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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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Now displaying: Page 8
Jul 11, 2023

Eliza Gregory: Addressing Communication Issues by Building Trust and Safety With The Scrum 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, Eliza shares a story about an international team that faced trouble with communication and escalation issues. The team initially attempted to create team agreements using a shared whiteboard. However, Eliza later discovered that team members were escalating concerns directly to management without involving her. This raised concerns about whether the team felt safe communicating with her. Eliza offers the tip of addressing this issue through one-on-one conversations, emphasizing the importance of creating a safe space for team members to express themselves. She found that these coaching conversations had the most significant impact. Eliza advises making it clear to team members that you are there to listen and understand their concerns. Additionally, she recommends setting up one-on-one meetings and allowing individuals to define the cadence that suits them best. Eliza also suggests conducting more workshops, especially for teams that are not yet mature, to facilitate better communication and collaboration.

Featured Book of the Week: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Grenny et al.

In this segment, Eliza describes the book "Crucial Conversations." She highlights that the book is dense and cannot be read in one sitting. Although it is not specifically focused on Agile or Scrum, it delves into conversations that occur when emotions are high and people feel unsafe or threatened. The book emphasizes the importance of creating a safe space and presents essential skills for effective communication with one's team and others. Eliza emphasizes the significance of recognizing within oneself when entering a crucial conversation.

 

[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 Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue.

Jul 10, 2023

Eliza Gregory: From Project Manager to Scrum Master, a first person 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.

In this episode, Eliza discusses an anti-pattern when her project management background interferes with her scrum master role, causing her to insert her opinion instead of allowing the team to fix the problem. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging mistakes publicly and showing vulnerability. Eliza also talks about the challenge she faced when transitioning to a new company and culture without enough time to adjust. She advises being prepared for changes in terminology when moving industries. Feeling the need to improve her skills, Eliza went back to the basics by reading more books and seeking opportunities to gain knowledge. Additionally, she shares the challenges of working with teams that don't speak English as their native language and suggests learning the working styles of the team. Eliza emphasizes the significance of asking for feedback from the teams and highlights that adapting to new teams is a personal journey. 

 

[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 Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue

Jul 7, 2023

Greg Miller: Five Qualities of Great Product Owners

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: Five Qualities of Great Product Owners

In this segment, Greg highlights a specific example of a remarkable Product Owner who would physically visit the team's building two days a week and sit closely with them, establishing accessibility and close collaboration. What made her stand out was her deep knowledge of the product, as she had been a previous customer and actively used the product being developed.

Furthermore, the great product owner was unafraid to provide valuable insights and articulate why users needed certain features, even if they hadn't explicitly requested them. She actively participated in every sprint review, where the team would allow her to test the product live and provide immediate feedback. Greg recalls this Product Owner as an integral part of the team, both professionally and personally, emphasizing her pleasant demeanor and strong team integration.

Overall, this segment showcases the qualities of a great product owner: accessibility, deep product knowledge, proactive involvement in sprint reviews, and a strong sense of collaboration and team integration. Such attributes contribute to effective communication, understanding user needs, and ultimately delivering a successful product.

The Bad Product Owner: Building Bridges with Product Owners, to Help Scrum Teams, and PO’s Succeed

In this segment, Greg highlights an example of a Product Owner anti-pattern, where a project manager with limited training and a negative attitude was assigned as the Product Owner for the Scrum team. This led to issues such as micromanagement and team dissatisfaction. Greg emphasizes the importance of building a personal relationship with the product owner and understanding their underlying fears and motivations. He also recommends the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie as a resource for effective communication and relationship-building. This episode sheds light on the challenges of product ownership and provides valuable tips for fostering a positive and collaborative environment.

 

[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 Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter.

Jul 6, 2023

Gregory Miller: Mastering the Art of Agile Leadership, The Building Blocks of a Successful Scrum Master

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, Greg dives into the key elements that contribute to the success of a Scrum Master. Drawing from his experience, he highlights: Firstly, building strong relationships and establishing trust with team members is paramount. A successful Scrum Master actively listens, empathizes, and makes themselves available to support the team. They prioritize collaboration and create an environment where team members feel safe and supported.

Secondly, a successful Scrum Master demonstrates a deep understanding of the Scrum framework and ensures its effective implementation. They facilitate Scrum events, encourage adherence to Agile principles, and address any impediments that hinder the team's progress. They act as servant leaders, advocating for the team's needs and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Moreover, they invest in their own growth by seeking opportunities for personal development and staying connected with the Agile community.

Overall, a successful Scrum Master excels in building relationships, guiding the team through the Scrum process, and serving as a catalyst for growth and improvement. Their ability to foster collaboration, trust, and continuous learning sets the stage for a successful Agile software development journey.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Kudos/Start/Stop/Continue framework, to emphasize focus on actions from the retrospective

In this segment, Greg shares his favorite retrospective format and highlights the importance of generating actionable outcomes. He begins by evaluating the team's readiness and chooses the appropriate retrospective format accordingly. When working with a new team, he utilizes a shared whiteboard and follows the Kudos/Start/Stop/Continue framework. However, he discovered that some teams expressed dissatisfaction with retrospectives because they lacked actionable items despite having productive conversations. Greg emphasizes the significance of combining meaningful discussions with concrete action items. He suggests voting on at least one item to prioritize for action and maintaining an action item list backlog to ensure follow-through. By incorporating these practices, teams can have engaging retrospectives that lead to tangible improvements.

 

[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 Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter.

Jul 5, 2023

Gregory Miller: Prioritization as a Catalyst, How Prioritization Revolutionized Agile in A Scrum 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, Greg recounts his involvement in a change process as a Business Analyst (BA). Hired for his Agile expertise, he was assigned to the manufacturing engineering section of the company, which already embraced Lean and Kaizen principles. However, in the software side, there was a lack of backlog and prioritization. Greg took initiative by introducing a clear prioritization method, emphasizing the need for a dedicated Product Owner (PO), and establishing regular meetings with managers to prioritize their work. Through his efforts, a force-ranked list of stories was created, allowing for efficient and streamlined prioritization.

Greg shares valuable tips based on his experience, including the importance of defining a simple prioritization method, fostering a collaborative mindset among managers, and ensuring stakeholder buy-in. He also highlights the significance of checking one's ego at the door and focusing on what is best for the company's success. Overall, this episode demonstrates the transformative impact of implementing prioritization and backlog management in an organization, even when Agile principles are already embraced in certain areas. Greg's proactive approach and insights provide valuable guidance for achieving efficient and effective change processes.

 

[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 Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter

Jul 4, 2023

Gregory Miller: From High Performers to Demoralization, And How The Product Owner Role Can Destroy A Scrum 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, Greg reflects on a team that self-destructed, causing him significant pain. The team, previously considered an exemplary high-performing unit, faced external factors and decisions that disrupted their dynamics. Leadership discussions about replacing their product, the removal of their Product Owner (PO), and a lack of support left the team directionless and demoralized. Greg recognizes the detrimental impact of removing the PO, highlighting it as an anti-pattern that ultimately led to the team's disbandment. This episode serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of providing support, direction, and maintaining team cohesion to foster a thriving and motivated workforce.

Featured Book of the Week: "The Scrum Pocket Guide" by Gunther Verheyen

In this segment, Greg talks about his most influential book for Scrum Masters, which is "The Scrum Pocket Guide" by Gunther Verheyen, a previous guest on the podcast. He highly recommends this book, as it has been invaluable to him in his role. Greg frequently refers to it and even keeps it on his nightstand for easy access.

One aspect that stands out to Greg is Gunther's emphasis on the values side of Agile. The book delves into why the Scrum values are significant and explores their importance in the context of Scrum. Greg appreciates this focus on values as a fundamental aspect of Agile practices.

For further exploration of the Scrum values, Greg suggests referring to the values section in the Scrum Guide. Overall, "The Scrum Pocket Guide" has had a profound impact on Greg's understanding of Scrum and serves as a go-to resource for him as a Scrum Master.

 

[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 Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter.

Jul 3, 2023

Gregory Miller: The Importance of Relationship Building in Agile, And How To Prepare For 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.

In this episode, Greg shares a story during a time of large company changes. He was assigned to a team that had previously struggled with a problematic Scrum Master. Greg had a conversation with the team's manager to understand their expectations. However, he failed to address the manager's assumption that the Scrum Master should perform the team's work.

As a result, the team remained confused about the role of the Scrum Master, and they constantly questioned Greg's activities. The failure, in Greg's perspective, was his inability to establish a stronger relationship with the manager and gain a deeper understanding of their expectations. Greg emphasizes the importance of building relationships with the teams one works with, even if it means setting aside the framework of Scrum temporarily.

In this episode, we recommend the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie as a valuable resource for improving interpersonal skills. Greg also shares a couple of tips based on his experience. Firstly, he suggests sitting next to the team from day one to foster a sense of belonging. Additionally, spending quality time with the team can help in developing a better understanding of their dynamics and needs. Greg emphasizes that effective work happens through people and building relationships is crucial for success.

Greg's failure to build a better relationship with the manager resulted in confusion within the team and a lack of clarity about the Scrum Master's responsibilities.

 

[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 Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter.

Jul 1, 2023

BONUS: Achieving Agility and Exploring the Product Owner's Impact in DevOps with Zhenya Balyasin

 

We start this episode by highlighting the challenges that Product Owners (POs) face when working with DevOps teams. Zhenya explains that DevOps work is unique and comes with a variety of incoming tasks and requests on a daily basis. Additionally, DevOps teams also require time to invest in improving their operations, which adds to the workload. The constant interruptions and chaotic nature of the work make it challenging for the PO to manage effectively. Unlike traditional backlogs where POs are used to prioritize tasks, in DevOps teams, the backlog may not always be the main focus. Zhenya identifies a common anti-pattern where DevOps teams have a strong willingness to help others, which can further complicate the role of the PO.

From Chaos to Clarity: Addressing Anti-Patterns in DevOps Workflows

Zhenya identifies several common anti-patterns that she has observed in DevOps teams. One anti-pattern is the resistance from the team to have their work organized by the Product Owner (PO) when they were already functioning without that role. Another anti-pattern is the team's excessive focus on maintenance tasks rather than prioritizing the development of the product itself. The lack of clarity in identifying the products among the various types of work received is also a common anti-pattern.

 

Zhenya emphasizes the importance of defining the product or service for the teams and establishing a clear roadmap. She suggests discussing the product development process and the role it plays within the team. It is crucial to involve the team in these discussions rather than imposing processes on them without consultation.

 

Zhenya also highlights the need for effective communication and collaboration with the team. Merely presenting a process without prior discussion and understanding of the team's dynamics and self-identity can lead to resistance. Instead, she recommends discussing process-related matters with the team beforehand.

Customer-Centric DevOps: How the PO Role Revolutionized a DevOps’ Team

In this segment, Zhenya discusses how she changed her own work and the dynamics of the team after the Product Owner (PO) role was introduced to the DevOps team. She initially encountered an anti-pattern where the team seemed resistant to accepting the perspective and needs of the customers.

 

To address this challenge, Zhenya offers a couple of tips. First, she suggests initiating a discussion within the team to clarify who the customer is and how they are being served. This helps align the team's understanding and focus on meeting customer needs.

 

Additionally, Zhenya recommends conducting interviews with customer teams or the company itself. These interviews provide valuable insights and highlight the differences in expectations between the DevOps team and the customer's requirements. By understanding these differences, the team can adjust their approach and ensure their work aligns with the customer's needs.

 

By implementing these tips, Zhenya was able to foster a better understanding of the customer's viewpoint within the team, leading to improved collaboration and a more customer-centric approach to their work.

People-Centric Change: Zhenya's Key Insights for Driving Transformation in Teams

Zhenya shares her approach to facilitating change within the team. She emphasizes the importance of change management and highlights the Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model. Zhenya advises breaking down the steps of change into smaller, manageable tasks while consistently communicating the value behind each step. She encourages the use of data to measure progress and guide decision-making. 

Additionally, Zhenya underscores the significance of focusing on the people involved in the change process. She suggests investing time in conversations to understand individual perspectives and values. Zhenya also recommends introducing the Product Owner (PO) role gradually, addressing questions and concerns, and being mindful of the potential impact of introducing multiple changes simultaneously. Building strong relationships with the team is seen as essential in driving successful change.

Preparing for Change: How Scrum Masters Can Assist Product Owners in DevOps teams

In this segment, Zhenya discusses the support she expects from Scrum Masters in helping Product Owners in similar situations. She advises Scrum Masters to proactively prepare the team for the upcoming changes even before the PO joins the team. Zhenya suggests working collaboratively with the PO, Scrum Master / Agile Coach, and team lead to define a clear strategy for the team. She highlights that the PO can also assist the Scrum Master/Agile Coach in this process by providing inputs such as the roadmap, OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), and defining the team's mission. Zhenya emphasizes the importance of redefining the team's identity to facilitate and embrace the desired change. She encourages close collaboration between the Scrum Master/Agile coach, PO, and team lead to drive successful transformation.

Enhance Your Change Management Skills: Zhenya's Top Resource Picks

Zhenya recommends further reading and resources related to the topic of change management. She mentions the Lewin Change Management model as a valuable resource to explore. Additionally, Zhenya suggests subscribing to the newsletter of Rob Lambert from Cultivated Management, who provides insightful content and potentially offers workshops on the subject. Another newsletter recommendation is Patrick Kua's level up newsletter.

 

About Zhenya (Evgeniia) Balyasin

Evgeniia, commonly known as Zhenya, is an experienced professional who collaborates closely with DevOps Engineers, assuming the crucial roles of Product Owner and Product Manager. With a strong background in agile software development, Zhenya brings her expertise to drive product strategies, prioritize backlog items, and ensure seamless coordination between development and operations teams. Her insightful approach and deep understanding of the DevOps landscape contribute to successful product delivery and continuous improvement.

You can link with Zhenya (Evgeniia) Balyasin on LinkedIn.

Jun 30, 2023

Bojan Smudja: Genchi Genbutsu, how to help Scrum Product Owners go beyond the backlog to understand the real product

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: Coaching the Product Owner, A Crucial Role for Scrum Masters

Bojan highlights the importance of coaching the Product Owner (PO) as a Scrum Master. He emphasizes that scrum masters should be prepared to provide coaching to the PO, focusing on their development rather than becoming product coaches themselves. Bojan notes that great POs possess the ability to multitask and actively participate in meetings. They act as focused salespeople, selling product ideas and visions to stakeholders and the team. Simply mastering tools like JIRA and stakeholder communication is not enough; the PO must also sell their ideas to the team and scrum master. By coaching the PO and helping them refine their skills, Scrum Masters contribute to the overall success of the product development process.

If you want to know more about what topics, and how you can coach your Product Owner, check out our e-course on How to Coach Your PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Genchi Genbutsu, how to help PO’s go beyond the backlog to understand the real product

In this segment, Bojan discusses a team composed of newcomers, including a newbie Product Owner (PO), working on an existing product. Bojan noticed that here was a disconnection between the work on the team’s Scrum board and the actual product. The PO struggled to bridge the gap between the technical tasks and the features used by customers. Consequently, the team lost sight of the purpose behind their work and the reasons for building the product. One prominent anti-pattern was the lack of a customer feedback loop, resulting in a missed opportunity to gather valuable insights. Bojan advises the implementation of appropriate feedback loops tailored to the specific product being developed. Additionally, he references the concept of "Genchi Genbutsu," which encourages going and seeing the product in action with customers to gain a deeper understanding.

 

[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 Bojan Smudja

Bojan is an Agile coach dedicated to assisting individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their objectives. With his expertise and guidance, he empowers others to embrace Agile methodologies and maximize their potential for success.

You can link with Bojan Smudja on LinkedIn

 

Jun 29, 2023

Bojan Smudja: Reading smiles, the measure of success for Scrum Masters

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, Bojan discusses the factors that contribute to the success of a scrum master. He emphasizes the importance of being recognized as a valuable part of the team and providing genuine assistance to team members. Bojan also mentions the transformative aspect of Scrum in changing the way work is approached. As an example, he shares a conversation with a product owner (PO) where he asked how the PO determines if the work being done is good. The PO responded by looking at the faces of team members and using their smiles as an indicator of success. This highlights the significance of fostering a positive and collaborative environment within the team, and measuring “smiles” as a way to evaluate our own success as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Bringing up hidden topics with the Team Mirror Retrospective

In this segment, Bojan shares his experience as a new Scrum Master for a highly technical team working with cryptocurrency. Initially, the team was hesitant to engage in open discussions during retrospectives and preferred writing post-it notes. To address this, Bojan introduces a powerful technique called the Team Mirror Retrospective. The process involves conducting individual interviews, anonymizing the responses, and then sharing them with the team as grouped reflections. This method is employed selectively for significant and sensitive topics that team members are reluctant to openly discuss. Bojan emphasizes that this retrospective format can also enhance interviewing skills when engaging with team members. He recommends this approach for remote teams and highlights its effectiveness in boosting morale and incorporating feel-good metrics.

 

[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 Bojan Smudja

Bojan is an Agile coach dedicated to assisting individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their objectives. With his expertise and guidance, he empowers others to embrace Agile methodologies and maximize their potential for success.

You can link with Bojan Smudja on LinkedIn.

Jun 28, 2023

Bojan Smudja: Conflicts and empathy, helping Project Managers learn the Scrum Master role when adopting Agile

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, Bojan discusses the challenges of change, emphasizing the need to start with personal transformation before guiding others. Scaling frameworks like SAFe add complexity to the change process, requiring numerous adjustments. Bojan shares a story of a top-down change where project managers were suddenly transitioned to be Scrum Masters. He highlights the difficulty of facilitating this shift and helping PMs adopt the new mindset. Especially because, often managers feel insecure and push PMs to exert control, creating a conflict between the change needed and the short term requests to Scrum Masters. Bojan advises bringing up these conflicts and developing empathy for managers. He suggests clarifying the role of an enabler for managers and coaching them in influencing teams positively. Understanding the safety net for managers in case of team failure and assisting with process mapping are additional tips Bojan provides.

 

[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 Bojan Smudja

Bojan is an Agile coach dedicated to assisting individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their objectives. With his expertise and guidance, he empowers others to embrace Agile methodologies and maximize their potential for success.

You can link with Bojan Smudja on LinkedIn

Jun 27, 2023

Bojan Smudja: How to break free from the feature factory anti-pattern, and learn to motivate Scrum 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, Bojan reflects on a team consisting of 7-8 co-located members who were initially operating under a seemingly perfect Scrum setup. However, despite having a smooth workflow and delivering a product already in production, the team faced significant challenges. They lacked a sense of ownership and focused only on completing JIRA tasks without considering real outcomes. Bojan admits allowing this pattern to persist without interference. The team fell into the trap of becoming feature factory workers, losing sight of the purpose behind their work. Anti-patterns such as "it's not my job" and "I finished my part of the ticket" emerged. Even attempts to improve team dynamics, like playing sports, didn't address the underlying issue of delivering outcomes. This situation persisted for an extended period, ultimately impacting the success of the product. Bojan's tip for listeners is to develop empathy towards the customer, emphasizing the importance of understanding their needs and aligning efforts accordingly.

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn

In this segment, Bojan discusses two influential books: "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries and "Agile Estimating and Planning" by Mike Cohn. He highlights a significant lesson he learned: the impossibility of having both fixed scope and a fixed deadline. Bojan emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between these two factors. He also mentions some practices that demonstrate how to implement agile planning effectively. Bojan also highly recommends "The Lean Startup" as a valuable resource for beginners in the field.

 

[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 Bojan Smudja

Bojan is an Agile coach dedicated to assisting individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their objectives. With his expertise and guidance, he empowers others to embrace Agile methodologies and maximize their potential for success.

You can link with Bojan Smudja on LinkedIn.

Jun 26, 2023

Bojan Smudja: The salesmanship required of a Scrum Master, and how it supports Agile adoption at team and organizational levels

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, Bojan emphasizes the importance of following established practices and processes. As Scrum Masters, we often juggle multiple responsibilities. Bojan highlights the need for Scrum Masters to adopt a sales mindset and effectively sell the agile transformation to others in the organization. He reflects on a challenging conversation he had with the CEO, and prompts listeners to consider the vision they are presenting to management and to understand their responsibility for team effectiveness. Additionally, he emphasizes the Scrum Master's role in helping PO and team select the right tasks to work on. Bojan provides a tip to continuously question the team's activities and encourages listeners to ask critical questions.

 

[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 Bojan Smudja

Bojan is an Agile coach dedicated to assisting individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their objectives. With his expertise and guidance, he empowers others to embrace Agile methodologies and maximize their potential for success.

You can link with Bojan Smudja on LinkedIn

Jun 23, 2023

Amruta Beri: Visual Facilitation and Dynamic Collaboration, The Secrets of a Remarkable Product Owner

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: Visual Facilitation and Dynamic Collaboration, The Secrets of a Remarkable Product Owner

In this episode, Amruta discusses a remarkable Product Owner who excels in her role thanks to her presence and rapport with the team members. The PO effectively facilitates the team using visual tools such as MURAL, encouraging participation and creating engaging visual information radiators. While the details of the solution are provided by the engineers, the PO skillfully asks questions that help them think of value-targeted solutions. Some of the PO’s superpowers include being recognized as a subject matter expert with excellent facilitation skills, and recognizing and leveraging the team's capabilities, fostering a dynamic and productive environment. This Product Owner is also a proponent of liberating structures, ensuring that meetings remain interesting and enjoyable. Her strong rapport with the team contributes to her overall effectiveness in the role.

 

The Bad Product Owner: The role of the PO in motivating the Agile team

In this episode, Amruta emphasizes that Product Owners should focus on providing clear requirements that are valuable to customers and easy for the team to implement. However, some Product Owners tend to delve into solutions too early and second-guess the team, which leads to micro-management and disengaged engineers. The anti-patterns discussed include engineers disengaging from refinement meetings. Amruta provides tips such as helping the Product Owner realize their role is to present the "what" and leave the "how" to the team, training the Product Owner on their responsibilities, encouraging engagement with the process, and allowing for Q&A during refinement. The importance of understanding the engineers' thought process is also highlighted.

 

[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 Amruta Beri

Amruta is an Agile enthusiast, artist, and environmentalist. She loves quiz shows, travel and sports, and is an engineer at heart.

You can link with Amruta Beri on LinkedIn and connect with Amruta Beri on Twitter.

Jun 22, 2023

Amruta Beri: Metrics and Goals, Driving Success with SMART Goals and Data-Driven Decisions

When it comes to Scrum Master success, Amruta highlights the importance of identifying the right problems to address, which allows for setting appropriate goals and using metrics to validate the effectiveness of the solutions. She suggests defining SMART goals that align with the product or company's strategy, emphasizing the significance of goal alignment between problem goals and team goals. Amruta recommends taking action on goals by identifying critical metrics for the team and focusing on 1 or 2 goals at a time. She references resources such as the Product Institute and the HEART metrics framework. Using a real example of decreasing support call volume, Amruta illustrates the process of measuring the current level, categorizing calls, and defining possible solutions. Success, according to Amruta, lies in identifying the right problem and establishing achievable targets.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Rotating Formats to Avoid Monotony, A Super Tip For Retrospective Facilitation

To keep retrospectives engaging, Amruta recommends incorporating different types of retrospectives to avoid monotony. She mentions the "Sailboat" and "Vegas" retrospectives as useful resources. Amruta provides several tips, such as starting the retrospective with an ice-breaker to lighten the mood, using appreciations to acknowledge team members' contributions, reviewing action items from previous retrospectives, selecting a theme to facilitate discussion, defining action items for the current sprint, and concluding the retrospective by leaving the team with a thought on how Agile can benefit them. These strategies contribute to creating a productive and enjoyable retrospective experience for the team.

 

[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 Amruta Beri

Amruta is an Agile enthusiast, artist, and environmentalist. She loves quiz shows, travel and sports, and is an engineer at heart.

You can link with Amruta Beri on LinkedIn and connect with Amruta Beri on Twitter.

Jun 21, 2023

Amruta Beri: The Dual Role Dilemma of a Scrum Master, and How to Elevate the Scrum Master Role

In this episode, Amruta discusses the common issue of the scrum master role not being recognized as a full-fledged role in many organizations. She shares her experience in an organization where she was expected to split her time between development and scrum mastering. However, she soon realized that this arrangement made it difficult for her to focus on either role effectively, leading to overtime work and personal struggle. Amruta emphasizes the importance of standing up for oneself and having a 1-on-1 conversation with the manager to explain the situation. She suggests presenting the idea of a full-time scrum master role as an experiment for a limited time. By becoming a full-time scrum master, Amruta was able to improve her coaching with the product owner, define working agreements with the team, and focus on delivering solutions for the right problems. This example demonstrated to the manager the significant impact a dedicated scrum master can have on the team's performance, ultimately influencing the entire organization. Amruta highlights the role of a Scrum Master as a catalyst and recommends the book Training From the Back of the Room!: 65 Ways to Step Aside and Let Them Learn by Bowman.

 

[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 Amruta Beri

Amruta is an Agile enthusiast, artist, and environmentalist. She loves quiz shows, travel and sports, and is an engineer at heart.

You can link with Amruta Beri on LinkedIn and connect with Amruta Beri on Twitter.

Jun 20, 2023

Amruta Beri: Code Optimization and Scope Creep, Common Anti-Patterns Scrum Masters Must be Aware of

In this episode, Amruta shares her experience working with a team on a website migration project that involved adding client-specific features. Initially, the project started off well, but they soon realized that all the stories were heavily focused on technical aspects. After about four months, as the codebase grew, they faced challenges with introducing stories about code optimization without defined scope. The stories became too big, making it difficult to convince the engineers to prioritize and focus on one optimization at a time. The team started carrying stories from sprint to sprint, resulting in deviations from their original plan. Amruta provides tips such as presenting data to highlight time allocation, involving senior members to facilitate communication, and focusing on specific features instead of the entire scope.

Featured Book of the Week: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

In this segment, Amruta shares her favorite book, "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Lencioni. She highlights how relatable the story is for Scrum Masters, as many have experienced similar situations. The book emphasizes the significance of trust within a team, aligning closely with Agile principles. It explores the journey of a team's transformation, shedding light on the challenges and dynamics that teams commonly face. Amruta's summary showcases the book's relevance to Scrum Masters and its valuable insights into building successful teams through trust and collaboration.

 

[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 Amruta Beri

Amruta is an Agile enthusiast, artist, and environmentalist. She loves quiz shows, travel and sports, and is an engineer at heart.

You can link with Amruta Beri on LinkedIn and connect with Amruta Beri on Twitter.

Jun 19, 2023

Amruta Beri: Building Trust and Encouraging Participation with Team Agreements

In this episode, Amruta shares their experience as a new scrum master and the challenges she faced in encouraging participation from all team members. She emphasizes the importance of building trust early in the team formation process and highlights the Tuckman model of team formation as a model that helps us understand the stages of group development. Amruta discusses the issue of some team members lacking trust and not feeling comfortable expressing their views and ideas in meetings, leading to the dominance of the loudest person in the room. To address these issues, Amruta suggests using working agreements (see Lisette's approach to team agreements) and conducting a starting exercise around team agreements. She provides tips such as using silent writing techniques to involve quieter team members and the value of establishing rapport through one-on-one conversations. Additionally, they refer to the "1-2-4-all" method from liberating structures as a useful resource.

 

[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 Amruta Beri

Amruta is an Agile enthusiast, artist, and environmentalist. She loves quiz shows, travel and sports, and is an engineer at heart.

You can link with Amruta Beri on LinkedIn and connect with Amruta Beri on Twitter

Jun 17, 2023

BONUS: How I Planned My Wedding With Scrum, and Other Key Agile Adoption Lessons With Julien Déray

Julien wrote the book titled "How I Planned My Wedding with Scrum" to apply his knowledge of Scrum to the process of wedding planning. Scrum provided him with a sense of assurance, clarity, and familiarity with the tools he knew best. By deepening his understanding and applying Scrum principles, Julien found that it helped him feel more in control and provided clarity throughout the planning process. Furthermore, working as a team with his parents and family members reinforced the collaborative nature of Scrum.

Why Use Scrum for Wedding Planning? 

One of the key questions is why Julien chose to use Scrum to organize a wedding—a big-bang event. However, Scrum's structured approach and iterative process lent themselves well to wedding planning. Julien found that giving a crash course on Scrum, defining roles and rules, writing user stories, and using personas to craft experiences allowed for effective planning and communication. Regular calls with the rest of the family and feedback loops enabled them to stay on track and adapt as needed. In the end, Scrum provided a sense of peace of mind and control over the process. The main takeaway was the sense of control and peace of mind that Scrum brought to the team.

Key Messages 

The book provides an accessible Scrum introduction for a broad audience, including those new to Scrum, and aims to convey the why of Scrum rather than focusing heavily on the how. Even for experienced practitioners, the book provides a fresh perspective on Scrum and agile methodologies. It emphasizes the usefulness and applicability of Scrum in various contexts, including wedding planning.

Challenges in Leadership and Management 

Julien emphasizes that as an IT community, agile methodologies like Scrum are already well-established. However, the challenge lies in bridging the gap to the rest of the company. Other parts of the organization may not be familiar with the tools and methods used in IT, creating a need for alignment and collaboration. Traditional management approaches, rooted in Taylorism, no longer work effectively in a fast-paced, agile environment.

Key Messages for Managers and Scrum Masters 

Managers and Scrum Masters are encouraged to trust themselves and leverage the tools they have at their disposal. Understanding the purpose behind their work and proposing ways to bring others along are crucial. Agile is not just a methodology but a holistic philosophy that can drive organizational transformation. During this episode, we refer to the following books:

Julien’s book is "How I Planned My Wedding with Scrum." And you can find the book on Amazon

About Julien Deray

Julien is a senior engineering manager at SwissBorg. His journey has moved him from coding to leading fast-paced engineering team. He has a strong focus an agile methods, to facilitate communication and work processes, and to allow people to work better without spending more energy.

You can link with Julien Déray on LinkedIn.

Jun 16, 2023

Mirela Mus: The Super Scrum Master, Blending Product Expertise and Coaching Skills

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 Super Scrum Master, Blending Product Expertise and Coaching Skills

In this episode, the focus was on a Scrum Master who went above and beyond the traditional role. This Scrum Master had extensive experience with the product side and demonstrated a highly personable nature with a coaching attitude. The phrase "it's humans all the way down" encapsulated their approach, emphasizing the importance of understanding and dealing with people from a human perspective. The episode highlighted the multifaceted skills and perspectives that this Scrum Master brought to the role, emphasizing the value of combining product knowledge, interpersonal skills, and a coaching mindset to create a positive and effective team dynamic.

The Bad Product Owner: Unveiling a Scrum Master Anti-pattern, and what PO’s can do about it

In this episode, Mirela discussed a Scrum Master anti-pattern where certain individuals disrupted the entire team under cover of implementing Scrum. Mirela suggests that one way to avoid this anti-pattern is to have a mentor to support the Product Owner. In the mentoring sessions, Mirela questioned the PO about whether the work of the Scrum Master was causing disruption and noise, and whether they were escalating numerous issues. She advised self-reflection to identify any triggers for such behavior. Building positive relationships within the team was recommended. Mirela emphasizes that excessive escalation is detrimental to everyone involved.

 

[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 Mirela Mus 

Mirela is the founder of Product People, a Product Management Consultancy on a mission to help companies discover and deliver great products faster. They have 41 full-time Product Managers who help companies focus on product-led growth and/or profitability.

You can link with Mirela Mus on LinkedIn and connect with Mirela Mus on Twitter.

Jun 15, 2023

Mirela Mus: From Good to Great, Secrets of Successful Product Owners

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, the focus was on what it means to be a successful product owner. The discussion began by considering the size and nature of the organization, whether it operates in a B2B or B2C environment, and the specific challenges the product owner (PO) needs to navigate. A tip was shared to create a list of requirements for success based on the product and organization context. Some PO hiring teams tips shared included looking for similarities between one's own business and successful businesses to hire from those industries. The importance of cognitive flexibility as a key skill for POs was also highlighted. The episode also included references to Product People live stream events.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The Asynchronous Agile Retrospective, a case study by a Product Owner

In this episode, Mirela shared her views on Agile retrospectives and provided practical tips. She recommended that all Product Owners (POs) ask Scrum Masters to host retrospectives. She discussed the benefits of asynchronous retrospectives and encouraged participants to write stories about improvements. Mirela suggested hosting a pre-mortem if a project or situation carries a high risk. She emphasized the importance of reflecting on what could have been done better with the available knowledge at the time. She mentioned the book Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts by Annie Duke, and highlighted the need to tune the frequency of retrospectives to address recurring issues effectively.

 

[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 Mirela Mus 

Mirela is the founder of Product People, a Product Management Consultancy on a mission to help companies discover and deliver great products faster. They have 41 full-time Product Managers who help companies focus on product-led growth and/or profitability.

You can link with Mirela Mus on LinkedIn and connect with Mirela Mus on Twitter.

Jun 14, 2023

Mirela Mus: The Product Owner’s view on Leadership Impact, Priorities, and Stakeholder Management for Scrum 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, Mirela discussed the challenges of change management and shared valuable tips. She emphasized that change can fail for various reasons and highlighted the importance of impactful leadership to drive successful change. Mirela recommended having a supportive group of people ready to assist in the change process and showcasing examples of successful changes to the team. Collaboration with Product Owners (POs) was emphasized, as they can greatly influence team performance. The ability of a PO to say "no" to higher-ups was discussed. Anti-patterns such as a lack of priorities or structure in prioritization were identified as potential problems at the team level. Mirela provided tips on mapping stakeholders, managing relationships, and helping the PO learn to influence people. In this episode, we refer to the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. Managing oneself, leveraging asynchronous work, monitoring the PM's meeting time, and deprioritizing as a cost-cutting measure were additional tips shared in the episode.

 

[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 Mirela Mus 

Mirela is the founder of Product People, a Product Management Consultancy on a mission to help companies discover and deliver great products faster. They have 41 full-time Product Managers who help companies focus on product-led growth and/or profitability.

You can link with Mirela Mus on LinkedIn and connect with Mirela Mus on Twitter.

Jun 13, 2023

Mirela Mus: The Product Owner’s View on Understanding and Overcoming Agile Team Self-Destructive Patterns

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, Mirela discussed a team that self-destructed, highlighting various anti-patterns and providing helpful tips. She emphasized the negative impact of being overly focused on competition rather than individual work. Toxic personalities within the team and the acceptance of individuals who didn't align with the team culture were identified as destructive factors. Mirela suggested ignoring disruptive behaviors selectively and being mindful of personal anxiety when starting work. Working "around" difficult team members was discouraged, while assuming good intentions and engaging in one-on-one discussions were recommended. The Nonviolent Communication (NVC) approach was mentioned, and open discussions in team channels were advised to address problematic behaviors transparently.

Featured Book of the Week: Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton Christensen

In this episode, Mirela shared her recommended books. The first recommendation was "Competing Against Luck" by Clayton Christensen, which helps cut through the noise and understand the underlying factors in successful innovation. The next recommendation was "Thinking in Systems" by Donella Meadows, a book that aids in navigating organizations and comprehending incentives by emphasizing the impact of systems. Mirela humorously mentioned the phrase, "it's because of the system, man!" Lastly, Mirela refers to the concept of "OODA Loop," which is the cycle observe–orient–decide–act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. These books provide valuable insights for understanding innovation, organizational dynamics, and the PO role.

 

[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 Mirela Mus 

Mirela is the founder of Product People, a Product Management Consultancy on a mission to help companies discover and deliver great products faster. They have 41 full-time Product Managers who help companies focus on product-led growth and/or profitability.

You can link with Mirela Mus on LinkedIn and connect with Mirela Mus on Twitter.

Jun 12, 2023

Mirela Mus: The Product Owner’s view on the overprotective Scrum Master that lacked a focus on value

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, Mirela discusses a Scrum Master failure in a classical scrum setup. The Scrum Master lacked understanding of the business and failed to protect the team. The client was struggling with a difficult subscription service and wanted to replace their old system, but the Scrum Master focused more on team-building activities. This caused panic and highlighted the importance of finding a shared goal and fostering team cohesion. Several anti-patterns were identified, including the Scrum Master feeling useless and prioritizing "showing value" without understanding the project's objectives. We discuss some Scrum Master tips for addressing these issues, such as open communication, maintaining a clear focus on critical product aspects, and avoiding the application of frameworks solely for the sake of it.

 

[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 Mirela Mus 

Mirela is the founder of Product People, a Product Management Consultancy on a mission to help companies discover and deliver great products faster. They have 41 full-time Product Managers who help companies focus on product-led growth and/or profitability.

You can link with Mirela Mus on LinkedIn and connect with Mirela Mus on Twitter.

Jun 9, 2023

Takunda Noha: The Customer-Centric PO, Embracing the Gemba Walk as a Product Owner

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: Customer-Centric PO, Embracing the Gemba Walk as a Product Owner

In this episode, the focus is on a remarkable product owner who actively engaged in the Gemba walk. The Gemba walk involves visiting the places where the team, staff, and customers interact to observe how the product is being consumed. The episode highlights that it is uncommon for product owners to actively participate in this practice. The exceptional product owner was known for his authenticity and commitment to his words. He demonstrated his dedication by being the first one present when the store opened and even disguised himself as a regular customer to gather valuable information. This genuine approach built trust as he shared insights that were not made up. The episode concludes by emphasizing the importance of checking one's ego at the door in order to truly understand and serve customers.

The Bad Product Owner: CEO-like Pressure, Overcoming the Struggle to Say 'No' as a Product Owner

In this episode, the focus is on a common anti-pattern of a product owner (PO) who struggles to say "no." The role of a PO is compared to that of a CEO, as they face immense pressure to deliver. The episode emphasizes the importance of having a strong backbone to effectively fulfill the responsibilities of a PO. The struggle to say "no" often leads to deviations from the planned direction and goals, causing challenges in achieving outcomes within quarterly cycles. Takunda shares some tips on how to help PO’s stuck in this anti-pattern. We cover, for example, assessing whether the PO is taking on too many tasks, and considering the opportunity cost of not prioritizing the original goals. We also discuss the need to stick to the planned path and make changes in future sprints rather than pivoting impulsively. 

 

[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 Takunda Noha

Takunda is a seasoned change agent. He specializes in turning dysfunctional teams into high performing teams.

You can link with Takunda Noha on LinkedIn.

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