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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: June, 2024
Jun 29, 2024

BONUS: Agile Mindsets in Tech Entrepreneurship With Bao Tran

In this BONUS episode, we explore the world of technology, innovation, and intellectual property with Bao Tran, a seasoned tech entrepreneur. As the founder and CEO of PowerPatent, Inc., and co-founder of Azpire Health, Bao shares his journey and offers advice for aspiring tech entrepreneurs and established businesses alike.

The Journey into Technology and Entrepreneurship

"You need very good people on the engineering side who can iterate quickly." 

Bao Tran started his career with ambitions of entering investment banking but ultimately found his calling as a patent lawyer. This shift led him to explore the tech industry deeply, where he recognized the importance of having a strong engineering team and maintaining exclusivity for products. He highlights the pitfalls of using platforms like Kickstarter, where competitors can easily copy innovative ideas, emphasizing the necessity of strong IP protection.

Structuring Teams for Flexibility and Scalability

"Build around a core team but also bring diversity into the team." 

Bao stresses the importance of having a core team that is close-knit for quick communication while also recruiting diverse talent to bring fresh perspectives. He advises focusing on problem-solving rather than falling in love with a particular technology, ensuring the team remains flexible and scalable as the company grows.

Recruiting Talent for Tech-Focused Companies

"Balance new people with fresh ideas and those with more experience." 

Hiring the right talent is crucial, and Bao’s approach includes balancing newcomers with fresh ideas and seasoned professionals. He underscores the importance of a clear vision in product development, offering stock options as part of the salary package, and protecting IP early. Bao also introduces the concept of a "long tail approach" to product development, where continuous innovation and iteration play key roles.

Advising Startups on Patent Strategy

"Identify unique product features and anticipate how competitors might replicate them." 

For startups, Bao advises laying the foundation by identifying unique product features that can be patented. He recommends anticipating how competitors might design around these features and considering licensing opportunities across different industries to expand the utility of the patents.

Impressive Examples of Patents Adding Value

"This battery company reduced energy costs and even started feeding back into the grid." 

Bao shares success stories from his investments, including a company that used patented battery technology to reduce energy costs for small to medium businesses and eventually integrated these batteries into the power grid. He highlights the versatility of software patents and their applicability across various industries.

Recommended Resources

For those preparing their companies for growth, Bao recommends exploring resources like the PowerPatent YouTube channel and PatentPC.com. These platforms provide valuable information on fundraising, patent strategies, and more.

About Bao Tran 

Bao Tran is a tech entrepreneur specializing in AI, blockchain, and digital twin technologies. He is the founder and CEO of PowerPatent, Inc., where he innovates the patent process through automation, and co-founder of Azpire Health, which leverages tech in healthcare. Bao is an angel investor at TVC and represents Silicon Valley at the Boston Global Forum. He holds a JD, MBA, and BSEE from top institutions.

You can link with Bao Tran on LinkedIn or connect with Bao Tran via email at Btran@powerpatent.com.

Jun 28, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: The Impact on Agile Teams of Poor PO Leadership Skills

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 the Scrum Master’s Feedback Transformed a Product Owner

What key changes transformed this PO from a liability to an asset? In this segment, Avipaul shares a success story of a PO who, after receiving feedback, improved collaboration and team engagement. By connecting with team members and understanding the domain deeply, this PO bridged gaps between the team and customers, and ultimately became a great PO!

The Bad Product Owner: The Impact of Poor PO Leadership Skills

How can Product Owners avoid these pitfalls to foster a healthier team dynamic? In this segment, Avipaul outlines common anti-patterns of Product Owners who try to act as team leads, micromanage, and interfere in technical discussions. We also discuss how these behaviors can cause resentment and hinder team performance. 

 

[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 Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 27, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: Measuring Scrum Master Impact Beyond the Lean and Agile 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, Avipaul explores the the many sides of success for Scrum Masters. Beyond metrics like cycle time and throughput, he emphasizes the importance of team smiles and voluntary contributions. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Timeline Retrospective

In this segment, Avipaul introduces the Timeline Retrospective, ideal for reflecting on the end of a phase. This format connects team members' emotions to their journey, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of their shared experiences. The timeline retrospective can highlight the human sides projects, and enhance the team’s ability to reflect and learn.

 

[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 Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 26, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: How to Introduce Agile to Teams That Resist Adoption, and Make Friends

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, Avipaul shares his experience leading change in a group of three teams. Facing issues like missing retrospectives and poor team dynamics, he used 1:1 sessions and training to introduce Agile concepts. We also explore how "pain point" sessions led to effective retrospectives and how collaboration with HR improved team dynamics. Listen in to explore some strategies that can enhance Agile implementation in resistant 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 Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 25, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: Why Agile Processes Matter, And Help Avoid Deathmarch Projects

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.

Avipaul shares the story of a team working on an iPad app under tight deadlines. They skipped Scrum events, leading to chaos and missed deadlines. In this episode, we explore some of the most common anti-patterns that come from skipping or avoiding Agile processes and the importance of structure for teams, especially when under tight deadlines. 

Featured Book of the Week: The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

In this segment, Avipaul shares how "The Coaching Habit" by Michael Bungay Stanier,  transformed his approach as a Scrum Master. The book's seven powerful coaching questions, especially "And what else?", helped him enhance his coaching skills and deepen his 1:1 interactions. 

 

[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 Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 24, 2024

Avipaul Bhandari: Turning Conflict into Collaboration, An Agile Coach’s Hard-earned lesson

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, Avipaul shares a deeply personal failure story as an Agile coach. Reporting to the VP of Engineering, he clashed with a condescending product director. This tension escalated until a senior leader intervened, prompting Avipaul to change his approach. Discover how understanding the director’s perspective and focusing on what the organization needed at the time helped Avipaul overcome anger and frustration. In this episode we also explore the crucial lessons that Avipaul learned about aligning personal values with professional interactions.

 

[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 Avipaul Bhandari

Avipaul is a seasoned Agile Coach with extensive experience helping teams and organizations implement Agile practices effectively. His expertise spans various domains, and he is passionate about fostering collaboration and continuous improvement.

You can link with Avipaul Bhandari on LinkedIn and connect with Avipaul Bhandari on Twitter.

Jun 21, 2024

Jaques Smit: How to Help Product Owners Manage Many 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.

The Great Product Owner: How Saying “No” Helps PO’s Succeed

What makes a Product Owner successful in managing large teams? In this episode, Jaques shares an example of a Product Owner who managed a large team successfully by setting clear boundaries and saying "no" unless convinced otherwise. This approach led to a well-functioning team and better innovation. Jaques emphasizes the importance of clear communication and structured leadership.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping Product Owners Manage Many Stakeholders

How can Product Owners manage stakeholder expectations effectively? Jaques shares his experience with a Product Owner (PO) working with an unmanageable number of stakeholders and communication lines. The PO's habit of saying "yes" to everyone led to overwhelming challenges. Jaques shares insights on effective PO practices, including setting boundaries and creating smaller, more productive 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 Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 20, 2024

Jaques Smit: Mastering Team Dynamics, 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.

How can Scrum Masters harness conflict to drive team success? In this episode, Jaques explores the concept of conflict in teams and its role in growth. He emphasizes the need for Scrum Masters to manage team dynamics, facilitate decision-making, and promote effective feedback. Jaques shares tips on conflict resolution and the importance of continuous learning and adaptation for Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Team Coaching Conversation

Jaques introWhat retrospective techniques can enhance team understanding and growth? duces his favorite Agile Retrospective format: the Team Coaching Conversation. He explains the steps, starting with silent writing, followed by dot-voting and a coaching conversation led by team members. This format fosters understanding and growth, with actionable insights discussed later.

 

[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 Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 19, 2024

Jaques Smit: The Role of Coaching in Organizational Change, A Key Skill For 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.

How can leaders effectively motivate and guide teams through significant changes? Jaques shares his journey in leading a traditional development team towards creating their own games. He highlights the challenges of facilitating change without sufficient coaching skills and the importance of creating a desire for change. Jaques introduces ADKAR, SCARF, and coaching techniques, ultimately leading to successful organizational transformation.

In this episode, we also refer to Constructivist Learning, and Adult learning theory

 

[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 Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 18, 2024

Jaques Smit: Beyond the Drama Triangle, Patterns in Conflict Resolution for 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.

Jaques shares the story of a long-term game development team's recurring issues despite changes in personnel. Several Product Owners had left because of burnout. However, with every new PO the team cycled through the same patterns, eventually leading to the PO’s leaving. Jaques realized the team was stuck in a Persecutor-Victim-Rescuer dynamic, and tried to help the team by bringing in outside assistance. Through this story, Jaques discusses the importance of addressing underlying conflicts, enhancing conflict resolution skills, and avoiding the drama triangle.

Featured Book of the Week: Leadership is Language by David Marquet

How can the language we use as leaders influence team dynamics? Jaques discusses "Leadership is Language" by David Marquet (David Marquet has been a previous guest on the show) and its impact on his approach to workplace challenges. The book helped him realize the importance of language in shaping behavior and leadership conversations. Jaques shares how the book helped him facilitate leadership discussions and improve team communication.

 

[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 Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 17, 2024

Jaques Smit: Sprint Goals Gone Wrong, Leadership Lessons from a Game Development 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.

Jaques shares an experience with a game development team struggling to meet their goals. Despite his efforts to implement sprint goals and keep the team accountable, he faced resistance. Apparently lost with the process of setting goals, the Product Owner (PO) stepped back, pushing Jaques to take ownership and set the goals, which further re-enforced the team’s attitude of not taking ownership. Jaques reflects on the importance of coaching with an open mind and the challenges of directive leadership. He shares insights on enabling constraints and the Cynefin framework.

In this episode we also refer to Clinton Keith’s work as well as the #NoEstimates book.

 

[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 Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

 

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Jun 15, 2024

BONUS: Incorporating Planet Earth as a Stakeholder in IT Development with Marjolein Pilon

In this BONUS episode, we talk to Marjolein Pilon about her innovative approach of considering Planet Earth as a key stakeholder in software development. Through practical examples and actionable tips, she inspires teams to make meaningful changes towards a greener future.

How to Bring Sustainability To Our Work As Scrum Masters

"Frustration about climate change and wanting a better future for my children led me to explore the carbon footprint of our IT work."

Marjolein's passion for environmental sustainability began with personal frustrations about climate change. Feeling that she had done all she could at home, she extended her concerns to her professional environment by asking about the carbon footprint of IT. This led to the creation of a 'planet retrospective,' where her team brainstormed ways to reduce their environmental impact. This approach proved to be so effective that she began facilitating these retrospectives for other teams, spreading the importance of seeing the planet as a stakeholder.

Reframing Projects for Sustainability

"Taking a simple first step can break down complexity and build motivation."

Marjolein shares a story of a team that significantly reduced their carbon footprint by taking small, easy steps. Starting with the elimination of an unnecessary test environment, the team moved on to more substantial changes, such as optimizing database queries and shutting down unused applications outside office hours. Their efforts culminated in a 45% reduction in their carbon footprint, serving as an inspiration for other teams.

Considering Planet Earth as a Stakeholder

"We started looking at our software from the Planet Earth's perspective."

For Marjolein, considering Planet Earth as a stakeholder means incorporating environmental considerations into every stage of software and product development. This perspective shift encourages teams to think about the long-term impacts of their work on the environment.

Measuring Environmental Impact

"Use costs as a proxy to convince managers to run sustainability sprints."

Marjolein explains that measuring the environmental impact of software decisions can be straightforward. For on-premise servers, energy bills provide clear data, while cloud services like AWS and Azure offer carbon footprint dashboards. She advises teams to monitor metrics like disk access, memory versus disk usage, and query times to understand and reduce their carbon footprint.

Making Sustainability Relatable For Agile Teams

"We include planet earth and climate impact in the sprint reviews and definition of done."

Marjolein emphasizes integrating sustainability into daily workflows, such as sprint reviews and definitions of done. This makes the concept of sustainability more tangible and actionable for smaller teams and startups. She explains how even small actions can have a significant collective impact.

Balancing Innovation and Sustainability

"Simple steps can align innovation, speed to market, and sustainability."

Marjolein highlights the importance of balancing innovation, speed to market, and sustainability. By taking simple, actionable steps, teams can align these seemingly competing demands effectively.

Recommended Resources

Marjolein recommends the book "The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World" by  Roman Krznaric

For teams looking to integrate long-term environmental considerations into their development processes, this book provides a framework for thinking beyond immediate goals and considering the impact on future generations.

About Marjolein

Marjolein is an enthusiastic freelance Scrum Master and Agile Coach, committed to making the IT community more carbon-efficient. With a passion for Planet Earth and a knack for facilitating creative teams, she embodies agile and scrum values, promoting team autonomy and continuous improvement. Marjolein shares her insights on her website https://theagileplayground.com/.

You can link with Marjolein Pilon on LinkedIn.

Jun 14, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: A Great Product Owner who Encouraged Experimentation and Built an Inspired 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.

The Great Product Owner: Encouraging Experimentation and Building an Inspired Team, How Great POs work!

Kirsi highlights the qualities of an exemplary Product Owner who inspires and guides their team effectively. This PO was modest yet visionary, capable of simplifying complex requirements and fostering a collaborative environment. Kirsi shares how this PO encouraged experimentation and learning, creating an inspired and productive team. Discover the traits that make a Product Owner truly great and how they can positively impact their team's performance.

The Bad Product Owner: The Indecisive Product Owner

Kirsi discusses the anti-pattern of an indecisive Product Owner who lacks direction and decision-making skills. She explains how this leads to a lack of progress and team direction. Kirsi shares tips on how to coach Product Owners to make time for the team, avoid excessive meetings, and focus on the product vision. Learn the common pitfalls of an indecisive PO and how to overcome them.

In this episode, we refer to the Sprint Checklist, a tool you can use to help the PO better manage their time to be available for the team when necessary. You can download the Sprint Checklist tool for Scrum Masters, here.

 

[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 Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Jun 13, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: The Role of Psychological Safety in Scrum 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.

In this episode, Kirsi defines success for Scrum Masters through her experience. She discusses the joy of seeing teams achieve their goals independently and the importance of psychological safety. Kirsi shares a story of how practicing prioritization techniques with Product Owners led to improved collaboration and decision-making. She emphasizes the need for Scrum Masters to create a safe environment for teams to practice and grow, ultimately leading to their success.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Start/Stop/Continue

Kirsi shares her favorite Agile retrospective format, "Start/Stop/Continue." She explains how its simplicity leads to actionable results, especially when time is limited. Kirsi also highlights an anti-pattern where retrospectives run out of time for discussing improvement actions. She provides tips on how to open retrospectives with a focus on the team's ways of working to ensure meaningful outcomes.

 

[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 Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Jun 12, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: Understanding the Complexities of Driving A Large Scale Agile Transformation

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, Kirsi helps us understand the complexities of leading change in a large organization. She shares how a change team with representatives from various roles and a virtual setup facilitated a smooth transition to new teams. The use of pulse surveys, questionnaires, and a transparent Kanban board helped maintain alignment and trust throughout the process. Kirsi offers practical tips, such as starting with a common cadence and allowing teams to adjust later, and the importance of self-reflection surveys for continuous improvement. Discover the techniques that made this reorganization a success.

 

[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 Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Jun 11, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: When Protection Hinders Progress, A Guide to Tackling Psychological Safety 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, Kirsi shares an insightful story about a large team working on regulatory reporting that struggled with psychological safety. Even if the team tried to shut out Agile coaches, leadership noticed alarming employee satisfaction scores and helped the change get started. Kirsi reveals how the Product Owner's protective approach stifled team growth and collaboration. She explains the anti-patterns observed and offers tips on how to address such challenges by taking a more directive stance and encouraging continuous improvement. Learn how small changes can make a big difference in a team's dynamics and success.

Featured Book of the Week: Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching by Bob Galen

Kirsi discusses Bob Galen's book, "Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching," highlighting its comprehensive approach to Agile coaching. She emphasizes the importance of the Agile coaching contract, even for internal coaches, and shares how it helps in setting clear expectations. Kirsi also explores the significance of journaling for self-reflection. This book is not just for coaches but also for Scrum Masters seeking to deepen their understanding and practice of Agile coaching.

[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 Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Jun 10, 2024

Kirsi Sahlstén: The Power of Collective Change in Agile Transformation

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, Kirsi shares a story about an organization struggling with large, complex teams and numerous dependencies. As an Agile Coach, she facilitated a reorganization around the customer journey. With half the team based on another continent created a big stress for Kirsi and her colleagues. Attempting to manage everything herself, she faced burnout. Through this challenge, Kirsi learned the importance of teamwork in driving change. She discusses creating a change team, leveraging eager participants, and establishing a change agent network to maintain engagement and representation. Discover the key steps Kirsi took to facilitate a successful reorganization and the valuable lessons she learned.

 

[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 Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is "Why?" and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Jun 7, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Motivating Scrum Teams with User-Centric Approaches, Product Owner Best Practices

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: Motivating Teams with User-Centric Approaches, PO Best Practices

In this segment, Rebecca shares an inspiring example of a Product Owner (PO) who excelled by focusing on the end-users' needs and facilitating direct communication between the team and users. Through live interviews and feedback sessions, the PO enabled the team to achieve quick wins and foster innovation. This approach created a motivated and empowered team. 

The Bad Product Owner: Directive POs and Team Demotivation

In this segment, Rebecca discusses common anti-patterns of Product Owners (POs), such as being overly technical or directive, which can demotivate and disempower teams. She shares a story of a friction-filled relationship between a PO and a team, emphasizing the importance of POs agreeing on the problem to be solved and allowing the team to develop solutions. 

 

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 6, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Evaluating Product Value, Metrics for Scrum Masters and 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.

In this success episode, Rebecca emphasizes the importance of driving positive change both within the team and the organization. She discusses metrics such as fun, trust, and motivation, and the challenges of ensuring the Product Owner (PO) helps the team deliver value. Rebecca shares tips on evaluating value and focusing on product-related metrics. What does success mean for Scrum Masters, and how can you measure it effectively?

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: I Like/I Wish/I Wonder

In this segment, Rebecca shares her favorite retrospective format: "I Like/I Wish/I Wonder." This simple, non-confrontational format encourages team members to provide feedback in a positive and constructive way. Rebecca highlights the importance of preparing for retrospectives by considering the team's context and emotional state. Discover how this format can help reduce conflict and promote open communication in your retrospectives.

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

 

About Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 5, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Engaging with the C-Suite, A Key Strategy in Change Leadership for Scrum Masters

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

In this episode, Rebecca discusses her experience leading a group of Scrum Masters through a difficult organizational change. Eight months into their agile journey, they realized the need for more influence and created an Executive Action Team (EAT). This gave them direct access to the CTO and enabled more significant changes in the organization. Rebecca emphasizes the importance of using data to support change initiatives and empowering teams to solve their own problems. How can you leverage executive support and data to drive agile transformations? Listen to find out!

 

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 4, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: Transforming Agile Team Dynamics with Structured Feedback, And The Critical Importance of Feedback Delivery

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, Rebecca shares a story about a team that struggled with "terminal niceness," avoiding necessary feedback in an effort to maintain an artificial harmony. By introducing a feedback format learned from a seminar, Rebecca helped the team communicate more openly and effectively. The transformation led to better team dynamics and a more collaborative environment. Listen in to learn what was the format that helped Rebecca transform this team’s take on feedback.

Featured Book of the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Rebecca discusses how "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott transformed her perspective on feedback. Initially wary of feedback due to past negative experiences, Rebecca learned that feedback is a crucial part of professional growth for her and her teams. She highlights key insights from the book, such as the importance of constructive one-on-one feedback and how it can be a positive tool rather than just criticism. Listen in to discover how "Radical Candor" reshaped Rebecca’s approach and why feedback is essential 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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 3, 2024

Rebecca Cyr: The Penny Game Debacle, A Collaboration Change Gone Wrong And Other Lessons For Scrum Masters

 

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

In this episode, Rebecca shares a story about working with a high-profile team struggling to finish their work within the sprint boundaries. Rebecca found out that the company had not provided sufficient agile training for the teams, which ultimately resulted in too much work-in-process, and other anti-patterns. Rebecca discusses her efforts to help the team focus and collaborate better, only to face resistance from the team's manager. She shares a failed attempt to use the Penny Game to help the team understand flow and collaboration, but this only resulted in conflict. Rebecca emphasizes the importance of understanding team dynamics and gaining consent before trying to build trust. Listen to this episode, and learn how you can navigate similar challenges and foster better team engagement.

 

[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 Rebecca Cyr

Rebecca Cyr is an experienced agile coach and scrum master, passionate about helping teams deliver value through agile principles and practices while learning, growing, and having fun together. Connecting people through deft facilitation is her superpower, as is storytelling as the language of learning.

You can link with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacyr/.

Jun 1, 2024

BONUS: Mastering Work Intake For Agile Teams with Tom Cagley and Jeremy Willets

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 BONUS episode, Tom and Jeremy discuss the main ideas from their latest book on agile transformation and work intake management: Mastering Work Intake: From Chaos to Predictable Delivery. They share some of the main the challenges teams face when trying to adopt agile practices and offer practical strategies for improving work intake processes.

The Trigger for the Book

"Most people who try to transform and be agile don't do it well. They fail multiple times because they say 'yes' to everything, which is a lack of control on work intake."

Tom emphasizes that many teams struggle with agile transformation, often due to poor management of work intake. He has built a career helping teams that have attempted and failed at this multiple times. The main issue is that they end up saying "yes" to every request, leading to a chaotic work environment, lots of work started, and very little finished.

"We got started during the pandemic. We looked at many books on the topic and saw that it wasn't tackled very well. 'Actionable Agile' and 'Why Limit WIP' by Jim Benson inspired us."

Defining Work Intake and avoiding common mistakes

"We are drowning in work. We use metaphors to define work intake and see that work always finds a way to get done. Initially, we titled this book 'Work Entry' because of the idea that work is pushed to people, who naturally say 'yes' because they want to help."

"Work has a way of getting started. Recently, I had water in my basement. I didn't know where it came from, but the water found a way in. We see this over and over at work. Work just gets in, often because saying 'no' feels career-limiting."

Tom likens unmanaged work intake to water leaking into a basement—inevitable and hard to control. This analogy underscores how work finds its way into a team's backlog, often because rejecting tasks seems risky.

"Jumping the queue is a very common mistake. Important work always gets done, but we don't always go through the process of identifying what's truly important. This leads to 'fast switching' between tasks and 'neglected WIP.'"

Tom highlights the mistake of allowing work to bypass proper prioritization, leading to constant context switching, which makes teams slow, and neglected tasks which rarely or never get completed.

"The goal conflict anti-pattern is another issue. Much of work intake is about the relationships that lead to decision-making."

Jeremy discusses how conflicting goals and poor relationship management can lead to self-defeating work intake processes.

Key Strategies for Managing Work Intake, and Avoiding the Over-Planning Anti-pattern

"In the book, we present patterns to handle intake management and discuss the Product Owner's (PO) role. The PO is critical for managing work intake in Scrum, requiring discipline from both the PO and the team."

Jeremy outlines the importance of having a disciplined Product Owner to manage work intake effectively.

"The problem of team design often causes issues. Many teams work on features while supporting systems that deliver value to customers. This lack of focus is problematic. Building a solid DevOps framework is crucial."

"Agility means flexibility. We need to prioritize and select work more frequently, getting feedback often to determine if the work is necessary. Refer to 'Lean Startup' for more insights."

Jeremy advocates for flexibility and frequent prioritization over rigid, upfront planning.

"Mapping who is involved in work intake decisions is key. Understanding the feedback loop and how it's integrated into decision-making helps manage work intake better."

Tom emphasizes the importance of understanding decision-making processes and who are the stakeholders, to be able to improve those processes through collaboration.

Different Types of Work Mean Different Decision Making!

"People work on features, defects, support, etc. Each requires different management patterns. Recognizing team constraints is crucial for effective work intake."

Tom explains the need for tailored strategies for different types of work, based on team constraints. Only this “whitebox” approach to work management can help us build a work intake process that helps us manage the work in a way that leads to faster deliveries and more productivity.

As an example, Tom and Jeremy share a story about a company wanting to move to the cloud. Unfortunately, the CEO's decision overlooked the engineers' lack of skills, which led to big problems. This story puts emphasis on the importance of aligning work intake with team capabilities.

A Top Tip: Be Mindful and Deliberate About Accepting Work Into Your Backlog!

"We help teams be deliberate about work acceptance by emphasizing relationships and decision-making processes. Effective work intake management reduces disruptions."

Tips For Product Owners 

"Manage work intake across the entire product. It's more than just planning." 

"PO is an active role. Help the team make decisions and sequence work."

Tips For Scrum Masters

"Don't overlook work intake. Involvement in this aspect is crucial to avoid anti-patterns." "Defend team boundaries to control work intake."

The Impact of Applying These Ideas

"It would be a lot calmer and more orderly."

"We would get a lot more things done, avoiding the anti-pattern of rewarding work starts over finishes."

About Tom and Jeremy

Tom Cagley is an experienced agile coach and consultant specializing in helping teams manage work intake and improve their agile practices.

You can link with Tom Cagley on LinkedIn. You can also listen to Tom’s podcast, the SPAMCast.

Jeremy Willets is a seasoned agile practitioner and author who has collaborated with Tom on numerous projects, including this book.

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn.

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