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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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Nov 27, 2021

How Ben found his vocation for the Scrum Master role, and the techniques he applied to break into the tech industry and the Scrum Master role. 

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

 

About Ben Mills

Ben is a scrum master, a project manager and a Pastor. That’s a very unique journey that he is sharing with us. 

He’s starting his career as a scrum master and is sharing his journey with us on this BONUS episode.

Nov 26, 2021

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: PO as the great motivator, a simple approach to motivating Agile teams

Great PO’s are able to share the vision they have for the product. But how do they do it? In this segment, we talk about the approaches that help great Product Owners be clear about, and share the vision of the product in a way that motivates the team!

The Bad Product Owner: The PO as a manager anti-pattern and its impact on Agile teams

When PO’s take control and start acting like a manager, the team needs to stand back. This creates a series of anti-patterns that we explore in this segment. From the team being silent, to the PO starting to assign tasks to individual team members. Listen in to learn how Madhuri was able to help the PO and the team get out of this PO-as-a-manager anti-pattern.

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 Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Nov 25, 2021

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.

Madhuri starts by sharing her vision for a great Agile team, and then lists some of the questions she asks herself, as well as the team to help gage her own success as a Scrum Master. We also talk about how “work in progress limits” can help teams move quickly towards self-organization.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Great team building retrospectives

Madhuri starts by sharing with us that she prefers to use a different format every time, however, she also shares some of the formats she uses when starting off with a new team. We talk about the “Two truths and a lie” exercise, that helps team members know more about each other, and the “Candy Love” Agile retrospective format which helps create a positive atmosphere in the team. 

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 Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Nov 24, 2021

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.

Madhuri was an active part of an Agile transformation at a department. They started by focusing on one team, and as she worked with that team, she noticed that things were moving slow. This helped her understand that, even if the team adopts practices and processes, there’s a deeper change that is needed, and each team member experiences the change in a different way, and at a different pace. Listen in to learn what is that deeper change, and learn more about the change curve model.

About Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Nov 23, 2021

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 team we talk about in this episode was an example of a great team. They collaborated well, were able to tackle the challenges that came their way. However, after they were put on a bigger, higher pressure project, things started to change. Over time, in this new project, the team started to forget how to retrospect and improve as a team, and this started to affect their performance. Listen in to learn how Madhuri solved this slow developing, but high-impact anti-pattern.

Featured Book of the Week: Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

Madhuri starts by introducing The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni, to show how important it is for Scrum Masters to focus on building trust with their team members and other stakeholders. But how do you do that in practice? That’s what the book Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey comes in. This book, which Madhuri acknowledges has changed her own way of acting, helps explain what trust is in practice, and how to build that in your Scrum team.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Nov 22, 2021

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.

Madhuri had had great success with a team where she helped visualize their workflow, and the blockers they were struggling with. Moving into a new team, she tried to apply the same solution. However, things were not that simple, there were dynamics in the team that made the newfound visibility more of a problem than a solution. Listen in to learn how Madhuri worked around this problem, and the key lessons from this story.

About Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Nov 19, 2021

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

The Great Product Owner: The PO that went beyond the call of duty to help the Scrum Master and the team!

This Product Owner came from the business side of the organization. But she had an intuitive understanding of the practices that a PO needs. She went through the PO training and learned quickly how to help the team break down work. However, there was a challenge for the team that she was able to help with that goes far beyond the default PO responsibilities. Listen in to learn how this PO stepped up and helped the team deal with a critical problem.

The Bad Product Owner: The Know-it-all PO, and how to handle that anti-pattern

When PO’s think they know everything there is to know, they are less likely to listen to the team and help them with concrete issues they face. When PO’s think they can tell the team how to do the work, things get complicated. In this segment, we explore the anti-patterns that emerge in a team that has to work with such a PO, and discuss how Scrum Masters can help those teams and the PO get to a more collaborative way of working. 

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 Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile's vision 'to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work'.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter.

Nov 18, 2021

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.

Success is not easy to measure for Scrum Masters. If you ask a manager, you will get a different set of metrics, than if you ask the team, or even other stakeholders. Kevin shares with us how to look for the right metrics with the people you work with: managers, team, product owner, and others. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Conversation focused formats to try in your team

Kevin is a fan of trying a new format for every retrospective he facilitates. However, there’s a common thread among all of those formats he shares: to help teams have great and insightful conversations. In this segment, we refer to Mad/Sad/Glad, The 4 L’s, Lean Coffee and how bringing the team outside the office can generate great conversations. 

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 Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile's vision 'to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work'.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter.

Nov 17, 2021

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.

There was a larger change going on. The whole department was in the middle of a transformation. As Kevin investigated the goal/reasons behind that transformation, he discovered that the goal he was given was not really the whole story. This started a process of clarifying the goal, and discovering a completely different goal that turned out to be critical in this transformation story. Do you know the REAL reasons for your organization’s Agile transformation? 

About Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile's vision 'to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work'.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter

Nov 16, 2021

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 team there were big egos to deal with. These people were happy to work without the support of the Scrum Master. This raised an important question that we must tackle: how do you help a team that does not want to be coached? Kevin shares his approach in this team, and how slowly things started to turn around. Key lessons for all Scrum Masters.

Featured Book of the Week: Salvation, the Bungsu Story! By Marcus Hammarberg

Salvation, The Bungsu Story by Marcus Hammarberg is a book that explores how to apply agile methods in a non-software environment. Marcus shares the story of The Bungsu, a Hospital in Indonesia that was literally in crisis (the roof had just fallen off) when Marcus arrived. The story Marcus shares is an uplifting and insightful story about how applying concrete Agile methods can help any organization. A MUST READ book for all Scrum Masters, as well as a great story that you will remember forever!

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile's vision 'to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work'.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter.

Nov 15, 2021

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.

As Kevin worked with a team whose client was the Product Owner, he found himself with very little to do. The team was working well, except… As he dug deeper, he realized that the PO was not taking full ownership of the role. However, at that time Kevin thought of himself as the Scrum Master, and only that. Because of that, the team started suffering. At that time Kevin realized that being a Scrum Master is - sometimes - about stepping in and helping the Product Owner hands-on! Learn how he pulled it off by listening to this episode. 

In this episode, we refer to the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast’s Coach Your Product Owner e-course, which is designed to help you work together with your PO, and create a productive partnership that helps the team!

About Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile's vision 'to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work'.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter.

Nov 12, 2021

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

The Great Product Owner: The PO that is ready for Plans A, B, C or more, and helps the team deliver

One of the great Product Owner markers for Mariana is the ability the PO has to be organized and bring all the stories ready, as well Plans A, B, C or more to the planning meeting. Great PO’s are ready for whatever the team needs is best. They are also able to explain the benefits and the impact of the product to the team. 

In this segment, we talk about how important it is to have a clear Vision, that motivates the team. To help PO’s prepare that, we discuss the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast’s “Create a Compelling Product Vision” e-course, which is available for FREE here.

The Bad Product Owner: How to help a pushy, technical PO step back and let the team lead the implementation

In this team, the PO was very technical and wanted to have in depth conversations with the team about the code. Not only that, but the PO was also very pushy in planning and challenged the team on every estimate they gave. It was then that Mariana understood that she needed to help the PO to step back. But how to do it without causing more problems? Listen in to learn how she was able to help this very technical PO step back, and let the team lead more!

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 Mariana Trigo

Mariana’s path from Biology to Retail to IT, is a unique path in the search for purpose and the feeling of belonging. Helping development teams to reach their full potential by improving processes and people. Her favorite time is retrospective time, probably connected with her need to constantly get out of her comfort zone. 

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

Nov 11, 2021

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.

Looking at how the team executes the process is one of the key aspects that defines the impact and success of the Scrum Master. However, there’s a lot more than process that we should take into account. In this segment, we also discuss the importance of adapting our definition of success to the company we are working with.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The difference an icebreaker makes

When we start a retrospective, we have the challenge to get the team’s attention and focus. Mariana shares how she found and started using icebreaker activities to both address the team-jelling goal, as well as shape the mood for the retrospectives. 

In this segment, we talk about a list of icebreaker activities, which you can get here from the Collaboration Superpower’s website, and we also discuss the use of the Lean Coffee format in the retrospectives.

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 Mariana Trigo

Mariana’s path from Biology to Retail to IT, is a unique path in the search for purpose and the feeling of belonging. Helping development teams to reach their full potential by improving processes and people. Her favorite time is retrospective time, probably connected with her need to constantly get out of her comfort zone. 

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

Nov 10, 2021

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.

Mariana was working in a startup where things were changing very fast. So fast, that it was hard to know what to work on, and who to depend on. Together with the CTO at that company, they prepared a plan to introduce a process that would help the teams have focus, and deliver. Listen in to learn about how they presented a process in a startup, which usually is allergic to processes.

About Mariana Trigo

Mariana’s path from Biology to Retail to IT, is a unique path in the search for purpose and the feeling of belonging. Helping development teams to reach their full potential by improving processes and people. Her favorite time is retrospective time, probably connected with her need to constantly get out of her comfort zone. 

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

Nov 9, 2021

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

In the COVID19 year, there are many challenges that teams need to overcome, not the least of which is the isolation from other teams, and the rest of the company. When we can only meet through a previously scheduled online meeting, the number of connections and conversations is limited to the team we work daily with. In this story, we hear about a team that started to develop the “us against them” mentality because they were not in contact with other teams. 

Listen in to learn how Mariana helped this team get out of their inward focus, and accept that to succeed they needed to work with stakeholders outside the team.

Featured Book of the Week: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carenegie

As Mariana struggled to convince teams on how to move forward she searched for inspiration in this classic book. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carenegie helped her to learn how to communicate ideas, in a way that engages and brings out the best in the collaboration with the team members. The book helped her to shape her communication to the situation and the team member she was speaking with.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Mariana Trigo

Mariana’s path from Biology to Retail to IT, is a unique path in the search for purpose and the feeling of belonging. Helping development teams to reach their full potential by improving processes and people. Her favorite time is retrospective time, probably connected with her need to constantly get out of her comfort zone. 

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

Nov 8, 2021

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 team, the team members had already been complaining for a while about the requirements not being specified enough. As this complaint repeated even after some effort to answer their questions, Mariana stepped back. However, she quickly realized that it was a mistake, as the team felt abandoned. It was critical to find an alternative solution, so Mariana took it to the team, and together with a senior developer came up with a solution. Listen in to learn how that team helped solve a problem that not even the Scrum Master had found a solution for.

About Mariana Trigo

Mariana’s path from Biology to Retail to IT, is a unique path in the search for purpose and the feeling of belonging. Helping development teams to reach their full potential by improving processes and people. Her favorite time is retrospective time, probably connected with her need to constantly get out of her comfort zone. 

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

Nov 5, 2021

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: A great engagement tactic for Product Owners

This PO was just a beginner, a young PO but she was able to set the right expectations, and constantly worked with the team to get feedback on what should be done (or not). She gave the team space to negotiate and come up with better ideas. Tanzil also shares a great tactic that this PO used to better engage the stakeholders in the Sprint Review. 

The Bad Product Owner: How to build a product partnership with your Product Owner

The PO was both a tech lead and an architect for the team, on top of being the Product Owner. His understanding of the success in the role of the PO was very different from what the team needed. Thanks to the deep domain knowledge, this PO took on the role of the controller/project manager, which was only amplified by the team who did not know any other way of working. In this segment, we talk about how important it is to build a partnership with the Product Owner. 

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 Tanzil Choudhury

Tanzil is a passionate Agilist focused on coaching individuals, teams and organizations towards the Agile transformation journey. Specialized in working with teams and organizations to help them overcome cultural hangovers. 

You can link with Tanzil Choudhury on LinkedIn.

Nov 4, 2021

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.

Tanzil’s definition of success has evolved over time, and revolves around assessing and acting on the idea that companies and teams should be moving “forward” continuously in their Agile journey. 

We dive into some of the questions that Tanzil asks to assess if the teams are able to learn and advance in their journey. We also introduce the concept of “cultural hangover”, which Tanzil uses to describe one of the problems he wants to remove in the teams he works with.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A fresh new look at the Sailboat Retrospective

Tanzil’s retrospective format of choice is the Sailboat retrospective (featured often here on the podcast), but he uses that in a specific way. For Tanzil, the Sailboat retrospective can be a great Futurespective, focusing the team on the future to define their vision. He then uses the Lean Coffee format to discuss the times that come up in the retrospective. 

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 Tanzil Choudhury

Tanzil is a passionate Agilist focused on coaching individuals, teams and organizations towards the Agile transformation journey. Specialized in working with teams and organizations to help them overcome cultural hangovers. 

You can link with Tanzil Choudhury on LinkedIn.

Nov 3, 2021

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.

Tanzil was helping multiple teams in an organization that had short history of Agile adoption. As the teams started to apply Scrum, they quickly realized that the training they had was no longer enough. Tanzil had a challenge: with so many teams at different stages of their learning journey, where to start? 

Listen in to learn how you can help multiple teams, even when they are in very different stages of their journey. 

About Tanzil Choudhury

Tanzil is a passionate Agilist focused on coaching individuals, teams and organizations towards the Agile transformation journey. Specialized in working with teams and organizations to help them overcome cultural hangovers. 

You can link with Tanzil Choudhury on LinkedIn.

Nov 2, 2021

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.

Tanzil had just kickstarted a new team that he helped hire. The start of the assignment went as well as could be expected. The team picked up the practices, and learned how to apply them as described by Tanzil. However, later on that became part of the problem. The team, sure of their practices, was unwilling to move beyond the original practices they had learned. 

In this segment, we talk about The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni.

Featured Book of the Week: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John C. Maxwell et al.

This week’s book, is also an audiobook: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently by John C. Maxwell et al. In this book Tanzil learned several practices he could directly apply to his work, and go beyond the “process” aspects that a Scrum Master often works with. The book helped Tanzil move from thinking about product, to thinking and act with people. 

In this segment, we also refer to Shift From Product To People, a book that helps Scrum Masters understand and apply that shift to focus on people and their behaviors, instead of sticking only to process and product. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Tanzil Choudhury

Tanzil is a passionate Agilist focused on coaching individuals, teams and organizations towards the Agile transformation journey. Specialized in working with teams and organizations to help them overcome cultural hangovers. 

You can link with Tanzil Choudhury on LinkedIn.

Nov 1, 2021

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.

Tanzil was working with one team, when the second team lost its Scrum Master. However, that second team, was really 3 teams put together. Filled with too many people, and different strong cultures, this second team proved to be a real challenge for Tanzil. And the problems did not stop there. The PO wasn’t a full-time PO, and that hurt the second team even more. Listen in to learn about the anti-patterns to look out for when starting off with a new team.

About Tanzil Choudhury

Tanzil is a passionate Agilist focused on coaching individuals, teams and organizations towards the Agile transformation journey. Specialized in working with teams and organizations to help them overcome cultural hangovers. 

You can link with Tanzil Choudhury on LinkedIn.

Oct 30, 2021

We start this episode by discussing what are some of the key skills for Product Owners. David shares that - as the Head of Product Management - he tries to help his people with the following skills: 

  • Value-driven mindset: solving problems instead of delivering solutions
  • Communication: adapting to the different scenarios and knowing how to navigate common situations for software projects 
  • Empathy: being able to put themselves in the users, as well as stakeholder, and development team’s shoes
  • Decision making: Sometimes we don’t have data, but we can’t stop making decisions or the team will be paralysed. 
  • If you listen to the end of the episode, we share one more (BONUS! :) skill that David helps Product Owners with

The process to help Product Owners develop these skills

We discuss how David prepares and sets the process for helping his Product Managers develop those skills. As training is not necessary, and the PO’s must continuously receive feedback from their manager as well as their peers and stakeholders. 

In this segment, we also discuss how the Scrum Master can help the PO develop these skills by forming a partnership. 

The biggest obstacle Product Owners face

In his experience, David has seen that often Product Owners face a deluge of information, and huge backlogs, leading to a feeling of overwhelm and powerlessness. This feeling of overwhelm may lead Product Owners to be scared of taking action, or making decisions. Later on in this episode, David shares a tool we can use to reduce overwhelm for Product Owners.

The first skill to develop for Product Owners

Even if there are several skills that Product Owners need to develop, there’s always one to start with. When asked, David shares that he helps his Product Owners focus on the Value-driven Mindset skill at first. He uses a metaphor for help the Product Owners: the patient-doctor. He suggests that Product Owners are doctors, and must seek the root of the pain for the users, instead of just trying to deliver what they ask for. No responsible doctor would just give drugs to their patients without understanding what they suffer from. David suggests that Product Owners should take the same stance, and seek for the root cause of the pain being shared.

How to reduce overwhelm for Product Owners

When Product Owners start with a new team, and suddenly get overwhelmed by the very large backlogs that have been collected, they may be tempted to start working through the whole backlog, leading to an even stronger feeling of overwhelm. That’s not David’s approach. He suggests a different approach and describes how he has applied it in the past, to remove the feeling of overwhelm as a Product Owner.

Resources for Scrum Masters working with Product Owners

David suggests 3 different resources to accommodate the different learning styles out there. He suggests

About David Pereira 

David is a passionate Product Leader who loves leading teams in building solutions that challenge the status quo.

He is currently the Head of Product Management at Virutal Identity in Munich.

He’s also written a free ebook on the top 7 mistakes of a product owner which you can get at https://bit.ly/po7mistakes

You can follow and connect with David Pereira on LinkedIn, or read David Pereira on Medium.

Oct 29, 2021

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

The Great Product Owner: The Visionary PO that involved the users

This Product Owner was new to the job, and just fresh out of University. However, the skills she displayed made her a great Product Owner. She was able to listen and understand what was going on, share the Vision and do so through great storytelling. She also helped the team to learn from the users. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Bossy and Absent PO, the perfect storm for the team

When the Product Owner thinks they are “the boss” things can go terribly wrong, and this was the case in a PO that just wanted the teams to “deliver this feature”. On top of that, the PO was too busy to answer questions by the team, making it even harder for the team to deliver. Finally, we talk about the consequences for the team of such a PO.

Are you having trouble helping the teamwork 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 Alex Gbaguidi

Alex is an experienced agile practitioner, coach and trainer with twenty years of experience in IT consulting. He is passionate about helping teams discover the best ways of working adapted to their context. He’s worked in many different types of industries (Telecoms, Energy, Finance or Aeronautics) and provides training on many agile frameworks and practices all around the world in French & English.

You can link with Alex Gbaguidi on LinkedIn and connect with Alex Gbaguidi on Twitter

You can join Alex Gbaguidi’s Agile Africa community.

Oct 28, 2021

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.

Are your teams smiling? That’s one of the questions Alex suggests we ask ourselves. Alex shares some more questions we should go through when evaluating our success as Scrum Masters. However, those tools only help you assess if you need to go back to a core aspect of Scrum and Agile: discussing the purpose of our work. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Lean Coffee, the conversation facilitator

There are many formats we can use with the teams we help. Each team, and each situation may need a different format. However, Alex suggests that there’s a good format to get started with a new team: Lean Coffee. 

In this segment, we also refer to the Retrospective Poker Cards, that can help you be inspired to choose your next retrospective format.

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 Alex Gbaguidi

Alex is an experienced agile practitioner, coach and trainer with twenty years of experience in IT consulting. He is passionate about helping teams discover the best ways of working adapted to their context. He’s worked in many different types of industries (Telecoms, Energy, Finance or Aeronautics) and provides training on many agile frameworks and practices all around the world in French & English.

You can link with Alex Gbaguidi on LinkedIn and connect with Alex Gbaguidi on Twitter

You can join Alex Gbaguidi’s Agile Africa community.

Oct 27, 2021

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.

Alex joined a company that was build plane engines. This was not a pure software company, even if they had a lot of software engineers, and produced a lot of software. Alex brought in a different culture as an Agile member of the company’s PMO (Project Management Office). He shares the tools, and techniques he used to change the culture of the software teams in the organization.

In this episode we refer to a shared online quiz tool called Kahoot

About Alex Gbaguidi

Alex is an experienced agile practitioner, coach and trainer with twenty years of experience in IT consulting. He is passionate about helping teams discover the best ways of working adapted to their context. He’s worked in many different types of industries (Telecoms, Energy, Finance or Aeronautics) and provides training on many agile frameworks and practices all around the world in French & English.

You can link with Alex Gbaguidi on LinkedIn and connect with Alex Gbaguidi on Twitter

You can join Alex Gbaguidi’s Agile Africa community.

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