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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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Jul 28, 2022

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

When does a Scrum team not need their Scrum Master anymore? In this episode, we explore what that means in practice, and share some examples of the behaviors Scrum Masters can adopt to help their teams gain independence, and ownership of their work.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Avoiding Shame And Guilt In Retrospectives, with The Retrospective From The Future, Futurspective

Miguel likes to help teams discuss the success of the sprint, starting from the beginning of the Sprint, instead of doing it at the end. Although this may seem counterintuitive, the looking forward retrospective helps Scrum Masters prepare the team to discuss some uncomfortable topics later on, by having them point those out before they happen, and before there’s shame or guilt associated with those behaviors. 

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 Miguel Moro

As an Agile practitioner, Miguel’s passion is to delight customers using Agile practices and Lean methodologies in development teams, to explore the best alternatives to deliver in an iterative and incremental way, with a continuous value of flow, as fast as possible, and with innovative solutions. He does that by focusing on high performance teams and happiness at work.

You can link with Miguel Moro on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Moro on Twitter

Jul 27, 2022

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.

Miguel, and a team of coaches were working with an organization in an Agile transformation process. When discussing how to start helping the teams, and the organization in general, they came to the decision that they would start with knowledge sharing, and helping team members understand each other better. Through small, but deliberate activities, the team of coaches helped the teams take ownership of their own practices, and proposed concrete ways in which the teams could improve their way of working. Throughout this process, the team of coaches was able to help the organization, and the teams move towards Agile, without ever pushing “the Agile change”.

 

About Miguel Moro

As an Agile practitioner, Miguel’s passion is to delight customers using Agile practices and Lean methodologies in development teams, to explore the best alternatives to deliver in an iterative and incremental way, with a continuous value of flow, as fast as possible, and with innovative solutions. He does that by focusing on high performance teams and happiness at work.

You can link with Miguel Moro on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Moro on Twitter

Jul 26, 2022

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.

Miguel started observing that the team members in this Scrum team were constantly trying to establish their own ideas as the “winning ideas”. The behaviors he observed helped Miguel understand that the team members were competing with each other, instead of focusing on the shared success for their team. In this episode, we discuss how to help our teams move from competition to collaboration, through a series of deliberate, but small tweaks to the discussion, and decision making processes in the team.

Featured Book of The Week: The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Don Reinertsen

In The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Don Reinertsen, Miguel found a helpful understanding of queues, which affect the progress/flow of work in our organizations. In that book, there are also insights into how variability affects productivity of knowledge work teams, and Reinertsen also gives us concrete ways to work through these concepts with the teams we help. 

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

 

About Miguel Moro

As an Agile practitioner, Miguel’s passion is to delight customers using Agile practices and Lean methodologies in development teams, to explore the best alternatives to deliver in an iterative and incremental way, with a continuous value of flow, as fast as possible, and with innovative solutions. He does that by focusing on high performance teams and happiness at work.

You can link with Miguel Moro on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Moro on Twitter.

Jul 25, 2022

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.

Started in a very enthusiastic way one of his first assignments as a Scrum Master. The enthusiasm was a positive, but, as it turned out, it was also a negative. In this episode, we explore what can happen when we focus on our enthusiasm and motivation, instead of the team’s success as the core of our work! 

 

About Miguel Moro

As an Agile practitioner, Miguel’s passion is to delight customers using Agile practices and Lean methodologies in development teams, to explore the best alternatives to deliver in an iterative and incremental way, with a continuous value of flow, as fast as possible, and with innovative solutions. He does that by focusing on high performance teams and happiness at work.

You can link with Miguel Moro on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Moro on Twitter

Jul 22, 2022

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

The Great Product Owner: The Chief Clarity Officer, providing clarity and decisions when needed 

Great PO’s are able to influence, without being seen as “the boss”, and they take their work very seriously, even if they don’t take themselves too seriously. As Salvatore says: great PO’s become the Chief Clarity Officers, being present, answering questions, and clarifying what is necessary for the team to function. In this segment, we talk about the “kill criteria”, a concept you can use to help PO’s decide what to remove from the product, a skill that great Product Owners also exhibit. 

The Bad Product Owner: How to facilitate a conversation with an absent PO, so they understand the impact they have on the team

This PO was unavailable to the team, and that caused a number of problems for the team. In this segment, we talk about the anti-patterns that show up in the team, when the PO is too busy to be present with the team. Salvatore suggests a few things to try, to help the PO understand their impact on the team, and we refer to the Sprint Checklist, a hands-on guide that we produced to help you facilitate that conversation with the PO. 

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 Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn

Jul 21, 2022

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.

Salvatore focuses on assessing the team’s ability to work, and do what is needed without his presence or support. Salvatore describes for us a number of behaviors he looks for, and the set of skills a self-managing team shows when they are on their way to working independently and without constant support by the Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Celebration Grid, a Management 3.0 tool

The Celebration Grid, a Management 3.0 tool, helps the team think about practices, success, failures and experiments. It helps them get familiar with the process of learning, and accept that sometimes things don’t happen as expected, and that’s ok from a learning, and improvement perspective. 

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 Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn

Jul 20, 2022

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 large-scale Agile transformation that started with the business units taking the lead on engaging Agile Coaches. At first, that was enough. However, soon the Agile Coaches realized that their potential impact was being hampered by the lack of understanding of where Agile could help these business units. Salvatore shares the story of how they turned the engagement model around, and started to work together with the business unit leaders, instead of waiting for them to call on the Agile Coaches. 

About Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn

Jul 19, 2022

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.

Salvatore was working in a startup with a team that, on paper, was a star team. However, when he started to observe how they worked, he noticed that the team was rarely sticking to what they had planned for the Sprint, and even the PO was at a loss on how to help the team stay on track and focus on what they had planned. In this segment, we refer to Cost of Delay, one of the topics discussed in The Principles of Product Development Flow, and share some tips on how to help a team that is stuck in this situation.

Featured Book of the Week: The Goal by Elyahu Goldratt

In The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt, Salvatore found the principles behind lean thinking as well as a model that helped him in his work as a Scrum Master. The Goal is a book where Theory Of Constraints is introduced to a business focused audience concerned with improving the performance of their businesses. In this segment, we also refer to The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Don Reinertsen, which helped Salvatore understand how the flow of work can be investigated and improved in organizations.

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

About Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn

Jul 18, 2022

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.

Salvatore was working in a large-scale transformation, when he and his colleagues started noticing that it was hard to get clarity across many team backlogs, and the planning sessions at scale were not delivering the value they expected. As the team of Scrum Masters started investigating the situation, they discovered that decision making was only happening outside the teams, in management groups or higher. As the Scrum Masters started to talk to managers, Salvatore realized that Scrum Masters were not allowed to influence the system around the teams. This taught Salvatore an important lesson about being able to, and focusing on influencing the system around the teams, not only the teams themselves or the PO. These are the 3 concerns Scrum Masters must pay attention to: the Scrum team, the PO and the system around them! 

 

About Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn

Jul 15, 2022

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: Connecting Stakeholders with the development team as a way to amplify and speed up feedback!

This PO was not only able to “own” the relationship with the stakeholders, but they were also able to involve the stakeholders with the development team. This PO strived to create a direct and productive connection between team and stakeholders. 

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s learn to work with and manage stakeholders and their input

This PO came to Ziryan and asked him to facilitate a User Story Mapping session with stakeholders. This was when Ziryan noticed that the team PO was not yet ready to take responsibility for one of their most important tasks: working with, and helping stakeholders make decisions. This helped Ziryan realize that the work with PO’s is a critical aspect of the Scrum Master’s work, and he decided to help this PO learn about User Story Mapping, by helping her with the facilitation, but clearly separating that facilitation from the management of stakeholders.

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.

Abou Ziryan Salayi

Ziryan is a Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Trainer, and organization coach with a passion for getting the most out of people and teams. His aim is to enable employees to be fully empowered and support self-organization in all areas within agile organizations

You can link with Ziryan Salayi on LinkedIn and connect with Ziryan Salayi on Twitter.

Jul 14, 2022

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.

Ziryan looks for “sparks” when assessing the team’s progress, and the success of his own work. He shares an example of a time when he announced to a team that he was going on vacation, and the team reacted by saying that he should not worry, they were ready to be on their own. In this segment, we discuss how you can help your teams take ownership of their process, and slowly, but surely become more independent! 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The pizza slices formats

Ziryan likes to help the teams focus on a holistic understanding of what happened during the Sprint. For that, he uses several formats that focus on multiple aspects. We talk about the Spiderweb retrospective and the Starfish retrospective formats to help teams look at the Sprint with a holistic mindset.

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!  

Abou Ziryan Salayi

Ziryan is a Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Trainer, and organization coach with a passion for getting the most out of people and teams. His aim is to enable employees to be fully empowered and support self-organization in all areas within agile organizations

You can link with Ziryan Salayi on LinkedIn and connect with Ziryan Salayi on Twitter.

Jul 13, 2022

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.

Ziryan was working with 2 teams who were trying to use Scrum, but were struggling. As he started to learn more about the team, he noticed that the manager for that team had forced the team to adopt Scrum. Later on, the management team itself decided to adopt Scrum for their own work. As they started the process, one of the managers came to Ziryan explainiung why Scrum did not work for management work. This presented Ziryan with the opportunity to share that that manager’s team was also struggling with Scrum, and that they should move to Kanban instead… That’s when the story took an unexpected turn! Listen to learn how mirroring can transform the change process in your organization!

 

Abou Ziryan Salayi

Ziryan is a Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Trainer, and organization coach with a passion for getting the most out of people and teams. His aim is to enable employees to be fully empowered and support self-organization in all areas within agile organizations

You can link with Ziryan Salayi on LinkedIn and connect with Ziryan Salayi on Twitter.

Jul 12, 2022

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

This team did not feel that they could make their own decisions. When observing the team, Ziryan noticed that management was heavily involved with the team, and the team did not feel comfortable making decisions without management involvement. As he started working with the team members 1-on-1, Ziryan started to notice the patterns that had trapped this team. Listen in to learn about those anti-patterns, as well as what Ziryan did to help the team get out of that self-defeating pattern.

Featured Book of the Week: Yes-but what if it all works out? By Berthold Gunster

In Yes-but what if it all works out? By Berthold Gunster, Ziryan found an inspiring story of how to handle change with a “yes, and” rather than a “yes, but” attitude. The book helped Ziryan prepare for responding to, and harnessing change resistance. In this segment, we also talk about Scrum – A Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen, and the episode with Yves Hanoulle and Woody Zuill, where we discuss the heuristic: “Turn up the good”

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

Abou Ziryan Salayi

Ziryan is a Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Trainer, and organization coach with a passion for getting the most out of people and teams. His aim is to enable employees to be fully empowered and support self-organization in all areas within agile organizations

You can link with Ziryan Salayi on LinkedIn and connect with Ziryan Salayi on Twitter.

Jul 11, 2022

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.

Zyrian shares 2 stories with us today. One story reminds us of our limits as Scrum Masters. It’s tempting to take on several teams, but is that really the right thing to do? We discuss what Ziryan learned when attempting to serve 3 teams! We also talk about a surprising event that happened to Ziryan, which reminded him of how important it is to prepare the team to take ownership of their work, and not be overly dependant on the Scrum Master. 

 

Abou Ziryan Salayi

Ziryan is a Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Trainer, and organization coach with a passion for getting the most out of people and teams. His aim is to enable employees to be fully empowered and support self-organization in all areas within agile organizations

You can link with Ziryan Salayi on LinkedIn and connect with Ziryan Salayi on Twitter.

Jul 8, 2022

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

The Great Product Owner: A truly collaborative approach to the PO work

This PO was able to communicate clearly, but also step back, doing only enough research to provide options for the team to decide on. He helped the team clarify ambiguities and brought them challenges that the team could own and help resolve. It was a true collaborative approach to the PO work!

The Bad Product Owner: When the work is not linked to a specific product, it loses meaning, and destroys the ability to deliver value

This PO was not fully aware or able to communicate the products the team was working on. He did not have a clear picture of the portfolio of different products the team needed to support. This caused serious problems in prioritizing and communicating progress to stakeholders, as the team was not able to understand when they were jeopardizing certain products by working on work that was not related to that product. Rafał started a process to help the team, and the PO to list all of the products they had to support, and started to organize the backlog around the products, not just a list of tasks.

 

[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 Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn

Jul 7, 2022

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.

Is your team “chatty”? That’s the first question that Rafał suggests we ask from ourselves as we assess our progress, and success as a Scrum Master. We also talk about different metrics we can use to help us guide, and support the team. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4L’s and Starfish retrospectives as possible options for different goals

In this segment, we hear from Rafał how the 4L’s retrospective and the Starfish retrospectives can be used for different purposes. He describes for us, what each of these formats is best for, and how he organizes his facilitation to help the teams focus on those different outcomes. 

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 Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn

Jul 6, 2022

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

When Rafał joined this organization, he realized the IT department was being blamed as the bottleneck for the speed of the organization. Together with his colleagues, they sent an email to the CEO explaining what they saw, and how they started to understand that the IT department could be more efficient (they had already done some changes), but their backlogs were empty, and not enough work was being added to the teams’ backlogs. 

This started a whole change process, where the CEO took the lead and helped them work with the rest of the organization to improve the situation. 

 

About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn

Jul 5, 2022

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.

Rafał joined a large organization that was moving to Agile. Even if the team Rafał joined claimed to have been practicing Scrum, when he observed the team, it looked like they were organized around components, and the team also had a large amount of “hidden” work. There was not enough transparency on what was going on. This is when Rafał understood that a lot of work was needed to help this team understand the situation, and act on it. 

In this segment, we refer to the episode with Jeff Campbell and János Csorvási, where they also describe a similar situation, and how they got out of it. We also refer to the idea of using the Iceberg visualization to help teams understand that there’s a lot of “invisible” work that needs to be surfaced for the team to be able to take action.

Featured Book of the Week: Atomic Habits by James Clear

In Atomic Habits An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, Rafał found many ideas, and practices that helped him change how he operates both in his professional and personal life. In this segment, we also refer to the book The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded by Watknis

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

 

About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn

Jul 4, 2022

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

When Rafał joined this organization, he had a conversation with some of the Agile Coaches and Product Owners. In that process, he presented some ideas, and they came to an agreement of how to introduce Agile. However, that was not enough. Quickly, Rafał discovered that some critical stakeholders had not been listened to, which caused adoption problems. Rafał learned a key lesson in creating alignment between stakeholders before starting an engagement.

 

About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn

Jul 1, 2022

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

The Great Product Owner: The PO that could survive even the most embarrassing of situations, and help everyone move on

This PO was able to be involved with the team, but also let the team make their own decisions. But that was not the only superpower. This PO was also able to recover from the most awkward situations, and give everybody a sense of progress. Listen in to learn about a specific, and potentially embarrassing situation that the PO handled perfectly. 

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s get out of the “weeds”, by focusing them on the future, and the “why” question

When PO’s get involved with making technical decisions with the team (getting involved with the “how”), they tend to interfere more than help. The setup is so that the team usually then follows whatever the PO thinks they should do (as PO’s often have a technical background, or at least authority), and then the team loses the ownership of their own decisions. In this case, we also hear the the PO was so busy with the “how”, they didn’t have time to think about the future and the “why”. This is a self-perpetuating pattern that we need to help PO’s get out of. 

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 Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn

Jun 30, 2022

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.

Thomas’ approach to being a successful Scrum Master includes “making waves”, or has he describes it: “getting angry emails”. We talk about how important it is to look at the reactions people show when discussing the ways of working, and how important emotions are in showing us - the Scrum Masters - if we are having an impact! 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The double-diamond visualization to guide Scrum teams in their retrospectives

Thomas likes to use many different formats with the teams he works with. However, he strives to make the process of the retrospective explicit for the teams as they get started. He uses the Double-diamond visualization for the process of the workshop. After a few times of using that visualization, the teams know how the retrospectives go, and start being more natural and taking on the normal flow of the retrospective. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches - Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn

Jun 29, 2022

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.

Thomas was part of a team that had to replace a whole application. They decided to go with the StranglerFig pattern described by Martin Fowler. But, in this case, the pattern was being applied not only to the software, but also to the team, and interaction with the client. Thomas set-up a kick-off for the relationship, and based it on the key aspects we need to take into account as a Scrum Master: team agreement, expectations, vision for the product, and much more! Listen in to learn how Thomas used the first meeting with the client to set up the team’s agile ways of working, and get the customer involved in giving feedback and guidance to the team from day one!

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn

Jun 28, 2022

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

This team was full of passionate people, and experts in their field. However, they had the sense that they were “busy”, and this led them to retreat to their own tasks, and forget about talking to each other. As they were “busy” with their own tasks, they didn’t dare ask for help either, which made the situation even worse, and pushed them further into their personal silos. How can a Scrum Master help a team in this situation? We discuss with Thomas the possible angles we can take to help such a team.

Featured Book of the Week: Good Talk: How to Design Conversations that Matter by Stillman

For Thomas, Good Talk: How to Design Conversations that Matter by Stillman, was a reminder that conversations don’t happen by chance, and that our job as Scrum Masters is to prepare and facilitate many conversations. The book gives some tools, and advice on how to prepare those conversations. 

In this segment, we talk about Thomas’ newsletter, which you can follow at TheBacklog.cc

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

 

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn

Jun 27, 2022

when taking on a new 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.

Thomas was working with a scale up. The organization had grown quickly and the management felt that it was slowing down too much, so they wanted to work on their processes, and get the teams to collaborate better, and speed up the rate of delivery. After 6 months of trying, Thomas left. He felt that he had not had an impact on the organization, and needed to move on. Listen in to learn about what happened, and why that organization was not ready to improve. There’s a key lesson for all Scrum Masters starting to work with a new team or organization. 

 

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn

Jun 24, 2022

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

The Great Product Owner: The PO that stepped back so much, the team had no choice but to take ownership!

This PO was “annoyingly laissez-faire”, which at first irked Erik, but ultimately proved to be an asset for Erik and the team. The PO empowered the team in practice, by stepping back, and letting the team write their own User Stories, while at the same time being available to answer their questions. 

In this segment, we talk about the movie “Master and Commander”.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that wanted to control everything about the team

This PO thought they knew better than anyone else. Even if Erik would be able to have a good conversation about Agile with the PO, when the time came, the PO would revert back to “controlling” everything the team was doing. Erik setup a retrospective with the PO about the issue they were facing, and tried to help the PO step back. They found a new way to organize the Backlog Refinement so that the PO would not be tempted to control the team. Listen in to learn about the tough conversations Erik had with the PO, and how he tried to help the team and the PO. 

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.

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