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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
May 13, 2019

How we set up teams has a direct impact on their ability to deliver. As Scrum Masters, we should pay attention to the early signs that something is going wrong. In this episode, we discuss the “platform team” anti-pattern, the dependencies that it causes and how we can raise the issue early enough to have an impact.

In this episode, we refer to the Marshmallow experiment blog post by Marcus Hammarberg, a great illustration that quick iteration with the result in mind can be much more effective and efficient for Scrum teams.

About Jeremy Willets

Jeremy Willets is a Technical Writer turned Scrum Master/Agile Coach. He's passionate about bringing Agile to all facets of his organization. He enjoys spending time with his family, making music, and drinking the finest craft beer the world has to offer!

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn and connect with Jeremy Willets on Twitter.

May 12, 2019

When Johanna visited Agile 2017, one of the largest Agile conferences that year, she was disappointed that the main advice people were giving on stage was: “don’t do distributed”. She then met Mark and started sharing her experience on how she had been able to make distributed agile work in her consulting work.

From that disappointment and both Johanna’s and Mark’s experience, a book was born: From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver.

The most important lessons about making Distributed Agile work for your team

When working with distributed teams, it is important to go back to principles, and explore how to apply those in the distributed teams. The practices that you know from co-located teams may not be adequate to distributed Agile teams.

Mark and Johanna shares some of the tips that they’ve seen work to help distributed agile teams. We talk about collaboration in a distributed environment, recruiting as a specific aspect that is different for distributed teams, and we talk about some of the metrics that may help you detect problems in a distributed team, even if you don’t “see” the whole team working like you do in a co-located team.

The biggest difference between co-located and distributed teams

Being apart from each other, oddly, is not the big difference. The big difference we talk about is the “affiliation”, how we feel connected. The aspects that drive or improve the connection between team members are much more important in distributed teams because there’s no space for occasional corridor conversations.

Mark and Johanna share their tips on how to help team members connect with each other, even when they are physically separated.

Tips for distributed team members: health and time off-screen are critical!

Working remotely is also very different for team members individually. It is easier to spend more time on the laptop if you go from working on the screen, to having a meeting on the same screen! When you are in an office, you will get up and walk more often. We talk about scheduling some exercise in your day and other tips that make life better for the individuals in a distributed team.

The most important Scrum Master tasks when working with distributed teams

As you would expect, the work of Scrum Masters also changes significantly for remote teams. We talk about the work agreements that are even more critical for distributed teams, as well as other practices and tools that distributed Scrum Masters must adopt when working with remote teams.

About Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” provides frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams see problems and resolve risks and manage their product development. Johanna is the author of fourteen books and hundreds of articles. Find the Pragmatic Manager, a monthly email newsletter, and her blogs at jrothman.com and createadaptablelife.com

As an agile coach, Mark Kilby has cultivated more distributed and dispersed teams than collocated teams. He’s coached as a consultant, an internal coach, and as a facilitator of distributed professional communities. His easy-going style helps teams learn to collaborate and discover their path to success and sustainability.

See markkilby.com for his blog and articles.

You can find Johanna’s and Mark’s book on Amazon and LeanPub.

May 10, 2019

New question! In this episode, we introduce a new question: examples of Product Owner anti-patterns, and examples of great Product Owners. We often get asked about what is a good Product Owner, and how to define the role so that success becomes clear. In this new series of TGIF questions we explore the role, and success of great Product Owners.

Elena’s example of a Product Owner anti-pattern is the “Solutionizer despot PO”, a Product Owner that always has the solution and replaces the team’s own thinking by proposing detailed solutions.

Elena’s example of a great Product Owner is someone that can bring Vision to the team. Help motivate and direct the team’s thoughts without imposing solutions.

Learn from Elena about how to tackle the anti-pattern, but also how to learn from the great Product Owner example to help your Product Owner succeed. After all, the team’s success depends on the PO’s performance!

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 Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier :)

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

May 9, 2019

A Scrum Master can wear many hats. Specifically, the Scrum Master can be a coach, a mentor and a teacher. All three roles are necessary at different times in our assignments. How do we know which ones to hold? We discuss that in this episode, where we explore Elena’s definition of success for a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective of the Week: What?/So what?/Now what?

Elena found in “Liberating Structures”, a good exercise to help teams reflect on the outcomes, and the necessary changes after a Sprint. In this episode, she shares one facilitation technique that helps facilitate a retrospective even with large teams.

For more on the What? / So what? / Now what? Technique read this blog post.

About Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier :)

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

May 8, 2019

As Agile and Scrum get adopted in more and more organizations, there’s a need to help organizations replace the old coordination mechanisms, like the Program (several projects coordinated via a centralized organization). In this episode, we talk about coordinating at Portfolio level many Scrum teams. We also share the steps to get that implemented at Elena’s company.

About Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier :)

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

 

May 7, 2019

Teams that are motivated, can also find themselves in trouble. This happens, for example, when teams are eager to get started and rush into implementing stories that are not well understood or defined.

In this episode, we talk about the possible pitfalls of being “too” driven, and how we can help teams get ready to start implementing before committing to early.

In this episode, we refer to a tool called “Definition or Ready”, a simple checklist (à lá Definition of Done) that helps teams make sure that they have enough information to get started implementing.

Featured Book for the Week: Emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman

In Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Elena found an explanation and a reminder that humans are not computers. We are emotional creatures. Our emotions drive our behavior as much as anything else.

About Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier :)

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

May 6, 2019

Teams change. It’s a fact. Some team members join, sometimes two teams get merged. That’s the story we talk about today. Elena was facing a challenge. A new team was formed from two previous teams. How to help the team form?

Elena tried several things, including forming the team around a common goal they called “a mission”.

However, forming a team is not an easy task. What have you tried? Listen in to learn what Elena tried, failed, and then learned from this story.

In this episode we talk about Modern Agile, a movement to highlight some aspects of Agile that often get forgotten.

About Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier :)

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

May 4, 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 explain the need for Agile coaching and Scrum Masters

I've worked in teams, and organizations that were "going down the path of Scrum theatre". They pretended to do Scrum.

The problem is I wasn't happy with it. I saw team and PO complaining about "all these meetings", only to find out that management had a whole set of meetings on top of the Scrum meetings to "follow-up". In other words, to have reports in the format they wanted, instead of working within the framework of Scrum.

I tried influencing Management that organization needs Agile/Scrum Coaching, but it was constantly overlooked.

Scrum Masters and their work in coaching teams is a critical support aspect for teams adopting Agile. In this episode, we discuss how we can help the organization understand the value that Agile coaching and Scrum Masters bring to the teams.

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.

May 3, 2019

In this episode, we introduce a new set of questions. Two questions that help us understand some of the most common anti-patterns in the Product Owner role as well what great Product Owners look like.

In this episode, we talk about a Product Owner anti-pattern related to the PO’s relationship with other PO’s in the organization. We discuss the “my Product is the most important” anti-pattern!

The Great Product Owner: When a Product Owner is able to bring in the business perspective and trust the team to find out what’s the best possible technical solution.

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 Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

May 2, 2019

When we join a new team, there’s a set of things we should look for in order to know what the team needs help with. In this episode, we talk about what to look out for when joining a team, to ensure that we know what requires our focus. We discuss a set of critical questions every Scrum Master should ask from themselves.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Speedboat Retrospective

Catrine likes this format because it helps move the conversation from complaining to taking action. Listen in to learn how to apply this format in practice and help the team focus on positive action that brings improvement.

About Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

May 1, 2019

When the organizations we work with need to adapt, sometimes that means changing the team composition. In this episode, we talk about a project that required the teams to re-organize and find a new way to collaborate. We discuss the impact of distribution on team formation and dive deep into a process of self-selection: when teams create themselves by allowing team members to find the right group to contribute to a mission.

About Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

Apr 30, 2019

In some teams, the division of work leads to having people who are the “heroes” for some part of the product. This siloing of expertise leads to many anti-patterns, and as Scrum Masters we must be aware of those, and be ready to act and help teams overcome the problems that come with this “hero” anti-pattern.

In this episode we talk about #MobProgramming and the Promiscuous Pairing paper by Arlo Belshee (PDF download).

Featured Book of the Week: Training from the Back of the Room by Sharon Bowman

The Scrum Master’s work includes training and workshop facilitation. It’s important that we learn how to help people learn in a classroom setting. In Training from the Back of the Room by Sharon Bowman, Catrine found a new way to look at how to organize and facilitate training. Thanks to that book Caterine changed how she hosts/facilitates training and workshops for teams and stakeholders.

About Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

Apr 29, 2019

As we work with several teams, it is impossible to avoid working with team members that just don’t have good chemistry. As Scrum Masters, we should be ready for when that happens! In this episode, we talk about a particular incompatibility between team members and reflect on how to handle this type of conflicts.

About Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

Apr 28, 2019

The financial processes of companies can defeat their own efforts to become more agile. It’s simply impossible for an organization to be adaptable if their project processes require all projects to be specified up-front and funded months ahead of their starting date.

Tackling the financial process changes in our organizations is one of the make-or-break aspects of helping organizations become Agile and adaptable.

In this episode, we talk about Lean and Agile Financial Planning (PDF article download), an approach that tries to adopt Agile and Lean thinking in the funding and financial processes of an organization.

The reason why Lean and Agile Financial planning is a core aspect of Agile transformation in enterprises

Both Maarit and Rami have worked at Nokia mobile phones when the software and hardware giant was trying to move towards an agile way of working.

Rami was a financial controller and as such responsible for some of the financial decision and follow-up processes in the organization. While working with Maarit, they recognized that the existing financial processes were not going to help their aim of making Nokia a more agile organization. They needed a new approach.

The approach they devised helped fund the work without considering the detailed content of the work (detailed scope). Decoupling the funding of work, from the content/scope discussion was one of the major changes that Lean and Agile Financial Planning brought about. But there were more, and we talk through those in this episode.

Projects and the Project construct may be inadequate for our current economic and business environment

The traditional funding processes for work in organizations borrow heavily from the Project Management community’s work on governance. However, that may be now inadequate because of the competitive pressure and constant changes we see in the market. Nokia itself is a great example of how, when you fail to adapt quickly, the market may completely destroy the company.

In Agile organizations we do continuous development. We continuously explore the needs of customers, develop and deliver software to production. This quick pace of development has left the old funding processes behind and shown that those approaches are now inadequate.

For organizations to thrive in the software-driven business environment we are in, we need be intimately familiar with how software is developed, and how flexible and quick to adapt it can be. Once we understand that, the need for a new funding mechanism becomes obvious. In this episode, we talk about the process of recognizing if you are negatively impacted by slow funding processes and what you can do to start the change you need in the software-driven business environment.

Agile for the Enterprise is not about frameworks, but a complete re-think of the management processes

Maarit Laanti, co-author of Lean and Agile Financial Planning is also the author of an upcoming book on Agile Portfolio Management. This book starts from her understanding that the old management paradigms are no longer adequate for software organizations.

It is a book about how companies can, not only survive, but benefit from the digital disruption that is affecting them.

About Maarit Laanti and Rami Sirkiä

Maarit Laanti belongs to a handful of pioneers on large-scale agile transformations. Her PhD titled as "Agile Methods in Large-scale Software development applicability and model for use” is the world’s first PhD on agile in large-scale – published in January 2013.

Her work at Nokia smartphones and in Nokia Mobile Phones, which largely influenced on Scaled Agile Framework.

In 2013 she founded a company named Nitor Delta, a large-scale Lean and agile transformation, coaching and consulting firm that has grown from one person to 16 people, Currently, Maarit Laanti is working on a book on Agile Portfolio Management.

Rami Sirkiä is the creator of the Lean-Agile Budgeting of Scaled Agile Framework (2013). Speaker at multiple seminars and events on modern finance function in agile world.

Rami is an Experienced Lean-Agile and SAFe transformation coach and the creator of the Lean-Agile Financial planning approach together with Maarit.  

Apr 27, 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 do we help teams focus on technical excellence?

A while ago I wrote a post about #MyCoreOfAgile when I was visting the Agile community in Torino.

I've thought about this a while and think that the way we work, both process and technical excellence are key to the Agility we can achieve as teams. For me, XP practices (test automation, pair programming, continuous integration, etc.) are a key part of what it means to be Agile in software development.

Many teams out there just adopt Scrum (the practices) and forget the technical practices. How do we get our teams to care about software craftsmanship and technical practices that foster agility?

This is the question we tackle with Jeff in this Q&A episode.

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.

Apr 26, 2019

This week we start a new Friday question. We explore examples of Product Owner anti-patterns as well as great product owner practices and examples.

Kristopher shares a story of how a Product Owner’s personality can derail a team, and sometimes, even an organization.

We end the week by talking about examples of practices that a good Product Owner can have, and how to help the Product Owner take on those practices.

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 Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

Apr 25, 2019

The hours people put in are a good indicator of the success of the Scrum Master. Are your teams working long hours? Putting in crunch weeks and then laying back for a while? Those are signs that something isn’t working as it should. Scrum and Agile are about sustainable, continuous progress towards our goal.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: What’s going well and how can we make it better?

Starting the retrospective with the team by sharing Kudos (appreciations) can energize and team and get them in the mood to improve their practices. The “what’s going well, and how can we make it better” retrospective format, takes the energy from the Kudos check-in and turns up the good by focusing the teams on how they can continue to build on what’s already working.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

Apr 24, 2019

Teams can get carried away with the practices of Scrum and continue to follow them blindly, even when they are not getting the value they want out of those practices. In this episode, we tackle the need for the team to own the process, and take over changing it to meet their needs. Kristopher shares a technique that can help the team learn what it means, and effectively own their process.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

Apr 23, 2019

The interaction between teams and Product Owner is one of the most critical in Scrum. Sometimes teams forget that the PO must be involved in the decisions they make every day. Decisions such as prioritisation, technical / functionality trade-offs, etc. If teams start making those decisions without PO involvement they endanger the success of the product. How can Scrum Masters help the teams involve the PO in the right decisions? That’s what we tackle in this episode.

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 of the Week: User Stories Applied, by Mike Cohn

In the User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn, Kristopher found a good, practical guide to help teams learn how to use User Stories to their advantage, especially to take in the customer/user point of view.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

Apr 22, 2019

When working with remote teams we must be aware that the number of meetings can easily balloon up because the team does not meet in the corridor. As Scrum Master, we must help remote teams find workarounds for the calendar-driven, meeting-inflated anti-pattern for remote teams.

In this episode, we discuss how a Scrum Master can help a team find the right balance between meetings and ad-hoc interaction even when remote.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

Apr 20, 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.

Helping teams and managers adopt self-organization as a way to improve the team’s impact

 

The topic of self-organization comes up over and over again. The teams benefit from it because it helps them solve problems faster, help each other without the burden of having someone else "approve" what they need to do.

But self-organization is not always seen as a "good thing" by management. The common sense phrase I often hear is: "if everybody is in charge, no one is in charge".

In this Q&A episode with Jeff Campbell, we explore what are some of the reasons managers may be skeptic of self-organization.

We also explore ways to present the benefits and help all involved to slowly move to a way of working that allows the teams to solve their problems. Without having to wait for someone to come in and “save them”.

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.

 

Apr 19, 2019

Varun shares the contrasts between his home culture (India) and the country where he works now (Australia). We discuss some of the key differences, and how people moving between those 2 cultures can learn from each and help teams collaborate. As expectations are different, the collaboration between teams in those 2 cultures will not be easy.

In this episode, we talk about Brook’s law, and the book Death March, a book by Edward Yourdon about surviving “doomed” projects.

About Varun Maheshwari

Varun is a Scrum Master and agile practitioner in Australia. He believes in “being agile” rather than “doing agile”. For him, Agile frameworks are not the goal, but rather "Delighting customers, Zero Defects, Quick ROI, Better team work, Excellent Quality & Shortest ‘Time to Market’" are some of the possible goals.

You can link with Varun Maheshwari on LinkedIn.

Apr 18, 2019

Scrum Master success is not only about the team, but also about the Product Owner. When we want to help Scrum teams, we should check how the interaction with the Product Owner works, and how to help the team and Product Owner collaborate effectively.

Helping Product Owners also means focusing on the business side of our work and defining together the critical business metrics for the PO and 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 Retrospective for the Week: Conversations as retrospectives

Sometimes retrospectives are simple moments in time where team members have important conversations with each other. Instead of waiting for a retrospective event, Scrum Masters should encourage those conversations every day. In this episode, we also talk about how to help distributed teams hold regular, even daily retrospectives.

About Varun Maheshwari

Varun is a Scrum Master and agile practitioner in Australia. He believes in “being agile” rather than “doing agile”. For him, Agile frameworks are not the goal, but rather "Delighting customers, Zero Defects, Quick ROI, Better team work, Excellent Quality & Shortest ‘Time to Market’" are some of the possible goals.

You can link with Varun Maheshwari on LinkedIn.

Apr 17, 2019

Digital transformations are a dime a dozen at this time. Many organizations are going through a transformation of business model, not just adding IT to an old business model. However, digital transformations are not only about business models, but also about ways of working. In this episode, we talk about the change process inherent to digital transformations, and how Scrum Masters can help teams survive the big change we call Enterprise Agile Adoption.

About Varun Maheshwari

Varun is a Scrum Master and agile practitioner in Australia. He believes in “being agile” rather than “doing agile”. For him, Agile frameworks are not the goal, but rather "Delighting customers, Zero Defects, Quick ROI, Better team work, Excellent Quality & Shortest ‘Time to Market’" are some of the possible goals.

You can link with Varun Maheshwari on LinkedIn.

Apr 16, 2019

Sometimes teams enter the “reporting” anti-pattern. Teams exhibiting this anti-pattern are focused on just describing what they have done, but spend little time discussing the value or the reasons why that work is important. In the end, the daily meeting is the engine of collaboration, and as Scrum Masters we need to focus on collaboration more than status reporting. In this episode we discuss how we can help teams move from reporting to collaboration.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Product Ownership by Robert Galen

Scrum Product Ownership by Robert Galen is a book with practical advice, real-world tactics, and stories to help understand and shape the Product Owner role. The book is full of ideas that focus on helping the Team and the PO deliver on the promise of Scrum.

About Varun Maheshwari

Varun is a Scrum Master and agile practitioner in Australia. He believes in “being agile” rather than “doing agile”. For him, Agile frameworks are not the goal, but rather "Delighting customers, Zero Defects, Quick ROI, Better team work, Excellent Quality & Shortest ‘Time to Market’" are some of the possible goals.

You can link with Varun Maheshwari on LinkedIn.

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