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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: April, 2020
Apr 30, 2020

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

A motivated and happy team is a symptom of the Scrum Master’s work. In this episode, we look at what makes teams happy and helps them find their motivation. We also discuss metrics and discuss how to assess the team’s adaptability.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: personal activities to activate participants

Many Scrum Masters experience a lack of engagement from their team members. It is as if team members are not “into” the retrospective. Saritha also faced that situation, and she came up with a recipe that helps her create a space where team members feel motivated and engaged with the retrospective. 

 

About Saritha Rai

Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables.

You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.

Apr 29, 2020

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

Many Scrum Masters are familiar with the anti-pattern where managers want to “own” the team and are very directive. To the point of telling team members what they can, or should not work on. In this episode, we talk about how those managers can also find value in Agile approaches. Saritha shares a story about personal transformation in a waterfall organization that wanted to go Agile.

 

About Saritha Rai

Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables.

You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.

Apr 28, 2020

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

Communication is a common “failure” domain for teams. We often hear that communication wasn’t “good enough”, or that it failed. In this episode, we explore some of the possible reasons for those failures, and Saritha shares her story of improving communication in a scaled Agile environment by using the “Mega Standup” tool, which she defines in this episode. 

In this episode, we refer to the concept of the “Obeya Room”, borrowed from the book Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker.

Featured Book of the Week: Mindset by Carol Dweck

In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, Saritha found the inspiration for focusing on mindset. The book also helped Saritha with designing her retrospectives to help teams focus on their success. In this segment, Saritha also shares a few tips on how to help your teams change their attitude towards the challenges they face. 

About Saritha Rai

Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables.

You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.

Apr 27, 2020

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 transition from Waterfall to Agile is always a difficult one. In this episode, we explore a transformation story with Saritha and learn about the different anti-patterns we can expect when we face a similar story ourselves. We also dive into why retrospectives are so important in similar transformations.

 

About Saritha Rai

Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables.

You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.

Apr 25, 2020

This is a BONUS episode on the topic of #NoEstimates. The Agile Wire podcast hosts Jeff Bubolz and Jeff Maleski interview Vasco Duarte.

Some of you might have heard about #NoEstimates, and want to know more, and for others, it might be the first time you hear about it. Either way, in this episode we talk about the origins of #NoEstimates and why you may want to consider it when helping your teams. 

This is a shared episode with a fellow Agile podcast The Agile Wire, where hosts Jeff Maleski and Jeff Bubolz interview Agile practitioners. Both Jeff Maleski and Jeff Bubolz have been guests here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast.

 

About Jeff Bubolz and Jeff Maleski

Jeff Bubolz is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

 

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

 

Jeff Maleski is passionate about working with and building up both individuals and teams using ideas from Jurgen Appelo’s Management 3.0 and Dan Pink’s Drive. When leading project teams, Jeff strives for empirical based planning and forecasting, continuous learning, and delivering high quality software products that exceed expectations. Jeff believes in leading by actions and focusing on building relationships with others.

 

You can link with Jeff Maleski on LinkedIn.




Apr 18, 2020

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 Cosima Laube

Cosima is a co-author of the Agile Short Stories book: Change Willingness and Change Capacity and an international speaker on the topics related to Agile. She is a product and people’s coach with Agile-Living.com and Respectandadapt.rocks.

You can link with Cosima Laube on LinkedIn and connect with Cosima Laube on Twitter.

Apr 17, 2020

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 Ex-Developer with a focus on Outcomes

Great Product Owners are often good at communicating, and this example is no exception. However, there are some aspects that make good communicators even better at Product Owner: being available and able to understand the type of questions that developers and testers have when implementing their ideas.

In this segment, we talk about the ex-developer PO that was much more focused on the goals of what was being done, but was also able to speak the language of developers.

The Bad Product Owner: The Task Master

Imagine a PO that goes into a team meeting, and spends their time focused on the tasks. What was done, what was not done and why? The blame game is a sure consequence of that attitude. In this episode, we talk about the task-focus some PO’s have and how that hinders the team’s ability to deliver a valuable increment of their product.

 

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 George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Apr 16, 2020

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 the team feels pressure from the outside, the behavior of the people on the team changes. At first, it might be simple things, like being late or forgetting to get back to a team member, but later those problems may escalate to full-out conflict. In this segment, we talk about the importance of learning when the team is stressed, and work through those causes for stress as Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we refer to an #AgileOnlineMeetup with Bob Galen where he shares his perspective on how Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches can ensure that their own stress levels are not overwhelming. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simpler is better

George favors a simpler retrospective format for the retrospectives he hosts. In this segment, we explore some of the simpler formats we can use, and why their use matters for the team.

 

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Apr 15, 2020

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 was a team where the team members and the manager did not have a good relationship. George understood this was a problem for the team, and the manger and tried to help them transform their relationship. 

In this episode, we talk about how we can help teams and their managers or stakeholders build a collaborative relationship. 

 

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Apr 14, 2020

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

Team members in many organizations share their time across multiple projects. That brings a lot of problems that are often ignored because “on paper”, the team members can easily share their time between projects. However, as Scrum Masters, we know the reality is very often much harder for those same team members. For example, team members start missing important ceremonies, like planning meetings or are unable to help each other (because they are working part-time in different projects). The multi-project productivity myth is a serious problem, and in this episode, we talk about the consequences and what we can do as Scrum Masters to help our teams survive those difficult situations.

In this episode, we also mention an article about the importance of having one-team, one-goal.

Featured Book of the Week: Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet

In Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet, George Mathews discovered an inspirational book about leadership.
David Marquet has been a guest on the #AgileOnlineMeetup, and you can watch his interview here.

 

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Apr 13, 2020

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 George joined this company, he was told that they were already “pretty agile”. This is usually a sign that somethings are not really working well, and this was no exception. When he joined, George found out this was a project manager-driven organization, where project managers tried to get the work done but wanted to reduce the budget at the same time. The anti-patterns followed, and George learned a few important lessons about being a Scrum Master in a project-driven organization.

In this episode, we refer to the episode with Bas Vodde, where we discuss organizing product development without projects, and the #AgileOnlineMeetup with Bob Galen where we talk about the self-care Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches must take to sustain their work over the long term.

 

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Apr 11, 2020

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 Gene Connolly and Jeff Campbell

Gene Connolly is a Principal Software Developer at Meltwater. He has dedicated his career to improving the quality of life of legacy software systems during their golden years and making the most complex problems he can find slightly less complex.

You can link with Gene Connolly on LinkedIn and connect with Gene Connolly on Twitter

 

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. 

He is the author of actionable agile tools, which you can get on Amazon and directly from the author at bit.ly/aatbook

As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organizations both small and large.

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

You can also learn more about Jeff Campbell’s work at his company’s website.

Apr 10, 2020

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

Using trust as a productivity amplifier, Product Owners can have a huge impact on the team’s performance. We also talk about the missing-in-action Product Owner.

The Great Product Owner: Trust as a productivity amplifier

When Product Owners lack trust for the team, there are many anti-patterns that emerge and lead to problems. In this episode, we talk about the reverse phenomenon: what happens when the PO trusts the team. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Absent PO

The Product Owner role is a key role in Scrum, which in turn means that not having a PO, or having a PO that is often absent is a problem when your team works with Scrum. In this episode, we talk about the Absent PO anti-pattern, as well as what happens when the PO is not up to the task.

 

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 Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Apr 9, 2020

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

At the end of every Sprint, teams show their progress to key stakeholders. As Scrum Masters, we benefit from that ceremony to understand our impact and improve our work. In this episode, we talk about why it is critical for Scrum Masters to improve those ceremonies and focus on the feedback that stakeholders give. That feedback can become our fuel for improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

In retrospectives, we want to focus the teams on what we can do to become a better team. In this episode, we talk about Sprint Goals, and why those goals are important to help the teams be able to reflect better and have better retrospectives.

 

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Apr 8, 2020

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 teams work on a new product, there’s a risk that the Vision is not set, and that the Product Owner is not able to convey the reason why the product is being developed. In this episode about a big business change, we talk about the risks of a missing Vision, and why the Product Vision is an essential tool for business changes.

 

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Apr 7, 2020

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 multiple teams work on high-impact or high-visibility programs or projects, it is critical that they align how they work, and that certain processes are in place to support the teams. In this episode, we talk about what problems arise when teams are working separately, not aligned, and the supporting processes are missing. A key realization for Scrum Masters: the supporting processes can have a big impact on the performance of the team

Featured Book for the Week: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, Kahneman et. al

Mandy mentions several books: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, by Kahneman et. al; The Bottleneck Rules, by Clarke Ching; Making Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis

These books helped Mandy understand many different aspects of Agile beyond the work with the team. 

 

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Apr 6, 2020

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

Teams need a great Product Owner to be able to exploit their potential. When Scrum Masters work with teams that have a great PO, they learn the impact that the PO role can have. However, when a great PO leaves the team, what should the Scrum Master do? In this episode, we learn about Mandy’s attempt to help the team by replacing the PO, and why it is so critical to avoid that anti-pattern. Listen in to learn what to do when a great PO leaves.

 

About Mandy Sunner

Many calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Apr 3, 2020

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

From a distant PO to the PO that makes everybody feel part of the same team. A great transformation, and a great PO pattern to share with your favorite PO!

The Great Product Owner: The Great Facilitator

Great Product Owners focus on the Sprint Review as a ceremony that can help them, as well as the team and stakeholders understand the product better. In this segment, we talk about how great PO’s focus on their facilitation and approaches to get the most out of the Sprint Review sessions.

The Bad Product Owner: The Corner-office PO

You know that something is wrong when the PO actually has to say out loud that they have an “open-door policy”. There’s an implicit message that they are different, even superior to the team. In this “corner-office anti-pattern” segment we discuss how PO’s may alienate their teams, and what we - Scrum Masters - can do to help team members and PO learn to collaborate without the negative impact of hierarchy. Learn how to help the corner-office PO become a great, and productive team member!

 

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 Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

Apr 2, 2020

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 Lisette Sutherland

Lisette is a world-wide recognized expert in remote work. She’s managed online communities in the early years of the internet, and as she says: know that working together from anywhere is not just possible; it’s completely, productively workable—if you do it right.
She co-authored the Work Together Anywhere book, and hosts regular Work Together Anywhere workshop (online, obviously!) and other online meeting and facilitation master classes.

You can link with Lisette Sutherland on LinkedIn and connect with Lisette Sutherland on Twitter.

Apr 2, 2020

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 Scrum Masters start working with a team, they might feel the need to intervene often. It might be just to get the team to start talking, or for the team members to respect each other’s turn to speak. However, when we evolve our practice and start seeing some success is when we are able to step back and use “mirroring” to let the team understand their own behavior. Just like us, team members are also often blind to their own behavior patterns, a successful Scrum Masters will help team members be less blind to their own behavior patterns.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Powerful Questions Walk

Tony found an approach that helps teams dive deeper into their experience and find improvement opportunities they would otherwise ignore. In this episode, he describes the Powerful Questions Walk exercise and how it improves the team’s ability to learn and reflect.

In this episode, we refer to the Coaching Cards by Deborah Preuss (PDF Download).

 

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

Apr 1, 2020

In this episode, we have special guests Johanna and Mark talk about lessons learned for teams going quickly #Remote.

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

Apr 1, 2020

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 Tony joined this organization, the mandate was to help the organization change. There were about 4000 people involved in that change. There’s no Scrum Master/Agile Coach team big enough to take on that responsibility, so they took a different approach.

The organization invested in a way to scale up their ability to coach teams, using a “Learning Sets” approach and the “Challenging Coaching” approach to coaching. 

In this episode, we refer to the whitepaper by Scrum.org on the 8 stances of a Scrum Master, and the pain-relief cycle as a way to improve performance in teams.

 

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

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