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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: October, 2023
Oct 31, 2023

Chris Garvey: A Tale of Two Agile Teams, A Key Lesson on The Impact of Leadership on Team Self-organization

In this episode, Chris shares a pivotal experience managing two teams as a Scrum Master. While one team was granted time to embark on their own agile journey, the other team faced time constraints. Despite having the same coach, manager, and product owner, the teams significantly diverged. A key insight emerged when one tech lead allowed the team space for self-organization, while the other did not. This distinction played a crucial role in team performance. Chris emphasizes the importance of providing support for teams to take ownership and grow, as it doesn't happen naturally without guidance.

Featured Book of the Week: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Chris delves into the profound impact of The Power Of Now By Eckhart Tolle on his Scrum Master journey, emphasizing its focus on presence and challenging thought patterns. He highlights the gift of being fully present as a coach, offering a unique perspective on trust and conditioning in our thinking processes. The book's influence lies in its ability to open minds to diverse thinking, ultimately shaping Chris's approach as a Scrum Master.

 

[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 Chris Garvey

Chris is passionate about people, and creating empowering spaces where people can thrive. He is a coach at heart having been a Life Coach before becoming an Agile Coach. For close to 10 years he has been working in the agile space as a Scrum Master, then Agile Coach, then trainer, and now as an Enterprise Agile Coach.

You can link with Chris Garvey on LinkedIn.

Oct 30, 2023

Chris Garvey: When Agile Alone Can't Save the Day, Avoiding The Temptation To “Save” A Scrum Team

In this episode, Chris recounts a challenging experience as a Scrum Master in emergency services product development. Faced with exploding software development and delayed deliveries, the team turned to Agile for a solution. The immense pressure led Chris to take the role too seriously, causing a detrimental shift in focus. To top it all, three team members were experiencing burnout. Chris emphasizes the importance of coaching by invitation and avoiding the temptation to micromanage the team. Ultimately, this episode raises questions about leadership's openness to change in such high-pressure situations.

In this episode, we refer to the book Shift From Product To People, a book that explores the need to focus on working with people first, before being able to work with the product.

 

[IMAGE HERE] 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 Chris Garvey

Chris is passionate about people, and creating empowering spaces where people can thrive. He is a coach at heart having been a Life Coach before becoming an Agile Coach. For close to 10 years he has been working in the agile space as a Scrum Master, then Agile Coach, then trainer, and now as an Enterprise Agile Coach.

You can link with Chris Garvey on LinkedIn.

Oct 27, 2023

Anna Mbengam: When Roles Blur In Agile Teams, the Product Owner and Manager Anti-Pattern

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

The Great Product Owner: Personal Connection and Growth, The Power of Supportive Product Ownership

Anna shares her experience with an exceptional Product Owner who stood out for his genuine care and personal investment in team members. Beyond professional expertise, he took the time to understand Anna and offered invaluable support in communication and interactions within the organization. This Product Owner's willingness to seek and provide feedback, both positive and constructive, played a crucial role in Anna's growth and development. This episode sheds light on the qualities that make a Product Owner truly great, emphasizing the importance of empathy, mentorship, and effective communication.

The Bad Product Owner: When Roles Blur, The PO Who Was Also A Manager

In this episode, Anna shares the story of a PO that was too involved with the team, bordering on micromanagement. On top of that, this PO had the dual role of PO and manager, leading to confusion for the team. In the planning meetings, the PO interfered with the sizing of tasks. Anna offers valuable tips such as asking questions to highlight the impact of such behavior and providing education with respect. Addressing these patterns involves open communication with the PO, seeking their perspective, and ongoing coaching to support their evolution in the role. 

 

[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 Anna Mbengam

Anna, an accomplished Scrum Master and SAFe Coach since 2018, thrives in diverse industries like Personal Investments, Healthcare, Food & beverage, and Banking. She's authored 5 self-published guides aiding aspiring Scrum Masters, and her mentoring has transformed 200+ professionals into highly effective individuals for any organization.

You can link with Anna Mbengam on LinkedIn and read Anna’s books.

Oct 26, 2023

Anna Mbengam: Prioritizing People And Empowering Teams in the Scrum Master's Absence

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, Anna emphasizes the critical role of a Scrum Master in ensuring team happiness. She prioritizes facilitating self-organization and meaningful interactions among team members. Anna's success criteria extend beyond metrics to encompass factors like continuous improvement, agile mindset adoption, and positive team culture. She advocates for open dialogue and hosts regular one-on-one meetings to gauge individual team members' progress and well-being. Anna also empowers the team to take ownership of the Scrum Master role in her absence, assessing the impact upon her return. 

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: Start/Stop/Continue, To Help Scrum Masters Listen Better

Anna likes the 'Start/Stop/Continue' retrospective format, as it fosters understanding and alignment within the team. Initially driven to implement sweeping changes, Anna learned the value of stepping back to enable teams to drive their own transformations. This format allows her to actively listen and discern the team's focal points, resulting in more effective and meaningful retrospectives.

 

[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 Anna Mbengam

Anna, an accomplished Scrum Master and SAFe Coach since 2018, thrives in diverse industries like Personal Investments, Healthcare, Food & beverage, and Banking. She's authored 5 self-published guides aiding aspiring Scrum Masters, and her mentoring has transformed 200+ professionals into highly effective individuals for any organization.

You can link with Anna Mbengam on LinkedIn and read Anna’s books.

Oct 25, 2023

Anna Mbengam: Strategies for Aligning Distributed Agile Teams In A Large Scale 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.

In this episode, Anna shares experiences from a large-scale tech company, detailing the challenges of setting up distributed teams across different products while implementing scaled agile practices. Leadership alignment on the change's purpose was established, but resistance arose due to time constraints for training. Anna advises comprehensive training for all, along with piloting the change with one team. Balancing role transitions and training proved overwhelming, prompting Anna to involve leadership. She underscores the importance of leadership buy-in, advocating their participation in key processes like PI planning and Inspect and Adapt sessions. Supporting team autonomy and experimentation is crucial for successful change management.

 

[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 Anna Mbengam

Anna, an accomplished Scrum Master and SAFe Coach since 2018, thrives in diverse industries like Personal Investments, Healthcare, Food & beverage, and Banking. She's authored 5 self-published guides aiding aspiring Scrum Masters, and her mentoring has transformed 200+ professionals into highly effective individuals for any organization.

You can link with Anna Mbengam on LinkedIn and read Anna’s books.

Oct 24, 2023

Anna Mbengam: Strategies for Navigating Difficult Conversations, Solving Conflicts, And Coaching Scrum 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, Anna shares a scenario where a team grappled with a fear of conflict. She emphasizes the need to step back and listen attentively, advising against cornering teams during discussions on sensitive topics. Anna highlights how team members confided in her privately, often about cultural disparities. She offers practical tips, such as gauging comfort levels for public discussions and maintaining confidentiality. Anna advocates for transparency, suggesting collaboration with the Product Owner to demonstrate openness and acknowledge mistakes. Additional advice includes fostering trust, utilizing icebreakers to bridge diverse perspectives, and encouraging active leadership within the team.

Featured Book For The Week: Coaching for Success: Integrating 'The Five Dysfunctions' and 'Agile Coaching'

In this episode, Anna delves into the influential book 'The Five Dysfunctions of a Team', emphasizing its role in recognizing and mitigating detrimental behavioral patterns within teams. She highlights the fear of conflict as a particularly crucial aspect. Anna stresses the importance of active listening and avoiding cornering teams during discussions on challenging topics. Additionally, she introduces 'Agile Coaching' by Rachel Davies as another valuable resource for enhancing team dynamics and performance in agile environments.

 

[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 Anna Mbengam

Anna, an accomplished Scrum Master and SAFe Coach since 2018, thrives in diverse industries like Personal Investments, Healthcare, Food & beverage, and Banking. She's authored 5 self-published guides aiding aspiring Scrum Masters, and her mentoring has transformed 200+ professionals into highly effective individuals for any organization.

You can link with Anna Mbengam on LinkedIn and read Anna’s books.

 

Oct 23, 2023

Anna Mbengam: Rising From Disruption, After The Departure Of A Key Scrum Team Member

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, Anna discusses a critical juncture at a startup where a key developer left, disrupting the team's dynamics. The team struggled to self-organize and lacked expertise after that senior developer left. Stakeholder expectations were high, making the situation even worse for the team. Anna implemented smaller group discussions, fostering a sense of ownership for specific development areas. This led to knowledge-sharing and a collaborative approach to improve performance. The team also sought stakeholder support in hiring. The episode highlights the importance of adaptability, stakeholder collaboration, and teamwork in agile development, especially in the face of unexpected departures.

 

[IMAGE HERE] 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 Anna Mbengam

Anna, an accomplished Scrum Master and SAFe Coach since 2018, thrives in diverse industries like Personal Investments, Healthcare, Food & beverage, and Banking. She's authored 5 self-published guides aiding aspiring Scrum Masters, and her mentoring has transformed 200+ professionals into highly effective individuals for any organization.

You can link with Anna Mbengam on LinkedIn and read Anna’s books.

 

Oct 21, 2023

BONUS: The Art Of Crafting User Stories with Christopher Lee

In this episode, we talk with Christopher Lee about his latest book, "The Art Of Crafting User Stories." Christopher shares the fascinating origin story of his book and how principles of product management were applied to its creation. 

Product Development Insights

Christopher draws intriguing parallels between software development and book creation, highlighting two key concepts that apply to both realms. He introduces the concept of "debugging for books" and shares essential tips, like the importance of having multiple content reviewers and utilizing the technique of "Rubber Duck Debugging" for authors. The examples he uses also clarify how his approach to Product Management can help you with software products.

Learning To Empathize With The User

We discuss how understanding the user perspective is a critical skill for Product Owners and teams, and enables them to write better User Stories. Christopher emphasizes the development of perspective-taking and compassion for others, starting with self-reflection. He introduces tools like "The Feeling's Wheel" and explores the concept of uncovering the needs behind user needs, known as "Jobs to be Done."

In this segment, we also refer to User Story Mapping, Google Design Sprints, and the book Radical Candor.

Crafting User Stories: Avoiding Ambiguity

Christopher shares some of the most effective tools to help teams truly empathize with their software users, fostering a deeper understanding that can greatly inform the user story process.

Delving into the actual act of writing user stories, Christopher provides invaluable advice on avoiding ambiguity. He advocates for collaborative efforts with engineering and design teams, using user stories as a foundation. Additionally, he introduces the "Given - When - Then" format for clarity and efficiency.

Navigating User Story Estimation, Other Planning Challenges 

Christopher addresses common challenges in user story estimation and emphasizes the importance of adaptability in Agile and User Stories. He offers strategies to prevent downstream consequences and encourages direct engineer-user interaction for swift feedback.

Prioritization is a critical aspect of planning that Christopher dives into, providing a toolkit of models and methods. He emphasizes the importance of aligning product development with organizational mission and North Star metrics, ultimately honing in on the right end-users.

Expert Interviews, Bringing Different Perspectives On User Stories

Christopher introduces a unique element in his book—expert interviews. These interviews offer diverse perspectives on Agile, user stories, and collaborative work, enriching the reader's experience and understanding.

Parting Words of Wisdom

In a final piece of advice, Christopher underscores that crafting user stories is a team effort, emphasizing that no one person can do it alone.

About Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee is a seasoned Product Management Coach, known for his expertise as a product manager and technology consultant. His insights into the industry are encapsulated in his book, 'The Art of Crafting User Stories', and advanced product management methodologies he created when at Ernst & Young.

You can link with Christopher Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Christopher Lee through the Product Coach Labs.

Oct 20, 2023

Michael Schmidt: When Ego Hinders Progress For PO’s, The Overconfident Product Owner

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 Respect and Trust With The Team, The Skills of a Great PO

In this episode, Michael shares an insightful story of a product manager turned Product Owner, faced with the challenges of a complex, high-tech product. Despite initial uncertainty, she learned to trust her team's expertise and leaned on them for guidance. This shift in approach earned her the respect and credibility of her team. Michael emphasizes the importance of seeking help from the team and highlights this as a key trait of a great Product Owner. This episode provides valuable insights into the qualities that define an exceptional Product Owner.

The Bad Product Owner: When Ego Hinders Progress For PO’s, The Overconfident PO

In this episode, Michael recounts an encounter with a Product Owner (PO) who was overconfident in their skills, while at the same time not providing enough information in user stories, forcing the team to guess what was asked. Despite attempts to offer help, the PO refused assistance, ultimately causing friction. When the situation escalated, the manager intervened, resulting in Michael's departure from the team. Michael stresses the importance of highlighting the impact on the team and offering constructive feedback on user stories. He introduces the "Michael test" for evaluating a PO’s ability to perform in that role.

 

[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 Michael Schmidt

Michael a Berlin-based Agile Coach for teams, roles and organisations around software based product development. Michael invented "the taskboard" on his own, which ignited his working agile by conviction some 13 years ago.

You can link with Michael Schmidt on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Schmidt on Twitter

Oct 19, 2023

Michael Schmidt: Sustainable Agile Practice, A Success Factor For Scrum Masters

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, Michael delves into the critical question of what success means for Scrum Masters. He stresses the need for individual reflection as a way to grow in that role. For him, achieving a sustainable pace for everyone involved is paramount. He emphasizes regularly assessing if the team is operating in the "green area" of sustainability. Additionally, Michael offers a valuable tip: clearly define the team's playground and set explicit rules for both team members and external stakeholders. 

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: Fostering Conversations, The Biergarten Retro Experience

In this episode, Michael introduces the "Biergarten Retro," a conversation focused agile retrospective. He emphasizes how this format can adapt to different team dynamics and the importance of active participation. Michael encourages using familiar methods while providing guidance through 3-4 key areas. Choosing this type of environment can foster open conversations, allowing team members to address issues they might avoid in a conventional office setting. Stepping out of routine surroundings promotes fresh perspectives and strengthens team cohesion. Ultimately, the Biergarten Retro serves as a powerful tool in nurturing the well-being and dynamics of the team.

 

[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 Michael Schmidt

Michael a Berlin-based Agile Coach for teams, roles and organisations around software based product development. Michael invented "the taskboard" on his own, which ignited his working agile by conviction some 13 years ago.

You can link with Michael Schmidt on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Schmidt on Twitter

Oct 18, 2023

Michael Schmidt: Leading Change with Trust and Agility, To Help Teams Find Their Flavor Of Agile

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, Michael shares his experiences in leading change within a large corporation. Backed by strong executive support, the co-located team cultivated a positive attitude towards change. They stopped the day-to-day operations for some time, to be able adopt a fresh approach, focusing on efficiency and self-organization. Lively discussions and diverse approaches were encouraged, showcasing that Agile could benefit the entire organization. Trust and flexibility were key, allowing teams to find their own paths within the selected Agile framework. Value delivery was prioritized, and roles remained fluid, emphasizing adaptability in achieving success. Michael's story highlights the power of change leadership and collaborative, goal-oriented 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 Michael Schmidt

Michael a Berlin-based Agile Coach for teams, roles and organisations around software based product development. Michael invented "the taskboard" on his own, which ignited his working agile by conviction some 13 years ago.

You can link with Michael Schmidt on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Schmidt on Twitter.

Oct 17, 2023

Michael Schmidt: When Comfort Stagnates Progress For An Agile Team, The Problem Avoidance Anti-pattern

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

In this episode, Michael recounts his experience in a company where he went against his instincts due to comfort. The software development environment prioritized being busy over progress. Goal setting and sprint planning were undervalued, and negative behaviors like gossiping prevailed. Michael's attempts to offer help were met with resistance, as the team downplayed any possible issues. This anti-pattern of avoiding talking about problems hindered growth. Through perseverance, Michael learned the importance of trusting his intuition and initiating small, positive changes to build trust and overcome the fear, or dislike to discuss obstacles and problems.

Featured Book Of The Week: Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby

In this episode, Michael shares his favorite Agile book, Esther Derby’s and Diana Larsen’s “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great". He emphasizes that every practice should have a purpose, instilling a profound sense of understanding. Michael highlights the true objective of retrospectives - not just for change, but for personal reflection. Establishing a routine for reflection minimizes change risks, providing a safe space for experimentation and learning from new approaches. The book's insights resonate with Michael, underlining the importance of intentionality in Agile practices.

 

[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 Michael Schmidt

Michael a Berlin-based Agile Coach for teams, roles and organisations around software based product development. Michael invented "the taskboard" on his own, which ignited his working agile by conviction some 13 years ago.

You can link with Michael Schmidt on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Schmidt on Twitter

Oct 16, 2023

Michael Schmidt: Ensuring Kanban Sustainability Despite The Scrum Master’s Absence

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, Michael shares his experience with implementing Kanban in a software development team. Despite a functional team, the input quality was not good enough, and the team also had too many people taking on the product manager role. Michael collaborated with them, establishing a workflow and introducing a "Ready-kanban" system. Daily product standups were instituted, but progress halted when Michael went on vacation. Upon his return, he discovered no improvements, highlighting a trust deficit in the Kanban process. Michael emphasizes the need for collective ownership and sustainability of the practice, urging reflection on its benefits for lasting success.

 

[IMAGE HERE] 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 Michael Schmidt

Michael a Berlin-based Agile Coach for teams, roles and organisations around software based product development. Michael invented "the taskboard" on his own, which ignited his working agile by conviction some 13 years ago.

You can link with Michael Schmidt on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Schmidt on Twitter

Oct 13, 2023

Konstantin Ribel: The Product Owner Turnaround With The Help of Real-Time Feedback By The 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.

The Great Product Owner: The PO That Looked At Backlog Items As Investments

Konstantin describes for us a standout Product Owner with a strong business focus. This PO viewed work time as an investment, carefully considering the team's use of their time. They treated backlog items as hypotheses, emphasizing the need for validation with real customers. Seeking feedback on these hypotheses and involving the team in refinement and customer reviews were key practices. The team's active participation in feedback cycles played a crucial role in value creation. Konstantin also recommends organizing sprint reviews with customers for optimal product development.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO Turnaround With The Help of Real-Time Feedback By The Scrum Master

Konstantin describes a micromanaging Product Owner who controlled backlog and daily tasks, pushing the team to learn to just be passive. Despite good intentions, the PO needed guidance. Konstantin, observing from a coaching standpoint, intervened by suggesting private feedback sessions and offering real-time behavior insights. The fact that the team worked remotely made the issue even worse. But, with Konstantin’s help, the PO's realization of their behavior marked a turning point. Konstantin advises using real-time feedback and creating a timeline of events to foster awareness and change within the team.

 

[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 Konstantin Ribel

Konstantin drives organizational success through innovative thinking, simplifying processes, and building high-performing teams. With a strong track record in change management and process optimization, he leads agile transformations and applies systems thinking for adaptable, thriving businesses in dynamic industries.

You can link with Konstantin Ribel on LinkedIn

Oct 12, 2023

Konstantin Ribel: The Three Tiers of Scrum Master Success, Team, Multi-team, and Product

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.

Konstantin outlines three tiers of success for Scrum Masters. Level 1 centers on fostering teamwork and trust within a single team. Level 2 emphasizes collaboration between multiple teams, avoiding silos, and ensuring equitable workloads. Level 3 delves into product-focused success, considering customer-driven value, delivery efficiency, and feedback loops. Konstantin advises bringing teams together through multi-team events and facilitating progress sharing among teams to enhance overall success in the Scrum Master role.

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: Tailoring Retrospectives, Konstantin's Recipe For Scrum Master Adaptability To Team Needs

Konstantin advocates for adaptability in retrospectives, noting the importance of ditching a pre-planned format if it doesn't suit the team dynamics at the time of the retrospective. He emphasizes the need to prepare each retrospective, as it helps us to be secure if there’s a need to improvise. Konstantin shares the example of a team that received news of an impending change just before the retro, and that prompted Konstantin to focus on the team’s need for a conversation around closure, rather than future improvement. This highlights the value of addressing real-time team needs over rigid adherence to a set format.

 

[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 Konstantin Ribel

Konstantin drives organizational success through innovative thinking, simplifying processes, and building high-performing teams. With a strong track record in change management and process optimization, he leads agile transformations and applies systems thinking for adaptable, thriving businesses in dynamic industries.

You can link with Konstantin Ribel on LinkedIn.

Oct 11, 2023

Konstantin Ribel: A Blueprint for Organizational Transformation With The LeSS framework, A Case Study

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.

Konstantin shares a pivotal change initiative aimed at tackling a complex product in a major automotive company. Focusing solely on change, he collaborated with management and specialists to define the necessary changes. A workshop, led by Konstantin, served as a major catalyst, and triggered collaboration across the organization. Through four months of intensive collaboration, the direction of change was clarified, emphasizing a real organizational shift. The team iteratively simplified a consulting company's proposal, ultimately embracing the LeSS Framework for Scaled Agile. Konstantin highlights the importance of being open to challenges from the organizing, and working to get buy-in, and adopting a political mindset. He advises aligning management with development challenges and cautions against blind framework implementation.

 

[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 Konstantin Ribel

Konstantin drives organizational success through innovative thinking, simplifying processes, and building high-performing teams. With a strong track record in change management and process optimization, he leads agile transformations and applies systems thinking for adaptable, thriving businesses in dynamic industries.

You can link with Konstantin Ribel on LinkedIn

Oct 10, 2023

Konstantin Ribel: Rebuilding Scrum Team Dynamics To Overcome Remote Work Anti-Patterns

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.

Konstantin recounts a team's struggle rooted in prioritizing individual tasks over collective effort. Daily meetings centered on status updates fostered a fragmented and siloed work environment. The team working remote made the issue even worse, making it hard to have face-to-face interaction and pair-working. All of these patterns resulted in underperformance. Konstantin advises regular team gatherings, emphasizing the importance of on-site collaboration. He underscores the human element, urging teams to function cohesively as people.

Featured Book Of The Week: The Miracle Morning by Hal Erold

In this segment, Konstantin delves into how his morning routine, inspired by "The Miracle Morning," by Hal Erold has profoundly influenced his role as a Scrum Master. He emphasizes the critical link between personal and professional development, crediting the book "Extreme Programming Explained" for its condensed wisdom. Konstantin highlights Kent Beck's mantra of "do more of what works" and expresses a preference for pair working, acknowledging its occasional impracticality. He consistently applies the insights gained from this book, advocating against the anti-pattern of delayed feedback in his work with teams.

 

[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 Konstantin Ribel

Konstantin drives organizational success through innovative thinking, simplifying processes, and building high-performing teams. With a strong track record in change management and process optimization, he leads agile transformations and applies systems thinking for adaptable, thriving businesses in dynamic industries.

You can link with Konstantin Ribel on LinkedIn

Oct 9, 2023

Konstantin Ribel: One Thing Most Agile Teams Miss When Adopting Agile 

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 when, during an Agile transformation, Konstantin had to terminate engagements with external consultants he had been working with. Even if this was painful, and hard for Konstantin, the big issue was still to come. Over time, after the consultants left, he realized that the teams were not ready to make decisions on their own. In this episode, Konstantin emphasizes that teams often waste time seeking unanimous agreement. Konstantin talks about the need to embrace the concept of "disagree and commit." Konstantin introduces the concept of resistance voting as a means to expedite decisions without excluding any team members’ perspectives.

In this episode, we refer to the scaling framework LeSS

 

[IMAGE HERE] 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 Konstantin Ribel

Konstantin drives organizational success through innovative thinking, simplifying processes, and building high-performing teams. With a strong track record in change management and process optimization, he leads agile transformations and applies systems thinking for adaptable, thriving businesses in dynamic industries.

You can link with Konstantin Ribel on LinkedIn.

Oct 7, 2023

BONUS: The Perfection Trap, How To Avoid Stifling Your, and Your Team’s Growth, With Thomas Curran

 

In this episode, Thomas Curran, the author of the book The Perfection Trap, sheds light on the dangerous attempt to be perfect, and how it can lead to burnout and depression. He distinguishes perfectionism from healthy striving, emphasizing how perfectionists grapple with uncertainty and insecurity, constantly questioning their own adequacy. The fear of failure looms large, often causing them to withdraw from situations where evaluation is likely. The emotional toll of this relentless pursuit is substantial, leaving little room for self-compassion.

Research Insights: The Psychological Landscape

 

As an Associate Professor at the London School of Economics, Curran draws upon research to inform his writing. He highlights compelling studies that uncover the roots of perfectionism and its far-reaching impacts. He offers a glimpse into the scientific foundation underpinning the book's message.

 

Embracing Imperfection: A Paradigm Shift

 

Curran confronts the prevailing cultural norm of striving for unattainable perfection. He advocates for a shift in focus from unrelenting self-critique to a space of self-acceptance and pride in one's accomplishments. The episode encourages us to create environments where mistakes are not only tolerated but are seen as an essential element for growth and fulfillment.

For those skeptical about relinquishing the pursuit of perfection, Curran imparts a crucial message. He clarifies that the goal is not to abandon the pursuit of excellence but to redefine it. In this episode, he offers guidance on how to channel efforts towards meaningful progress rather than an elusive ideal.

How To Get Out Of The Perfection Trap

Curran calls for a dual approach to escape the perfection trap: individual introspection and broader societal transformation. This segment explores how leaders can foster environments of psychological safety, where imperfection is accepted and mistakes are transformed into catalysts for growth.

Thomas shares some practical strategies to break free from the shackles of perfectionism, and provides insights into navigating the complexities of team dynamics and project management, emphasizing that success does not hinge on unattainable perfection.

The Author's Journey: Escaping the Perfection Trap

Thomas shares personal strategies for navigating the perfectionism minefield while writing his own book about perfectionism. He offers valuable advice for authors and professionals alike, emphasizing the importance of re-energizing, seeing the bigger picture, and embracing constructive feedback.

Parting Words of Wisdom

In a parting message, Curran leaves the audience with empowering advice: done is better than perfect, progress trumps perfection, and recognizing when a job is good enough is a powerful skill. Embracing imperfection can lead to true fulfillment and growth, which is more valuable than perfection.

 

About Thomas Curran

Thomas Curran is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. He is a leading expert on perfectionism, which is the topic of his recent book The Perfection Trap. He has written for the Harvard Business Review, was featured in the New Scientist, and his work has been covered by publications including the Guardian, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, and Ariana Huffington's 'Thrive Global' campaign. In 2018, he gave a TEDMED talk entitled 'Our Dangerous Obsession with Perfectionism is Getting Worse'.

You can link with Thomas Curran on LinkedIn.

Oct 6, 2023

Aki Salmi: Trust, Transparency, and Vision, A Guide to Effective Product Ownership

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, Aki shares insights on what makes a great product owner. He highlights the importance of close collaboration between the team and the product owner to ensure a clear understanding of the "why" behind each backlog item. Aki recounts a positive experience where the team and PM worked together every Monday to define objectives. He emphasizes the value of ensemble work or mob programming for effective communication. Aki advises building trust, maintaining a coherent product vision, and addressing any fears around transparency within the team.

 

[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 Aki Salmi

Aki is a software crafter and shares the joy of coding and the value of empathy at work. That is, Aki works on ones and zeros (code) and everything else (humans).

You can link with Aki Salmi on LinkedIn

 

Oct 5, 2023

Aki Salmi: Indicators of a Thriving Agile Team When Uncertainty Rules

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, Aki emphasizes the importance of growth within a team, regardless of whether the path forward is uncertain. He provides insightful tips, such as tracking the effectiveness of retrospectives and monitoring the nature of discussions. Aki prompts reflection on whether the team is delving into systemic issues or getting stuck in "but" statements. He encourages listeners to observe where the team's focus lies and whether they exhibit curiosity towards their work, asking exploratory "what if" questions.

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: The Empty Table Retrospective

In this segment, Aki shares his preferred retrospective format inspired by "Agile Retrospectives" by Larsen and Derby. He gives the tip that it’s a lot easier for Scrum Masters when we don’t run retrospectives for our own teams. Aki introduces the "Empty Table" retro, emphasizing the significance of a thorough check-in. Participants imagine an empty table to gather insights and events. He used to employ dot-voting extensively, but later decided there were better methods to select the topics for discussion. He suggests a different approach for topic selection to promote shared leadership. He stresses the importance of active listening and embraces silence as a valid contribution.

 

[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 Aki Salmi

Aki is a software crafter and shares the joy of coding and the value of empathy at work. That is, Aki works on ones and zeros (code) and everything else (humans).

You can link with Aki Salmi on LinkedIn

 

Oct 4, 2023

Aki Salmi: Working With BDD To Help Agile Teams Understand And Deliver On Business Needs

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, Aki shares two impactful stories of change. Firstly, he recounts a scenario as a scrum master in a team with two-week sprints. Because the team was “ok” with letting a feature slip from one sprint to the other, that feature eventually took four weeks to deliver, after which the team found out that they implementation did not align with the business. Implementing Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) with tools like Specflow facilitated better communication with the business, ensuring subsequent deliveries met business needs. Aki's second story reflects his realization about strong opinions and conflicts. Aki learned the value of active listening and being open to others' perspectives. In this episode, we refer to Chris Argyris' "Knowledge for Action"

[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 Aki Salmi

Aki is a software crafter and shares the joy of coding and the value of empathy at work. That is, Aki works on ones and zeros (code) and everything else (humans).

You can link with Aki Salmi on LinkedIn

 

Oct 3, 2023

Aki Salmi: Learning Decision-Making without Explicit Leadership, A Key Skill For Scrum 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, Aki reflects on a highly effective team, drawing inspiration from Google's Project Aristotle on high-performing teams. He recounts the story of a team that operated without a designated leader, relying on consensus-based decision-making. However, this approach often hindered progress and experimentation. Aki highlights the importance of bringing up such systemic issues in retrospectives. He advises teams to step back and critically evaluate their working methods and their implications. Aki also touches on concepts like "double loop learning" and emphasizes the significance of considering core tasks, emotional climate, and effective structures in the work environment.

Featured Book For The Week: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

In this segment, Aki talks about Brene Brown's book "Dare to Lead," emphasizing its transformative impact on authentic self-expression in the workplace. He highlights the value of embracing one's humanity, including emotions, and underscores the importance of vulnerability and visibility. Aki also references books like "Agile Retrospectives" by Larsen and Derby, and "Atlas of the Heart" by Brene Brown. He discusses trust-building, echoing the idea that trust is built in small moments. The episode encourages listeners to prioritize trust and genuine self-presentation in professional environments.

 

[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 Aki Salmi

Aki is a software crafter and shares the joy of coding and the value of empathy at work. That is, Aki works on ones and zeros (code) and everything else (humans).

You can link with Aki Salmi on LinkedIn

Oct 2, 2023

Aki Salmi: Agile Problem-Solving in Action, Helping Developers Take Ownership Of Their Decisions

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 with Aki Salmi, he emphasizes the importance of involving the most knowledgeable team members in design discussions. Aki recounts a pivotal moment when the Scrum Master introduced a coin toss method to answer design questions asked by the developers. This gave the developers a clear sign that they had the power to decide for themselves!

This episode highlights a scenario where the business set ambitious targets, leading to a massive estimation process. Despite initial setbacks, open communication with the business led to surpassing the 500 user story-point goal management had arbitrarily set. This story also emphasizes the need for Agile practices to extend beyond the team and serve the broader organizational objectives, or we risk failing to get value out of Agile. 

 

[IMAGE HERE] 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 Aki Salmi

Aki is a software crafter and shares the joy of coding and the value of empathy at work. That is, Aki works on ones and zeros (code) and everything else (humans).

You can link with Aki Salmi on LinkedIn

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