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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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Dec 21, 2023

Sofia Katsaouni: Adapt and Thrive, A Success Perspective For Scrum Masters And Agile Coaches

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

In this episode, Sofia defines success for Scrum Masters as achieving team self-organization by fostering independence and ownership. Emphasizing adaptability in the evolving dynamics of organizational living systems, she advises focusing on changes and working to create acceptance. Sofia shares a practical tip of viewing the Kanban board from right to left. Success, to her, is marked by team members raising previously discussed topics, indicating ownership.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Separating Event From Impact, A Lesson In Coaching And Reflection Skills

In this episode, Sofia discusses a retrospective format focusing on "What happened?," "Impact on you," and "Your learnings." This format effectively separates events from their impact, encouraging diverse team experiences and fostering open communication. Sofia shares a retrospective involving an MVP release, highlighting how team members' perspectives enriched the discussion.

 

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

 

About Sofia Katsaouni

Sofia is a dedicated Agile and Organizational Coach who places people and their needs at the forefront. Transitioning from electrical engineering, she applies analytical skills to empower high-performing teams. With an emphasis on trust and psychological safety, Sofia enables startups and scale-ups to foster human-centric, performance-driven cultures.

You can link with Sofia Katsaouni on LinkedIn

Dec 20, 2023

Sofia Katsaouni: Collaborative Change, Lessons in OKR Adoption For Agile Organizations

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, Sofia shares insights from her involvement in a change process at the C-level, implementing OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) within the product engineering organization. Collaborating with the CTO, they navigated challenges, emphasizing the importance of clear messaging, team training, and collaborative spaces for discussion. Sofia provides practical tips on introducing OKRs, creating facilitation guides, and stressing organizational alignment.

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Sofia Katsaouni

Sofia is a dedicated Agile and Organizational Coach who places people and their needs at the forefront. Transitioning from electrical engineering, she applies analytical skills to empower high-performing teams. With an emphasis on trust and psychological safety, Sofia enables startups and scale-ups to foster human-centric, performance-driven cultures.

You can link with Sofia Katsaouni on LinkedIn

 

Dec 19, 2023

Sofia Katsaouni: Building Team Resilience And Transforming Team Dynamics with Agile Coaching

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, Sofia reflects on coaching three teams and the challenges that arose from small patterns evolving into significant issues. The lack of collaboration and knowledge sharing within the team led to failing to deliver, which in turn led to external pressure and low morale. Sofia emphasizes the importance of allowing teams to experiment for self-driven change, highlighting the human dynamics within teams.

Featured Book of the Week: Responsive Agile Coaching by Niall McShane

In this episode, Sofia discusses the book "Responsive Agile Coaching," which delves into diverse coaching approaches for Scrum Masters and Agile coaches. The author introduces various stances, such as the show-and-tell stance or Open-and-hold stance, offering a valuable framework to shape individual coaching experiences. 

 

[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 Sofia Katsaouni

Sofia is a dedicated Agile and Organizational Coach who places people and their needs at the forefront. Transitioning from electrical engineering, she applies analytical skills to empower high-performing teams. With an emphasis on trust and psychological safety, Sofia enables startups and scale-ups to foster human-centric, performance-driven cultures.

You can link with Sofia Katsaouni on LinkedIn

 

Dec 18, 2023

Sofia Katsaouni: The Importance of Mentorship in a Scrum Master or Agile Coach’s Journey

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, Sofia recounts her struggles as a junior coach facing challenges in a new team. Despite wanting to lead a kickoff, she was overruled by the engineering lead, leading to self-doubt and frustration. She emphasizes the importance of open communication, sanity checks with external perspectives, and listening to one self. The lack of support left her feeling overwhelmed, highlighting the need for mentorship in agile coaching. 

In this episode, we refer to nonviolent communication, an approach that can help us when we find ourselves in the middle of a conflict situation.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Sofia Katsaouni

Sofia is a dedicated Agile and Organizational Coach who places people and their needs at the forefront. Transitioning from electrical engineering, she applies analytical skills to empower high-performing teams. With an emphasis on trust and psychological safety, Sofia enables startups and scale-ups to foster human-centric, performance-driven cultures.

You can link with Sofia Katsaouni on LinkedIn

Dec 15, 2023

Robert Briese: Beyond Requirements, Rethinking Agile Product Ownership

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: Impact Mapping And Other Tools Great POs Use To Focus On Outcomes

In this episode, Robert discusses the attributes of a great Product Owner based on an energy company's experience. The exemplary PO managed a budget, aimed to introduce new products, and emphasized impactful market presence. The PO's coachability and commitment to improvement are highlighted, along with insights from Marty Cagan's "Inspired." A great PO, as outlined, prioritizes impact over outputs, maintains clarity on product goals and business vision, and employs tools like Impact Mapping for outcome-focused development.

The Bad Product Owner: Beyond Requirements, Rethinking Agile Product Ownership

In this episode, Robert identifies Product Owner (PO) anti-patterns, emphasizing that many POs don't truly own a product. A common pitfall is when POs isolate themselves, detailing requirements independently and presenting them to the team for feedback. This approach creates a significant gap between development teams and POs, limiting the focus to "delivering requirements." The episode recommends a shift in approach, encouraging POs to step away from detailed isolation and instead bring direct customer/end-user information to development teams.

 

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

 

About Robert Briese

Robert Briese, is an Agile Coach who's seen it all. From startup stumbles to orchestrating massive Large-Scale Scrum feats, like BMW's level 3 autonomous driving milestone. He's on a mission to simplify the complex and help teams build adaptable, sustainable organizations. Buckle up for a wild, Agile ride with Robert!

You can link with Robert Briese on LinkedIn and connect with Robert Briese on Twitter

Dec 14, 2023

Robert Briese: Measuring Autonomy, A Scrum Master's Success Metric

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, Robert discusses his definition of success for Scrum Masters, centered on team autonomy and leadership. He evaluates success by assessing whether the team takes ownership, becomes self-sufficient, and embraces servant leadership. Examples include measuring team members' inclusivity in discussions and gauging the Scrum Master's necessity for meeting facilitation. The episode emphasizes the Scrum Master's role in challenging and empowering the team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Visualization During The Sprint, A Catalyst For Great Retrospectives

In this episode, Robert recommends the Derby and Larsen 6-step retro agenda as his favorite retrospective format. He emphasizes a good Scrum Master's ability to adapt to various formats initially but evolves to offer valuable insights for meaningful changes in team dynamics. Visualizing information during the Sprint is Robert’s preferred approach, with tips like creating daily sprint board pictures and sharing speaking statistics.

 

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

 

About Robert Briese

Robert Briese, is an Agile Coach who's seen it all. From startup stumbles to orchestrating massive Large-Scale Scrum feats, like BMW's level 3 autonomous driving milestone. He's on a mission to simplify the complex and help teams build adaptable, sustainable organizations. Buckle up for a wild, Agile ride with Robert!

You can link with Robert Briese on LinkedIn and connect with Robert Briese on Twitter

Dec 13, 2023

Robert Briese: Tools and Tips for Organizational Transformation, An Agile at Scale Approach

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, Robert shares insights from a change process aimed at meeting a challenging deadline for a customer event. The organization transitioned from functional to cross-functional teams, addressing bottlenecks and implementing the "chief product owner" system from the Agile scaling framework LeSS. The episode recommends strategies such as self-selection for teams, weekly PO alignment, visualizing deliverables, establishing overall priorities, and using tools like system modeling and Causal Loop Diagrams.

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Robert Briese

Robert Briese, is an Agile Coach who's seen it all. From startup stumbles to orchestrating massive Large-Scale Scrum feats, like BMW's level 3 autonomous driving milestone. He's on a mission to simplify the complex and help teams build adaptable, sustainable organizations. Buckle up for a wild, Agile ride with Robert!

You can link with Robert Briese on LinkedIn and connect with Robert Briese on Twitter.

Dec 12, 2023

Robert Briese: Fixed Time/Scope Projects and The Pitfalls of Individual PO Goals

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, Robert discusses the challenges of supporting teams tasked with building an ecommerce platform. The teams were given a limited time, and a fixed scope to deliver! Each team had its own Product Owner (PO), leading to conflicting goals and self-destructive patterns. The looming deadline for a major customer event added pressure. Robert suggests practical tips, including creating a shared understanding above team and product management levels, aligning POs on a shared backlog, establishing shared priorities, utilizing user story mapping, and implementing the Chief Product Owner pattern.

 

Featured Book of the Week: "Large-Scale Scrum" by Vodde and Larman

In this episode, Robert recommends "Large-Scale Scrum" by Vodde and Larman for insights into large-scale product development, influencing his journey to become a trainer in this domain. He also suggests "The Skilled Facilitator" by Schwarz, emphasizing its focus on fostering a mindset conducive to real team collaboration. The book promotes a mutual learning mindset, acknowledging individual experiences and promoting cooperative game dynamics for collective success. The episode also touches on another recommended book on Nonviolent Communication (NVC).

 

[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 Robert Briese

Robert Briese, is an Agile Coach who's seen it all. From startup stumbles to orchestrating massive Large-Scale Scrum feats, like BMW's level 3 autonomous driving milestone. He's on a mission to simplify the complex and help teams build adaptable, sustainable organizations. Buckle up for a wild, Agile ride with Robert!

You can link with Robert Briese on LinkedIn and connect with Robert Briese on Twitter

Dec 11, 2023

Robert Briese: Agile Retrospectives Without Blame, The Importance of The Retrospective Prime Directive

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 with Robert, we talk about what we need to consider when introducing Scrum in support organizations, navigating heated retrospective discussions, and emphasizing the use of the prime directive. Robert highlights the importance of avoiding blame and instead fostering an environment of continuous improvement. Norm Kerth’s retrospective prime directive serves as a tool to steer conversations away from finger-pointing, encouraging teams to address challenging issues constructively. The retrospective prime directive reads: “Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.”

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Robert Briese

Robert Briese, is an Agile Coach who's seen it all. From startup stumbles to orchestrating massive Large-Scale Scrum feats, like BMW's level 3 autonomous driving milestone. He's on a mission to simplify the complex and help teams build adaptable, sustainable organizations. Buckle up for a wild, Agile ride with Robert!

You can link with Robert Briese on LinkedIn and connect with Robert Briese on Twitter

Dec 8, 2023

Thorben Pantring: The Micro-Manager PO, And The Impact It Has On Agile Teams

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

The Great Product Owner: Empowering Teams, The Art of Servant Leadership in Product Ownership

A greatProduct Owner, as described by Thorben, is an outward-facing individual who actively engages with customers, bringing their challenges to the team for collaborative problem-solving. This PO allows the team autonomy, offering ideas without being directive, fostering a collaborative atmosphere in refinement sessions. Engaged in large-scale adoption, this PO excelled as a master collaborator and embraced the servant leadership role. Thorben emphasizes the development team's centrality in software, debunking the notion of working for the team. This Product Owner embodied customer focus, collaboration, and servant leadership.

The Bad Product Owner: The Micro-Manager PO, And The Impact It Has On Agile Teams

In this segment, Thorben discusses Product Owner (PO) anti-patterns, highlighting issues like focusing on overly detailed feature specs leading to micro-management. This approach stifles openness to feedback and fosters a "just do what I tell you" mentality, making developers passive and hindering communication. This mode of collaboration leads to having pre-defined, upfront designed features with minimal room for adjustments even when problems are found! This pattern ultimately results in deadline-driven development and disengaged developers.

 

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

 

About Thorben Pantring

Thorben is an experienced Scrum Master & Team Lead in the eCommerce space, showcasing expertise in leadership, LeSS, Scrum, team management, and engineering. With an insatiable desire for learning and a relentless pursuit of progress, Thorben embodies a fervent passion for leadership, agility, and technology.

You can link with Thorben Pantring on LinkedIn

Dec 7, 2023

Thorben Pantring: The Three Dimensions Of Scrum Master Success, Team, Collaboration, and Organization

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.

Thorben outlines success for Scrum Masters in three dimensions: team, collaboration, and organization. Early in the Scrum journey, focusing on the team is vital, emphasizing self-management and shared responsibility. The sprint goal emerges as a powerful tool for team focus. Collaboration between teams is crucial, as he mentions on this week’s Monday episode. For organizational success, Thorben references the sprint review bazaar episode (Wednesday), emphasizing that success encompasses the entire department's ability to deliver value, narrating an illustrative story of a team focusing on code merging instead of value creation.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 5 Why’s Retrospective

Thorben's favored retrospective format thrives on physical presence, fostering collaboration and engagement. Held in a room with snacks, this co-located setting enhances communication, particularly in using the "5 Whys" retrospective. The benefits of in-person interaction, including non-verbal cues, contribute to a richer retrospective experience. When hosting remote sessions, Thorben recommends a shared whiteboard tool like MURAL, and offers tips to maintain attention. Introducing a "Lightning Question" which proved effective in re-engaging participants during remote retrospectives.

 

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

 

About Thorben Pantring

Thorben is an experienced Scrum Master & Team Lead in the eCommerce space, showcasing expertise in leadership, LeSS, Scrum, team management, and engineering. With an insatiable desire for learning and a relentless pursuit of progress, Thorben embodies a fervent passion for leadership, agility, and technology.

You can link with Thorben Pantring on LinkedIn

Dec 6, 2023

Thorben Pantring: A Stakeholder Engagement Revolution With A Review Bazaar, An Agile Change Story

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

Thorben discusses a change management challenge involving scheduling multiple sprint reviews for a scaling development effort. Attempting to consolidate reviews into one meeting resulted in decreased stakeholder participation and insufficient feedback. Consulting with Konstantin Ribel (who’s been a guest on the podcast), they conducted some experiments, seeking volunteers via internal Slack. Teams were named for specificity, and experiment learnings were documented, evolving into a company-wide change approach. Over time, the "science fair" of experiments expanded to larger audiences, employing demo environments instead of presentations. The result: a successful review bazaar with up to 100 stakeholders, a vast improvement from their initial few.

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Thorben Pantring

Thorben is an experienced Scrum Master & Team Lead in the eCommerce space, showcasing expertise in leadership, LeSS, Scrum, team management, and engineering. With an insatiable desire for learning and a relentless pursuit of progress, Thorben embodies a fervent passion for leadership, agility, and technology.

You can link with Thorben Pantring on LinkedIn

Dec 5, 2023

Thorben Pantring: The Team That Learned How To Collaborate, and Avoid the “It’s Not My Job” Anti-Pattern

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 a revealing episode, Thorben shares lessons from a team in trouble. The team members worked in isolation, often saying "It's not my job" and addressing each other by their roles, not by their names. Thorben tried 2 experiments to help the team: a Work in Progress limit of 1 to foster collaboration and a workshop on the "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" Model (inspired by the book by Lencioni) highlighting the need for commitment and accountability. Emphasizing a shared sprint goal, Thorben recommends assessing progress collectively. Eventually, a cultural shift occurred—team members adopted the motto "it's our job," fostering collaboration and breaking down role-based barriers.

Featured Book of the Week: "Large Scale Scrum" by Bas Vodde and Craig Larman

Thorben recommends "Large Scale Scrum" by Bas Vodde and Craig Larman as key book for Scrum Masters. Highlighting its practicality, he emphasizes its value in expanding Scrum beyond a single team. The book guides not just development but also incorporates management involvement for successful large-scale Scrum implementation. Thorben praises its emphasis on customer-centric development, making it an essential read for those striving to make agile magic happen.

 

[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 Thorben Pantring

Thorben is an experienced Scrum Master & Team Lead in the eCommerce space, showcasing expertise in leadership, LeSS, Scrum, team management, and engineering. With an insatiable desire for learning and a relentless pursuit of progress, Thorben embodies a fervent passion for leadership, agility, and technology.

You can link with Thorben Pantring on LinkedIn

 

Dec 4, 2023

Thorben Pantring: Surviving the Scrum Scaling Chaos, Managing a 20-25 Member Team

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

In this episode, Thorben reflects on a team that had reached a breaking point when it grew to 20+ members. Faced with the overwhelming workload for the Product Owner and Scrum Master, Thorben and his colleagues divided the team into three, only to realize there was no support available. Thorben suggests a Scrum of Scrums for POs and emphasizes the complexity of scaling Scrum. To address the chaos, they divided the product into customer-focused areas and created a single Scrum team for each. Embracing large-scale Scrum, Thorben advises training leadership and using systems thinking to manage multiple teams. The journey involved starting small and incrementally adding teams to the system.

In this episode, we refer to the podcast episodes with Konstantin Ribel

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Thorben Pantring

Thorben is an experienced Scrum Master & Team Lead in the eCommerce space, showcasing expertise in leadership, LeSS, Scrum, team management, and engineering. With an insatiable desire for learning and a relentless pursuit of progress, Thorben embodies a fervent passion for leadership, agility, and technology.

You can link with Thorben Pantring on LinkedIn

Dec 1, 2023

Jean Coetzee: Breaking Free from the Proxy Trap And Reclaiming the Essence of the Product Owner Role

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

The Great Product Owner: Breaking Free from the Proxy Trap And Reclaiming the Essence of the Product Owner Role

In this episode, Jean addresses some anti-patterns in the role of a Product Owner, with the most detrimental being when they become mere proxies for business owners or sponsors. He laments the recent disregard for the essence of the PO role, emphasizing that it should not serve as a mere intermediary. When POs are placed in proxy positions, they are set up for failure, relegated to the role of translators rather than empowered owners. Jean advocates for a reevaluation of the PO role to ensure they have the autonomy and authority necessary for success.

The Bad Product Owner: Empowering Teams, Lessons from an Exceptional Product Owner

In this episode, Jean shares a compelling story of a Product Owner who excelled without formal training in Agile or Product Ownership. This PO approached the role with a fresh perspective, free from preconceived notions. They embodied true ownership of the product, prioritizing vision-setting and supporting the team's end goal. The distinction between ownership and management was evident, as the PO focused on protecting the team from interference while also holding them accountable. Importantly, this Product Owner struck a balance by empowering the team to take ownership of their purpose, ultimately leading to a highly successful and self-sufficient team.

 

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

 

About Jean Coetzee

Jean is passionate about humans, and how they work together from a psychology and neuroscience perspective.

Jean, credits the early ScrumMaster podcasts for shaping his Agile career. These insightful episodes provided vital guidance during the early days, boosting confidence in serving others effectively. Jean learned to navigate uncertainties and gain confidence in their Scrum Master role, all thanks to this and other podcast contributors.

You can link with Jean Coetze on LinkedIn

Nov 30, 2023

Jean Coetzee: Purpose-Driven Success, Discovering A Scrum Master’s Unique Path

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

In this episode, Jean explores the profound connection between success and personal purpose for Scrum Masters. He prompts reflection on whether one's sense of accomplishment is derived from their own purpose or external influences. Jean emphasizes that success is subjective and may not align with conventional notions. He offers a tip to disconnect from external influences and reconnect with one's purpose, akin to a metaphorical "fasting." By going into nature and seeking solitude, individuals can discover a deeper sense of purpose, ultimately redefining their own path to success in Scrum Mastery.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Beyond Retrospectives. The Futurespectives, A Forward-Thinking Retrospective Format

In this episode, Jean advocates for reevaluating the traditional approach to retrospectives in Agile practices. He challenges the prevailing bias towards established practices and encourages a reimagining of retrospectives. Jean emphasizes the importance of clarifying desired outcomes and suggests exploring alternative formats like futurespectives. He urges teams to focus on deeper understanding rather than rushing to find solutions, and advises considering the holistic needs of the team. Jean's approach prioritizes flexibility and adaptability to ensure that the retrospective format aligns with the team's current priorities and challenges.

 

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

 

About Jean Coetzee

Jean is passionate about humans, and how they work together from a psychology and neuroscience perspective.

Jean, credits the early ScrumMaster podcasts for shaping his Agile career. These insightful episodes provided vital guidance during the early days, boosting confidence in serving others effectively. Jean learned to navigate uncertainties and gain confidence in their Scrum Master role, all thanks to this and other podcast contributors.

You can link with Jean Coetze on LinkedIn.

Nov 29, 2023

Jean Coetzee: Reimagining Leadership, A Crucial Element in Agile Transformations

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, Jean delves into the critical role of change in Agile adoption and practice. He emphasizes that "change" better encapsulates Agile's essence, as opposed to its sometimes negative connotations. He explores the challenges faced by Scrum Masters when guiding teams through the change process. Jean advises embracing the discomfort of uncertainty and highlights the importance of finding a change role model within the organization. He stresses that the true challenge lies in the "being" part of change, not just the "doing," and advocates for a reimagined approach to leadership in order to navigate future transformations effectively.

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Jean Coetzee

Jean is passionate about humans, and how they work together from a psychology and neuroscience perspective.

Jean, credits the early ScrumMaster podcasts for shaping his Agile career. These insightful episodes provided vital guidance during the early days, boosting confidence in serving others effectively. Jean learned to navigate uncertainties and gain confidence in their Scrum Master role, all thanks to this and other podcast contributors.

You can link with Jean Coetze on LinkedIn

Nov 28, 2023

Jean Coetzee: From Obsession to Ownership, Avoiding the Deadline Trap in Agile Teams

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

In this episode, Jean recounts a cautionary tale of a team with an unhealthy obsession with meeting deadlines. The team's relentless pursuit led to a sense of loss of control and disconnection from the broader reality, paralleling themes from "The Matrix." Jean emphasizes the importance of reclaiming control over one's time and lives, and urges listeners to reflect on what makes a high-performing team member. He underscores that meeting deadlines should not be the sole purpose of a team, and that true ownership lies in a more holistic approach to achieving success.

Featured Book of the Week: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

In this segment, Jean discusses the profound impact of Jocko Willink's book, "Extreme Ownership," on his journey as a Scrum Master. He highlights how the concept of ownership is crucial in Agile practices and applies not only to individuals but to the entire team. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding, camaraderie, and trust within a team, ultimately leading to high performance. Jean stresses that roles don't define ownership; it's a collective responsibility for achieving success in Agile endeavors, making "Extreme Ownership" a valuable resource for both Scrum Masters and product owners.

 

[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 Jean Coetzee

Jean is passionate about humans, and how they work together from a psychology and neuroscience perspective.

Jean, credits the early ScrumMaster podcasts for shaping his Agile career. These insightful episodes provided vital guidance during the early days, boosting confidence in serving others effectively. Jean learned to navigate uncertainties and gain confidence in their Scrum Master role, all thanks to this and other podcast contributors.

You can link with Jean Coetze on LinkedIn

Nov 27, 2023

Jean Coetzee: Unpacking Ownership, Accountability, and Responsibility in Scrum

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

In this episode, Jean shares a pivotal moment in his role as a Scrum Master with a newly formed team. With limited experience in Scrum, the team struggled to grasp the concepts of ownership, accountability, and responsibility. Jean recognized the need for experimentation and introduced the idea of pushing a car from point A to B, emphasizing that the task was about getting the car to its destination, not just pushing it. Through this analogy and patient guidance, Jean successfully shifted the team's focus from tasks to delivering true value in their Agile practices.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Jean Coetzee

Jean is passionate about humans, and how they work together from a psychology and neuroscience perspective.

Jean, credits the early ScrumMaster podcasts for shaping his Agile career. These insightful episodes provided vital guidance during the early days, boosting confidence in serving others effectively. Jean learned to navigate uncertainties and gain confidence in their Scrum Master role, all thanks to this and other podcast contributors.

You can link with Jean Coetze on LinkedIn

Nov 24, 2023

Annu Paganus: How to Recognize and Address Product Owner Accountability Issues

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: Recognizing and Addressing PO Accountability Issues

Annu highlights several Product Owner (PO) anti-patterns, including lack of accountability and detachment from the team's efforts. She shares a warning about POs who take undue credit for the team's work, undermining motivation. Annu advises clarifying the servant leader role, setting clear expectations, and providing subtle suggestions for improvement. She emphasizes modeling the desired behavior and delineating PO responsibilities clearly. By addressing these anti-patterns, teams can foster a more productive and collaborative environment with their Product Owners.

The Bad Product Owner: Feedback-Driven Excellence In Product Owners

Annu defines a great Product Owner as one who welcomes and acts upon feedback, a fundamental skill. They excel in communicating the product's future, ensuring everyone is informed. Empathy towards the team's varying levels of engagement with the vision is vital. Annu advises making the vision visible to all team members, promoting a shared understanding. Encouraging regular interaction between the PO and the team to examine the product's future together is beneficial. Additionally, a great PO acknowledges the value of receiving ideas and feedback from the team, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts.

 

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

 

About Annu Paganus

Annu is a passionate software team Scrum Master who wants to help her team to create an environment where different kind of people can find a smooth way to work together and enjoy their work and private life. Also worked as teacher, software developer, chapter lead and Product Owner.

You can link with Annu Paganus on LinkedIn.

Nov 23, 2023

Annu Paganus: Transparency and Collaboration, Critical Aspects Of Scrum Master Success

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.

Annu reflects on the various facets contributing to a Scrum Master's sense of accomplishment. She emphasizes the importance of increased transparency in team operations, noting that it requires conscious effort. Annu also stresses the need for fostering collaboration in agile teams, as some may naturally gravitate towards independent work. Monitoring and addressing collaboration pain points is key. Additionally, she considers the ability to step back as an indicator of success in enabling the team's self-organization and autonomy.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Efficient Reflections, The Mad/Sad/Glad With A Twist

Annu discusses her preferred retrospective format, conducted through an online shared whiteboard tool. The tool enables efficient tracking of action points and ensures visibility. Annu appreciates the flexibility to vary retrospective content. She often incorporates emotion-related questions, exemplified by the Mad/Sad/Glad format. Annu recommends enhancing this format by adding an additional topic, such as the release process, to deepen discussions.

 

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

 

About Annu Paganus

Annu is a passionate software team Scrum Master who wants to help her team to create an environment where different kind of people can find a smooth way to work together and enjoy their work and private life. Also worked as teacher, software developer, chapter lead and Product Owner.

You can link with Annu Paganus on LinkedIn.

Nov 22, 2023

Annu Paganus: Creating Harmony in Cross-Functional Teams, The Story Of An Agile Transformation

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

In this episode, we hear the story of a significant agile transformation. The initiative focused on forming cross-functional teams, combining diverse skill sets. While there was initial excitement, the teams soon realized the need for better understanding of each other's roles. Discussions and clarifications were crucial in aligning expectations. Annu emphasizes the importance of agreeing on work processes and communication methods. She highlights an anti-pattern of business stakeholders isolating themselves until they have clear requirements. Annu provides practical tips, including readiness to learn and collaborate, and prioritizing information gathering before diving into tasks.

 

[IMAGE HERE] As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Annu Paganus

Annu is a passionate software team Scrum Master who wants to help her team to create an environment where different kind of people can find a smooth way to work together and enjoy their work and private life. Also worked as teacher, software developer, chapter lead and Product Owner.

You can link with Annu Paganus on LinkedIn.

Nov 21, 2023

Annu Paganus: Short-Term Thinking, Long-Term Consequences, How Agile Teams Create Their Own Problems

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.

Annu shares the story of a team that delayed documentation and planning because they expected that the system they were maintaining would eventually be replaced by a new system. However, while she was away on a long leave, the system change did not happen. The team's mindset of impending change led to neglecting long-term considerations, impeding progress. Annu advises teams to scrutinize the narratives they tell themselves about their work and to understand their origins. She stresses the importance of focusing on the present and evolving their work methods based on the current situation.

Featured Book of the Week: Keskusteluälykkyys by Helena Åhman

Annu shares her passion for personal development and its impact on her professional and personal growth. She recommends the book "Keskusteluälykkyys" by Helena Åhman (link in Finnish) for its valuable lessons on conflict resolution. Annu appreciates how her team's passionate discussions have been productive. She highlights the significance of overcoming conflict as a Scrum Master. Additionally, she praises “Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life”for its insights on fostering a sense of belonging. The book emphasizes the role of routines in reinforcing community bonds, a principle applicable to Agile teams. Annu underlines the importance of creating meaningful rituals within the team dynamic.

 

[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 Annu Paganus

Annu is a passionate software team Scrum Master who wants to help her team to create an environment where different kind of people can find a smooth way to work together and enjoy their work and private life. Also worked as teacher, software developer, chapter lead and Product Owner.

You can link with Annu Paganus on LinkedIn.

Nov 20, 2023

Annu Paganus: Navigating Complex Collaborations, And Strategies for Handling Difficult PO Dynamics

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.

Annu recounts a challenging situation where a new Product Owner, previously a manager, struggled to adapt to the role. The team sought more support, leading to organizational discussions on prioritization. Annu, responsible for addressing the issue, found that the conversation turned personal. She advises involving a third party for mediation and emphasizes improving conversational skills. The experience impacted her relationship with the PO, who eventually transitioned to a different role. Annu underscores the importance of self-awareness and offers tips for handling conflicts, including managing cortisol levels and referencing resources like Nonviolent Communication and the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.

 

[IMAGE HERE] Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story - How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

 

About Annu Paganus

Annu is a passionate software team Scrum Master who wants to help her team to create an environment where different kind of people can find a smooth way to work together and enjoy their work and private life. Also worked as teacher, software developer, chapter lead and Product Owner.

You can link with Annu Paganus on LinkedIn.

Nov 18, 2023

ONUS: Rethinking Agile Roles and Structures, With Craig Smith and Michael Huynh

 

In this episode, we kick things off by revisiting a captivating talk delivered by Michael and Craig at the Agile Online Summit 2023. The duo urged us to reevaluate the roles of the Scrum Master and Product Owner, and even hinted at potential shifts within Agile organizations.

This discussion sparked a larger contemplation in my mind, extending beyond the core arguments presented by Michael and Craig. I took to Twitter to ponder the possibility of Agile serving as a foundational change in how we perceive organizational structures and leadership, leading to a potential revolution. What might this mean for you and your organization?

Rethinking Agile Roles

Before delving into what the future might hold for Agile practitioners, we asked Craig and Michael to provide a concise summary of their main points from the talk.

  • They urged us to go beyond following “agile dogma”

  • Questioning the purpose of Scrum Master and Product Owner roles

  • Refocus on value generation in Agile practices

  • The need for systemic thinking

In this episode, we also explore how it’s not just Agile roles, but leaders at various levels, that have strayed from the essence of what Agile truly stands for. CTOs and Chief Product Owners find themselves ensnared in a rigid adherence to processes as well, even when those processes go against their stated intent of adopting Agile.

Are Agile Roles Overhead?

Craig and Michael raise critical questions about Agile roles, challenging their perceived value and longevity within organizations. Is there a risk of losing sight of the original intent behind roles like Scrum Master and Product Owner? Are these positions temporary or do they inadvertently add another layer of complexity?

The conversation als touches on the heart of Agile transformation: business agility. How can organizations efficiently deliver value to the market? There's concern that leaders have become disconnected from the actual work done by their teams. The very essence of leadership may be at risk of being diluted or misunderstood.

Leadership in Software Organizations: A Glimpse into the Future

In this segment, we discuss the Culture, Structure and Process aspects that we need to take into account to keep our organizations truly Agile, no matter what roles we end up having. 

Culture: Shaping Behaviors for Success

The importance of culture in shaping organizational behavior cannot be overstated. Leaders must adapt to the unique cultures of their organizations, whether they're fast-moving and less structured or operate within a different paradigm.

Structure: Redefining Hierarchies

In a rapidly evolving technological landscape, do we need traditional hierarchies? Leaders must understand the core of their businesses and ensure they are moving in the right direction, but do they require the conventional structures that have become commonplace?

Process: The Evolution Beyond Projects

The notion of projects may be antiquated for software businesses. Start-stop methodologies may no longer align with the dynamic nature of the industry. The changes needed pose a significant challenge to the Agile community.

Join the Scrum Master Community

For those eager to continue the conversation, we invite you to connect with the vibrant Scrum Master community, get your membership here.

About Craig Smith and Michael Huynh

Craig Smith is a Business Agility Product Lead at SoftEd, and a veteran Agile Practitioner, Coach, and Trainer with 20+ years of experience. He co-hosts "The Agile Revolution" podcast, and is a driving force in the Agile community. Craig excels in Agile training, coaching, and fostering technical excellence, advocating for quality-driven change.

You can link with Craig Smith on LinkedIn

 

Michael Huynh is a seasoned agile coach and trainer, recognized for guiding organizations in successful agile adoption. With SoftEd, he collaborates with leaders and teams to foster efficient delivery and swift decision-making. Michael's extensive expertise spans Lean, SDLC, XP, SAFe, Scrum, Kanban, and more, enabling him to tailor approaches for each organization's success. As a dedicated contributor to the agile community, he leads and speaks at international conferences.

You can link with Michael Huynh on LinkedIn.

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