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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: August, 2022
Aug 31, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Franny was working in a very traditional, and old company. She was hired to work with a small team in their Digital Transformation. If being an Agile Coach in a tech organization is hard enough, what Franny was about to face was orders of magnitude harder! However, thanks to the fact that the organization was not ready for Agile, Franny learned the importance of going through the change process with patience and persistence! Listen in to learn the process they followed in that organization, that helped them transform! 

 

About Franziska Moenster

Franny (short for Franziska) loves seeing the power of building strong performing teams that build products in a customer centric way. She's been working as a Scrum Master/Agile Coach for over 5 years. Profiting from her hands-on experience on scaling agile across teams and her joy of trying out new things she is always inspecting and adapting on an organizational level as well! On a personal note, she has recently moved to Tenerife to follow her passion of freediving.

You can link with Franziska Moenster on LinkedIn.

Aug 30, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

This is the story of a team that, even if they had a long history of working together, was faced with a new reality: remote work! During the pandemic years, many teams had to change from co-located work to remote work, and that change had big impacts on their work, and relationships. We discuss the lessons learned by Franny about teams that made that transition, and what is usually missing that leads to problems! 

Featured Book of the Week: The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team by Lencioni

In The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team by Lencioni, Franny found a reminder that conflict is a necessary, and - if managed correctly - productive part of the team’s development. We discuss how everyone in the team has a different relationship with conflict, and why Scrum Masters should take that into account when observing, and intervening in team conflicts. 

In this segment, we also talk about the book New Work needs Inner Work: Ein Handbuch für Unternehmen auf dem Weg zur Selbstorganisation, a German language book that helped Franny understand that the inner structures we have as Scrum Masters also need some work for us to be able to adapt ourselves to Agile. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

 

About Franziska Moenster

Franny (short for Franziska) loves seeing the power of building strong performing teams that build products in a customer centric way. She's been working as a Scrum Master/Agile Coach for over 5 years. Profiting from her hands-on experience on scaling agile across teams and her joy of trying out new things she is always inspecting and adapting on an organizational level as well! On a personal note, she has recently moved to Tenerife to follow her passion of freediving.

You can link with Franziska Moenster on LinkedIn.

Aug 29, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

When we are starting our journey as Scrum Masters, one of the ceremonies that most scares us is the retrospective. There’s so much hanging on that ceremony, from the need to get an action that leads to improvement, to having the team engaged and everybody participating. In that context, it’s natural that we try our best and prepare extensively for the Retrospective. However, there’s a point when preparation is just too much! In this episode, we talk about what is that limit, and how to look at Retrospective facilitation in a way that leaves space for the team to take ownership, and be active in the Retrospective. 

 

About Franziska Moenster

Franny (short for Franziska) loves seeing the power of building strong performing teams that build products in a customer centric way. She's been working as a Scrum Master/Agile Coach for over 5 years. Profiting from her hands-on experience on scaling agile across teams and her joy of trying out new things she is always inspecting and adapting on an organizational level as well! On a personal note, she has recently moved to Tenerife to follow her passion of freediving.

You can link with Franziska Moenster on LinkedIn.

Aug 27, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

In this episode, we talk about SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) with Vlad Ukis, who’s written a book about his experience at Siemens Healthnieers’ digital health platform. His book, Establishing SRE Foundations: A Step-by-Step Guide to Introducing Site Reliability Engineering in Software Delivery Organizations, walks you through the steps to go from developing a cloud based service, to operating that service 24/7 with a method (SRE) published, and promoted by Google. 

We’ve also covered this method in another episode with János Csorvási and Jeff Campbell, which is a great complement to this interview with Vlad Ukis. 

The many aspects of Site Reliability Engineering

In this segment, we discuss the many different aspects that we must take into account when operating live cloud-based services. Vlad describes aspects like the change leadership (who to involve and how to involve them), to the technical decisions and processes (on call service, etc.) 

In this respect, it is critical to develop and deploy the appropriate methodology, including the HR related aspects (e.g. on call service) that enable the use of SRE in your organisation. Implementing SRE is one example of the end-to-end processes that Scrum Masters must be familiar with, and in some cases, help deploy in their organizations. 

Product Manager (Product Owner) - Scrum team collaboration is key, also when implementing Site Reliability Engineering

As the team started implementing SRE, it was quickly clear that the Product Manager (Product Owner) role would have a critical impact on the success of the teams. This led Vlad to develop an approach to align the organization, from development to operations, and established SRE as an organizational initiative. 

In this segment, we also discuss what happens when operations are kept apart from the product development cycle. A problem that SRE tries to eliminate. The topic of organizational alignment is also extensively discussed in the episode with János Csorvási and Jeff Campbell.

When to start with Site Reliability Engineering?

Vlad shares with us that many organizations try to adopt SRE after a major incident. At that time, everyone is in a hurry and the results will be heavily influenced by that urgency. It’s important for organizations operating live systems to be able to prepare for the transition. In the book, Vlad discusses how to prepare your organization for the adoption of SRE before any major problem happens. In this segment, we explore some of the key change leadership topics that determine the level of readiness for adopting SRE. 

 

If you want to explore more, Vlad participated in an interview with InfoQ, and  you can check out his interview here: 

You can purchase the book on Amazon: Establishing SRE Foundations: A Step-by-Step Guide to Introducing Site Reliability Engineering in Software Delivery Organizations by Vlad Ukis

About Vlad Ukis

Vlad is a leader of R&D and reliability lead at Siemens Healthineers. In this capacity, he drives Continuous Delivery, SRE, and DevRel transformation, helping this large distributed development organization evolve architecture, deployment, testing, operations, and culture to implement these new processes at scale.

You can link with Vlad Ukis on LinkedIn.

Aug 26, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: When lack of experience becomes an asset for a PO! 

This PO was new to the organization, and didn’t have a lot of knowledge about the product. However, that was not an obstacle for this Product Owner. She took that as an opportunity to ask question, and learn as much as possible from the team. Because of that learning journey, she also learned to be present, and help the team answer some critical questions. Even if she did not know the answer to those questions, she was able to find out who else to involve, and helped the team at the same time as she discovered the product herself.

In this segment, we refer to the book Fish! By Stephen Lundin, and how the PO exemplified the model described in the book: Play, Make the Day, Be There, Choose Your Attitude!

The Bad Product Owner: PO actions the disengage, and demotivate Scrum teams

This was a marketing team working with a sales tool. The Product Owner decided by themselves that the team was “not going fast enough”, and started asking some team members to “work on this project during your lunch break”. When that was found out by the rest of the team, the team felt betrayed, and started to disengage from the work! Listen in to learn how Juan helped the team overcome this disengagement, and how a different attitude completely transformed the team’s attitude! 

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Juan Rodriguez

Juan started his career as a Drafter. He then transitioned to Engineering IT support, eventually landing in software development. His first introduction to agile-like practices was in 2014, which did not go that well. A few years later, Juan was introduced to Scrum, where he now enjoys being a Scrum Master.

You can link with Juan Rodriguez on LinkedIn

Aug 25, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

There’s progressive journey to independence for every Scrum team. At first they will need a lot more support, with reflection, with ownership and, in some cases, even with decision making. However, as Juan puts it, at some point they will still want our help, but will at the same time be ready to be fully independent. That is the moment of “success” for Juan. In this episode, we discuss some of the techniques we can use to encourage, and even foster that independence!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Timeline Retrospective, involving the team in Collecting Data

One of the steps in the Retrospective lineup is “collecting data”, the Timeline Retro is a format that helps the team be part of that process, by collecting data points throughout the whole sprint, ahead of the retrospective. This format helps the team feel involved in the process of finding and removing obstacles. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Juan Rodriguez

Juan started his career as a Drafter. He then transitioned to Engineering IT support, eventually landing in software development. His first introduction to agile-like practices was in 2014, which did not go that well. A few years later, Juan was introduced to Scrum, where he now enjoys being a Scrum Master.

You can link with Juan Rodriguez on LinkedIn

Aug 24, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The company that Juan worked for had started an Agile transformation. Some time after that, Juan was asked to evaluate the transformation. As he looked into what was going on, he started to note that the teams were being asked to change, but the rest of the organization was still sticking to the old processes. That’s when Juan thought of a video he had seen: the backward bike, which helped him explain to his stakeholders what was missing! WARNING: this backward bike video is addictive, don’t watch it unless you have 10min to waste!!!!!!

About Juan Rodriguez

Juan started his career as a Drafter. He then transitioned to Engineering IT support, eventually landing in software development. His first introduction to agile-like practices was in 2014, which did not go that well. A few years later, Juan was introduced to Scrum, where he now enjoys being a Scrum Master.

You can link with Juan Rodriguez on LinkedIn

Aug 23, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Juan was working with a marketing team. This team was divided between China and the USA, and on top of that, the team did not share a language. While the USA part of the team used English to communicate, the China based portion of the team would not feel comfortable with English in all situations, and preferred to use Chinese. This meant that the manager, who spoke Chinese, quickly became the bottleneck in communication, as she needed to translate all the conversations in the team. Juan had a problem to solve: how to help a team communicate regularly (in the daily meeting) without the manager having to be in the middle? Listen in to learn what Juan tried, and what eventually unblocked the communication between the team members!

Featured Book of the Week: Fish! A proven way to boost morale and improve results by Stephen Lundin

Fish! By Stephen Lundin, is a book that uses the story of the fish market in Seattle, to show how teams can become happier and more productive. In this section, we also refer to The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, a book that helped Juan introduce the role of the Scrum Master using a metaphor that even non-technical people can understand. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Juan Rodriguez

Juan started his career as a Drafter. He then transitioned to Engineering IT support, eventually landing in software development. His first introduction to agile-like practices was in 2014, which did not go that well. A few years later, Juan was introduced to Scrum, where he now enjoys being a Scrum Master.

You can link with Juan Rodriguez on LinkedIn

Aug 22, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

This story starts with what was supposed to be a normal, routine daily standup. However, that was not to happen. Two team members started a shouting match that left Juan confused, and surprised. Listen in to learn what happened next, and how to prepare for those, unexpected, but eventually unavoidable conflicts that Scrum Masters will face! 

 

About Juan Rodriguez

Juan started his career as a Drafter. He then transitioned to Engineering IT support, eventually landing in software development. His first introduction to agile-like practices was in 2014, which did not go that well. A few years later, Juan was introduced to Scrum, where he now enjoys being a Scrum Master.

You can link with Juan Rodriguez on LinkedIn

Aug 19, 2022

A great Product Owner is able to balance the stakeholder expectations and the team expectations. In this episode, we also discuss how the Product Owner can help the Scrum Master in their job, by helping the Scrum Master step back when necessary, and help manage the pressure put on the team. Finally, we talk about how great Product Owners are able to listen to the team.

The Bad Product Owner: When PO’s don’t understand the team’s work, they actively destroy it!

One of the aspects that make Product Owners negatively affect the team, is their inability to understand the importance of some aspects of the team’s work. When the PO does not understand why, and how release planning helps the team, they might be tempted to skip that practice, or shortchange it, leading to problems for the team, and ultimately conflicts. In this episode, we explore how bad Product Owners slowly undermine the team, especially when they don’t speak up! Helping the team speak up, and working through that with the Product Owner are key responsibilities for the Scrum Master!

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Shoaib Naik

Shoaib is a Scrum Master with over 11 years in Software development with experience in different roles, from IT Account Manager, Product Manager to Project Manager in product as well services-based companies.

You can link with Shoaib Naik on LinkedIn, and follow Shoaib Naik’s blog

Aug 18, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Shoaib took some time to learn to define success. He was inspired by Geoff Watts book “Scrum Mastery”, and started working on what success meant for him. With the idea that a great Scrum Master will, over time, become redundant, he explored the different lessons in the book, and started defining some questions he could use for his own reflection.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Appreciation Retrospective

After working for a while on the project, the team members spent a lot of time, and many retrospectives discussing problems and challenges. When that happens, there’s tension. The Appreciation retrospective is one way to create space for being grateful to each other for the help, and the solutions team members were able to come up with during the project. In the past, we’ve covered a similar format with the name: The Appreciation Shower Retrospective

In this episode, we also refer to the Build Your Own Scrum Master retro

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Shoaib Naik

Shoaib is a Scrum Master with over 11 years in Software development with experience in different roles, from IT Account Manager, Product Manager to Project Manager in product as well services-based companies.

You can link with Shoaib Naik on LinkedIn, and follow Shoaib Naik’s blog

Aug 17, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Shoaib was both the project manager and the scrum master for this project. When the project started, Waterfall was the overall process framework the teams were using, and they thought it was the most adequate process because they were installing Data Centers from scratch. However, Shoaib was not convinced, and helped the teams understand the differences between Scrum and Waterfall. Listen in to learn how Shoaib introduced Agile and Scrum to a team that thought Waterfall was the only possible process for their work!

About Shoaib Naik

Shoaib is a Scrum Master with over 11 years in Software development with experience in different roles, from IT Account Manager, Product Manager to Project Manager in product as well services-based companies.

You can link with Shoaib Naik on LinkedIn, and follow Shoaib Naik’s blog.

Aug 16, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The team had finished their first 3 sprints, but failed to deliver on the sprint goal for any of those sprints. The team believed that the lack of understanding of their velocity (aka capacity), was the reason for their failure. However, the problem lied somewhere else! Listen in, to learn what Shoaib helped the team understand, and ultimately overcome. A very common anti-pattern in Agile teams! 

Featured Book of the Week: Beyond Possible: One Soldier, Fourteen Peaks ― My Life In The Death Zone by Nimsdai Purja

In Beyond Possible: One Soldier, Fourteen Peaks by Nimsdai Purja, Shoaib found a reminder that what seems impossible for some, is very possible for others. In that book, he learned about Nismdai’s approach to put together a mountaineering project that seemed impossible for others. But he thought otherwise, starting with naming the project: Project Possible! We, as Scrum Masters, also face situations that others might think are impossible, but we need to make them happen!

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Shoaib Naik

Shoaib is a Scrum Master with over 11 years in Software development with experience in different roles, from IT Account Manager, Product Manager to Project Manager in product as well services-based companies.

You can link with Shoaib Naik on LinkedIn, and follow Shoaib Naik’s blog

Aug 15, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Failures help us stay grounded, they are reminders that reality isn’t always as we expect it to be. And these failures make us better Scrum Masters. In this episode, we talk about the learning journey for a young Scrum Master, and how Shoaib slowly climbed the learning curve, and what were the steps he took. Learning from other’s stories is a shortcut we can take in our own learning journey, and Shoaib’s story is a great example of that. 

 

About Shoaib Naik

Shoaib is a Scrum Master with over 11 years in Software development with experience in different roles, from IT Account Manager, Product Manager to Project Manager in product as well services-based companies.

You can link with Shoaib Naik on LinkedIn, and follow Shoaib Naik’s blog

Aug 12, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: The PO that spoke the team’s language

This Product Owner was able to write stories with acceptance criteria, and descriptions the team members considered understandable. The PO was also able to write descriptive bugs and even did some testing. The PO also had enough technical background to help answer some more detailed questions by the team members. However, most importantly, the PO knew their limits and where to stop providing information.

The Bad Product Owner: Coaching a PO on their availability to the Scrum team!

This PO was not always available, which led to a slow feedback loop. This slow feedback loop, and lack of availability can cause problems and demotivates the team. Mher describes how he raised the topic with the PO to be able to address the needs of the team. In this episode, we talk about the Sprint Checklist, a coaching tool we designed here at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help you discuss the availability topic with the PO. 

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter.

Aug 11, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Mher likes to focus on his presence in the team when evaluating and reflecting on his own success. As tools for that reflection, he uses the 1-on-1 meetings with the team members, and regularly collects feedback, and includes discussions with the PO in that process.

In this episode, we refer to Curling, a winter olympics discipline. 

Featured Retrospectives Format for the Week: The 4L’s retrospective

Mher suggests the 4L’s format as a way to enable discussion on a big spectrum of topics, and focusing on open ended questions. In this episode, we also refer to the Mad/Sad/Glad, Start/Stop/Continue and other related formats. In this episode, we refer to the website teleretro.com, a remote retrospective tool. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter

Aug 10, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

When Mher joined the team, he noticed that the team was going through the refinement meetings in a way that made the estimation the core aspect of the meeting. It took too long, and led to some team members to just sit there without participating. In this episode, we explore how to get over this estimation-centric refinement meeting anti-pattern!

About Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter

Aug 9, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Sometimes we face teams where team members start, and then get used to making decisions on their own without involving the rest of the team, or communicating those decisions to their colleagues. In this team, the people were changing, and the new team members were not “given” the right to speak, which led to the oldest team members making all of the decisions on their own. Mher noticed that this was causing a motivation problem in the team, and started to work with the team to overcome this anti-pattern. 

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time by Sutherland

In Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time by Sutherland, Mher found a book that was easy to read and understand, which reminded him of what Agile, Scrum, and Extreme Programming are all about. The book includes stories and the “why” behind Scrum’s impact. 

 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

 

About Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter

Aug 8, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Mher prepared a retrospective for his team, but 5 minutes past the starting time, there were only a few team members in the room. He looked around and saw that the team members that were present, were not fully engaged. “Something is wrong here, he thought… In this episode, we explore why sometimes team members don’t communicate and discuss what might be the reasons, and how to avoid it. 

In this episode, we refer to the book Agile Retrospectives by Larsen and Derby

 

About Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter

Aug 5, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The Great Product Owner: The PO as a key role in customer involvement, and understanding

A good PO has a good understanding of the product, and is also able to communicate the Vision they have for the product. This particular PO was also able to delegate to the team many of the decisions that were needed, and invested their time into building and maintaining relationships with the customers of that product. Because of that, he was able to set up user testing sessions, where the team was invited, to collect direct feedback and help the team understand the product, and the customer better!

The Bad Product Owner: Helping the PO understand why interruptions are disruptive for the team

This PO was amazingly organized, and great at following up with the team. This was the PO’s superpower. However, in some cases, this superpower also had a negative effect. This team, which was working remotely, was being constantly interrupted by the PO, in their attempt to follow-up on the progress by the team. The team went to Catherine, and shared what was going on. This started a process of changing how the PO worked, so that the team could be given the time and focus to finish their work. 

In this segment, we talk about the concept of “maker time”, popularized in this article by Paul Graham.

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn

Aug 4, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Catherine likes to use a metaphor to picture what success looks like for a Scrum Master. She describes the Scrum Master work, as that of a look-out on a ship. A person who is constantly paying attention to what is happening on, and around the ship. In that position, Scrum Masters are perfectly placed to understand what is emerging, but rely on others to tackle the challenges the team faces. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Control / Influence / Accept circles, helping teams accept what can’t be changed, and focus on what can!

When a team is playing the victim, complaining, but not taking action, this format helps them understand what they can influence. But it also helps them understand what they need to accept, and move on! The Control / Influence / Accept retrospective is similar to the Circles and Soup retrospective that we’ve presented on the podcast before. 

In this segment, we refer to the book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Covey.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn

Aug 3, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

Catherine was in the process of helping set up a team with on-shore and off-shore team members, which was being setup as a hybrid work team. As she discussed with the team members, and stakeholders, she quickly understood the team setup would have to be thought through, and followed-up carefully. In this episode, she describes the process she used, and how she involved the stakeholders in the process of setting up that team. 

About Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn

Aug 2, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

When Catherine joined this team, she was told by the previous Scrum Master that she should not bother with the “fluffy stuff”, as the team only wanted to “get on with the work”. As soon as she heard that, Catherine was alarmed, but also curious. A few weeks later, she knew what was going on. The team was a group of specialists, that had very deep, but narrow experience in the area they were working. This specialty-focus affected everything in the team, from the PO who had to choose work that fit the available specialist, to the motivation of the team, who felt bored and de-motivated when they did not have work for their specialty. In this segment, we talk about how Catherine approached the elephant in the room: the silos that were not allowing the team to perform!

Featured Book of the Week: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

In The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor, Catherine found research that helped her understand the impact of a positive outlook can have on her work, and the teams she works with. 

In this segment, we also refer to Essential Scrum by Ken Rubin, a book that presents Scrum for those wanting to go beyond what they can learn in their first Scrum training course.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

 

About Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn

Aug 1, 2022

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website: http://bit.ly/SMTP_ShowNotes.

The team had a lot of unfinished work, and sprint-to-sprint spillovers. It started to feel that the management of the work was out of control. As Catherine investigated, she found that a lot of work was being added to the Sprint after planning. All of these new items diverted the team’s focus, and they were no longer predictable, or able to finish some of the critical user stories planned. In this episode, we explore what were the reasons the team got to that point, as well as what Catherine learned that helps, still today, avoid falling into the same trap. 

 

About Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn

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