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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: January, 2024
Jan 31, 2024

Kulsoom Pervez: Creating Confident Teams, A Change Process To Tackle Agile Team Performance And Removing Impediments Continuously

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.

Kulsoom shares her experience as a Scrum Master tasked with improving a team. She identified key issues like the team's size and unaddressed impediments to delivering stories. Her approach involved building relationships with the team, innovating retrospective methods for a safe space, and partnering with middle management. Key lessons included running impediment surveys to highlight issues to leadership, prioritizing impediments with management, and preparing data for leadership conversations. These strategies led to a more confident team, unafraid to raise impediments, teaching her the importance of assuming positive intent, understanding leadership goals, and making leadership her allies.

 

[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 Kulsoom Pervez

Kulsoom is passionate about constructing sustainable, resilient, and high-performing teams, consistently delivering value to customers through the transformative power of Agility. She embodies a leadership style that inspires, empowers, and fosters the growth of her colleagues. Kulsoom enjoys reading and has also dabbled in blogging.

You can link with Kulsoom Pervez on LinkedIn.

Jan 30, 2024

Kulsoom Pervez: The Struggle for Team Unity, And How To Recognize Our Limits As 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, Kulsoom shares her experience with a group of skilled individuals who struggled to function as a team. As their Scrum Master, she noticed a lack of accountability and ownership, issues with completing sprint stories, and a blame culture during retrospectives. The team, marred by tension between developers and QA, created an unhealthy environment. Despite her efforts to revitalize retrospectives and foster change, progress was slow and draining. Eventually, Kulsoom and several team members left the company, leading her to understand the limits of her influence and the importance of self-care and mental health for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches.

Featured Book Of The Week: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Grenny et al.

Kulsoom delves into how the book "Crucial Conversations" profoundly influenced her role as a Scrum Master. She emphasizes the book's impact in shaping her approach to crucial conversations, vital for anyone in a change agent role like hers. Highlighting the importance of courage and skill, Kulsoom discusses the book's framework for managing critical discussions effectively. She underscores how having a structured approach to conversations is essential for effective communication and problem-solving 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 Kulsoom Pervez

Kulsoom is passionate about constructing sustainable, resilient, and high-performing teams, consistently delivering value to customers through the transformative power of Agility. She embodies a leadership style that inspires, empowers, and fosters the growth of her colleagues. Kulsoom enjoys reading and has also dabbled in blogging.

You can link with Kulsoom Pervez on LinkedIn.

Jan 29, 2024

Kulsoom Pervez: Building Trust, Not Agendas, And Learning To Be A Better 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 episode, Kulsoom discusses her challenging experience as a Scrum Master with a team new to agile in a scaled agile environment. Facing the departure of the previous Scrum Master, she steps in with determination but quickly adopts an overly directive approach. This causes change fatigue among team members, who were already struggling with a steep learning curve and significant changes in their work methods. Reflecting on this, Kulsoom advises new Scrum Masters to observe and understand a team's dynamics without a pre-set agenda, emphasizing the importance of building comfort and trust, and embracing curiosity over the need to "fix" the team.

 

[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 Kulsoom Pervez

Kulsoom is passionate about constructing sustainable, resilient, and high-performing teams, consistently delivering value to customers through the transformative power of Agility. She embodies a leadership style that inspires, empowers, and fosters the growth of her colleagues. Kulsoom enjoys reading and has also dabbled in blogging.

You can link with Kulsoom Pervez on LinkedIn.

Jan 26, 2024

Isshai Kamara: The Making of a Great Product Owner, Learning, Leading, And Succeeding

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 Making of a Great Product Owner, Learning, Leading, And Succeeding

This episode with Isshai delves into the qualities of a great Product Owner (PO). Key attributes include an eagerness to learn, and their ability to craft compelling user stories. These POs are not only available to their team and the Scrum Master but are also deeply committed to the team's success. Their popularity among developers is a testament to their effectiveness, and they regularly check in with team members. Isshai also emphasizes the importance of helping POs build trust capital within the team, highlighting how interpersonal skills and team dynamics play a crucial role in a PO's success.

The Bad Product Owner: From Tech Expert to Team Enabler, Reframing the PO Role

In this segment, Isshai explores a Product Owner (PO) anti-pattern involving POs with a technical background. These POs often preemptively size stories, overshadowing the input from developers and testers. This behavior led to dissatisfaction among the developers. Isshai suggests effective strategies for addressing this issue, such as encouraging POs to prioritize developers' opinions, utilizing project management principles when interacting with senior team members, referencing authoritative sources on agile practices, aligning with the team on shared goals, and maintaining a focus on supporting the team's needs. These tips aim to foster a more collaborative and respectful dynamic within the agile 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 Isshai Kamara

Isshai Kamara is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience, specializing in Agile delivery roles and Scrum implementation. Initially a Technologist, he later transitioned into Project and Engineering Management. With 8 years in Agile delivery, Isshai has become an advocate for IT careers, aiding professionals in transitions and conducting bootcamps for tech roles. His extensive experience in Agile methodologies and commitment to IT career development make him a distinguished figure in the tech community.

You can link with Isshai Kamara on LinkedIn and connect with Isshai Kamara on Instagram

Jan 25, 2024

Isshai Kamara: Empowering Agile Teams and Organizations, Metrics, Maturity, and Mastery

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.

Isshai emphasizes the importance of learning about, and following organizational criteria, aiding teams in maturing within 3 to 4 months towards self-organization, and contributing to the broader organizational objectives. Isshai also underlines the value of collaboration among Scrum Masters to enhance their collective impact. Key practices include setting context-specific metrics, regular discussions about release timelines and goals, sharing team experiences, and using these insights to guide training or coaching sessions. Additionally, she suggests using tools like JIRA dashboards for effective follow-ups and progress tracking.

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: User Story Awards

Isshai shares her enthusiasm for making retrospectives engaging and enjoyable. Among the various formats she uses, her favorite is the "User Story Awards", which is similar to the Oscar Awards Retrospective.  This unique approach encourages developers to think critically about the user stories tackled during the sprint. Isshai highlights the importance of having an open discussion after selecting the stories, where team members can candidly talk about their experiences. She also emphasizes the use of humor as a tool to address challenging topics, making the retrospective process not only insightful but also enjoyable for everyone involved.

 

[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 Isshai Kamara

Isshai Kamara is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience, specializing in Agile delivery roles and Scrum implementation. Initially a Technologist, he later transitioned into Project and Engineering Management. With 8 years in Agile delivery, Isshai has become an advocate for IT careers, aiding professionals in transitions and conducting bootcamps for tech roles. His extensive experience in Agile methodologies and commitment to IT career development make him a distinguished figure in the tech community.

You can link with Isshai Kamara on LinkedIn and connect with Isshai Kamara on Instagram

Jan 24, 2024

Isshai Kamara: Redefining Government Projects, A Tale of Agile Empowerment

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, Isshai shares the challenging transition from a waterfall to an Agile project for a U.S. government initiative. Initially, waterfall methods led to slow testing and limited team involvement in requirement gathering. Shifting to Agile drastically quickened development, reducing the time to demonstrate working software from months to weeks and enabling earlier risk identification. The project was delivered sooner than anticipated. Key to this success was a focus on team-building, close collaboration with organizational support structures, comprehensive training, and a user story writing workshop to enhance team and PO's skills in collecting requirements.

 

[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 Isshai Kamara

Isshai Kamara is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience, specializing in Agile delivery roles and Scrum implementation. Initially a Technologist, he later transitioned into Project and Engineering Management. With 8 years in Agile delivery, Isshai has become an advocate for IT careers, aiding professionals in transitions and conducting bootcamps for tech roles. His extensive experience in Agile methodologies and commitment to IT career development make him a distinguished figure in the tech community.

You can link with Isshai Kamara on LinkedIn and connect with Isshai Kamara on Instagram

Jan 23, 2024

Isshai Kamara: Collaboration as a Cure, Helping Agile Teams Overcome The Missing Product Owner 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 segment, Isshai discusses challenges faced by her two mobile teams lacking Product Owners (POs). This led to uncertainty about requirements and a sparse backlog. Instead of hiring new POs, Isshai initiated collaboration with existing POs from other teams. She shares tips like integrating tech leads with other POs, setting up meetings for better communication, and considering tech leads as potential POs. Isshai emphasizes transparency about these issues with her teams and stresses the importance of showing them that there is ongoing work and focus on detailing tasks, marking a significant culture shift within the organization.

Featured Book of the Week: Project To Product by Mik Kersten

In this segment, Isshai discusses the transformative impact of Project To Product by Mik Kersten on her journey from a project manager to a more product-focused person. She credits the book for enhancing her understanding of team metrics and providing deeper insights into software development processes. Emphasizing the importance of motivated teams, the book also introduces a unique tool developed by the author, designed specifically for teams concentrating on product development. This tool has been instrumental in Isshai's ability to effectively guide her development 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 Isshai Kamara

Isshai Kamara is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience, specializing in Agile delivery roles and Scrum implementation. Initially a Technologist, he later transitioned into Project and Engineering Management. With 8 years in Agile delivery, Isshai has become an advocate for IT careers, aiding professionals in transitions and conducting bootcamps for tech roles. His extensive experience in Agile methodologies and commitment to IT career development make him a distinguished figure in the tech community.

You can link with Isshai Kamara on LinkedIn and connect with Isshai Kamara on Instagram.

Jan 22, 2024

Isshai Kamara: Agile Against the Odds, Navigating Resistance and Leading Agile Change

 

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

In this episode, we delve into the challenging world of Agile implementation with Isshai Kamara, an experienced Agilist and IT professional. Isshai shares her journey at a fintech company post-acquisition, highlighting the resistance she encountered towards Agile methodologies. With anecdotes from her time there, she sheds light on the complexities of introducing Agile in environments where traditional methods prevail and Agile roles are often dismissed. Isshai offers invaluable tips on approaching such transitions positively, initiating conversations focused on overcoming impediments, and aligning with shared goals to foster acceptance. 

 

[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 Isshai Kamara

Isshai Kamara is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience, specializing in Agile delivery roles and Scrum implementation. Initially a Technologist, he later transitioned into Project and Engineering Management. With 8 years in Agile delivery, Isshai has become an advocate for IT careers, aiding professionals in transitions and conducting bootcamps for tech roles. His extensive experience in Agile methodologies and commitment to IT career development make him a distinguished figure in the tech community.

You can link with Isshai Kamara on LinkedIn and connect with Isshai Kamara on Instagram

Jan 20, 2024

BONUS: Unleashing the Power of Tension (Meetings) in Agile Teams with Sara Clark

Are you an Agile Coach or Scrum Master looking to revolutionize your team dynamics? 

Dive into our latest podcast episode featuring Sara, a pioneer in "Tension Meetings." 

These meetings can transform conflicts into fuel for growth. 

But what exactly are they? How can they reshape your team's future? Keep reading and uncover the secrets to harnessing tension!

The Genesis of Tension Meetings

Sara's journey from higher education to Agile methodologies led her to discover "Tension Meetings" while working in a volunteer collective.

Despite the initial failure, these meetings proved instrumental in addressing underlying conflicts.

The concept, rooted in Holacracy, begins with the premise that "something feels off," serving 

Tension Meetings in Action

Imagine a software team sitting down to address their unspoken challenges. Sara provides invaluable tips on setting up these meetings, emphasizing collective problem-solving and approaching tensions with curiosity.

The key? Building trust within the team and creating a non-threatening environment for open dialogue.

Wondering how to facilitate a tension meeting effectively? The podcast episode is packed with insider tips.

The Transformative Impact of Tension Meetings:

Sara shares real-world examples illustrating the profound impact of Tension Meetings on team dynamics and problem-solving.

By carving out space for these discussions, teams can not only resolve current issues but also proactively address future challenges.

Intrigued by the potential outcomes of Tension Meetings? The podcast sheds light on real success stories.

As Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters, it's vital to continuously evolve and embrace innovative practices. Here are your key takeaways from our conversation with Sara:

  1. Identify and Embrace Tensions: Recognize the signs of unresolved tensions and see them as opportunities for growth.

  2. Facilitate with Curiosity and Trust: Learn to guide your team through these meetings with an open mind and a focus on building trust.

  3. Transform Tensions into Team Strengths: Use these meetings to turn challenges into collective goals and future-focused solutions.

For a deeper dive into "Tension Meetings," including practical tips and real-life examples, don't miss our full podcast episode. Hear from Sara herself and start transforming your Agile practices today!

👉 Listen Now

 


 

Join our community of Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches to stay updated with the latest trends, insights, and discussions in the world of Agile project management. 🚀

About Sara Clark

Sara brings to us over 15 years of experience facilitating dialogue, training, and healthy culture in highly diverse teams. Her passion lies at the intersection of intercultural communication, liberation, and play. Sara draws from Agile and Next Economy practices to keep value flowing in her public benefit cooperative, Ember Co-op, and in her company, Curious Ways.

Jan 19, 2024

Drew Craig: From Dictator, to Collaboration Facilitator, Contrasting Agile Product Ownership stances

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: Seniority, Engagement, and Presence, Characteristics Of Standout PO’s

In this episode, Drew talks about an exemplary Product Owner who embodied seniority and dedication in their role. The standout PO was fully invested, engaged, and present, consistently participating in team discussions. Encouraging problem-solving autonomy, the PO crafted a visionary "what," and allowed teams to contribute the "how." Only intervening when necessary, this PO fostered an environment where teams could excel.

The Bad Product Owner: Insights on Overcoming Dictatorial PO Patterns

In this episode, Drew addresses Product Owner anti-patterns, recounting a scenario where a dictatorial PO hindered team collaboration. The PO struggled to create cohesion and dismissed ideas from contractors. Using a retrospective, Drew facilitated an open conversation, emphasizing the importance of helping the PO understand the consequences of their actions. Tips include doing a "reset" to redefine team dynamics and ensuring leadership comprehends Agile principles. Drew advocates for objective thinking as Scrum Masters, fostering empathy for PO challenges and encouraging open dialogue with POs about their influences.

 

[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 Drew Craig

Drew calls himself an Agile Coach for humans; inspiring growth for individuals, teams, and systems to be better together. In all of his roles, the connection has been the people. He is passionate about establishing sustainable and simple processes, techniques, or insights as mechanisms toward self-sufficient and empowered systems.

You can link with Drew Craig on LinkedIn and connect with Drew Craig on Twitter

Jan 18, 2024

Drew Craig: Product Operations Paradigm, And How Scrum Masters Can Help Product Companies Succeed

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, Drew defines success for Scrum Masters as the moment when teams, leadership, and the system comprehend the overarching purpose behind agile practices. Success is marked by a shift from struggling to understanding the "why," demonstrating a focus on outcomes, customer satisfaction, and value delivery. Drew highlights the significance of teams engaging in the right conversations and asking pertinent questions. Additionally, he introduces the concept of "product operations" as a current buzzword, advocating for a transition towards product-led organizations

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Facilitating Dialogue With The Sailboat Retrospective

In this segment, Drew discusses his favorite retrospective format, the sailboat retrospective. He praises its structured yet open nature that encourages meaningful conversations. The sailboat metaphor simplifies complex ideas, making it relatable for team members. Drew emphasizes the role of these formats as conversation facilitators, particularly noting the sailboat's ability to prompt engagement and participation. He provides tips on the critical role of facilitation and the comfort with silence. 

 

[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 Drew Craig

Drew calls himself an Agile Coach for humans; inspiring growth for individuals, teams, and systems to be better together. In all of his roles, the connection has been the people. He is passionate about establishing sustainable and simple processes, techniques, or insights as mechanisms toward self-sufficient and empowered systems.

You can link with Drew Craig on LinkedIn and connect with Drew Craig on Twitter

Jan 17, 2024

Drew Craig: Adapt and Evolve, Navigating Change in Agile Digital Marketing

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, Drew shares insights on leading change in a non-technical domain, specifically digital marketing transformation. Recognizing the mismatch in training materials, he advocates tailoring content to the industry's needs. Drew emphasizes the importance of adapting roles, seating layouts, and collaborating with local process teams to align with agile principles. Working closely with leadership, he underscores the significance of feedback loops for refining strategies. The episode explores how a system-wide transformation, including process owners, led to accelerated delivery cycles. 

 

[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 Drew Craig

Drew calls himself an Agile Coach for humans; inspiring growth for individuals, teams, and systems to be better together. In all of his roles, the connection has been the people. He is passionate about establishing sustainable and simple processes, techniques, or insights as mechanisms toward self-sufficient and empowered systems.

You can link with Drew Craig on LinkedIn and connect with Drew Craig on Twitter

Jan 16, 2024

Drew Craig: Unravelling an Agile Team's Struggle with Overcommitment, And The Inevitable Consequences

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, Drew delves into the common pitfall of teams overloading their backlog, leading to failed sprints and destroyed team morale. The challenge lies in helping teams realize the importance of realistic commitments. Drew suggests analyzing data, considering historical averages, and aligning discussions with product goals and roadmaps. Addressing the fear of reducing commitments due to leadership pressure, he emphasizes the need to collaborate with leadership and focus on data-driven decision-making. 

Featured Book Of The Week: Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman

In this episode, Drew shares pivotal books shaping his career as a Scrum Master. "Drive" by Dan Pink offers clarity with easy-to-understand insights about motivation, grounding practitioners in their roles. Drew appreciates its ability to simplify complex concepts. "Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman provides insights on strengthening teams and shifting from doing to enabling. Drew's takeaway involves pondering, "How can I be a multiplier?" 

 

[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 Drew Craig

Drew calls himself an Agile Coach for humans; inspiring growth for individuals, teams, and systems to be better together. In all of his roles, the connection has been the people. He is passionate about establishing sustainable and simple processes, techniques, or insights as mechanisms toward self-sufficient and empowered systems.

You can link with Drew Craig on LinkedIn and connect with Drew Craig on Twitter

Jan 15, 2024

Drew Craig: Empowerment Struggles, The Unintended Consequences of Scrum Masters Focusing On Process Implementation

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

In this episode, we discuss a story of how sometimes, the process focus for Scrum Masters can lead to trouble. Focused on solving problems through processes, Drew introduced a rigid framework to a new digital marketing team without understanding their unique, team-specific challenges. Unintentionally disempowering the team, Drew realized the need for a reset. This highlights the importance of fostering open communication and understanding a team’s context on their own terms. 

 

[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 Drew Craig

Drew calls himself an Agile Coach for humans; inspiring growth for individuals, teams, and systems to be better together. In all of his roles, the connection has been the people. He is passionate about establishing sustainable and simple processes, techniques, or insights as mechanisms toward self-sufficient and empowered systems.

You can link with Drew Craig on LinkedIn and connect with Drew Craig on Twitter

Jan 13, 2024

BONUS: Unveiling True Agility in Project Management, with Johanna Rothman

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.

🔥 "Diving Into the Essence of True Agility: A Must-Listen Podcast for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches!" 🔥

Are you tired of buzzwords and want to grasp the real essence of agility in project management? 

Do you feel trapped in the cycle of 'Fake Agility' and yearn for a more effective approach? 

Our latest podcast episode with Johanna Rothman sheds light on these challenges, offering insights that can revolutionize your Agile journey. But that's just a glimpse. Read on, and let's explore the key aspects that could redefine your understanding of Agile methodologies.

The Trap of 'Fake Agility'

Ever wondered why some Agile implementations don't yield the expected benefits?

The concept of 'Fake Agility' is critical in understanding why some teams fail to achieve true agility. It's more than just stand-ups or retrospectives; it's about a culture that focuses on the team rather than individuals. This segment of our podcast delves deep into recognizing and overcoming the pitfalls of superficial Agile practices.

True Essence of Agility

What distinguishes truly agile project management from its less effective counterparts?

True agility involves cross-functional collaboration and frequent delivery of valuable increments. Our guest expert unravels how focusing on team dynamics and flow efficiency can elevate your Agile practice beyond conventional norms.

Unleashing Agility in Any Approach

How can you infuse agility into any project management approach, regardless of its starting point?

The key to enhancing agility lies in understanding your unplanned feedback loops, speeding up feedback cycles, and shifting focus from quantity to quality of work. This part of the podcast offers practical tips on building cross-functional teams and demonstrating value through continuous delivery.

🎧 Discover the Full Spectrum of Agile Mastery!

Don't miss out on the detailed insights and real-world examples discussed in our podcast. Here are your 3 Key Takeaways to ponder:

  1. Identifying and Moving Beyond 'Fake Agility': Learn to spot the signs of superficial Agile practices and steer your team towards more effective, team-centric methodologies.

  2. Embracing the Core of True Agility: Understand the importance of collaboration, small incremental deliveries, and flow efficiency in realizing the full potential of Agile.

  3. Implementing Agility Across Various Approaches: Explore how to adapt and apply Agile principles in diverse project environments, ensuring flexibility and responsiveness.

For an in-depth exploration of these points and to ignite a transformation in your Agile journey, tune into this podcast episode. Your path to mastering true agility starts here!

👉 Listen Now

 


 

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About Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman, renowned as the "Pragmatic Manager," is a highly respected consultant, speaker, and author. Specializing in project management, she guides managers and leaders in adapting agile practices for effective product development. Her expertise in managing high-technology product development offers invaluable insights for navigating the complexities of modern projects.

You can link with Johanna Rothman on LinkedIn and connect with Johanna Rothman on Mastodon

Jan 12, 2024

Nimi Bello: Backlog Collaboration and Protecting the Team as a PO, Marks of Great Product Owners

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: Backlog Collaboration and Protecting the Team as a PO, Marks of Great PO’s

Nimi shares some of the characteristics of a great Product Owner. She emphasizes the importance of a PO taking pride in the prioritization process, actively protecting the team, and involving them in backlog management. The episode highlights instances when a PO supports and safeguards the team, fostering a collaborative environment. Nimi introduces the concept of "three amigos" and underscores the PO's role as an active participant in this group, contributing to effective communication and understanding among team members.

The Bad Product Owner: How PO Absence Leads to Failed Collaboration, and Siloed Thinking

In this segment, Nimi discusses common pitfalls in Product Owner (PO) behavior. Addressing issues like POs who distance themselves from the team or work in silos, she emphasizes the importance of their active involvement. The episode explores the impact on team productivity and quality when a PO is not dedicated to a team or fails to be present in daily meetings. Nimi provides tips on understanding the context affecting POs, conducting research on their behavior drivers, and fostering a "one team" mindset through intentional team building and one-on-one sessions.

 

[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 Nimi Bello

Nimi Bello is a seasoned Agile professional with a diverse skill set. She currently serves as a Release Train Engineer at Deloitte. With over 8 years of experience, Nimi is an award-winning Creative Director, Principal Agile Consultant, and Strategic Partner. Her expertise lies in sales, technology, and guiding teams through the complex journey of transitioning to Agile methodology. Nimi is a global change agent with a fervor for building and scaling businesses and communities.

You can link with Nimi Bello on LinkedIn.

Jan 11, 2024

Nimi Bello: The Vacation Test and Other Self-Assessment Prompts to Assess Agile Team Independence

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 episode, Nimi explores critical questions for self-assessment as a Scrum Master. From team improvement and autonomy to conflict resolution and collaboration, she delves into self-assessment prompts like "Can I go on vacation?" and "Am I a good Scrum Master?" Nimi emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement, hands-on guidance, and personal development. The episode serves as a guide for Scrum Masters seeking to enhance team performance and their own effectiveness.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Generating Organic Team Discussions with the Start/Stop/Continue Retrospective format

In the segment, Nimi explores the effectiveness of the "Start/Stop/Continue" framework for fostering organic team discussions. Highlighting the simplicity and action-oriented nature of this approach, she emphasizes its role in promoting both individual and team reflection. Nimi provides tips, suggesting timeboxing the conversation and embracing silence, recognizing its transformative potential in retrospectives. The episode underscores the value of unplanned, authentic conversations and the bravery that silence can inspire in team members.

 

[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 Nimi Bello

Nimi Bello is a seasoned Agile professional with a diverse skill set. She currently serves as a Release Train Engineer at Deloitte. With over 8 years of experience, Nimi is an award-winning Creative Director, Principal Agile Consultant, and Strategic Partner. Her expertise lies in sales, technology, and guiding teams through the complex journey of transitioning to Agile methodology. Nimi is a global change agent with a fervor for building and scaling businesses and communities.

You can link with Nimi Bello on LinkedIn.

Jan 10, 2024

Nimi Bello: Strategies for Team Cohesion, And How To Build Trust With Agile Teams and Stakeholders

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 episode, Nimi discusses her role in a complex sales force migration project. Juggling multiple hats as PO, Scrum Master, and project manager, she faced challenges such as resistance to the new system and a lack of team cohesion. Nimi provides valuable tips, emphasizing the importance of team understanding, intentional team building, and fostering a collaborative mindset. We talk about the book "The Speed of Trust" by Covey and share insights on creating trust through personal conversations and shared expectations. Nimi also offers strategies for job-seeking Scrum Masters, drawing inspiration from Zig Ziglar's advice on speaking the value language.

 

[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 Nimi Bello

Nimi Bello is a seasoned Agile professional with a diverse skill set. She currently serves as a Release Train Engineer at Deloitte. With over 8 years of experience, Nimi is an award-winning Creative Director, Principal Agile Consultant, and Strategic Partner. Her expertise lies in sales, technology, and guiding teams through the complex journey of transitioning to Agile methodology. Nimi is a global change agent with a fervor for building and scaling businesses and communities.

You can link with Nimi Bello on LinkedIn.

Jan 9, 2024

Nimi Bello: From Conflict to Growth, Lessons in Coaching as a Scrum Master, Even When Stakes are High!

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 episode, Nimi talks about a challenging experience where a high-stakes project faced self-destruction due to a lack of psychological safety. The dominant engineering manager stifled team communication, leading to disengagement and reduced collaboration. Struggling as a Scrum Master, Nimi took the initiative to have a difficult conversation with the manager, emphasizing the team's perspective. By fostering understanding and shifting to solution-oriented thinking, the episode highlights the importance of addressing psychological safety issues for team well-being. Nimi shares how this experience propelled her growth as a coach and the significance of proactive communication.

Featured Book of the Week: Drive by Dan Pink

In the segment, Nimi discusses the impact that the books "Drive" by Dan Pink and "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki had on her role as a Scrum Master. Emphasizing motivation and empowerment, Nimi delves into how “Drive” highlights the often-overlooked importance of the key concept of intrinsic motivation, emphasizing its significance for Scrum Masters. Nimi encourages listeners to delve into these influential reads for valuable insights into fostering team motivation and developing crucial interpersonal skills.

 

[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 Nimi Bello

Nimi Bello is a seasoned Agile professional with a diverse skill set. She currently serves as a Release Train Engineer at Deloitte. With over 8 years of experience, Nimi is an award-winning Creative Director, Principal Agile Consultant, and Strategic Partner. Her expertise lies in sales, technology, and guiding teams through the complex journey of transitioning to Agile methodology. Nimi is a global change agent with a fervor for building and scaling businesses and communities.

You can link with Nimi Bello on LinkedIn.

Jan 8, 2024

Nimi Bello: Prioritizing People, Strategies for Helping Agile Teams In Trouble

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, Nimi shares her experience leading a struggling team during a complex agile software development project. Amidst challenges like project delays, low team morale, and layoffs, Nimi emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive mindset and building strong relationships with team members. She reflects on the realization that the team had very limited control over their environment, and entered a fight-or-flight mode. Some of the tips Nimi shares include fostering open communication, understanding individual communication styles, and prioritizing the team's well-being. The episode highlights the Scrum Master's unique responsibilities in building trust, managing stakeholders, and creating a supportive team environment.

 

[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 Nimi Bello

Nimi Bello is a seasoned Agile professional with a diverse skill set. She currently serves as a Release Train Engineer at Deloitte. With over 8 years of experience, Nimi is an award-winning Creative Director, Principal Agile Consultant, and Strategic Partner. Her expertise lies in sales, technology, and guiding teams through the complex journey of transitioning to Agile methodology. Nimi is a global change agent with a fervor for building and scaling businesses and communities.

You can link with Nimi Bello on LinkedIn.

 

Jan 5, 2024

Josh Lambert: Priority Overload, When Product Owners Are Overwhelmed, So Are the 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.

The Great Product Owner: Validating Success, How PO’s Can Benefit From The Team’s Creativity And Engagement!

In this segment, Josh highlights how a great Product Owner is characterized by a learning mindset and a collaborative approach. The PO Josh describes, actively sought support from the Scrum Master, fostering a shared vision for teamwork. Conducting one-on-one sessions with team members, she prioritized listening and connection. Notably, she consistently validated delivery ideas with the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Priority Overload, When PO’s Are Overwhelmed, So Are the Agile Teams!

In this segment, Josh addresses a common Product Owner (PO) anti-pattern involving new POs handling multiple teams with conflicting priorities. Some PO’s struggled with this challenge, while others embraced the challenge and rose to the occasion. The PO's availability posed difficulties to the team. Additionally, the PO’s inability to prioritize led to everything being labeled as "top priority." Josh advises collaborative efforts with stakeholders to ensure adequate time allocation for POs supporting multiple teams.

 

[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 Josh Lambert

Josh is an Agile Coach at a financial institution. He has been through a few different Agile Transformations. And became a Scrum Master in one of the early transformations and loved the role where where he stayed for 6 years, after which he transitioned into an Agile Coach.

You can link with Josh Lambert on LinkedIn.

Jan 4, 2024

Josh Lambert: Enabling A Psychological Safe Place, The Pillar of Scrum Master 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, Josh delves into the essence of success for Scrum Masters, posing questions on facilitation skills, active team engagement, and the creation of a psychologically safe environment. Emphasizing the need for continuous practice, he suggests evaluating success by the team's participation in planning, refinement, and events. Transparency in showcasing the Scrum Master's contributions and a focus on psychological safety stand out as key indicators.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: It’s a 10! The Perfection Game Applied To A Scrum Team And Their Sprint

In this episode, Josh emphasizes the significance of retrospectives, deeming them the most crucial team event. His favorite format, "It's a 10!", involves a 10-column scorecard for team members to evaluate their sprint performance. Questions like "How do you think we did?" and "What would have gotten you to a 10?" encourage open dialogue. Additionally, he suggests periodic retrospectives on the retro itself, using three self-assessment questions to enhance facilitation skills.

 

[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 Josh Lambert

Josh is an Agile Coach at a financial institution. He has been through a few different Agile Transformations. And became a Scrum Master in one of the early transformations and loved the role where where he stayed for 6 years, after which he transitioned into an Agile Coach.

You can link with Josh Lambert on LinkedIn.

Jan 3, 2024

Josh Lambert: Introducing Estimation Consistency To An Agile Team With The Help Of Cycle Time Metrics

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, Josh shares his experience initiating change within a high-performing team. Silent observations revealed inconsistent cycle times and unstable story points. Recognizing a lack of focus and attention during story sizing, he implemented an internal sprint review and emphasized the impact on the Product Owner's decisions. Collaborating with the PO, a shared message strengthened planning consistency. Eventually, the team achieved shorter cycle times, and addressed bottleneck issues.

 

[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 Josh Lambert

Josh is an Agile Coach at a financial institution. He has been through a few different Agile Transformations. And became a Scrum Master in one of the early transformations and loved the role where where he stayed for 6 years, after which he transitioned into an Agile Coach.

You can link with Josh Lambert on LinkedIn.

Jan 2, 2024

Josh Lambert: Strategies for Improved Team Collaboration 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, Josh shares a team's struggles – newly formed, but spanning distant timezones, and facing communication issues. Individual work overshadowed teamwork, and this was made worse by very unclear responses from a team member that was not meeting their sprint goals. Frustration peaked on the final day of one of the Sprints. Reflecting on that story, Josh advocates transparent communication, urging team members to share when help is needed. He stresses the importance of a working agreement when seeking help and proposes conducting psychological safety assessments and focusing on team well-being.

Featured Book for the Week: "Coaching Agile Teams" by Lyssa Adkins

In this episode, Josh recommends "Coaching Agile Teams" by Lyssa Adkins for Scrum Masters. He highlights its enduring value, providing continuous support for navigating challenges. Drawing from a team member's experience feeling trapped in a "hamster wheel," Josh emphasizes the book's relatable stories, offering preparation for similar situations.

 

[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 Josh Lambert

Josh is an Agile Coach at a financial institution. He has been through a few different Agile Transformations. And became a Scrum Master in one of the early transformations and loved the role where where he stayed for 6 years, after which he transitioned into an Agile Coach.

You can link with Josh Lambert on LinkedIn.

Jan 1, 2024

Josh Lambert: T-Shaping Agile Teams, To Ensure Survival and Success When A Team Member Leaves

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 Josh, we explore a high-performing team facing challenges. Despite excellent collaboration and goal achievement, knowledge silos arose due to a distributed application ownership among different individuals. When a senior developer announced their departure, it became clear the team would not be able to take on the extra responsibility. With the lessons from this story, Josh advises sharing real-life stories with the team, to highlight potential problems with siloed-ownership of code, and advocates "T-Shape the team" for broader skill sets, and suggests swarming on stories to address resource gaps. He also suggests the use of a skills matrix for effective knowledge sharing, and visualizing the skill gaps.

 

[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 Josh Lambert

Josh is an Agile Coach at a financial institution. He has been through a few different Agile Transformations. And became a Scrum Master in one of the early transformations and loved the role where where he stayed for 6 years, after which he transitioned into an Agile Coach.

You can link with Josh Lambert on LinkedIn.

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