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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: March, 2023
Mar 31, 2023

Meena Venkataraman: Customer Feedback Loops - Key to Building the Right Product, the Agile Way!

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: Customer Feedback Loops: Key to Building the Right Product, the Agile Way!

In this segment, Meena describes a great product owner who was very effective at product discovery. This PO paired hypothesis with metrics to ensure that what was being built was what the customer wanted. He focused on feedback loops, using customer interviews to learn about the flow and using that feedback to inform delivery decisions. The PO also involved the team in interpreting the numbers, which helped the team understand how to build the right thing.

The Bad Product Owner: Technical Leadership Challenges in Product Ownership, leaving the tech lead role behind

Meena shared a story about a product owner who transitioned from being a senior developer and was unable to let go of technical leadership. This resulted in the PO intimidating the team by providing specific solutions and telling them exactly what to do, creating an unhealthy dependency. Meena gave one-on-one feedback to the PO, and appealed to the PO's human relations ability. She emphasizes the importance of coaching and giving feedback to the PO, and not just focusing on the rules. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] 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 Meena Venkataraman

Meena is an Agile & Lean coach who helps organizations and teams transition to Agile ways of working. She is passionate about the neuroscience behind team dynamics and is interested in organizational design and the application of Agile principles across different business domains. Meena enjoys speaking at conferences and is an avid learner.

You can link with Meena Venkataraman on LinkedIn.

Mar 30, 2023

Meena Venkataraman: Knowing When to Step Back, a Scrum Master superpower

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 segment, Meena shares how, as a scrum master, she strives to step back once the team is self-sufficient. 

Meena mentions that it is important to make sure that there is no unhealthy dependency between the team and the scrum master. To do this, the scrum master needs to ensure that they are not the only one who can resolve conflicts and that the team is communicating effectively with stakeholders. 

The success of a scrum master is also measured by whether the team is delivering a quality product. Meena provides several tips for scrum masters, including making sure that it's not about them, and observing the behaviors of the team to determine if they can self-manage.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simple and effective conversation focused formats

In this segment, Meena shares that when it comes to retrospectives, she prefers to focus on simplicity and creating conversations with the team. She emphasizes the importance of creating insights and actions with the team, rather than just generating data. Meena shares a tip to ask questions that crystallize insights and anchor them in the agile principles.

She also shares a story about observing a retro led by someone else where there was a lot of data but no actionable insights. Meena emphasizes that retros are great places for scrum masters to coach and that it's not about the format, but rather about anchoring questions in the agile principles.

In this segment, we refer to a shared whiteboard tool named MURAL.

[IMAGE HERE] Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Meena Venkataraman

Meena is an Agile & Lean coach who helps organizations and teams transition to Agile ways of working. She is passionate about the neuroscience behind team dynamics and is interested in organizational design and the application of Agile principles across different business domains. Meena enjoys speaking at conferences and is an avid learner.

You can link with Meena Venkataraman on LinkedIn.

Mar 29, 2023

Meena Venkataraman: Coaching Stakeholders and product owners, a critical aspect of the Scrum Master role

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, Meena shared her experience coaching a team where the Product Owner (PO) was hostile towards her. The PO had previously been a project manager with control over many aspects of the project, and had trouble adjusting to the new role in Agile. Meena observed that the team was using a mix of Scrum and Waterfall practices, and the PO was still using language like "resources" and moving team members around like Lego pieces.

Meena worked with the team to establish common vocabulary and practices through training and discussions, but found it challenging to help the PO understand the Agile approach. Meena emphasized the importance of working with early adopters in the team and coaching stakeholders outside of the team. Overall, the experience highlights the challenges of change management in Agile and the need for patience, education, and communication to help teams and stakeholders understand and adopt new practices.

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Meena Venkataraman

Meena is an Agile & Lean coach who helps organizations and teams transition to Agile ways of working. She is passionate about the neuroscience behind team dynamics and is interested in organizational design and the application of Agile principles across different business domains. Meena enjoys speaking at conferences and is an avid learner.

You can link with Meena Venkataraman on LinkedIn.

Mar 28, 2023

Meena Venkataraman: Building Psychological Safety, lessons from helping an Agile team to share interpersonal feedback

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 segment, Meena shares her experience coaching a team that struggled to take off and was stuck in a cycle. Despite being nice to each other during scrum events, team members were not sharing feedback with each other, and psychological safety was not present in the team. Meena stresses the importance of having hard conversations and discussing the interpersonal topics in the team, and she suggests that teams should have the necessary tools to talk about difficult topics.

By highlighting the value that a team coach can bring to a team, Meena emphasizes the importance of psychological safety and how it plays a crucial role in team dynamics. She suggests that teams should be aware of the small things that can become big things and make sure that they are having hard conversations to address interpersonal issues. Ultimately, Meena's experience coaching this team shows that building a successful team is not just about being nice to each other but also about creating a culture of openness, trust, and psychological safety.

We also discuss how using approaches such as non-violent communication can help the Scrum Master create an open environment that is also psychologically safe.

Featured Book of the Week: Sooner Safer Happier, by Jonathan Smart

In this segment, Meena Venkataraman recommends the book "Sooner Safer Happier: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility" by Jonathan Smart as a valuable resource for scrum masters. She notes that as a scrum master, it's important to have a holistic view of agile and to be "T-Shaped" - understanding the various facets of product development. Meena highlights that the book brings the 12 principles of agile to life and is a resource she refers to often.

 

[IMAGE HERE] 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 Meena Venkataraman

Meena is an Agile & Lean coach who helps organizations and teams transition to Agile ways of working. She is passionate about the neuroscience behind team dynamics and is interested in organizational design and the application of Agile principles across different business domains. Meena enjoys speaking at conferences and is an avid learner.

You can link with Meena Venkataraman on LinkedIn.

Mar 27, 2023

Meena Venkataraman: Dealing with Dysfunctions in the Wider System, a story of Agile adoption

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.

Meena discusses her lessons learned from her first experience in navigating agile adoption. She emphasizes how important it is for us to have a sponsor in our role as Scrum Masters, and notes that we should look out for anti-patterns such as agile being just a buzzword. Meena also highlights the importance of dealing with dysfunctions in the wider system and staying neutral while accepting when things don't work. She suggests coaching managers and asking questions before accepting a job to understand how the organization works. Meena also suggests investigating conversations to find out more about people and aligning expectations with a sponsor as a coach or Scrum Master.

Overall, Meena's lessons learned highlight the importance of navigating change with patience.

 

Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Meena Venkataraman

Meena is an Agile & Lean coach who helps organizations and teams transition to Agile ways of working. She is passionate about the neuroscience behind team dynamics and is interested in organizational design and the application of Agile principles across different business domains. Meena enjoys speaking at conferences and is an avid learner.

You can link with Meena Venkataraman on LinkedIn

Mar 24, 2023

Mike Salogub: The ex-developer skills that help Product Owners excel with Agile software development

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

The Great Product Owner: The ex-developer skills that help PO’s excel with Agile software development

This segment describes an example of a great Product Owner who was also a developer before (like the anti-pattern example). However, this PO had a deep understanding of the product and the business, thought ahead and talked about opportunities with stakeholders. She made tradeoff decisions using her experience, talked to the team on their terms, and went to bat for the team. There was a great chemistry between the Scrum Master and the PO.

The Bad Product Owner: The ex-developer skills that destroy the PO’s performance

In this segment, Mike discusses Product Owner anti-patterns, including POs who think they are the boss, those who are clueless, and those with a development background who second-guess the team. The segment advises that POs should focus on overall aspects such as working with stakeholders, and recommends setting expectations on the role with each PO. The segment also emphasizes the importance of being deliberate about how we integrate our background in our future positions.

 

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 Mike Salogub

Mike's an accomplished, committed and creative Scrum Master with over 10+ years of expanding horizons in the healthcare technology industry. Focused on continuous improvement using data to inform business decisions, and driving innovation to meet the needs of patients.

You can link with Mike Salogub on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Salogub on Twitter.

Mar 23, 2023

Mike Salogub: Learning to measure success as a Scrum Master, focusing on team behaviors

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 segment, we discuss how to measure the success of a scrum master. Mike mentions several questions that can help determine the effectiveness of a scrum master, including whether the team will continue to meet for sprint planning in their absence, or whether team members are actively participating and solving problems together. The goal is to assess whether the team is thriving and hitting their own ambitions even when the scrum master is not present.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat retrospective, as a conversation catalyst for Agile teams

In this segment, Mike shares his favorite retrospective format, which is the "Sailboat" format. He explains that this format involves visualizing a sailboat and discussing its different aspects, such as the wind, anchor, and rocks. This visualization helps the team reflect on their work and start conversations that they may not have had otherwise. The sailboat format also helps introverted team members share more and encourages those who tend to dominate discussions to listen more. Mike offers tips for facilitating this retrospective format, including knowing your team and finding ways to encourage everyone to participate.

 

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Mike Salogub

Mike's an accomplished, committed and creative Scrum Master with over 10+ years of expanding horizons in the healthcare technology industry. Focused on continuous improvement using data to inform business decisions, and driving innovation to meet the needs of patients.

You can link with Mike Salogub on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Salogub on Twitter.

Mar 22, 2023

Mike Salogub: How to help a team go from waterfall to Scrum in 3 sprints, the challenges to expect

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, Mike talks about his experience with change leadership when his team transitioned from waterfall to Agile. The transition happened overnight, and Mike had to learn a new role quickly. After attending Scrum workshops, the team began working on their first sprint, but developers were eager to work on future projects and underestimated the amount of work to be done in the current sprint. This led to a pile-up of work and failure to meet sprint goals in the second sprint.

However, by the third sprint, team members started to understand the benefits of Agile, and by the fifth sprint, they were delivering more than expected. Mike shared three tips for successful change leadership: involve the boss in meetings, regularly remind team members of the mission, and have a leader who is committed to making the project a success. In this case, Mike's boss acted as a Release Train Engineer (RTE), helping to steer the team towards success.

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Mike Salogub

Mike's an accomplished, committed and creative Scrum Master with over 10+ years of expanding horizons in the healthcare technology industry. Focused on continuous improvement using data to inform business decisions, and driving innovation to meet the needs of patients.

You can link with Mike Salogub on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Salogub on Twitter.

Mar 21, 2023

Mike Salogub: Overcoming Team Conflict in Remote Work Environments, lessons learned as a Scrum Master

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

In this segment, Mike recounted a situation where he was brought in to help a team where there was conflict between two team members who fought about roles and responsibilities. Despite being excellent people individually, when they were together in the same room, they would undermine each other and interrupt each other. Mike took the initiative to understand what was going on and went through every single issue with them.

Upon reflection, Mike realized that remote work was the reason for the misunderstandings and conflict. When the team members first came into the same physical room, they started to mellow out, and this face-to-face presence helped them to accept each other as humans. Mike noted that the team members had projected their problems onto each other, and when they met in person, those problems dissipated. Mike shared two tips based on this experience: first, to meet in person if possible, and second, to have cameras on for retrospectives.

Featured Book of the Week: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

Mike recommended two books related to agile software development and leadership in the podcast. The first book is "Extreme Ownership" by Jocko Willink, which Mike described as agile in a nutshell. The book emphasizes values that can be thought of as the core values for Scrum Masters and explains the key characteristics of a team player. It also helps readers understand what it means to be a servant leader. Mike highlighted the importance of transparency, ownership, and teamwork, which are critical components of agile methodologies. Overall, "Extreme Ownership" provides practical insights into how to become an effective leader and team player.

The second book that Mike recommended is "Trillion Dollar Coach" by Bill Campbell. The book follows the life and work of Bill Campbell, a legendary coach who worked with Google leaders and other leaders in Silicon Valley. Mike noted that the book explains many ideas that are equally applicable to being a Scrum Master and emphasizes the importance of transparency, ownership, and teamwork. Mike explained that the Scrum Master's role is to help team members shine and facilitate effective collaboration. Overall, "Trillion Dollar Coach" provides valuable insights into leadership, team building, and helps understand why agile methodologies actually work.

 

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 Mike Salogub

Mike's an accomplished, committed and creative Scrum Master with over 10+ years of expanding horizons in the healthcare technology industry. Focused on continuous improvement using data to inform business decisions, and driving innovation to meet the needs of patients.

You can link with Mike Salogub on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Salogub on Twitter.

Mar 20, 2023

Mike Salogub: Overcoming Dysfunction and Harnessing Constructive Conflict in Agile Teams

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, Mike discusses his experience working on a project to develop a new app in just one month. Despite overcommitting without a clear scope of work and still learning how to structure the work, there was a lot of waterfall mentality among the team members. As pressure mounted, the team started to experience dysfunction, but they eventually came together to deliver the project on time.

 

The team's retrospectives were initially conflictuous, but this competitive conflict helped the team to build up and become better. Listen in to learn how to harness constructive conflict and help your team achieve more than they thought was possible. 

 

 

Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Mike Salogub

Mike's an accomplished, committed and creative Scrum Master with over 10+ years of expanding horizons in the healthcare technology industry. Focused on continuous improvement using data to inform business decisions, and driving innovation to meet the needs of patients.

You can link with Mike Salogub on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Salogub on Twitter.

Mar 18, 2023

BONUS: Mastering the Product Backlog, lessons for Product Owners with Jeff Bubolz and Chad Beier

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.

 

About Jeff Bubolz and Chad Beier

Jeff is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with Scrum.org, organizational agility advisor and speaker. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member and has worked with companies ranging from enterprise to small start-ups.  

Jeff is the co-host of The Agile Wire podcast where he speaks with industry leaders around the world. He speaks at conferences across the United States and is active in the Wisconsin agile community.

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

 

Chad is an organizational agility advisor, external change agent, and Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with Scrum.org. He works with all levels of the organization to optimize your business to respond to change.

Chad is the co-host of The Agile Wire podcast where he speaks with industry leaders around the world. He speaks at conferences across the United States and is active in the Wisconsin agile community.

lYou can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Mar 17, 2023

Caterina Palmiotto: The Phantom Product Owner, How Lack of Decision-Making Impacts the Team and Kills Innovation

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 Collaboration Between PO and Team as Key to PO Success

In this segment, Caterina shares a story of a great Product Owner who worked closely with their team. The PO took the time to share the high-level vision and timeline for a new module, collected doubts and comments from the team, and presented user stories with enough information to start a discussion. The PO listened to all suggestions and was available every day to collaborate. The refinement process was done in two parts, with the second part focused on investigating technical aspects. The PO even participated in retrospectives and worked with the team to improve the product based on either technical or functional ideas by the team. Caterina emphasizes the importance of building this kind of productive collaboration between POs and their teams, with the help of Scrum Masters.

The Bad Product Owner: The Phantom PO, How Lack of Decision-Making Impacts the Team and Kills Innovation

In this segment, Caterina talks about a Product Owner who only wrote user stories but was unable to make decisions. The Product Owner always needed to report to his boss, which caused a delay in decision-making. This led to delays in the team's work, resulting in not completing the story in the sprint. Additionally, the team lost trust in the PO, and did not have enough information or support from the PO to bring their contribution to the product through technical innovation. Eventually, the team started to make decisions on their own and stopped suggesting ideas to the PO. Caterina emphasizes the importance of Product Owners being able to make decisions and not causing delays in the team's work.

 

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 Caterina Palmiotto

Caterina started as a software developer but soon realized that she was passionate about team dynamics and communication, and embraced agility from the moment she saw it.

Caterina believes a team can be more than the sum of its parts and that growing the right culture is essential. When people are surrounded by good examples they will be motivated to do their best.  So the first step is doing your best to be a good example of the culture you want to nurture.

You can link with Caterina Palmiotto on LinkedIn.

Mar 16, 2023

Caterina Palmiotto: Autonomy and Accountability, Key Team Skills That Make You A Successful Scrum Master

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

In this segment, Caterina discusses how success for Scrum Masters depends on the team's ability to be autonomous in defining and changing their working agreements. She suggests asking questions such as whether the team members are active when the Scrum Master isn't there and if they are following the agreements they made together. She emphasizes the importance of the team being mature enough to trust themselves to make decisions and call out each other when they break the rules. Finally, she shares a tip on how keeping each other accountable to the work agreements is crucial to maintaining the desired team culture.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Metaphor, or simple format? Which one to use and when? 

In this segment, Caterina discusses an agile retrospective format based on team maturity. For new or less mature teams, she suggests using a metaphor, such as a favorite movie or sport, to change perspective. However, for more mature teams, a simple format like MAD/SAD/GLAD works well as they want to jump into and quickly solve problems they already know about. In the end, we must always adapt the retrospective format to the level of the team, as well as the current situation they are facing.

 

About Caterina Palmiotto

Caterina started as a software developer but soon realized that she was passionate about team dynamics and communication, and embraced agility from the moment she saw it.

Caterina believes a team can be more than the sum of its parts and that growing the right culture is essential. When people are surrounded by good examples they will be motivated to do their best.  So the first step is doing your best to be a good example of the culture you want to nurture.

You can link with Caterina Palmiotto on LinkedIn.

Mar 15, 2023

Caterina Palmiotto: Lessons from an Agile Transformation in a Manufacturing Company

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, Caterina discusses a large-scale Agile transformation she was involved in at a manufacturing company. The transformation was initiated after a successful pilot with a few software development teams. The company adopted a top-down approach, hiring many Agile coaches and implementing a model that combined the Spotify Model and a big-bang change. Despite its success, the transformation was risky due to its size, and Caterina suggests starting the Agile adoption with a single Value Stream and measuring the impact on the business. In this case, the company's culture was also key in integrating the many different backgrounds and expectations from the different regional offices. 

The success factors Caterina identified were: team coaching, focus on effective communication, and constant respect for each other.

 

About Caterina Palmiotto

Caterina started as a software developer but soon realized that she was passionate about team dynamics and communication, and embraced agility from the moment she saw it.

Caterina believes a team can be more than the sum of its parts and that growing the right culture is essential. When people are surrounded by good examples they will be motivated to do their best.  So the first step is doing your best to be a good example of the culture you want to nurture.

You can link with Caterina Palmiotto on LinkedIn

Mar 14, 2023

Caterina Palmiotto: Address conflicts in your Agile Team, or else…

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 segment, Caterina Palmiotto discusses the story of a software development team that was self-destructing due to conflicts and a blame culture. When Caterina joined the team, she heard blame, resentment, and conflicts among the developers. The team struggled to resolve bugs, and one developer was causing the majority of the conflicts. Caterina tried to address the conflicts and had some success, but it took a difficult decision to remove the person causing the conflicts for the team to work better. Caterina emphasizes the importance of addressing conflicts and the impact of culture on the success of a team.

Featured Book of the Week: Legacy, by James Kerr

In this segment, Caterina Palmiotto discusses the book Legacy by James Kerr, which is a collection of leadership stories about the All Blacks rugby team from New Zealand. As a scrum master, Caterina noticed similarities in leadership between sports and software development. The book connected all the dots in her mind and emphasized the importance of a strong team culture. According to Caterina, if you focus on the team, the results will follow. The book highlights the idea that strong leadership is essential to building a strong team culture.

 

About Caterina Palmiotto

Caterina started as a software developer but soon realized that she was passionate about team dynamics and communication, and embraced agility from the moment she saw it.

Caterina believes a team can be more than the sum of its parts and that growing the right culture is essential. When people are surrounded by good examples they will be motivated to do their best.  So the first step is doing your best to be a good example of the culture you want to nurture.

You can link with Caterina Palmiotto on LinkedIn.

Mar 13, 2023

Caterina Palmiotto: A Scrum Master anti-pattern, introducing Agile in a “bubble”

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, Caterina shares her experience as a Scrum Master in the IT department of a big company. Caterina and her colleague were responsible for two teams developing an in-house software, but no one in the company knew about Scrum. Despite initial difficulties and blaming, after 18 months, Caterina and her colleague were able to create an "agile bubble" where the teams and product owners were able to work together. They protected the teams from negative aspects happening elsewhere in the company. 

However, after Caterina left the company, the agile environment fell apart since the decision-makers in the company were not aware of the agile methodology. Caterina realized that she failed to spread agile practices elsewhere in the company and suggested inviting more people into sprint reviews and demos, organizing open sessions, and creating curiosity in other departments. In this episode, Caterina emphasizes the importance of finding allies to continue agile practices even after leaving the company.

 

About Caterina Palmiotto

Caterina started as a software developer but soon realized that she was passionate about team dynamics and communication, and embraced agility from the moment she saw it.

Caterina believes a team can be more than the sum of its parts and that growing the right culture is essential. When people are surrounded by good examples they will be motivated to do their best.  So the first step is doing your best to be a good example of the culture you want to nurture.

You can link with Caterina Palmiotto on LinkedIn

Mar 10, 2023

Kirill Golubev: The Pitfalls of a Project Management Mindset in the Product Owner role

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: Building a strong relationship between Scrum Master and PO, a critical contribution to the success of the team

Kirill talks about how important it is for Scrum Masters to build a close understanding and trusting relationship with the product owner (PO), and how that relationship is critical for the success of the team. He emphasizes that if there is no chemistry between the Scrum Master and PO, it's better not to join that team. When there is good chemistry, the team will benefit much more from both Scrum Master’s and PO’s presence.

Kirill also stresses that the PO needs to have guts and be clear about prioritizing the backlog. He warns against the anti-pattern of conflict between the Scrum Master and PO. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Pitfalls of a Project Management Mindset in the PO role

In this segment, Kirill shares why he thinks that the PO role is a cornerstone role in Scrum and without a PO, a Scrum team cannot even get started properly. We explore how POs that come from the project management field, often have a project management mindset, which hinders their ability to grasp the PO role.

Kirill shares an example of 3 POs for one team who were new to the role and to Agile. The POs did not trust the team to self-manage, and wanted to control everything by telling the team what they had to work on, and when. We discuss how we can help the PO understand that it helps the team to trust and help them self-manage. We also refer to the concepts of Theory X and Theory Y and how, knowing about that can help the PO's understand their role as a leader.

 

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 Kirill Golubev

Kirill considers himself an Agile and common-sense apologist. He wants to see simple processes in place, when people self-organize and manage themselves without constant push from management.

You can link with Kirill Golubev on LinkedIn.

Mar 9, 2023

Kirill Golubev: How the Scrum Master's Role Contributes to Team Success

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, Kirill discusses the difficulty of measuring the value of a Scrum Master and how success is ultimately tied to the success of the team. He emphasizes the importance of paying attention to retrospective preparation and capturing concerns expressed by the team. Kirill measures his own success and that of the team by the value delivered to a satisfied customer. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Making Agile Accessible and Using User-Friendly Retro Formats

In this segment, Kirill discusses the importance of using different retrospective formats depending on what the team wants to achieve and the inputs involved. He mentions examples such as the hot air balloon and sailboat retrospectives, which can visually illustrate the key principles of Agile and help the team reflect on how they implement those. Kirill emphasizes the importance of avoiding the use of hard vocabulary in retrospectives, and making sure that everyone, including those unfamiliar with Agile, can actively participate and benefit from the session. 

 

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

 

About Kirill Golubev

Kirill considers himself an Agile and common-sense apologist. He wants to see simple processes in place, when people self-organize and manage themselves without constant push from management.

You can link with Kirill Golubev on LinkedIn

Mar 8, 2023

Kirill Golubev: A Scrum Master's Insights on Being a Change Agent in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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, Kirill shares the story of when he was a Scrum Master in the pharmaceutical industry, and learned some important lessons about being a change agent in an organization. He highlights the importance of having the team's support and readiness when implementing any change. Kirill also emphasizes the value of training management to showcase the benefits of Agile to them.

Kirill believes that Scrum Masters have a revolutionary role in bringing change to the workplace and that it's essential to define a Scrum Master vision and have a mentor to understand critical things that are necessary for success in the role.

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Kirill Golubev

Kirill considers himself an Agile and common-sense apologist. He wants to see simple processes in place, when people self-organize and manage themselves without constant push from management.

You can link with Kirill Golubev on LinkedIn.

Mar 7, 2023

Kirill Golubev: When Conflicts Escalate, Lessons Learned from a Scrum Master's Story of an Agile Team’s Self-Destruction

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, Kirill Golubev shares the story of a team that entered an unresolvable conflict. It all started small, with discussions on what framework and technology to use for the front-end. One person suggested that the decision was not optimal, but this person was not the lead developer. The team had other developers who had been together for a while and felt very united, and they started to push back against this developer's comments and disagreement.

Unfortunately, the situation escalated, and it led to nearly-physical confrontation. Kirill was not prepared to see the conflict grow that big, although there were other conflicts in the team that were positive and constructive. Even when he tried to address the topic in the team retrospectives, there were no specific action steps to address the conflict issue. Overall, Kirill's story highlights the importance of addressing conflicts proactively, especially when there are disagreements among team members. It's essential to have clear action steps to resolve conflicts and prevent them from escalating.

Featured Book of the Week: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Kirill Golubev mentioned "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson as the book that most influenced him. He highlighted the Pareto rule, which states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes, and in that context, he stressed the importance of being selective in daily work and identifying which actions bring the most value, which is similar to prioritizing the backlog for Product Owners.

 

In addition, Kirill emphasized the need to take the smallest step possible to deliver the most value, which is crucial in Agile. Overall, the book helped Kirill understand the importance of prioritizing and identifying the most valuable tasks, which is essential for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches.

 

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 Kirill Golubev

Kirill considers himself an Agile and common-sense apologist. He wants to see simple processes in place, when people self-organize and manage themselves without constant push from management.

You can link with Kirill Golubev on LinkedIn.

Mar 6, 2023

Kirill Golubev: The Challenges with Scaling and Product Ownership for a Growing Scrum Team

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

In the podcast episode, Kirill Golubev shares a story of a team he was working with, which had grown larger. As they grew larger, they added a second and a third product manager. However, this led to constant fighting for priorities among the product managers. What was worse, the product managers were organized around components, rather than features, which caused even more conflicts, and delays in delivery for the team.

 

In this episode, we talk about the importance of having only one Product Owner working on the backlog. In that situation, the team adopted the Nexus framework to scale their approach to Scrum and created three different teams for the three different components. This was not optimal, but helped to avoid the biggest PO anti-patterns. 

 

Finally, Kirill emphasizes the importance of building agreements between teams and Product Owners to ensure a successful outcome. Overall, Kirill's story highlights the challenges that can arise when a team grows too large and the importance of effective communication and collaboration between Product Owners, Scrum Master, and teams.

 

Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Kirill Golubev

Kirill considers himself an Agile and common-sense apologist. He wants to see simple processes in place, when people self-organize and manage themselves without constant push from management.

You can link with Kirill Golubev on LinkedIn

Mar 4, 2023

BONUS: The Collaboration Equation, Fostering Effective Collaboration in Agile Software Development with Jim Benson

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.

 

About Jim Benson

A pioneer in applying Lean and Kanban to knowledge work, Jim is the creator of Personal Kanban and co-author of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, winner of the Shingo Research and Publication Award. His other books include Why Plans Fail, Why Limit WIP, and Beyond Agile. He is the CEO of Modus Cooperandi, and co-founder of Modus Institute. For the past two decades Jim has worked at uncovering ways for individuals and groups to communicate, collaborate, and find clarity in unpredictable and amorphous environments.

You can link with Jim Benson on LinkedIn and connect with Jim Benson on Twitter.

Mar 3, 2023

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: Key Traits of an Exceptional Product Owner in Agile Teams 

A great product owner, according to Alina, is someone who is knowledgeable and confident about the product they are overseeing. They build trust within the team by being respectful and involving everyone in decision-making processes. The ability to move the team forward is an important characteristic of a great PO. In order to support a PO, Alina suggests having open communication and avoiding assumptions. A great PO opens the door for discussion and finding ways to help the team succeed.

The Bad Product Owner: Overcoming Challenges with a Bossy Product Owner

In this segment, Alina describes a conversation with a scrum team about their Product Owner. The team agreed that their product owner was very bossy, dictating decisions and pushing the team. This kind of behavior from a product owner can create conflict, as the team is not involved in decision making and the product owner is not considering the needs of the team.

The relationship between the product owner and the team, as well as the relationship between the product owner and the scrum master, is critical to the success of a project. Alina offered tips on how to address this issue, such as talking with the product owner to understand their role and finding ways to support them in finding their potential. She also recommended resources such as the Product Owner Summit and the book "Scrum Product Ownership" by Bob Galen to help better understand the leadership roles of both the product owner and 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 Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

Mar 2, 2023

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.

Our personal experiences will shape the approach we take to the role of the Scrum Master. Alina recalls her childhood where she always had the urge to motivate people around her. Later in life she never lost the drive to help people find their potential. As a Scrum Master, she believes that it is important to remember that before being a leader in any capacity, one is a human being and therefore, it's essential to bring our humanity to work. She suggests starting with small acts of kindness, such as being there for your team when they need you, creating a kudos board to show appreciation, and conducting a discovery type of meeting to focus on personal and team strengths and motivation. The goal is to remind the team of their strengths and overcome the fear of problems.

Featured Retrospectives Format for the Week: Changing up the retrospective, by rotating the facilitator

In this segment, Alina highlights the importance of alternating between different types of retrospectives to keep things fresh and engaging. At times, a prepared template can be helpful, while at other times, an open conversation with very little formality, may be the best option. Alina also suggests that sometimes, it’s better to just give the team time, as there are situations when people need time to understand a problem. When focusing on enabling an open conversation, and deciding on the topic of the retrospective, Alina suggests collecting topics during the sprint and bringing them to the retrospective. To add even more dynamism, and creativity to the retrospective, we can also rotate the facilitator role, as that bring many different perspectives to the conversation.

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox! 

About Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

Mar 1, 2023

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, Alina explains the idea of the "law of attraction" and how aligning yourself with what you want can bring it into your life. Alina shares her personal experience of becoming a Scrum Master and her journey to bring agility to her organization. She initially felt overwhelmed and struggled to understand and apply Agile. However, all that changed after her participation in the Agile Online Summit, she learned to ask questions and see the opportunities. Alina emphasizes the importance of finding peace and enjoying the process of change, rather than feeling overwhelmed.

In this episode, Alina refers to the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

About Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

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