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Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

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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Jan 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.

In this episode, we talk about the focus destroyer and the 5 characteristics that successful PO’s share. 

The Great Product Owner: 5 characteristics of successful PO’s

We talk about  5 characteristics that great Product Owners have. From the ability to listen to the team and customers to their focus on measuring the impact of their ideas/product on the customer.

The Bad Product Owner: “Everything is a priority” anti-pattern

“Everything is a priority” is a phrase that points to a PO that can’t make decisions, or is unaware of the priorities that matter for their customers. However, there’s where the anti-pattern starts. There are many more consequences from that perspective/attitude like the team losing focus and not being able to finish the things they started. 

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Nikoletta Tátar

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tátar on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tátar on Twitter.

Jan 14, 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.

Do you have a culture of appreciation in the Scrum team? That’s one of the signs of a team that is jelling and on its way to success. We also discuss tips on how to help the team spend more time and effort highlighting the best things that happen, with the goal of building energy and achieving a more positive work atmosphere. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Mad/Sad/Glad, with a Kudos card section

We’ve discussed the Mad/Sad/Glad Agile Retrospective format before, but in this episode, we talk about adding a Kudos card section to that format. The Kudo card section adds higher energy to the retrospective and helps motivate 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 experiences: 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 Nikoletta Tátar

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tátar on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tátar on Twitter.

Jan 13, 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.

Change management is primarily an exercise in managing expectations among all stakeholders. In this episode, we talk about the role that “small changes” have in that process. We also discuss how to find the motivation / needed changes by working with the teams we support. Nikoletta shares many tips on how make change thrive and overcome change resistance.

 

About Nikoletta Tátar

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tátar on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tátar on Twitter.

Jan 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.

This particular team acted more like a set of independent individuals. While trying to figure out why Nikoletta found out that they were missing a common goal and purpose. On top of that, their individual goals were set up in a way that led to conflict. Nikoletta set about working with the team to understand why that was the case and to help them overcome the lack of shared goals with the aim of helping them collaborate better. 

In this episode, we refer to the concept of “holding the space” and the “Personal Maps” tool that helped Nikoletta understand better the team members and their motivation.

Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams, by Lyssa Adkins

Nikoletta was recommended Coaching Agile Teams by her mentor, and the book helped her understand the role of the coach and how Scrum Masters must evolve towards a coaching role as they help the teams.

 

About Nikoletta Tátar

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tátar on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tátar on Twitter.

Jan 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.

An Agile transformation is not an easy goal to achieve. In this episode with Nikoletta, we discuss what are some of the “must-have” conditions for the Agile transformation to have a chance to succeed. We also talk about how Scrum Masters can help organizations find the right reason for change while working with both leadership and the “doers”.

 

About Nikoletta Tátar

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tátar on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tátar on Twitter.

Jan 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.

 

About Jeff Campbell and Simone Sciarrati

Simone Sciarrati is an Engineering Team Lead at Meltwater. He has worked with distributed systems from online gaming to data-intensive applications while participating in the many changes happening in our industry. At Meltwater he has been focusing on building a platform to make life easier for the development teams.

You can link with Simone Sciarrati on LinkedIn and connect with Simone Sciarrati on Twitter. 

 

Jeff Campbell is an Agile Coach who considers the discovery of Agile and Lean to be one of the most defining moments of his life and considers helping others to improve their working life not to simply be a job, but a social responsibility. 

He is the author of actionable agile tools, which you can get on Amazon and directly from the author at bit.ly/aatbook

As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organizations both small and large.

You can link with Jeff Campbell on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Campbell on Twitter.

You can also learn more about Jeff Campbell’s work at his company’s website.

Jan 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.

In this episode, we talk about the consequences of having overly-detailed Product Owners, and we discuss 4 critical aspects that great Product Owners bring to the team.

The Great Product Owner: The 4 key aspects of great Product Owners.

A new PO joined the team that Lakshmi was working with, and brought a different perspective. One that helped the team feel their views were listened to and respected. This PO was excellent at four different aspects necessary for the PO role: being a Product Manager, a Project Manager, a Business Analyst, and a leader for the team. 

The Bad Product Owner: From prescriptive to collaborative, a PO transformation

“The Product Owner is the toughest role in the team” Lakshmi starts when introducing this story, in which we explore the anti-pattern of a PO that was super detail-oriented, and prescriptive. The team was feeling demoralized by that attitude, and here is where Lakshmi introduced a different perspective. She introduced the idea of running an experiment on the way the team and PO collaborated. Listen in to learn what that experiment was, and how it can help PO’s learn to trust and listen to the team.

 

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

Jan 7, 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.

Great Scrum Masters are able to help the teams be self-sufficient, and has Lakshmi puts it: “work themselves out of a job”. We discuss what are the signs that teams are ready to start moving in that direction and become more self-sufficient.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Circles and Soup

In this segment, we discuss the Circles and Soup Agile retrospective format, a format that helps the teams see what’s in their control, and focus on that instead of all the things that would need changing but are outside their control. 

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 experiences: 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 Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

Jan 6, 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.

In this story, Lakshmi shares the story of an organization that was trying to move from “work as usual” to a more collaborative approach and improve their Agile practice. However, the teams were not clear on what success looked like. We discuss how we can help organizations move from focusing on the day-to-day only to linking everything they do to a higher purpose.

About Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

Jan 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.

When Lakshmi started to work with this team, she noticed that the team did not see the value of the Scrum ceremonies, and started to silently sabotage those by being late or not participating actively. As Lakshmi investigated the situation further, she understood that at the root, the team did not see themselves as a team, but rather as individual contributors. In this episode, we discuss how we can help teams get out of the individual contributor mindset and into a team-effort and collaboration mindset.

Featured Book of the Week: Turn The Ship Around! By David Marquet

In Turn The Ship Around! By David Marquet, Lakshmi found a story that shaped her understanding of the Scrum Master role. The book is about how to go beyond building high-performing teams and focus on the organization and how it impacts the teams. We discuss Intent-Based Leadership, which David Marquet introduced when he visited the podcast in a previous episode.

 

About Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

Jan 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.

Lakshmi tells us a story that is very unusual. In this story, the team and the client were communicating well, and effectively. They had agreed to change the content of the deliverable through collaboration. However, the leadership of the company where the team worked, was not happy with that. They still had the Waterfall, fixed price / fixed schedule mindset. In this story, Lakshmi shares how important it is to work with all stakeholders, and never ignore the fact that when a contract exists, we must make sure that contract is respected.

About Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

Jan 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.

PO’s can be overly prescriptive when they feel unsure about certain aspects of the product. In this episode, we share tips about how to turn those fears into collaboration boosters.

The Great Product Owner: Setting boundaries to encourage the teams to make decisions on their own

Good PO’s are able to communicate the vision and ideas behind the stories in a way that the teams will even repeat their words when discussing how to implement the stories they work on. But great PO’s are also available to the team then the team needs and is able to say “no, that’s your decision, not mine” to the teams that feel insecure and try to get the PO to make all the decisions, even implementation technical details. 

The Bad Product Owner: Turning PO fears into better collaboration tools

A Product Owner with technical knowledge can be a blessing for a team that requires more support when creating their User Stories, however, that’s not always the case. In this segment, we talk about the Technical PO that could not stop telling the team “how” they should work and develop the solutions the PO had in mind. In this segment, we talk about how we can work with those Technical PO’s and help them turn their fears and anxieties into tools for better collaboration with their teams.

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Dec 31, 2020

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

Successful Scrum Masters are able to help their teams self-organize and find a way of working that helps them communicate effectively. In this segment, we talk about what that means in practice and share tips on how to help your teams move towards self-organization

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Focusing on interactions over Retrospective formats

Daniel shares a different approach to structuring a retrospective. He shares how he used learnings and ideas from Improv Theatre to help the team reflect, learn, and take action by focusing on the interactions during the Retrospective, instead of the format upfront.

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 experiences: 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 Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Dec 30, 2020

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

Daniel and the team started working on a change effort to help the organization improve how they communicated. However, leadership did nothing even after listening to the ideas and recommendations from the group. This is a very common situation, but Daniel and the team did not stop there. They took ownership of the change and made concrete changes. Listen in to learn how they were able to help the organization change and improve despite the lack of support from leadership.

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Dec 29, 2020

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

A team that Daniel was working with was at the start of their Agile adoption journey, but everything around them was not Agile. In a retrospective, Daniel helped verbalize the problems and impediments they were facing. In this situation it is very easy for a team to resign and feel demoralized, but then Daniel took a different approach, and helped the team recover from that frustrating situation. Listen in to learn how. 

Featured Book of the Week: School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

In School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, Daniel found a book that impacted him personally and influenced his personal development. The lessons from that book helped Daniel change aspects of his personal life and focus on making an impact. 

In this segment, we also refer to Elon Musk’s biography by Ashlee Vance

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Dec 28, 2020

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

When emotions run high, it’s difficult to be the one that helps everybody calm down. As Scrum Masters, we need to be ready and know what to do when our colleagues get into a heated discussion. In this episode, we talk about what not to do, and then Daniel shares an important lesson about how to handle those situations. 

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Dec 26, 2020

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020.

One of the things that is clear from this interview is how the role of community is important in our journey as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches. Ivana shares how she got started with Agile, and how the community helped her learn where to focus and improve her skills and knowledge. 

Learning about our personal Prime Directive

Ivana calls on us to reflect, and learn about what our personal Prime Directive is, and based on that develop our Agile practice. Ivana shares that her prime directive is about focusing on the “bigger picture” and the culture and leadership context she works within. 

We also talk about what that “bigger picture” is like in practice. From understanding the type of business we are working in, to mapping out the relationships and influencers within the organization. Ivana always tries to create a mental map of what influences the people she works with in her context. 

Continuous Improvement, the missing lesson in Agile 

Ivana’s experience has helped her understand that many teams get focused on the “tool” or “process” of Agile, and forget that ultimately we are trying to build the habit of continuously getting better at what we do. 

In this segment, we talk about the importance of double-loop learning for Agilists as well as Solution Focused Coaching. We also discuss the book Crucial Conversations, and some key lessons we can take from that approach.

Learning about the big picture, a perspective to take on as an Agile Coach and Scrum Master

Ivana’s focus on the “bigger picture” has also come thanks to the book Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar Schein. The book influenced Ivana’s perspective when working with organizations, and she still goes back to that book, and its particular way of defining and describing organizations.

Finally, Ivana leaves us with the idea that we should be learning and sharing as a community. Just like she did in this incredibly insightful podcast episode! 

 

About Ivana Gancheva

Ivana is passionate about working with people not titles. She works with companies from various sectors to help improve their organisational culture and well-being by helping them become learning and growing organisations. She coaches and mentors decision makers, C-level corporate executives, leaders, product managers, who have the passion and the intent to disrupt the status quo, and enable genuine growth. 

You can link with Ivana Gancheva on LinkedIn and connect with Ivana Gancheva on Twitter.

Dec 25, 2020

In this special Christmas episode, Ryan Ripley - host of the Agile for Human podcast - and Chris Williams - host of the Badass Agile podcast - join our host Vasco Duarte to reflect on what Agile has become and what the future holds for us! 

Don't’ miss this special, funny and insightful podcast episode! 

Merry Christmas Scrum nation!

About Ryan Ripley, Chris Williams, and Vasco Duarte

Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.

You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.

Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans.

 

Chris Williams is one of Canada’s most recognized agile and business performance coaches. Chris has his own proprietary philosophy, built on years of research and practice; participating in elite programs with in team and Human Performance coaching.

You can link up with Chris Williams on LinkedIn.

Chris also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Badass Agile.

Vasco Duarte is a managing partner at Oikosofy where he wants to change the world, one company at a time. He’s also the regular host at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

Product Manager, Scrum Master, Project Manager, Director, Agile Coach are only some of the roles that he’s taken in software development organizations. Having worked in the software industry since 1997, and Agile practitioner since 2004. He as worked in small, medium and large software organizations as an Agile Coach or leader in agile adoption at those organizations.

Vasco was one of the leaders and catalysts of Agile methods and Agile culture adoption at Avira, Nokia and F-Secure.

You can read more from Vasco at his blog: http://SoftwareDevelopmentToday.com

Dec 24, 2020

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020.

 

When Yogini took on her Scrum Master journey, she noticed that there was more friction in the team. Curious, she looked into the reasons for that friction. After all, they had just left Waterfall-like ways of working behind. What was causing that friction? Was it Agile? As she looked more into it, she found that Agile had something to do with it, but the real reason for the friction between team members was that they were, for the first time, honestly discussing the problems they were facing. They were no longer apathetic, and that was visible in the level of friction between them. 

Another side effect of Agile adoption, Yogini noticed, was that the team was much more productive, “they did more in a month, than I thought was possible in six!” Yogini shares. 

A key lesson for Agile teams: speak freely 

This story led to a key lesson for Yogini. Agile teams improve and transform their ways of working when they speak freely and aren’t afraid to tackle tough conversations. 

When teams finally take on the difficult topics that are impeding their progress, they often fail to reach consensus. However, as Yogini reminds us, that’s no reason not to act. “Buy-in does not imply consensus!” She reminds us.

Retrospectives as the engine of growth and learning

Retrospectives are the aspect of Agile methodologies that Yogini wants to highlight as key for teams and individuals working in an Agile environment.

And in that spirit, Yogini recommends Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby as the book for all agilists to read and learn from.

In the spirit of self-improvement, Yogini mentions and recommends the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. She reminds us that part of the Scrum Master’s responsibility is to improve herself, otherwise improvements elsewhere are less likely to happen.

The Christmas Agile Message from Yogini Moodley

Yogini asks us, in this festive season, to take time to reflect, and practice being mindful of what we do, say and feel. The challenge she leaves us with: “think about the habits you have at the moment, and what you’d like to leave behind, in 2020”

 

Merry Christmas friends!

 

About Yogini Moodley

Yogini is a certified Scrum Master and agile practitioner, with extensive experience in the financial services industry, in roles that encompass both business and technology. She is passionate about enriching the lives of people and nurturing and growing teams to deliver value to their customers, and an active member of the agile community locally and globally. 

You can link with Yogini Moodley on LinkedIn and connect with Yogini Moodley on Twitter

You can also find out more about Yogini Moodley’s company at their website.

Dec 23, 2020

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020. 

Meza started as a programmer, but not with Agile. During one of his projects, he had to work with a custom language in an embedded system, and that led him to discover Extreme Programming and Unit Testing, but that was not yet the start of his Agile journey. That came later and for totally different reasons.

Leading Teams, and the need for Agile

As Meza took on more responsibilities, he understood that supporting teams in their work is a different problem than solving a technical challenge. He started reading more, and learning more about Agile to make sense of it, and finally had that “trigger” moment that helped him understand why Agile is so important. 

As a team leader, he recognized that he needed to focus on enabling the team’s success, instead of telling the team what to work on. That led to Meza starting to learn even more, and applying Agile in his work.

The problem with Agile adoption: shaping the people to the process, instead of the other way around

As Meza worked with more teams, he understood that his approach needed to change. Early on, he focused on the process, and helping teams adopt the process. But later, and after many challenges, he understood that the focus on helping teams (and using the process as a tool), requires a significantly different perspective: the process and the tools need to be shaped to fit the people, not the other way around. 

After all, Agile (and the Agile processes) are supposed to be there to enable better communication, collaboration, and a trustful environment. 

The books that Meza still reads even today

Combining his knowledge, and experience has been a thread in his career, and Meza shares a book that helps with exactly that: take advantage of multiple processes he learn3ed during his career: Scrum and Kanban, making the best of both by Henri Kniberg is the first book he mentions. But there’s a second book. 

As a programmer, Meza understood early on that the technical conditions set up for the team are critical for their success, so he mentions a book that helped him as a programmer: Release It! By Michael Nygard, a book that explores how to create systems that run longer, with fewer failures, and recover better when bad things happen.

The essence of Agile by Marton Meza Meszaros

In this final words on this episode, Meza shares what he considers the essence of Agile: to build trust, and how the trust-building processes are at the core of everything Agile.

About Marton ‘Meza’ Meszaros

You can link with Marton ‘Meza’ Meszaros on LinkedIn and connect with Marton ‘Meza’ Meszaros on Twitter

Dec 22, 2020

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020. 

 

Katrina is the author of A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps, a book that offers direction and advice relevant to anyone involved in testing in a DevOps environment.

 

She started her Agile transition after a long stint within a waterfall organization, and she shares some of the most contrasting changes she experienced when moving to an Agile organization. Ultimately, she reminds us, the Agile approach is much closer to the final purpose: solving a problem for a customer out there. And she reminds us that we should try to keep that purpose front and center at all times. 

Learning to be persuasive: a key lesson for Scrum Masters and all agile practitioners

When we dive into Katrina’s most important lesson learned in her Agile journey, we discuss the need to bring our best persuasive game with us. We discuss some of the reasons why the ability to persuade others is so important, for example testers will often be outnumbered in an Agile team, and their ideas are less likely to be followed if they can’t “bring others along”. In this segment, we refer to a key book for all wanting to learn more about influencing colleagues and building collaborative relationships: How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Books for Agilists and Agile leaders

The books that Katrina chose to recommend remind us that often we need to express our leadership abilities, and we can do that only if we cultivate those through reading and practice. We talk about Lara Hogan’s Resilient Management, The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change by Camille Fournier, and Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren et al. 

 

About Katrina Clokie

Katrina is an accomplished and experienced IT leader. She is a regular keynote at international conferences where the main themes include leadership, knowledge sharing, and communicating change. In 2017 Katrina published her first book, A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps. Katrina was a finalist for the Inspiring Individual of the Year Award at the 2018 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards.

You can link with Katrina Clokie on LinkedIn and connect with Katrina Clokie on Twitter.

Dec 21, 2020

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020. 

When Rashina first got introduced to Agile, she was mesmerized. It was a way of looking at software that focused on people instead of only on the technical aspects of the work to be done. 

The key lesson for Agilists, Rashina’s view

When we asked Rashina about the most important lesson learned while learning Agile, she shared that it was the ability to deal with, and thrive in uncertainty. The year of 2020 is a great backdrop to illustrate this lesson, and we discuss some of those aspects. 

Rashina then explains what she has learned from Agile that she now applies in her work as a researcher. 

In this segment, we refer to Rashina’s work, and her website.

The reference book for agilists

Agile Retrospectives by Diana and Esther, is the reference book that Rashina refers to. As she puts it: “of all the different practices, Retrospective reflection is the one that brings it back home.”

And I totally agree, however, she also refers to the New New Product Development Game. A foundational paper that illustrated the power of self-organization in product development. We discuss what aspects from that paper we can learn from and apply to our work as Scrum Masters. 

Inspiring others

If you want to know more about Rashina and her work you can visit her website, and listen to her TED Talk on Agile Nations. This is the last message, the inspiring message that Rashina leaves for us: “thing big. Agile is already wide spread, but we can learn from it and apply it to more and more challenges.”

What an inspiring interview!

Merry Christmas everybody!

About Rashina Hoda

Rashina is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (Academic Workforce) in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, Australia.

She’s been studying people and how they become agile for over a decade. My PhD research explained how agile teams self-organize through the informal roles they play. Rashina has written and spoken extensively on agile transformations, agile project management, customer collaboration, team practices, reflective practices, and culture, with over 70 publications on these topics.

In 2017, Rashina’s Theory of Becoming Agile received the distinguished paper award at the prestigious International Conference on Software Engineering. But she has also applied the theory to a wider societal context and coined the idea of “Agile Nations” captured as a TEDxAuckland talk.

You can link with Rashina Hoda on LinkedIn and connect with Rashina Hoda on Twitter

Dec 18, 2020

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

The collaboration between team and PO is one of the aspects we focus on as Scrum Masters, and in this episode, we talk about 2 major perspectives that can help the collaboration emerge.

The Great Product Owner: When even the code “speaks” the PO’s language

In this episode, we learn about a PO that was able (with Steve’s help) to start creating a mental universe with the team that helped them understand the customer at such a deep level that the team even started naming their Java classes based on the personas they were trying to serve. A great example of bringing the PO perspective to the whole team.

The Bad Product Owner: Multiple PO’s for one team, an impossible prioritization challenge

When a PO wants to control everything the team does, the collaboration with the team is hampered. Not only does the PO not get the team’s support (the PO might not even want it), but there’s a lot of other anti-patterns that develop. In this episode, we also talk about the Technical Product Owner as a “wrinkle in the process towards Agile”. In this segment, we focus on techniques to help stakeholders get to an agreement on priorities. 

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Steve Silbert

Steve is an Agile Coach living in Jacksonville, Florida. He is co-curator of SketchnoteArmy, sits on the board of directors for a spiritual innovation incubator, and designs agile games in his spare time.

You can link with Steve Silbert on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Silbert on Twitter

Dec 17, 2020

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

Steve’s self-declared mission is to “reduce pain in the workplace”. When it comes to that mission, Steve pays special attention to certain aspects of the work. When we recognize that a great chunk of our awake-time is spent at work, we start to understand that work should be aligned with who we are, and that’s where Steve focuses his work and how he defines success as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: “Keep talking and no one explodes” a retrospective game

Steve loves Agile games, and in this episode, he shares one game that, according to his description, helps us practice “solving big problems in a timebox”. As Steve points out, the right game can get the team members “hooked” on the retrospective, and get them learning without even thinking about it. 

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 experiences: 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! 

Dec 16, 2020

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

When Steve joined this team, they had been working on a governmental website project for 2 years, and there was very little visible progress. Steve started by observing what was going on in the project and found that the teams were not working together, and time was spent finger-pointing. Steve started his work by first accepting where the teams were, and did simple things like continuing the Status Meeting they had already, but making subtle changes to instill an Agile mindset. And then things started changing. Listen in to learn about the tools and approaches Steve used to completely transform those teams and that environment.

About Steve Silbert

Steve is an Agile Coach living in Jacksonville, Florida. He is co-curator of SketchnoteArmy, sits on the board of directors for a spiritual innovation incubator, and designs agile games in his spare time.

You can link with Steve Silbert on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Silbert on Twitter

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