a sign of a successful Scrum Master. But how do we get there? In the episode, we talk about tools that help Scrum Masters succeed.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Wow, Wandering, Worried. Artifacts, events, roles

Joe and Katy share with us two retrospective formats. First, we discuss “Wow, Wandering, Worried. Artifacts, events, roles”, a format that turns the team’s attention to the items, or things they want to improve.

The second agile retrospective format is the “Picture retrospective” (example: The Sailboat Retrospective exercise). In this segment, we specifically talk about the use of pictures or drawings as check-in as well as data gathering and decision exercises.

About Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

Jun 19, 2019

Sometimes, new teams are formed where some team members still have “legacy” tasks in their to-do lists. When that happens, it is the responsibility of the team (with the help of the Scrum Master) to figure out how to handle that work. There are many options to handle that situation. What is not ok is to let it grow, and spiral out of control. Teams own tasks, not individuals, therefore the Scrum Masters should help the team understand that legacy tasks are a team issue, not a personal issue.

In this episode, we refer to the concept of T-Shaped skillsets for individuals, and the Agile Retrospective format called “pre-mortem”.

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

About Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

Jun 18, 2019

A common anti-pattern Scrum Masters encounter in their teams is the inability to say “No!” This becomes an especially impactful anti-pattern when the team is unable to say “No!” to the Product Owner. When that happens we run the risk of allowing the team to ver overwhelmed, and eventually decrease the quality of their work.

In this episode, we discuss that anti-pattern and how Scrum Masters can help Product Owners and teams to avoid that from becoming destructive for the team.

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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.

Featured Book for the Week: Scrum: the art of doing twice the work, in half the time by Sutherland & Unmarketing, Scott Stratten

This week we have a tag team for guests and therefore we have two books to discuss. Katy recommends Scrum: the art of doing twice the work, in half the time by Jeff Sutherland.

That book helped Katy understand better her role as a Scrum Master.

Joe takes a different approach and recommends a book that is not about Scrum or Agile: Unmarketing - stop marketing, start engaging by Scott Stratten. This book helped Joe understand better the team he is working with, which is a marketing team.

In this episode, we also refer to Who the Hell Wants to Work for You?: Mastering Employee Engagement by Tim Eisenhauer and Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators by Patrick Lencioni, a follow-up to a regular recommendation on the podcast: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

About Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

Jun 17, 2019

When we want to help the teams we work with, sometimes we go too far. In this episode, we share a story of a Scrum Master that did just that, only to find out that it is critical that the teams take ownership over the solutions they choose to implement. No matter how much experience we have, as Scrum Masters, it is ultimately the team that needs to improve and live with their choices.

About Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

Jun 16, 2019

There’s many insights to be had from looking at how Startups and Lean Product businesses develop software and bring products to the market. In this BONUS episode with Ash Maurya we learn about Lean Product Development from the author of Running Lean, one of the first published books around Lead Product Development.

Developing a book, the Lean way

When Ash got started he was not a famous author. He started a blog. By publishing his ideas on that blog and collecting feedback he understood the importance of the ideas that he was sharing and ultimately wrote his book: Running Lean: ITERATE FROM PLAN A TO A PLAN THAT WORKS.

In the blog, he shared his learnings from trying and failing at product development. From those blog posts came a book, but also a new tool, the Lean Canvas.

Lean Canvas, a better business modeling tool

The Lean Canvas came from Ash’s own experience and learning when trying to define, design and launch products and new businesses.

Lean Canvas is a 1-page business plan template that helps product developers come up with the key ideas or assumptions on which their business and product depend on. Ash adapted the Lean Canvas to improve the Business Model Canvas, developed by Alex Osterwalder. The Lean Canvas replaces elaborate business plans with a single page business model.

Lean Product Development: Agile made real

Lean Product Development is about iterating your product and business idea over time. From plan A to a plan that works, as Ash puts it. In that aspect, Lean Product Development became the embodiment of the original Agile idea of iterative development. We can argue that Lean Product Development continued what Agile started, but failed to realize: applying Agile as a philosophy of business and to all aspects of business, not just the software development process.

How Ash followed his own advice: Lean Stack, a Lean Product company

It is particularly fitting that Ash followed his own advice and applied his ideas to developing his own business. Lean Stack is a company that Ash created to market a Lean Canvas tool as well as to serve as the “home” to develop many more Lean Product Development tools. In this episode, we discuss some of those tools, but you can find many more at Lean Stack, which has a free trial for you to get familiar and learn about Lean Canvas.

Going beyond Running Lean, the book: Scaling Lean

Later on, a few years after publishing Running Lean, Ash wrote and published Scaling Lean, where he collects new tools and solutions to the most common problems he’s seen in the field when applying Lean Product Development. In that book he specifically discusses Lean metrics, and how to communicate ideas using leading metrics, not trailing metrics.

We discuss why “revenue” is not a good metric for Product Development (even if it is a critical metric, albeit “lagging”).

In this segment, we also learn about Ash’s new book the upcoming book on Product Discovery where he introduces new tools such as the Customer Forces, a new canvas for Lean Product companies to use when developing their products.

Resources for further study

For those interested in learning more about Lean Product Development, Ash recommends the Lean Analytics and Lean Customer Development books, which explore specific aspects of Lean Product Development not discussed in the Running Lean or Scaling Lean books.

About Ash Maurya

Ash Maurya, is a serial entrepreneur and author of the startup cult classic Running Lean, pairs real-world examples of startups like Airbnb and Hubspot with techniques from the manufacturing world in this tactical handbook for scaling with maximum efficiency and efficacy. This is vital reading for any startup founder graduating from the incubator stage and product developers working for growth businesses.

You can find more about Ash Maurya at LeanStack.com where you can also find a free trial for the Lean Stack product.

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