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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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Mar 3, 2023

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: Key Traits of an Exceptional Product Owner in Agile Teams 

A great product owner, according to Alina, is someone who is knowledgeable and confident about the product they are overseeing. They build trust within the team by being respectful and involving everyone in decision-making processes. The ability to move the team forward is an important characteristic of a great PO. In order to support a PO, Alina suggests having open communication and avoiding assumptions. A great PO opens the door for discussion and finding ways to help the team succeed.

The Bad Product Owner: Overcoming Challenges with a Bossy Product Owner

In this segment, Alina describes a conversation with a scrum team about their Product Owner. The team agreed that their product owner was very bossy, dictating decisions and pushing the team. This kind of behavior from a product owner can create conflict, as the team is not involved in decision making and the product owner is not considering the needs of the team.

The relationship between the product owner and the team, as well as the relationship between the product owner and the scrum master, is critical to the success of a project. Alina offered tips on how to address this issue, such as talking with the product owner to understand their role and finding ways to support them in finding their potential. She also recommended resources such as the Product Owner Summit and the book "Scrum Product Ownership" by Bob Galen to help better understand the leadership roles of both the product owner and scrum master.

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 Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

Mar 2, 2023

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.

Our personal experiences will shape the approach we take to the role of the Scrum Master. Alina recalls her childhood where she always had the urge to motivate people around her. Later in life she never lost the drive to help people find their potential. As a Scrum Master, she believes that it is important to remember that before being a leader in any capacity, one is a human being and therefore, it's essential to bring our humanity to work. She suggests starting with small acts of kindness, such as being there for your team when they need you, creating a kudos board to show appreciation, and conducting a discovery type of meeting to focus on personal and team strengths and motivation. The goal is to remind the team of their strengths and overcome the fear of problems.

Featured Retrospectives Format for the Week: Changing up the retrospective, by rotating the facilitator

In this segment, Alina highlights the importance of alternating between different types of retrospectives to keep things fresh and engaging. At times, a prepared template can be helpful, while at other times, an open conversation with very little formality, may be the best option. Alina also suggests that sometimes, it’s better to just give the team time, as there are situations when people need time to understand a problem. When focusing on enabling an open conversation, and deciding on the topic of the retrospective, Alina suggests collecting topics during the sprint and bringing them to the retrospective. To add even more dynamism, and creativity to the retrospective, we can also rotate the facilitator role, as that bring many different perspectives to the conversation.

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 Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

Mar 1, 2023

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, Alina explains the idea of the "law of attraction" and how aligning yourself with what you want can bring it into your life. Alina shares her personal experience of becoming a Scrum Master and her journey to bring agility to her organization. She initially felt overwhelmed and struggled to understand and apply Agile. However, all that changed after her participation in the Agile Online Summit, she learned to ask questions and see the opportunities. Alina emphasizes the importance of finding peace and enjoying the process of change, rather than feeling overwhelmed.

In this episode, Alina refers to the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

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 Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

Feb 28, 2023

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.

Alina was a scrum master for a platform team responsible for building infrastructure. The team faced a challenge when delivering an increment of their product, which happened to be a document. The team struggled with stories that would just take too long to complete, and the associated problems that arose in the PI event and the retrospectives. Alina felt frustrated with the long stories, but eventually found a training that taught the team how to write a concept more efficiently.

By focusing on the success factors from that training, and documenting what helped them write the concept more quickly, the team was able to find a new perspective on the problem they were facing. They applied the "double loop learning" concept by focusing on why a problem exists rather than how to solve it. The team used a quadrant to gain an overview of the concept document, which helped them progress. Alina's tip is to find a way to get a different perspective on the problem you are facing, which can lead to positive outcomes.

Featured Book of the Week: Make Your Bed, by William McRaven

In Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by Amiral William McRaven, Alina found a book that reminded her that small habits, small gestures can have a very large impact on ourselves and the people we work with. The book shares  10 things you can do to change the world, or yourself, and helps the reader learn the impact of learning to face our own fears.

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 Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

Feb 27, 2023

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.

Alina was excited about her first assignment as a Scrum Master and had even prepared a training to help the team, who was also new to Agile. However, when the team started having remote calls for the daily, it became a struggle. Although everyone knew WHAT to do, they didn't know HOW to do it. At first the meetings were quiet, no one knew what to say, but as the team started to learn more about the daily, they wanted to participate so much that the meetings started to be too long, even close to one hour! Alina realized that the team expected her, as the Scrum Master, to do something to facilitate the meeting, but she was hesitant to interrupt, being polite and focused on problem solving as a Scrum Master and part-time developer.

After one of those very long daily meetings, a new colleague commented on the meetings being too long. This helped Alina reflect on the situation and realize she needed to act. In the following retrospective, the team talked about making the daily shorter, and over time, the daily improved. Alina learned that as a Scrum Master, she could let the team go until they realized they needed to act. Even if it took time to get there, the daily meetings became better over time and the improvement was pushed by the team themselves.

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 Alina Thapliyal

Alina is the Scrum Master for a team within the public sector. Her aspiration is to become an agile coach. She grew up in Romania and has been living in Germany for 13 years. She loves jogging, reading and actively listening to people’s life stories.

You can link with Alina Thapliyal on LinkedIn.

Feb 24, 2023

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 Key to Successful Agile Product Ownership, The Value-driven PO

In this segment, Gemma highlights the importance of a great Product Owner (PO) in agile methodologies. A great PO is always asking "why", and is constantly seeking to understand the value of the product and the work being done by the team. Gemma describes a PO that came into a team that was maintaining a product, but with their focus on value and constant seeking of feedback, they were able to pivot and make improvements based on data and customer feedback. The PO was able to maintain a great relationship with the team by always listening and acting on feedback from the outside.

The PO focused on collecting metrics to validate their ideas and make data-driven decisions. By being able to listen to and act on feedback, the PO was able to make quicker and better decisions that were in line with the needs and wants of the customer. This ability to listen and act on feedback is a superpower for any PO and is key to their success in agile methodologies.

The Bad Product Owner: The Destructive Effects of a Disempowered Agile Product Owner

In this segment, Gemma discussed a common anti-pattern in product ownership, where the Product Owner may not feel empowered to make decisions. This can result in the team looking for clarity from other sources and the PO not feeling like they are part of the team. Gemma recounted out a real-life scenario where a PO manager became involved in the product development process and started imposing ideas onto the backlog. The manager believed they were supporting the PO and team but this resulted in the PO becoming a silent voice in the team.

To address this issue, Gemma offered several tips. She advised sharing observations with the manager to help them reflect on their behavior, separating behavior from consequences, and avoiding assumptions about others' thoughts. It is important to clarify the consequences of the behavior, in this case, the PO not feeling confident enough to make decisions on the product. By taking these steps, Gemma aimed to help others resolve similar challenges in product ownership.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide 'Great design for everyone'. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Feb 23, 2023

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, Gemma discusses her work as an agile coach at Moo and how they measure the impact they have on the organization. She emphasizes that feedback is important but measurement helps us reflect and grow. When it comes to defining success, she shares that to measure the impact of their coaching, the coaches at Moo use engagement surveys that touch on Scrum values and use one or two of the survey questions to build their agile coach OKR's. These metrics provide a lagging indicator but at the same time, they help the coaches define shorter term actions, and metrics, and eventually the OKR’s help measure their impact on a longer time scale.

In addition to using engagement surveys, they also use collaboration questions for which they ask an evaluation on a 1-5 scale to measure the level of collaboration among teams towards a shared goal. The collaboration questions align with their OKR’s as Agile Coaches and help them to see the impact they are having on the organization. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simplifying Agile Retrospectives to amplify their impact on Scrum teams

In this segment, Gemma shares her favorite approach to conducting agile retrospectives. She emphasizes the importance of keeping the format simple, especially for new teams or teams that are adapting to retrospectives. Gemma shares one example, where she uses a smiley face column, a sad face column, and a question mark column to initiate a wide-ranging conversation and to capture various types of feedback and perspectives. To complement the conversation, she captures the action items that the team wants to put into practice, using frameworks such as CAT (Concrete, Attainable, Timely) and SMART. Gemma views retrospectives as a conversational format and emphasizes the importance of asking "what's the next immediate step?" and making small changes that have a big impact. Additionally, she mentions the 15% solutions from liberating structures and Toyota Kata as helpful tools in facilitating agile retrospectives.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide 'Great design for everyone'. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Feb 22, 2023

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, Gemma discussed the concept of organizational change and how to approach it in an effective and practical way. She emphasized the importance of starting with small commitments, using the example of a team struggling with capacity and carrying issues from sprint to sprint. Gemma suggested asking for a commitment from the team to try a new approach for three sprints, as the first sprint may feel clunky, the second sprint will have less cognitive load, and the third sprint will provide empirical data to assess the impact.

 

She also shared her approach to making changes in large organizations, by seeking a small set of volunteer teams to try out the change and give feedback. This method helps to make the change practical, removes resistance, and gives empirical data for reassessment. Overall, Gemma emphasized the importance of giving change a chance by committing to trying it for three sprints before making a final decision. This "give it 3 sprints" mantra Gemma shares with us is not only helpful when collecting data but also energizes the team and removes resistance.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide 'Great design for everyone'. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Feb 21, 2023

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, Gemma discusses a project where the team was building a database of customer data and a UI to interact with that data. The team was highly motivated and excited about the solution they had come up with, but slowly started to conflate the solution with the outcome. They became so focused on the "one big idea" that they struggled to let go, which resulted in burnout for some team members. The team was great at inspection but not at adaptation.

To avoid this type of situation, Gemma suggests seeking outside perspectives and speaking with your peers. As a Scrum Master, she fell victim to the team's energy in the beginning, but realized something was wrong and sought insights from an Agile Coach. It is important not to get too focused on the work without thinking about the process, and seeking outside perspectives can help to prevent this. To get different perspectives, and get out of the day-to-day work focus, why not join our podcast community to network and seek additional perspectives? Join us here. 

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

In Scrum Mastery By Geoff Watts (Geoff was a previous guest on the podcast), Gemma found a reminder that, even if the Scrum Master role can sometimes be seen as “the facilitator”, in practice it is much more than that. In this segment, we also talk about the book Right to Left: The digital leader's guide to Lean and Agile by Mike Burrows, that helps Scrum Masters understand how they contribute to the production of value in their role. 

In this segment, we also refer to the book Lean UX, whose authors were previous guests on the podcast: Jeff Gothelf, and Josh Seiden, and about Lean in general, an approach that can inspire how we implement Scrum in practice.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide 'Great design for everyone'. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Feb 20, 2023

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, Gemma shares her experience with a project where she learned the importance of being comfortable with failure. One of the first projects she was involved with had a new PO role and the PO was a former project manager who did not understand the differences between the two roles. This lack of understanding caused the PO to not feel part of the team, resulting in a vacuum of decision-making on the day-to-day tasks and lack of help with backlog refinement, which led to blockers creeping in.

To resolve the issue, Gemma set up a coaching relationship with the PO and shared her observations. The PO was eager to learn and the relationship improved. However, Gemma found herself taking on some PO responsibilities, which was a sign of overstepping. She learned two important lessons from this experience: 1) prioritize the PO relationship and have a 1-on-1 relationship with the PO as they are one of the two pillars that support the team and 2) be more explicit about the coaching and support you will be providing and align expectations with the PO. Gemma emphasizes that every PO is different and it is important to adapt to what they need to be great Product Owners.

In this episode, we refer to the Coach Your PO e-course, which helps Scrum Master setup and be ready for a coaching relationship with their Product Owner.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide 'Great design for everyone'. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Feb 17, 2023

The Great Product Owner: The key to an awesome Agile team, the hands-on and insightful Product Owner

Tinatin highlights the key traits of a good Product Owner (PO) in this segment. She emphasizes that great PO's are knowledgeable about the product they are working on, as well as its competitors. This knowledge helps the PO to understand what the team needs in order to deliver the best possible product. The PO should be hands-on with the team, and should work closely with them on defining clear acceptance criteria. This helps the team to understand what is expected of them and enables the PO to be more effective in their role.

Tinatin also notes that a great PO is easy to work with and has a good synergy with the team. She mentions that the synergy between the PO and the team is a telling factor in the team's success. She stresses that there's not only one way to be a great PO, as different PO's can have different approaches to the role, but when a PO combines knowledge about the product and its competitors with a hands-on approach to working with the team, the result is an awesome PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Unleashing the Full Potential of a Product Owner in partnership with the Scrum Master

In this segment, Tinatin starts by questioning the essence of the PO role and highlights the importance of commitment and ownership of the product for a team's success. Tinatin emphasizes that a PO should have a clear vision and evolve it based on data and feedback. She stresses the need for a PO to have a foot in both development and business and to be hands-on with the product. As a Scrum Master, Tinatin suggests testing the product and making time to play with it to help the PO understand it better. She also suggests sitting down with the PO to build a roadmap for the product and to ask why they value certain features or deliveries. Lastly, Tinatin highlights the importance of the PO being able to sell the ideas in the backlog to the Scrum team and recommends using tools to help the PO take a more active role with the team. Tinatin also mentions the books by Roman Pichler as resources for Scrum Masters and Product Owners.

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 Tinatin Tabidze

Tinatin Tabidze is a Scrum Master currently working in Stuttgart, Germany. Originally she started out as a project manager. She has experience with multiple scrum and kanban teams, working with scaled agile frameworks.

You can link with Tinatin Tabidze on LinkedIn

Feb 16, 2023

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 podcast episode, Tinatin focuses on the idea that the less a scrum master is needed, the more successful they are. She emphasizes the importance of helping teams become more self-organizing and notes that the path to achieving this will vary for each team. Tinatin stresses the role of the product owner in promoting self-organization, and she suggests checking the team's level of participation in ceremonies as a starting point for evaluating the team's self-organization. She also encourages scrum masters to be honest about any areas where the team may be lacking in self-organization, and to discuss these areas with the team in retrospectives. Tinatin reminds scrum masters to keep themselves accountable for the level of self-organization in their team, and asks the question of how to take teams to the next level.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Squad Health Check

Tinatin discusses the Spotify squad health check, a process of self-reflection for a team to evaluate their performance. She emphasizes the importance of regularly conducting health checks and tailoring retrospectives to the current sprint. Tinatin suggests using ice breakers to start the health check, then moving into an inspection of the completed sprint by checking metrics and the improvement backlog. She emphasizes the importance of evaluating what happened in the last sprint to identify areas for improvement.

 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 Tinatin Tabidze

Tinatin Tabidze is a Scrum Master currently working in Stuttgart, Germany. Originally she started out as a project manager. She has experience with multiple scrum and kanban teams, working with scaled agile frameworks.

You can link with Tinatin Tabidze on LinkedIn

 

Feb 15, 2023

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.

Tinatin highlights the importance of being proactive in change. She stresses the need to be aware of what can be changed in one's role and in the team, and to talk to the manager and peers to assess the changes needed.

Working with her colleagues in a change team, they decided to create a framework/guide for scaling agile in that company and with the teams involved. The process involves finding the need, identifying the source of the need, minimizing dependencies when scaling, accepting and preparing for initial failures, being one's own critic, staying focused on the change, defining a clear picture of where they want to be, and presenting data to the team to help them reflect and define the changes they want to commit to. Tinatin's tip is to listen to the team, present data, but avoid jumping to conclusions and let the team come up with their own interpretation. A challenge that we should take on as Scrum Masters!

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 Tinatin Tabidze

Tinatin Tabidze is a Scrum Master currently working in Stuttgart, Germany. Originally she started out as a project manager. She has experience with multiple scrum and kanban teams, working with scaled agile frameworks.

You can link with Tinatin Tabidze on LinkedIn

Feb 14, 2023

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.

Tinatin discusses the importance of the scrum values in a team and how well the team is living those values. She highlights the importance of team health checks to identify inefficiencies, which can often result from a lack of collaboration and trust between team members. Tinatin uses the example of the Spotify Squad health check (mentioned several times here on the podcast) that reveals a lack of trust between developers and testers, and offers tips for identifying a lack of trust in a team, such as monitoring levels of comfort among team members, monitoring communication, and observing meetings for signs of discomfort or silence.

Featured Book Of The Week: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Sutherland

In Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Sutherland, the author describes how to optimize work through Agile methodology and Scrum principles. In this episode, Tinatin also refers to Scaling Lean and Agile Development by Craig Larman, and Bas Vodde. Bas Vodde has been a previous guest on the podcast. And she also refers to Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age by Roman Pichler

 

[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 Tinatin Tabidze

Tinatin Tabidze is a Scrum Master currently working in Stuttgart, Germany. Originally she started out as a project manager. She has experience with multiple scrum and kanban teams, working with scaled agile frameworks.

You can link with Tinatin Tabidze on LinkedIn

Feb 10, 2023

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: Working with great Technical Product Owners, and how they use their technical expertise to help the team

Great Product Owners can have a technical background, and use it to the team’s and their own advantage. Bram notes that the PO’s understanding of the impact of technical debt makes it easier for them to understand the team’s struggles. Leading to productive conversations, and the team being given time to handle technical debt issues.

Bram advises that a great Product Owner should be present and available to the team, sitting down with them during lunch breaks to discuss issues and concerns. He suggests helping the PO develop their own system to keep the product backlog manageable and addresses common counter arguments he gets from PO’s when asking them to limit the size of their backlog. Bram also provides tips on how to have a conversation about the consequences of adding too many things to the backlog and how to help the PO say “no” to stakeholders. 

The Bad Product Owner: Working with technical PO’s to address dictatorial behavior and improve team motivation

Sometimes, Product Owners who have a technical background tend to dictate solutions to the team without considering other options. Bram notes that these PO’s are often not open to different or better solutions and even question the team's progress. He suggests addressing this issue by making it transparent, showing the impact it has on the team, and discussing how team members feel about the collaboration with the PO.
Bram also highlights the impact this behavior has on team motivation and provides tips on how to handle this situation, such as using real situations to help the product owner reflect and encouraging open discussion of team feelings in the retrospective. 

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 Bram De Block

Bram is not an official trainer, consultant nor freelancer. He is just himself, supporting colleagues in applying and growing their own potential and getting stuff done. Bram started as a software developer for 10 years, then grew into a half-time agile coach, and finally, full-time "Global Agile Lead" at Skyline Communications. Something "special" he learned (even if he wishes it wasn't special): the meaning and impact of "respect".

You can link with Bram De Block on LinkedIn, or meet Bram face-to-face at this meetup he hosts in Belgium.

Feb 9, 2023

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, Bram emphasizes the importance of understanding the goal for the company and working with teams to align their goals with the company's vision. He believes that a Scrum Master's own success is tied to helping teams reach their goals. Bram provides insights on how to help teams define success, by challenging them to think about the vision for their product and having conversations about success, providing data points as examples, and using readily available product data to define what better could look like. The episode aims to help Scrum Masters to understand their role in the success of the team and the company, and to provide guidance on how to align goals and work towards achieving them.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Lean Coffee Format for engaging retrospectives

Bram introduces the Lean Coffee format, a dynamic and engaging way to facilitate meetings and discussions. This format is designed to make sure that everyone is engaged, regardless of whether they are introverted or extroverted. In a Lean Coffee session, we discuss the most voted topic and change the format regularly to maintain engagement. 

In this segment, Bram refers to a collection of recipes for agile retrospectives which he, and his team make available to everyone at DataMiner Dojo.

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 Bram De Block

Bram is not an official trainer, consultant nor freelancer. He is just himself, supporting colleagues in applying and growing their own potential and getting stuff done. Bram started as a software developer for 10 years, then grew into a half-time agile coach, and finally, full-time "Global Agile Lead" at Skyline Communications. Something "special" he learned (even if he wishes it wasn't special): the meaning and impact of "respect".

You can link with Bram De Block on LinkedIn, or meet Bram face-to-face at this meetup he hosts in Belgium.

Feb 8, 2023

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, Bram discusses the topic of agile evolution, a process of going beyond adoption, and adapting, and improving their agile methodologies. He explains that his organization used to work in Squads (based on the Spotify Model), each with their own backlog, but found that this resulted in a lot of dependencies and some teams had no "high value" items on their backlog, while others were too busy to deliver on the valuable items they had in their backlog. 

He describes how that organization evolved to using Product Domains instead. The change team used MURAL to help visualize the changes, and invited people from every team to join and build a picture of the future with Product Domains. In that process, they went from 17 squads to 7 product domains. 

Bram also provides tips on how to make the changes super clear, write down what the teams and organization will STOP/START/CONTINUE, and have follow-up sessions while timeboxing the whole work of defining the “future state”. 

He highlights the importance of commitment and timeboxing as a trigger for action, and advises to avoid the anti-pattern of considering the “next change” as the final word. The episode aims to help organizations evolve their agile methodologies, to overcome common challenges and to improve the collaboration and communication within their teams.

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 Bram De Block

Bram is not an official trainer, consultant nor freelancer. He is just himself, supporting colleagues in applying and growing their own potential and getting stuff done. Bram started as a software developer for 10 years, then grew into a half-time agile coach, and finally, full-time "Global Agile Lead" at Skyline Communications. Something "special" he learned (even if he wishes it wasn't special): the meaning and impact of "respect".

You can link with Bram De Block on LinkedIn, or meet Bram face-to-face at this meetup he hosts in Belgium.

Feb 7, 2023

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, Bram shares the story of a workshop where people participated and found that they liked it, but soon after, started to find reasons not to apply what they were excited about during the workshop. The team felt they were not allowed to make decisions, and the manager was not trusting that the team was capable. Bram highlights the common anti-pattern of a manager projecting fear onto the team and how to help the manager and team overcome that anti-pattern. He suggests considering what the worst case scenario is and to focus on celebrating successes instead. Bram also highlights that often, teams don’t feel they are allowed to experiment, and how he helps teams experiment and learn from their failures. We also talk about how to encourage managers to let teams work on safe-to-fail experiments, as they can help the team learn and grow. The episode aims to help managers and teams to overcome the fear of failure and to be more open to experimentation and learning.

Featured Book of the Week: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Bram recommends 'Getting Things Done' by David Allen, the ultimate productivity guide for anyone looking to streamline their workflow and achieve more. This book is a comprehensive guide that covers a lot of techniques to capture what is on your mind, what you need to do and get all those things out of your mind and into a system. The book offers strategies for getting calmer, being more effective and letting go of things that are holding you back. It emphasizes the importance of starting with a system and how to create one that works for you. This book will help you to achieve your goals and work smarter, not harder. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to be more productive and organized.

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 Bram De Block

Bram is not an official trainer, consultant nor freelancer. He is just himself, supporting colleagues in applying and growing their own potential and getting stuff done. Bram started as a software developer for 10 years, then grew into a half-time agile coach, and finally, full-time "Global Agile Lead" at Skyline Communications. Something "special" he learned (even if he wishes it wasn't special): the meaning and impact of "respect".

You can link with Bram De Block on LinkedIn, or meet Bram face-to-face at this meetup he hosts in Belgium.

Feb 6, 2023

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 podcast episode, Bram discusses the topic of thinking that one knows it all, and how this attitude can negatively impact a team's ability to effectively implement agile methodologies. Bram notes that this mindset can lead to a lack of respect from team members and a tendency to focus solely on following the sprint guide without considering the needs of the team. To combat this, Bram suggests bringing up the sprint goal without mentioning it by name, and focusing on identifying areas where team members can work together effectively. Additionally, Bram advises using curiosity to engage team members and encourage collaboration. Listen to the episode to gain a deeper understanding of how to overcome the challenges of thinking you know it all and bring agile goodness to your team.

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 Bram De Block

Bram is not an official trainer, consultant nor freelancer. He is just himself, supporting colleagues in applying and growing their own potential and getting stuff done. Bram started as a software developer for 10 years, then grew into a half-time agile coach, and finally, full-time "Global Agile Lead" at Skyline Communications. Something "special" he learned (even if he wishes it wasn't special): the meaning and impact of "respect".

You can link with Bram De Block on LinkedIn, or meet Bram face-to-face at this meetup he hosts in Belgium.

Feb 3, 2023

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 perfect project, with the perfect PO

The Product Owner Pino describes was intimately familiar with the product, and the problem that needed to be solved with it. Because of this, the PO did not have to seek permission or confirmation from someone else before making decisions. The PO was empowered! Also critically, the PO was “the face” of all decisions with the client, which allowed him to protect the team from unnecessary pressure. As Pino describes it: “it was the perfect project”!

The Bad Product Owner: PO by committee, a serious anti-pattern

Instead of one Product Owner, this project had a committee of people who were assigned the overall PO role. However, in this case, the committee did not work to fulfill the PO role. The conflicting needs in that group of people led to decisions that took too long, and to the alienation of the team, who was not allowed to give input after a decision because the committee was not able to process the feedback. 

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 Pino Decandia

Pino started in software development but realized he was more interested in people than code. With experience, Pino came to believe that people can change; they don’t resist change but offer their own vision, which needs to be met.

Secondly, needs drive behaviors. To provide help, we must allow them to be clearly expressed. To set the example, we need to be ready to be the first to state our needs.

And thirdly, that ideological battles are meaningless.

You can link with Pino Decandia on LinkedIn and connect with Pino Decandia on Twitter.

Feb 2, 2023

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

When a Scrum Master leaves a team, and the team starts canceling all the Scrum ceremonies to “make space for work” in the calendar, that’s a critical sign that something was off with the work of the Scrum Master. In contrast, when the team takes ownership of the process, and the Scrum Master can start to step back, that’s a sign of success. In this segment, we also discuss how, sometimes, the team canceling meetings can be a good sign.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Metaphor based retrospectives unlock the fun and critical insights for Agile teams

Pino likes to work with metaphor based retrospective formats like The Speedboat Retrospective, or The Sailboat Retrospective. His favorite metaphors are around sports, and he describes how he would use a (European) football game as the format to help team members find their “place” in the team.

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 Pino Decandia

Pino started in software development but realized he was more interested in people than code. With experience, Pino came to believe that people can change; they don’t resist change but offer their own vision, which needs to be met.

Secondly, needs drive behaviors. To provide help, we must allow them to be clearly expressed. To set the example, we need to be ready to be the first to state our needs.

And thirdly, that ideological battles are meaningless.

You can link with Pino Decandia on LinkedIn and connect with Pino Decandia on Twitter.

Feb 1, 2023

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.

Pino was working in a large Agile transformation for a large telecommunications company. In that process, it quickly became clear that the teams needed to provide transparency on the Agile adoption process so that management would be able to help the Board of Investors understand how the adoption process was progressing. This brought up the topic of metrics, and how to measure teams and their adoption of Agile. In this episode, we discuss how to adapt the way teams reflect so that it provides useful insights for the team, as well as the necessary adoption metrics for management to follow-up, and report on.

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 Pino Decandia

Pino started in software development but realized he was more interested in people than code. With experience, Pino came to believe that people can change; they don’t resist change but offer their own vision, which needs to be met.

Secondly, needs drive behaviors. To provide help, we must allow them to be clearly expressed. To set the example, we need to be ready to be the first to state our needs.

And thirdly, that ideological battles are meaningless.

You can link with Pino Decandia on LinkedIn and connect with Pino Decandia on Twitter.

Jan 31, 2023

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

This segment starts with a statement that we should understand and interiorize in our role as Scrum Masters, and continuous improvement experts: “Organization structures and policies are the cage we must free ourselves from in the day to day collaboration in the team.”

In this context, we discuss how the “it’s not my job” anti-pattern can cause intense conflict in a team, and how Scrum Masters can reach out to management and HR to help change this anti-pattern.

Featured Book of the Week: Nonviolent communication by Marshall Rosenberg

In Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberg, Pino found important lessons that helped him learn how to listen and think about what “they” say when talking about the problems they see and face. 

In this segment, we also talk about Clean Language, a dialogue model that aims to help clients access their own inner wisdom and resources to achieve their goals.

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 Pino Decandia

Pino started in software development but realized he was more interested in people than code. With experience, Pino came to believe that people can change; they don’t resist change but offer their own vision, which needs to be met.

Secondly, needs drive behaviors. To provide help, we must allow them to be clearly expressed. To set the example, we need to be ready to be the first to state our needs.

And thirdly, that ideological battles are meaningless.

You can link with Pino Decandia on LinkedIn and connect with Pino Decandia on Twitter.

Jan 30, 2023

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.

Pino was just starting his own journey as a Scrum Master. He joined a new team, with a strong passion for helping the team, and protecting them from interference. He saw his role as the “protector of the team”. As he tried to deliver on that Scrum Master role vision, he quickly realized that something was off. There was a part of that protective role that was not right for that situation. In this episode, we explore what was the conflict between his vision for the role, and the reality of software development.

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 Pino Decandia

Pino started in software development but realized he was more interested in people than code. With experience, Pino came to believe that people can change; they don’t resist change but offer their own vision, which needs to be met.

Secondly, needs drive behaviors. To provide help, we must allow them to be clearly expressed. To set the example, we need to be ready to be the first to state our needs.

And thirdly, that ideological battles are meaningless.

You can link with Pino Decandia on LinkedIn and connect with Pino Decandia on Twitter.

Jan 27, 2023

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 advantage of knowing Scrum in depth!

This Product Owner had a deep understanding of Agile and Scrum. This enabled him to focus on the core interaction with the team. Every week, he’d meet with the team for the Review and Planning meetings. Through that, he was able to guide the team, communicate the updated Vision for the product, and help the team select the stories for the Sprint without overcommitting. The knowledge the PO had of Scrum helped him focus on the right communication cadence, and topics with the team!

The Bad Product Owner: The core value of the User Story format for Scrum teams and Product Owners

Peter was a Product Owner for one of his first projects. The project was very well defined and prepared, and they decided to do it with Scrum. Peter then tried to split the requirements and work packages into stories on his own. However, he did not reformulate the requirements in a way that would convey the goal or purpose of each story, or the product itself to the team. This experience helped Peter understand why the User Story format is so important. 

In this segment, we talk about Inspired, the book by Marty Cagan.

Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Peter Janssens

Peter built a long career in agile coaching and training, and worked in leadership positions leading a PO team, and recently became CTO in a SAAS product company. Peter loves all conversations on effectiveness of team decisions, but he quickly realized that being responsible is different from being a coach. As a leader there is the challenge of sticking to the same foundations when dealing with delivery pressure.

You can link with Peter Janssens on LinkedIn.

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