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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: May, 2024
May 28, 2024

Doug Rabow: Prioritize, Visualize, Execute, A Lean Approach to Work Management 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.

Doug explores some of the critical aspects of team management that ensure efficiency and clarity. Doug also shares how visual management is essential for maintaining focus on top priorities within teams. We learn about the Five S from Lean, and how simplifying and visually organizing work can prevent priority confusion and, in the end, improve productivity.

Featured Book of the Week: The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker

In this episode, we explore lessons from The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker beyond manufacturing. Doug describes how The Toyota Way applies to strategic management and software development, focusing on high-quality, small batches. Discover how continuous feedback drives continuous improvement, and what Agile learned from Lean Manufacturing.

 

[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 Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

 

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

May 27, 2024

Doug Rabow: The Delicate Dance of Driving Change, Learning How To Time Change Input 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.

When facilitating change, jumping in too quickly can be problematic. Doug shares a story of his experience stepping into a less competitive industry, eager to implement numerous improvements. However, the existing team was content with their workflow, which created resistance to Doug’s ideas. In this episode, we explore how Scrum Masters can help drive change without overwhelming their teams. And how facilitators can balance improvement enthusiasm with team readiness, and why involving the team in the change process is crucial.

 

[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 Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

 

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

May 24, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: Breaking Down Walls, Strategies for Collaborating with an External PO

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: Courage, Empathy and Action, Qualities of Great PO’s

In this segment, Patty discusses the qualities of courage, empathy, and active listening that define exceptional POs. How do these traits foster team equality and enhance performance? Gain insights into how a PO can act as a catalyst for team cohesion and why building strong relationships within the team is crucial for success.

The Bad Product Owner: Breaking Down Walls, Strategies for Collaborating with an External PO

In this segment, Patty explores the anti-pattern of the Product Owner that is external to the team, and the challenges it presents. How does a PO that sees themselves as external to the team impact team dynamics? Patty discusses her firsthand experience dealing with this common issue and provides practical tips for Scrum Masters aiming to bridge the gap between the team and an externally positioned PO. Learn strategies to enhance involvement and neutralize the us-vs-them mentality.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 23, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: How Consistency Helps Building Trust as a Scrum Master

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

What does it mean to truly walk the walk of a Scrum Master? Patty shares her insights into the core qualities of a successful Scrum Master, from mindfulness to consistency in action. And how Scrum Masters can cultivate trust and demonstrate their reliability to their teams. Discover Patty's personal strategies for self-reflection, managing stress, and fostering team achievement.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective

Patty chooses the Sailboat Retrospective as a favourite retro format. This is a dynamic tool for teams seeking to reflect and identify paths for improvement. Explore how this simple yet powerful visual metaphor can help teams navigate through their agile journey, focusing on both their anchors and winds—what holds them back and what propels them forward.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 22, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: The Listening Tour, Listening, Leading, and Learning to Inspire Change 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, we address some of the essentials of change management. Patty shares her approach to fostering open communication and trust among teams. What does it really take to lead change effectively? Patty shares her experiences from a "listening tour" where discovering pain points led to transformative solutions. How can understanding diverse perspectives within a team lead to better problem-solving? Learn about the strategies Patty employed to encourage teams to identify and tackle their biggest challenges together.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 21, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: Beyond the Blame Game, A Simple Technique That Transformed A Team

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

Have you ever wondered why some teams succeed while others stumble? Patty shares a compelling story of a team entrenched in blame and how she guided them towards accountability and success. What happens when a product's failure turns into a blame game? Explore how Patty used a simple flowchart to transform team interactions and process understanding, turning a negative environment into a collaborative success story.

Featured Book of the Week: A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

In this episode, Patty discusses how Daniel H. Pink's "A Whole New Mind" ignited a spark that drove her to action. What makes creative problem-solving an essential skill in today's world? Patty reflects on the transformative power of switching to focus on creativity over memorization and how the book inspired her to step into a coaching role. Patty also shares her key takeaways from another of Pink's works, "The Power of Regret”. Learn about how understanding your deepest regrets can guide personal and professional growth. How can regrets propel us towards more courageous decisions?

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 20, 2024

Patty Aluskewicz: The Leap of Faith, How Business Coaching Redefined A Career Path

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.

Have you ever felt stuck in the monotony of a job, simply "punching the clock"? This episode follows Patty's journey from a traditional classroom teacher to an innovative business owner and coach. Witness how a simple decision to leave the education sector led Patty to explore the realms of entrepreneurship and personal growth. What triggers someone to leave a stable job and venture into the uncertain world of business? How did embracing coaching transform Patty's approach to work and life? Dive into her story of transformation, the trials of building a business from scratch, and the invaluable lessons learned from hiring a business coach.

 

[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 Patty Aluskewicz

Patty Aluskewicz is an Agile Coach for PwC and the founder of Agile Mindset Consulting. With over 15 years of experience, she assists businesses and their employees in building fundamental Agile and Scrum skills, improving team dynamics and communication, and successfully implementing organizational change.

You can link with Patty Aluskewicz on LinkedIn.

May 18, 2024

BONUS: Transitioning from Non-Tech to Tech Roles with Mariana Trigo, A Guide For Scrum Masters, and Agile Coaches

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, Mariana Trigo, a pioneer in assisting professionals transition from non-tech to tech roles, shares stories about transitioning from non-tech to tech jobs.

Starting the Transition

"It’s all about realizing that your career is not moving forward and finding out what will work for you in the tech industry."

Mariana began her journey in the tech world in 2021, identifying a significant demand for professionals seeking to pivot their careers into technology. She observed that despite having good jobs, many were dissatisfied and felt their careers stagnated. This led her to found Tekya, a company dedicated to aiding professionals in moving to tech without a coding background and leveraging their careers to build their dream life.

"Conquering the mindset that you can perform even if you are not tech-savvy is the first step towards building a career that truly gives you the life you want."

One of the first hurdles Mariana noticed was the limiting beliefs held by individuals. Many feel inadequate and struggle to convince hiring managers of their worth due to a lack of tech-specific skills.

Essential Skills for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

"Hire for character, train for skills. Focus on small improvements to continually develop both yourself and your teams."

Mariana stresses the importance of soft skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and servant leadership. These skills are pivotal for anyone aspiring to roles like Scrum Master or Agile Coach.

"Understanding and mastering the hard skills of your chosen tech role will not only improve your confidence but also build trust with your team."

Hard skills are equally crucial, with Mariana emphasizing the need to understand the Scrum framework, Agile methodologies, organization, metrics, and engineering best practices. She also mentions the importance of becoming familiar with the tech vocabulary specific to each company.

For learning these essential skills, Mariana suggests starting with understanding the day-to-day routine of a Scrum Master or Agile Coach. She recommends finding courses that cover both soft and hard skills necessary for these roles.

"Changing your mindset is crucial. Be prepared to invest time and some money into structured learning paths like those offered by Tekya."

Building a Professional Identity

"Showcase how your past experiences have prepared you to add value in the tech industry."

Mariana advises starting immediately to tailor your LinkedIn profile and other professional materials to reflect your new career path, emphasizing past experiences and how they relate to your future in tech.

"The support from a professional community can be the most comforting part of your transition journey."

Networking is vital in the tech industry. Mariana encourages speaking with those already in the role and participating in communities like Tekya to find mentors and expand your professional circle.

"Understand the mission of the company and align it with your values to increase your chances of getting hired."

When it comes time to apply for jobs, Mariana recommends focusing on companies whose mission and products you are passionate about. Ensuring your LinkedIn profile and cover letters are top-notch will help you stand out.

Further Learning and Resources

"Real stories from real people can provide the motivation and roadmap for your own career transition."

For those eager to learn more about this employment transition, Mariana suggests listening to success stories from individuals who have successfully made the transition.

About Mariana Trigo

Mariana Trigo's professional journey began in biology, transitioned through retail, and found its niche in technology. She excelled as a Scrum Master and grew into an Engineering Manager role, always focusing on helping teams deliver more effectively and enjoyably. In 2021, she launched Tekya to empower professionals to move into tech roles, enhancing their careers and achieving their life dreams without necessarily having a coding background.

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

You can follow Mariana’s work as a coach and Tekya, her company’s work with budding Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters on Instagram and LinkedIn.

May 17, 2024

Peter Müller: How a Product Owner Can Foster Agile Team Success with Collaboration and Inspiration

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: How a PO Can Foster Agile Team Success with Collaboration and Inspiration

In this segment, Peter celebrates the qualities of an exemplary Product Owner who champions shared ownership and visionary leadership. Peter explains how a confident and forward-thinking Product Owner can significantly impact a team’s performance and satisfaction. He also shares examples of how such Product Owners facilitate a proactive environment, encourage stakeholder engagement, and lead by envisioning a collective future. 

The Bad Product Owner: Transforming the Micro-Manager, How Scrum Masters can Help PO’s

This segment unveils the challenges and setbacks of a micro-managing Product Owner. Peter examines how such behaviors can demoralize a team, stifle creativity, and lead to a passive work environment. Through various anecdotes, he illustrates the pitfalls of excessive control and the importance of fostering a shared ownership culture within agile teams. We also discuss some possible strategies that can help Product Owners overcome the urge to micromanage and instead build a collaborative team dynamic.

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

May 16, 2024

Peter Müller: From Guidance to Self-Governance, Cultivating Autonomous Decision-Making 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.

When it comes to defining success, Peter focuses on the critical role of a Scrum Master in facilitating team autonomy and decision-making capabilities. Peter shares a success story where a team transitioned from dependency on external decision-makers to self-management. He discusses strategies for Scrum Masters to help teams recognize and overcome their own decision-making barriers. Listen to find out what makes a Scrum Master successful, and how they can foster a culture of self-awareness and proactive decision-making within their teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Scale retrospective based on Solution Focused Coaching

In this week’s spotlight on retrospective formats, Peter introduces the Scale Retrospective, inspired by solution-focused coaching techniques. This format encourages team members to envision an ideal future state and explore the steps necessary to bridge the gap from their current position. Peter delves into the nuances of facilitating such sessions, emphasizing the importance of minimal preparation and targeted questions that foster deep reflection and actionable insights.

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

May 15, 2024

Peter Müller: Fostering Future Agile Leaders, An Inside Look at the Apprentice Program for Agile Coaches and 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, Peter introduces us to an innovative “Apprentice Program” designed to cultivate accountability and enhance skills among developers, scrum masters, and product owners. This transformative initiative not only equips participants with practical agile skills but also fosters a cohesive agile community within the organization. By involving leadership and aligning learning objectives with organizational needs, the program sets a precedent for sustainable, organization-wide agile adoption. What can other organizations learn from this approach to develop agile leaders effectively? Learn how the Apprentice Program Peter and his colleagues set up can help you overcome a stalled Agile adoption.

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

May 14, 2024

Peter Müller: The Complacency Trap, And How Positive Disruptions Can Rekindle Agile Team Growth

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, Peter shares the story of a team that, despite success, lost its drive for learning and improvement, settling comfortably into familiar routines. What happens when the pursuit of comfort undermines the growth and dynamism of a team? This episode explores the dangers of comfort zones, the value of introducing positive disruptions, and strategies to rekindle a team’s passion for continuous learning. 

Featured Book of the Week: Solution Focused Coaching for Agile Teams by Veronika Jungwirth and Ralph Miarka

This week’s featured book, Solution Focused Coaching for Agile Teams, offers a fresh perspective on the agile coaching landscape. In this episode, Peter discusses how the principles laid out in the book can transform team retrospectives and daily interactions. He emphasizes the power of focusing on solutions rather than problems, building on existing team strengths, and the critical role of positivity in fostering team success. How can agile teams benefit from a solution-focused approach to overcome their habitual focus on challenges? Listen to find out! 

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

May 13, 2024

Peter Müller: Improving Scrum Daily Stand-Ups That Have Lost Focus And Become Long And Cluttered

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

When Peter took over a larger team, the daily stand-ups became cluttered with discussions that made the stand-ups long and unfocused. Stakeholders joined in, turning these meetings into mini-conferences that were even less focused. Peter initially thought he had a solution, but the team quickly reverted to old habits. 

Does the Scrum Master need to step in to fix this anti-pattern? Or would it complicate things further? This episode dives into the nuances of managing a large team's dynamics and the importance of discerning which battles to fight. Peter shares crucial coaching tips, reflecting on why asking "why" might not always unearth the underlying issues. Discover how a solution-focused approach can redirect team efforts towards more productive outcomes.

 

[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 Peter Müller

Peter is a seasoned Agile coach and transformation consultant with extensive experience in fostering agile environments and enhancing team dynamics. His expertise in solution-focused coaching has helped numerous teams optimize their operational efficiency and adapt to agile methodologies effectively.

 

You can link with Peter on LinkedIn and connect with Peter on Twitter.

May 10, 2024

Mike Lyons: When Technical Knowledge is an Impediment to Great Product Ownership in Scrum

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: Visionary Product Ownership, Leading with Passion and Purpose

In this segment, Mike celebrates a Product Owner who exemplifies vision and passion, bringing humanity and customer focus into the product development process. He also shares how this approach enhances team empathy and product quality, and what lessons can other Product Owners take from this exemplary behavior.

The Bad Product Owner: The Pitfalls of Technical Product Ownership

In this segment, Mike discusses the challenges and pitfalls when technical expertise overshadows the true role of a Product Owner. What can go wrong when a former developer becomes a Product Owner, and how does disengagement from the role affect team dynamics? Unpack the essential qualities of vision, passion, and advocacy that every Product Owner should embody.

 

[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 Mike Lyons

After reading the Agile Manifesto in 2006, Mike focused on making teams and organizations more adaptive and efficient. Despite facing failures and mistakes, these experiences provided him with valuable lessons that enhanced his ability to achieve tangible results with Agile.

You can link with Mike Lyons on LinkedIn.

May 9, 2024

Mike Lyons: Guiding Agile Teams to Independence, Tips 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 segment, Mike shares practical tips on measuring and fostering team independence using the five events of Scrum. Key strategies include ensuring teams have seen work before planning, encouraging team-defined goals, limiting the scrum master's role in daily scrums, optimizing sprint lengths for quicker feedback, and focusing on product showcasing and feedback during sprint reviews. Mike challenges teams to push boundaries and continuously improve.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Commitment-Driven Retrospectives

Mike shares his favorite retrospective format—commitment-driven retrospectives. Mike emphasizes the importance of starting retrospectives with the question, "Did we make the improvement we committed to last time?" He argues that without this initial focus, the format of retrospectives becomes irrelevant and could lead to disengagement. Mike discusses creating an environment that empowers team members to bring and own their improvements, highlighting the scrum master's role in modeling effective approaches to continual enhancement.

 

[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 Mike Lyons

After reading the Agile Manifesto in 2006, Mike focused on making teams and organizations more adaptive and efficient. Despite facing failures and mistakes, these experiences provided him with valuable lessons that enhanced his ability to achieve tangible results with Agile.

You can link with Mike Lyons on LinkedIn.

May 8, 2024

Mike Lyons: Agile Beyond Teams, Leading Organizational 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, Mike discusses the broader implications of Agile beyond just team dynamics, highlighting the need for coaching and influence at the organizational level. Why does Mike believe that Agile is not just a mindset but a substantial practice that requires change in behaviors before culture can shift? Explore how understanding business language and aligning with organizational outcomes can expand and strengthen the role of Scrum Masters.

 

[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 Mike Lyons

After reading the Agile Manifesto in 2006, Mike focused on making teams and organizations more adaptive and efficient. Despite facing failures and mistakes, these experiences provided him with valuable lessons that enhanced his ability to achieve tangible results with Agile.

You can link with Mike Lyons on LinkedIn.

May 7, 2024

Mike Lyons: Slipping Back, When Agile Teams Drift Back Toward Waterfall

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.

Mike shares a story from his time with a team that inadvertently started adopting waterfall practices despite beginning with Agile intentions. How did the introduction of a business analyst role lead to a disconnect between the team and their product owner, and what does this signify about the delicate balance of roles within Agile teams? Learn from Mike's retrospective insights on maintaining Agile principles and the importance of quick feedback cycles.

Featured Book of the Week: The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim

In this segment, Mike describes why the "The Phoenix Project," a business novel resonates so much with scrum masters and Agile practitioners. Why does Mike find himself returning to this book time and again, and how does it mirror the realities of DevOps and Agile environments? Explore how the narrative's emphasis on improving daily work over performing it can revolutionize your approach to Agile project management.

 

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About Mike Lyons

After reading the Agile Manifesto in 2006, Mike focused on making teams and organizations more adaptive and efficient. Despite facing failures and mistakes, these experiences provided him with valuable lessons that enhanced his ability to achieve tangible results with Agile.

You can link with Mike Lyons on LinkedIn.

May 6, 2024

Mike Lyons: The Humility to Listen, A Sprint Planning Turnaround Story

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

When Mike took on one of his early projects, a seemingly small requirement during sprint planning sparked an epiphany about Agile workflows. Mike's story unfolds as he learns that dictating tasks isn't always the best approach, and he realized the importance of listening and empowering those who do the work. What crucial lessons did Mike learn about intellectual humility and creating space for his team to excel? Discover how these insights transformed his approach to sprint planning and why the Toyota Production System might hold secrets to doing your best work.

 

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About Mike Lyons

After reading the Agile Manifesto in 2006, Mike focused on making teams and organizations more adaptive and efficient. Despite facing failures and mistakes, these experiences provided him with valuable lessons that enhanced his ability to achieve tangible results with Agile.

You can link with Mike Lyons on LinkedIn.

May 4, 2024

BONUS: The Art of Slicing Work with Anton Skornyakov

This episode features Anton Skornyakov, an expert in Agile methodologies and the author of "The Art of Slicing Work: How to Navigate Unpredictable Projects." Let's unpack the concept of slicing work and explore how it can revolutionize productivity and project management.

Inspiration Behind The Book

"Focusing on 'what's the result we want from this discussion' shifts our mindset towards more practical, outcome-oriented conversations."

Anton shares what drove him to write his book. In his coaching practice, he noticed that many organizational discussions were mired in theory rather than focusing on actionable outcomes. By centering the conversation on "the next step" and the desired results for the upcoming two weeks, teams can move from abstract planning to concrete, actionable steps.

Understanding Slicing Work

"Think of work like a large dinner; slicing it into dishes rather than tasks offers flexibility and maintains the connection between different work elements."

In his book, Anton introduces the concept of Slicing Work using the metaphor of preparing a large dinner. He explains that traditional task division (horizontal slicing) often leads to a loss of flexibility and a disconnection between different parts of a project. Instead, he advocates for vertical slicing, where each slice represents a complete unit of value, enhancing coherence and team productivity.

Common Barriers to Slicing Work

"Old habits and upfront software design practices prevent effective work slicing; adopting Test-Driven Development (TDD) can help overcome these barriers."

Anton discusses the habitual and educational barriers that prevent effective slicing of work. Many professionals are trained to focus on their specific expertise and to plan extensively before starting actual development, practices which can impede the flexible and iterative nature of Agile methodologies.

In this segment, we refer to Extreme Programming and the pattern of the tracer bullet.

The Slicing Work Mindset

"Empowering teams to feel they can reshape their work structure is crucial for successful implementation of work slicing techniques."

Implementing work slicing techniques can be straightforward technically, but the real challenge often lies in changing the organizational mindset. Anton points out that teams may understand the concept intellectually but often struggle with feeling empowered to change existing processes.

Addressing Leadership Skepticism

"Instead of promoting slicing, I discuss potential risks with leaders to help them see the value in breaking down projects to manage risks effectively."

When faced with leadership skepticism, Anton shifts the conversation from slicing work per se to managing project risks. By identifying what could go wrong and finding ways to address these risks incrementally, leaders can see the practical benefits of adopting slicing work techniques.

The Future of Work with Full Adoption

"By turning Agile up to 11, micromanagement becomes obsolete, and teams are empowered to focus on transparent, result-driven discussions."

Anton envisions a future where complete adoption of slicing work principles leads to a significant transformation in how teams and stakeholders interact. With a focus on frequent, tangible results and pragmatic discussions, organizations can achieve greater transparency and reduce the need for micromanagement.

About Anton Skornyakov

Anton Skornyakov is the co-founder and managing director of Agile.Coach. He has coached nearly a hundred organizations and thousands of people in the art of slicing work. His insights are distilled in his latest book, "The Art of Slicing Work," which encapsulates a wealth of stories, lessons, and principles from his extensive experience. For more information, visit slicingwork.com.

You can link with Anton Skornyakov on LinkedIn.

May 3, 2024

Mike Richards: Leading with Trust, The Product Owner’s Guide

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: Leading with Trust, The Product Owner’s Guide

Discover some of the essential qualities of an effective Product Owner through Mike’s experiences and stories. How does leading with trust transform team dynamics and project outcomes? This episode highlights the benefits of a trusting relationship between the team and the Product Owner, emphasizing the importance of trust in fostering a productive and collaborative environment.

The Bad Product Owner: The Dangers of Over-Engagement, And How It Affects Scrum Teams

What happens when a Product Owner is too involved in the day-to-day operations of a project? Mike Richards discusses the fine line between engagement and micromanagement. Learn about the anti-patterns of Product Owner behavior that can disrupt team efficiency and how to address them through understanding and empathy.

 

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About Mike Richards

Mike Richards, with over a decade in tech, goes beyond managing projects. He's passionate about transforming organizations, coaching on cloud migration, leading digital shifts, and empowering agile teams. More than a consultant, Mike is a catalyst for growth and change.

You can link with Mike Richards on LinkedIn here.

May 2, 2024

Mike Richards: The Scrum Master Feedback Loop, Measuring What Really Matters 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 segment, Mike shares his approach to measuring success through key performance indicators and anonymous feedback. How can scrum masters create a safe space for team feedback and foster a learning environment within their teams? Discover the significance of emotional security and predictability in achieving sprint goals and maintaining effective team dynamics.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Cat Memes Retrospective

Explore a unique retrospective format with Mike as he shares how using cat memes can inject humor and openness into team discussions. How does this light-hearted approach help teams express emotions and enhance engagement during retrospectives? Learn tips on varying retrospective formats to maintain team engagement and foster candid discussions about challenges and successes.

 

[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 Mike Richards

Mike Richards, with over a decade in tech, goes beyond managing projects. He's passionate about transforming organizations, coaching on cloud migration, leading digital shifts, and empowering agile teams. More than a consultant, Mike is a catalyst for growth and change.

You can link with Mike Richards on LinkedIn here.

May 1, 2024

Mike Richards: Managing Agile Teams Under Tight Deadlines, The Remote Team Edition

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

In this episode, Mike shares his professional journey of facilitating agile transformations and fostering change within diverse teams. How does establishing clear communication and understanding story points contribute to project success, especially under tight deadlines? Gain valuable insights into the use of work agreements and the importance of early and iterative discussions in distributed teams.

 

[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 Mike Richards

Mike Richards, with over a decade in tech, goes beyond managing projects. He's passionate about transforming organizations, coaching on cloud migration, leading digital shifts, and empowering agile teams. More than a consultant, Mike is a catalyst for growth and change.

You can link with Mike Richards on LinkedIn here.

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