Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

www.scrum-master-toolbox.org
An Agile and Scrum podcast to help you master the art of being a Scrum Master
How Scrum Masters can Observe Team Members Over Time to Assess Success | Silvana Wasitova
Nov 15 • 10 min
Silvana finds that many different possible formats can fit the teams we work with. She shares a resource (Retromat.Org) that helps us find ideas for new formats/exercises, and suggests a format that you can use this week: The Starfish Retrospective…
The Critical Importance of Permission to Coach for Scrum Masters | Silvana Wasitova
Nov 14 • 12 min
As Scrum Masters, one of the key ingredients for our work to succeed is “permission”. Permission to do our work with the teams. Permission to help the team find new ways of working. In this episode, Silvana shares the story of a team, how they…
How to Handle the “It’s not my Decision” Anti-pattern | Silvana Wasitova
Nov 13 • 11 min
In Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, Silvana found important lessons on how to engage with the teams, and how to change her mind about the role of a Coach or Scrum Master. Listen in to learn about the key lessons that book had for Silvana. …
The First Steps from Waterfall to Scrum | Silvana Wasitova
Nov 12 • 15 min
As Scrum Masters, we face many of the patterns of the old methodologies. In this episode with Silvana Wasitova, we explore the up-front planning, all-in commitment approach and how that affects agile teams. We also discuss how a Scrum Master can help…
How the Perceived Status of the Scrum Master Role Affects Scrum Masters | Paulo Rebelo
Nov 9 • 11 min
The role of Scrum Master is not yet a fully developed and recognized role in the Software industry. This has an impact on how people find (or not) their motivation to excel in that role. In this episode, we talk about cultures that place a lot of…
2 Critical Aspects for our Success as Scrum Masters | Paulo Rebelo
Nov 8 • 8 min
In this episode, we explore 2 aspects of our success as Scrum Masters that Paulo developed in his career. These are simple aspects of success that, if we pay attention, can directly improve how we reflect on our work, and help us find better ways to…
How Scrum Values can help trigger a change process | Paulo Rebelo
Nov 7 • 11 min
As Paulo started helping this company in their Agile adoption he noticed that, even if the company was “doing” Scrum, they were missing some critical aspects. Listen in to learn how Paulo helped this company find a better way to adopt Scrum, using…
Helping a Product Owner change from long specifications to User Stories | Paulo Rebelo
Nov 6 • 12 min
As Scrum Masters we don’t just work with the team, we also work directly with the Product Owners that support the team. In this story, Paulo shares the case of the Product Owner that had a Business Analysis background and thought the job was about…
How Scrum Masters can Cope With Intrusive Team Managers | Paulo Rebelo
Nov 5 • 12 min
When we come into work with a team, the first thing we must be aware of is the type and number of stakeholders that we will be dealing with. In this episode, Paulo presents a story of a team that he was supposed to help, but the stakeholders started…
Being Polite as a Way to Create a Safety Zone for the Team | Elizabeth Christensen
Nov 2 • 8 min
In this episode we explore a very specific culture within North America, and how it affects the adoption of Scrum. Listen in to learn how a Nebraska Scrum Master takes advantage of their specific local culture to help her team. About Elizabeth…
The Need to Adapt Scrum to non-SW teams | Elizabeth Christensen
Nov 1 • 10 min
When defining the format for the “next” retrospective it is easy to get lost in the many, many options that are out there. In this episode Liz explains why she prefers a format that is familiar, simple and consistent (Worked well / Didn’t work…
How Scrum Masters can Support Change with Data and Evidence | Elizabeth Christensen
Oct 31 • 13 min
As Scrum Masters we are often confronted with challenges and problems that the teams suffer on a daily basis. These challenges are only the start of the change process. In this episode, Liz explores the ways in which we can support the teams in…
Applying Scrum outside Software Development: a Marketing team | Elizabeth Christensen
Oct 30 • 12 min
In Strategic Planning by John M. Bryson Liz found some important lessons about how to lead a team with a mission. In Strategic Planning by Bryson we can read about how to lead an organisation and a team with intent. About Elizabeth Christensen…
How Scrum Masters can detect Team Burnout | Elizabeth Christensen
Oct 29 • 10 min
As projects progress, it is common that the pressure rises. Every day we work with teams that suffer many pressures, from stakeholders, from other teams, and from themselves because of the commitments they want to honour. In this episode we talk about…
Is Agile compatible with the North American culture? | Kyle Aretae
Oct 26 • 13 min
In this episode, we reflect on the fit between North American culture and Agile culture. We discuss some of the characteristics that define North American culture, and how that contrasts with other cultures. Specifically, we discuss why Lean,…
The success metrics that help Scrum Masters improve | Kyle Aretae
Oct 25 • 11 min
When Kyle reaches for his favorite retrospective formats he wants one that he is familiar with, and that improves the positive energy in the team. In the retrospective, as well as in other Scrum ceremonies he facilitates he asks 3 questions designed…
Change models, and change practice for Scrum Masters | Kyle Aretae
Oct 24 • 10 min
Kyle’s own journey when learning about change led him to understand the importance of focusing on the organizational aspects, not just the team he was working with. In this episode, we explore several different change models and end up with a set of…
How Scrum Masters can help teams address conflict without a blow-ups | Kyle Aretae
Oct 23 • 11 min
For Kyle, Agile solves 2 problems. One is the building of software in a better, more sustainable manner. The other is to create a functioning organization, which will become a better place to work. In this episode, Kyle also explains how a simple…
What Scrum Masters must focus on, beyond the teams | Kyle Aretae
Oct 22 • 15 min
Kyle’s background as a developer has informed his view of how teams can achieve the level of collaboration needed to be successful in an Agile environment. Having read Kent Beck’s Extreme Programming Explained book, he started to work with…
For Scrum Master: People are NOT Resources! | Faye Thompson
Oct 19 • 12 min
There’s the temptation that people are as easily replaceable as parts in a machine. But is that the case? And if you answer “no”, what does that mean for you as a Scrum Master? In this episode we explore the many reasons why treating people as…
How the Scrum Master must focus on stakeholder happiness as a success measure | Faye Thompson
Oct 18 • 11 min
When we discuss the success of a Scrum Master, happiness is a word that often comes up. Is the customer happy? Is the team happy? Are some of the questions we must ask ourselves, and in this episode, Faye reviews how we can ask, collect the answer for…
How Agile Retrospectives are the core of the change process | Faye Thompson
Oct 17 • 11 min
There are many tools out there to support a change process. So many in fact, that we often forget the humble Retrospective. The most important tool in our Scrum Master toolbox: reflect and adjust, inspect and adapt - the core cycle of change. In this…
How a poor Product Owner can destroy the team’s ability to deliver | Faye Thompson
Oct 16 • 10 min
Many things can fail when we work with teams. But one critical anti-pattern that leads to problems is the lack of a good Product Owner. In this episode, we explore what are the consequences for our teams of having a Product Owner that is unable to…
How to be a humane Scrum Master | Faye Thompson
Oct 15 • 11 min
“We don’t leave our human-selves at the door once we come into work!” - this is how Faye starts this episode. The question is: as a Scrum Master, what does it mean for me? Faye’s journey to the Scrum Master role gives us some insights into the…
Why Scrum Masters need to go beyond the cultural stereotypes | Ilya Bibik
Oct 12 • 15 min
Ilya has lived in 3 different countries, and currently lives in Canada where the IT industry is a melting pot of many cultures. That has taught Ilya a lesson: cultures are stereotypes that don’t really apply to single individuals. Being aware of…
How Scrum Masters can detect when the team is ready to be self-sufficient | Ilya Bibik
Oct 11 • 14 min
As we evolve our practice, we help the team be self-sufficient. Over time, the team will be able to handle most of the Scrum process itself. But how do we detect when the team is ready for that final step in their maturity? In this episode we talk…
Why Scrum Masters must focus on “one change at a time” | Ilya Bibik
Oct 10 • 10 min
When teams start with Scrum, there’s the temptation to define and implement many changes at the same time. After all, there’s a lot of new practices to take in. However, Ilya’s suggestion is different. Listen in to learn about the idea of “one…
How Scrum Masters can identify possible future problems with teams | Ilya Bibik
Oct 9 • 11 min
This week we recommend a paper, where Bruce Tuckman, of the famous Tuckman’s “stages of group development” model describes his famous model. Unfortunately that article is not freely available for everyone to read, so we stick to the wikipedia…
How to survive the micromanaging anti-pattern | Ilya Bibik
Oct 8 • 13 min
Management was micro-managing the team. Ilya, the Scrum Master, tried to protect the team. The stress levels were high… This is a very common story in the software industry. When deadlines loom, the whole dynamic changes. As Scrum Masters, we must…
The team vs. individual focus some national cultures have | Peter Zylka
Oct 5 • 11 min
Every country has a slightly different take on the important balance between team (group) and individual focus. Peter shares with us his own view of how different cultures find that continuum, and what that means in the country where he lives:…
The important Scrum Master job of helping the team reflects | Peter Zylka
Oct 4 • 11 min
The Oscar Academy Awards Awards retrospective format helps the team find a new dynamic for the retrospective. It’s a fun, but insightful format that can then be followed up with a action-oriented finale that helps the team pick up the most important…
A 3 step approach to help struggling teams | Peter Zylka
Oct 3 • 9 min
When a team has left Scrum to adopt another method, but is stuck, going back to Scrum may be a good approach. As they go back to something familiar they can regain their self-confidence. In this episode we explore such a story, and how Peter…
The problematic relationship between a team and their Product Owner | Peter Zylka
Oct 2 • 11 min
What happens when the Product Owner and the team can’t collaborate? When the team just takes orders from the Product Owner and stops contributing to the planning and content of the User Stories? This was the situation that Peter had to face. Listen…
Do you want to help the team, or one team member? | Peter Zylka
Oct 1 • 12 min
As we work with multiple teams, it is inevitable that we will meet a team member that is against Scrum in all possible ways. They’ll ask: why do we need to have Sprint Review? Why do we need to have a retrospective every Sprint? How do we, as Scrum…
The impact of polite cultures on the crucial open communication Scrum teams need | Paulo Rodriguez
Sep 28 • 7 min
People want to be polite, especially in some cultures like the Philippines. But too much politeness prevents the teams from talking about the tough issues that they must resolve. Paulo was struggling with such a team, and he had to solve that. He…
Value Delivery and self-organisation as the measures of Scrum Master success | Paulo Rodriguez
Sep 27 • 9 min
As the team takes more initiative and responsibility, the Scrum Master role changes. That, in itself is a measure of success for us as Scrum Masters. However, the real measure of success comes from the team delivering consistently value to the market,…
The role of communities of practice in the adoption of Agile and Scrum | Paulo Rodriguez
Sep 26 • 8 min
There are many possible approaches to help change stick in an organisation. In this episode we explore how a community of practice can help spread knowledge and support Agile adoption. In this episode we also talk about communities of practice outside…
How even small changes can wake up a team | Paulo Rodriguez
Sep 25 • 9 min
Continuing the theme from the previous episode, we talk about rewards and their impact on teams. In the book Drive, Daniel Pink explores what research has revealed about the use of rewards in different environments, and that helped Paulo find better…
The negative impact of rewards | Paulo Rodriguez
Sep 24 • 9 min
Rewards are an easy tool to use. But does it work as intended. Do rewards really help teams and people perform better? In this episode we explore one story where Paulo tried to use rewards to help a team, and what happened once the rewards became an…
How Scrum Masters can act in the context of individual-success oriented cultures | Claudia Toscano
Sep 21 • 10 min
In some cultures the team or collective is emphasised. However, in other cultures, the individual and it’s individual success is the focus. In this episode we talk about a culture that emphasises the “highlighting” of personal success over…
How to help teams reach independence from the Scrum Master | Claudia Toscano
Sep 20 • 9 min
As Scrum Masters the ultimate sign of a successful impact on the team we serve is that they are able to tackle the obstacles they face on their own. They may request help from the Scrum Master, but are confident they can solve their own problems…
How to help managers understand the impact of their influence on the teams | Claudia Toscano
Sep 19 • 12 min
As Scrum Masters we focus a lot of our time and attention on the work with the teams we support. Ultimately, however, the managers of those teams have a great influence on what the teams do, how they act and how they apply Agile in their day-to-day…
How a Scrum Master can help the team create a more successful “self identity” | Claudia Toscano
Sep 18 • 13 min
It’s inevitable that teams bump against problems sooner or later. That’s something all teams go through. However, how the teams decide to react to those problems makes a huge difference. In this episode we talk about the “self identity” that…
How to be a Scrum Master for a team of Agile Coaches | Claudia Toscano
Sep 17 • 15 min
You’d think that a team of Agile Coaches understands the importance of facilitation. However, that’s not always the case. In this episode we explore how a team of Agile Coaches went through the process many teams go through: from no facilitator,…
How to celebrate success in cultures that don’t value that aspect | Darryl Sherborne
Sep 14 • 8 min
One way to help teams find their “groove” is to celebrate success. A simple, yet effective, reinforcement technique that helps teams identify, and seek success later on as well. However, some cultures are better than others at expressing their…
The role of the Scrum Master outside the team work | Darryl Sherborne
Sep 13 • 10 min
In this episode we talk about a Retrospective format called Lean Coffee, a format that focuses on surfacing and tackling the issues that teams want to focus on. It’s a great format to host without much preparation, as the team comes up with their…
When team empowerment goes wrong | Darryl Sherborne
Sep 12 • 9 min
We often work within environments where the “vanilla” Agile approaches are insufficient. In this episode we explore what happens when more traditional organizations are adopting Agile. We talk about the role of the Product Owner in traditional…
When team empowerment goes wrong | Darryl Sherborne
Sep 11 • 12 min
Empowering teams to take initiative, react to the changes that come their way, and quickly adapt is (in principle) a good thing. Or is it? In this episode we explore a story of a team that took their empowerment and turned it into an obstacle. A set…
The Reporting Hell that many Scrum Masters need to face | Darryl Sherborne
Sep 10 • 14 min
As more traditional companies adopt Scrum, we - the Scrum Masters - are in a particularly tough position. We need to bridge the old world, and the new reality of Scrum. In the old world (PRINCE2, PMI, IPMA Project management, etc.) there were reports….
How direct and indirect communication styles can blow up in a team | Joanna Koprowicz
Sep 7 • 11 min
Have you ever heard an “indirect” communicator say that they disagree? Would you even know the difference between a “No” and a “Yes” from an indirect communicator? If you are in a country where “indirect” is the communication approach,…
Self-organization as the barometer of Scrum Master success | Joanna Koprowicz
Sep 6 • 13 min
Scrum Masters look at different aspects of team’s development. In this episode we talk about the team’s willingness and ability to self-organize and take over some of the ceremonies. We also discuss the different phases that teams go through, and…
4 steps to help drive data-substantiated change | Joanna Koprowicz
Sep 5 • 10 min
One of the aspects of change is the processing of information. As Scrum Masters we can help the teams, and organizations we work with process information better, and visualize that in the context of the shared goals. In this episode we talk about how…
The subversive role that Scrum Masters play | Joanna Koprowicz
Sep 4 • 11 min
Scrum Masters are there to help teams progress. But sometimes teams are the reason, and the reasons why everything must remain the same. However, we as Scrum Masters are there to bring a different perspective. A new way of looking at things. In this…
The pressures teams suffer and how a Scrum Master can help | Joanna Koprowicz
Sep 3 • 12 min
When the deadlines approach, there’s a lot of pressure on the teams. It’s understandable that there is pressure, but why does that happen when the software the team produces often waits for weeks before being put in production or released? What is…
The rule-driven culture and its impact on Scrum adoption | Maximilian Fritzsche
Aug 31 • 8 min
How would Scrum apply to a culture where the rule is to set more rules. To cover all angles, and to be prepared even for very unlikely scenarios? In this episode we discuss how Scrum can survive in a culture like the German culture, where people want…
The middle-management gate in many change processes | Maximilian Fritzsche
Aug 30 • 11 min
“Don’t get frustrated, progress takes time”, that’s a line Max wants you to remember when you start looking into more detail to what it means to be successful as a Scrum Master. Set aside a time, and follow Max’s approach to evaluating your…
The middle-management gate in many change processes | Maximilian Fritzsche
Aug 29 • 10 min
In this episode Max shares with us the often seen anti-pattern when change gets stuck when middle-management is involved. We explore the reasons for that, and discuss what we can do - as Scrum Masters - to help middle-management understand, adapt and…
Why teams stop improving, and resist change | Maximilian Fritzsche
Aug 28 • 11 min
The biggest enemy of a team is stagnation. Lack of change or progress in a way a team works is a sure symptom of larger problems, but it is also an indication that the team does not feel secure enough to take risks, fail, learn and eventually progress…
From minute-level plans for Retrospectives, to being more open | Maximilian Fritzsche
Aug 27 • 11 min
Max’s first Retrospective was an exercise in the limits of planning. He shares with us how he prepared for that, and ultimate how it all failed. From that failure, however, came an important lesson that he still applies today. Listen in to learn…
The value of respect and the goals for hierarchy in Scrum teams and Agile organizations | Abbas Ghahremani
Aug 24 • 12 min
From respect (a Scrum value) to hierarchy there’s often a very short route. But what is the role of hierarchy in our organizations? Why is it there, what is the benefit we get from it, what is the goal it tries to achieve? Abbas invites us to think…
The 3 key perspectives for Scrum Masters | Abbas Ghahremani
Aug 23 • 11 min
The MAD/SAD/GLAD exercise is a simple approach to cover the different aspects of the previous sprint in a way that elicits emotional thinking. The emotions we have towards the sprint events will help elicit problems, as well as achievements the team…
The anti-pattern of focusing on Agile instead of business impact | Abbas Ghahremani
Aug 22 • 14 min
In companies that start they Agile transition it is possible to forget that the ultimate goal is for the business to benefit from Agile, not for the business to be Agile. Agile, as an approach to product development, was created by practitioners that…
The impact of the Architect in Scrum teams | Abbas Ghahremani
Aug 21 • 14 min
As Scrum Masters we must constantly be aware of the different personalities and their impact on how the team performs. In this episode we discuss how the Architect role can, easily, have a major impact on the team dynamics. We also discuss the often…
The impact of individual rewards on the Scrum Master role | Abbas Ghahremani
Aug 20 • 14 min
The way we reward people for the work they do, directly impacts how they act. In this episode we explore the impact of an individual reward system on how Abbas acted, and what he learned from that situation. We explore motivation, relationships and…
How organizations help or hinder collaboration at the team level | Andrew Hudson
Aug 17 • 14 min
Collaboration is an often used work to explain how teams can reach their goals. So much so, that we, as Scrum Masters, very often work on improving collaboration. However, collaboration is really a series or trade-offs. In this episode we explore the…
Andrew Hudson invites you to investigate success | Andrew Hudson
Aug 16 • 16 min
Andrew shares his simple recipe for defining and working towards a successful outcome for our work as Scrum Masters. We discuss how context is important for our definition of success and how goals help us strive for our own improvement. In the end the…
Growing teams beyond the 7+-2 size | Andrew Hudson
Aug 15 • 10 min
Inevitably, successful teams will grow over time. The product grows, the requests keep coming in, and we need more people to be able to attend to all the needs of the customers, and the business. But how should we handle the situation when the team…
Surfacing and tackling conflict before it is too later | Andrew Hudson
Aug 14 • 12 min
Andrew introduces the Scrum Values and how many team-related anti-patterns come from now following those values. We also discuss the importance of enabling and helping surface diffcult conversations before it is too late, and things turn sour. In this…
How to find your groove as a Scrum Master | Andrew Hudson
Aug 13 • 13 min
After a successful assignment with one team, Andy moved on and started work with a new team. However, things were not as easy, or as simple as he expected. In this episode we talk about how every new team is a new experience, and we need to find our…
How to deal with the pressures the system puts on Scrum Masters | Gilberto Urueta
Aug 10 • 10 min
Scrum Masters are roles in an organization, and as such, it is affected by the same pressures that every person in the organization suffers from. In this episode we talk about the CTO that wanted the Scrum Master to “push change” into the…
Helping team members grow and improve their performance | Gilberto Urueta
Aug 9 • 11 min
Scrum Master success is the visible outcome when team members are performing. The role of the Scrum Master is therefore, at least in part, to help team members grow and improve their approach to work, and collaboration. In this episode we discuss the…
Using Agile to help HR transform the hiring process | Gilberto Urueta
Aug 8 • 10 min
IT is a fast-growing industry. One of the common obstacles for companies growing fast is that they can’t hire the right people or quickly enough to meet the needs of product development or product support. In this episode we discuss how a simple…
The case of the teammate that was always late | Gilberto Urueta
Aug 7 • 8 min
In this episode we tackle the problem of the teammate that was always late, and how trying to talk about the problem made the situation even worse. We often tend to talk about problems, but sometimes that’s the worst possible solution. Listen in to…
How to overcome the “new guy” syndrome as a Scrum Master | Gilberto Urueta
Aug 6 • 9 min
When we start our role as Scrum Masters in a new team, sometimes we suffer from the “new guy” syndrome. The new guy is the person that everyone tries to tolerate, but mostly ignore. That’s what happened to Gilberto. How can a Scrum Master…
How department silos destroy a Scrum team’s productivity | Zeshan Ilyas
Aug 3 • 10 min
Scrum teams can be very productive. Some teams can deliver working software to customers or production several times per day. However, some Scrum teams are stuck, unable to deliver and reach high levels of productivity. Silo departments, functionally…
The role Retrospectives play in the successful outcome for a Scrum Master’s work | Zeshan Ilyas
Aug 2 • 10 min
The Hot Air Balloon is one of the many metaphor-focused retrospective formats. These formats help the teams talk about the real problems without the pressure of being exact or literal in their descriptions. “It felt as if we had too much ballast”,…
How to involve management in an Agile adoption process | Zeshan Ilyas
Aug 1 • 11 min
Change Leadership is expected to come from the leaders of an organization. And although that usually happens, sometimes the leaders forget that the change they are driving affects them as well. In this episode we talk about how management can be…
The move from hard estimates to Story Points in Release Planning | Zeshan Ilyas
Jul 31 • 10 min
Planning is not the ultimate solution to problems we face. Agilists know this to be true, and it is even one of the values in the Agile Manifesto: Responding to Change Over Following A Plan. But planning is still necessary, and a critical part of how…
Learning about and removing fears we face as Scrum Masters | Zeshan Ilyas
Jul 30 • 11 min
Agile adoption is a process that can create fear in the organization. Not the least of which because it changes team composition (from component and functional teams to cross-functional teams). How do we identify the fears in the organization and…
Understanding the real reasons for Scrum adoption | David Spinks
Jul 27 • 10 min
Scrum adoption When organizations adopt Agile and Scrum in particular, the usual reason is “faster and better”. However, that can be a smell that the organization has not yet understood the real reasons why they are adopting a new approach to…
Customer-centered success metrics for Scrum Masters | David Spinks
Jul 26 • 10 min
As Scrum Masters it is easy to get focused on the team or the organization. However, the customer is the reason for the work we do. In this episode we discuss some of the metrics or questions we can use to assess our success as Scrum Masters. A…
How to help a team adopt Kanban | David Spinks
Jul 25 • 11 min
When David met this team, it was clear that the team had a serious problem in managing their work. There were more than 150 items in progress with 12 people in the team. The recipe for disaster. During his work David recognized that maybe Scrum…
How to help a team get unstuck | David Spinks
Jul 24 • 9 min
When teams are stuck in their Agile adoption, it is tempting to bring in more training, do more teaching and expect that to solve the problem. In reality, however, the situation is much more complicated. We need to understand the real reasons for the…
Facing failure as a Scrum Master is a key part of the journey | David Spinks
Jul 23 • 13 min
When we start our journey as Scrum Masters, we are not only learning something that is new to us, but we are also learning something that is new to everyone else. Scrum is new, even in it’s 20 or so years of life, there’s not been time to develop…
On creating the space for Transformation to happen | Jem D’jelal
Jul 20 • 12 min
In this reference filled episode we talk about change, how to involve people in change, the different approaches to management and many other topics. We also discuss one of the possible skills you can use as a Scrum Master: the energy level you put…
Look at what changes over time to assess Scrum Master success | Jem D’jelal
Jul 19 • 8 min
When we are knee deep in our role as Scrum Masters, we often forget that all success is a function of how we, and the team, and the organization evolve over time. Jem suggests we should look at what has changed over time to assess our success as Scrum…
From change passengers to change early adopters | Jem D’jelal
Jul 18 • 10 min
“When change is pushed onto people, you end up with a lot of passengers” - Jem says. If on top of that you focus on the change “blockers” instead of the “early adopters”, you’ve got the perfect storm against change. In this episode we…
The leadership as command and control anti-pattern | Jem D’jelal
Jul 17 • 12 min
When strong personalities are in positions of power, their ideas become “law”. But sometimes the leaders are themselves prisoners of their own approach to work. In this episode we discuss how we, as Scrum Masters, can help those leaders recognize…
The temptation of taking on the Product Owner role as well as the Scrum Master Role | Jem D’jelal
Jul 16 • 14 min
As an unlikely Scrum Master Jem went through a journey of adapting to a new industry, and a new role. In his eagerness to bring value to the organization and teams he worked with he focused on taking on more responsibility. But is that a good idea?…
BONUS: Mike Burrows on Agenda Shift, the outcome-oriented change approach
Jul 14 • 27 min
As Scrum Masters we are constantly facing a changing environment. Every Scrum Master needs to learn about change, change methods and tools that work in practice. In this episode we dive deep into the change approach that Mike Burrows developed based…
The lack of accountability as a systemic anti-pattern | Andreas Plattner
Jul 13 • 9 min
In The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni describes an anti-pattern that often develops in teams: the lack of accountability. When we accept failure not as a part of the learning process, but rather as a tabu: something we can never talk…
5 categories to evaluate Scrum Master success | Andreas Plattner
Jul 12 • 11 min
A recurring approach to self-evaluation is to define aspects or categories that we should evaluate on a regular basis. Andreas shares his 5 categories, and how he focuses on the reflection and improvement cycle as a Scrum Master. The key message…
The role of patience in Change Management | Andreas Plattner
Jul 11 • 12 min
Helping organizations and teams change can sometimes be a very frustrating experience for the experienced Scrum Master. To lead a change process it is not enough to “know” what needs to be changed. The change happens only when people realize what…
How to overcome the finger pointing anti-pattern | Andreas Plattner
Jul 10 • 9 min
When working with multiple teams, in a multi-team Scrum project, we may face what Andreas faced: the finger pointing anti-pattern. This is especially common in environments where no one wants to “be wrong” or take risks. Even if learning and…
The line-manager transition when adopting Agile | Andreas Plattner
Jul 9 • 12 min
The line manager role is a critical role in any organization. When line management is confused, and scared Agile cannot be easily adopted. The reasons for the fear may well be imaginary, but the fear is real and drives their behavior. In this episode…
BONUS: Allan Kelly and Vasco Duarte on #NoProjects and #NoEstimates the latest trends in the Agile community
Jul 7 • 39 min
This is an episode about #NoProjects, #NoEstimates and introduces a unique, and 1-time-only workshop by Allan and Vasco that will take place in August 21st, 2018 in Zurich, just before the ALE2018 Unconference. Check out this page about the…
The need for control as a root cause for many systemic anti-patterns | Mark Cruth
Jul 6 • 15 min
The need for control is something that affects many of our behaviors. In organizations that is translated into several anti-patterns that detract from the ability of the team to deliver value. Status reporting instead of delivering, wanting to know…
2 Aspects to Assess Scrum Master Success | Mark Cruth
Jul 5 • 11 min
During our journey as Scrum Masters we often struggle with the meaning of success. Mark’s approach hinges on two aspects: eliminating the need for the role, and connecting with the “why”. In this episode we discuss how those two aspects shape…
The Scrum Master as the final impediment to self-organization | Mark Cruth
Jul 4 • 10 min
Some teams get to a point where they are ready to take ownership of their own work and process. When that happens it is good to have a conversation and map-out the team’s journey to taking over and working without the daily presence of a Scrum…
How to overcome the micro-managing Architect anti-pattern | Mark Cruth
Jul 3 • 12 min
Teams need to take ownership of their own work, so that they can effectively focus on delivering running, working software every Sprint. However, sometimes there are strong personalities in the team. We may want to ignore that anti-pattern, but it…
Focus on collaboration and get a mentor to be a great Scrum Master | Mark Cruth
Jul 2 • 13 min
When we start our journey as a Scrum Master we are taking a leap into a new world. It’s not just that Scrum Master is a new profession. It is also that the lessons that served us so well in the past, are no longer the best approaches. In this…
The transparency gap as a systemic problem | Denis Salnikov
Jun 29 • 12 min
In organizations that burden teams with multiple projects, it is natural that some information is not available. Be it because the team is too busy to openly communicate with management, or because there are many stakeholders that are not aligned. The…
How to evaluate team progress in their Agile journey | Denis Salnikov
Jun 28 • 14 min
As Scrum Masters, our attention is very much focused on the evolution of the team, and how we can support their development. Using a framework like Shu-Ha-Ri can help us verbalize that evolution and track the progress of the team over time. As we…
Communities of Practice as a change tool | Denis Salnikov
Jun 27 • 13 min
There are different stages in a change process. First we start by getting the early adopters interested and practicing Agile, then we hit the first resistance waves and deal with them. Later we face the late majority and what Jason Little calls the…
How teams get stuck in their Agile adoption | Denis Salnikov
Jun 26 • 15 min
It’s hard enough to adopt Agile in a company that wants to progress in their Agile journey. But what happens to teams that are stuck in an organization that is still using traditional software development methods? In this episode we discuss the case…
The anti-pattern of the Scrum Master who is also the Product Owner | Denis Salnikov
Jun 25 • 14 min
When we get started with Agile there will be a strong temptation to take shortcuts. One very common shortcut is to remove a few roles and think that all will work fine anyway. But is that really true? In this episode we discuss what happens when we…
BONUS: Molood Nori discusses distributed Agile Software Development
Jun 23 • 41 min
Distributed teams are a fact of the multinational organizations we work with. Hiding from it is not going to remove that. And crying “distributed agile = bad agile” is only going to alienate people who genuinely need to learn to cope with the fact…
The Agile Theatre that some teams play | Shubhang Vishwamitra
Jun 22 • 10 min
Agile Software Development is a new entrant in the Software Development industry. Although it started in 2000, the fact is that many organizations are still in the first stages of adoption. Inevitably we run into several Agile Theatre problems:…
5 different perspectives to analyze our Scrum Master progress | Shubhang Vishwamitra
Jun 21 • 12 min
As Scrum Masters we must constantly set the example. One of the examples we need to set is that of Continuous Improvement. Shubhang suggests we should regularly look at what has changed from the moment we started with the team until “now” and…
The case of the disappearing Product Owner | Shubhang Vishwamitra
Jun 20 • 10 min
This is the case of a team that was working well. They understood Agile, they had experience, they practiced Agile. However, there was a problem. The Product Owner was missing. What happened? What were the problems, and what change management approach…
The impact leadership can have on a team | Shubhang Vishwamitra
Jun 19 • 12 min
In this episode we explore how leadership can have a huge impact on how teams develop, and what kind of patterns or behaviors take over. Drawing on the Tuckman model and The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model we explore how managers can help teams…
Transitioning from Scrum Police to Collaboration Booster | Shubhang Vishwamitra
Jun 18 • 11 min
When we work our way through the Scrum Master learning curve, we go through many phases. One of those phases (one that is common for many Scrum Masters) is the Scrum Police phase. Where we focus on form over function, and act as an enforcer, instead…
The line manager anti-pattern in Scrum | Sarah O’Brien
Jun 15 • 13 min
Scrum teams are supposed to be fully responsible for their work, and autonomous in the way of working. However, in many organizations line managers are still the ones yielding the power over teams, and even assign work directly to team members. This…
Two aspects of Scrum Master Success | Sarah O’Brien
Jun 14 • 12 min
There are two aspects of success: our own evolution as Scrum Masters, and what the team feels about their own progress. With Sarah we explore some of the questions we can use to reflect on these two aspects of Scrum Master success. In this episode we…
In change, start with visualization | Sarah O’Brien
Jun 13 • 12 min
Visualization is one of those tools we often ignore, or dismiss because it does not fit the distributed world we live in. However, that’s one of the most important ways to get a change started. In this episode we explore how adding a simple…
The tough Scrum Master job of listening | Sarah O’Brien
Jun 12 • 11 min
Listening is not the easiest part of the Scrum Master job. However, that’s one of the most important and powerful tools we have in our toolbox. In this episode we explore the case of a team that was entering a spiral of conflict and what was needed…
Being a woman and a Scrum Master | Sarah O’Brien
Jun 11 • 10 min
An issue that we often ignore (or want to ignore?) is the impact of prejudice on our work as Scrum Masters. Maybe it is about being different, or not fitting in the prevalent engineering culture. There can be many differences that make our job as…
BONUS: Marcus Hammarberg talks about simple techniques that can transform leaders
Jun 9 • 46 min
Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, a book we here at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast are helping to publish. This book is inspiring, and will definitely move you to action. In this episode we discuss some of the many techniques…
How different questions can radically change how you plan software projects | Jella Eiffler
Jun 8 • 12 min
The planning system, i.e. all the planning approaches, and techniques we use, can often create a set of non-negotiable needs that teams need to fulfill. Starting with up-front planning! If our planning system requires estimates for every possible…
Self-guided retrospectives and how to keep ourselves accountable as Scrum Masters | Jella Eiffler
Jun 7 • 12 min
In our work as Scrum Masters, we meet some teams that are already at the point where they can start to take ownership of some (if not all) critical aspects of the work they do. Retrospectives are one great example of that. In this episode we talk…
Change as the operating model for Agile organizations | Jella Eiffler
Jun 6 • 12 min
Change is a big scary word in many organizations. But why is that? In this episode we talk about change in a different way. We explore what change would be, if it were the basic operating model of the organization. We talk about Nils Pflaeging’s…
What to do when you, or the team, feel stuck | Jella Eiffler
Jun 5 • 10 min
Teams can sometimes enter a negative, destructive cycle whereby their actions make their own situation even worse. In this episode we talk about a team that refused to engage with users, and did not want to host their sprint reviews with stakeholders….
Agile is not about “Faster and Cheaper”, it’s much more | Jella Eiffler
Jun 4 • 13 min
Agile is getting adopted by more and more companies. It is inevitable that some managers will think that Agile is about “faster and cheaper”, but essentially the same as before. But is it? And is the focus on faster and cheaper going to help the…
BONUS: Karin Tenelius on how Self-organization can have a major positive business impact
Jun 2 • 37 min
Karin has a long experience helping teams and businesses to use self-organization as a way to drive business success. She’s worked as a interim-CEO in several companies where she helped drive major changes and positive business results using the…
The case of the destructive Bonus System | Lynoure Braakman
Jun 1 • 10 min
The casual reader of HR websites and journals may think that bonuses, and their methods/systems are a very important part of keeping a workforce motivated. They do have an impact, but it is not always as we expect it to happen. In this episode we…
Delivering value as the key to Scrum Master success | Lynoure Braakman
May 31 • 12 min
Scrum Masters work and influence many aspects of an organization or project. However, there’s one overarching concern that we must have in mind at all times: “are we delivering real value to our customers and stakeholders?” Lynoure discusses the…
How organizational changes heavily affect team dynamics in software projects | Lynoure Braakman
May 30 • 10 min
Working with a team is hard enough when the organization is stable and not going through a major upheaval. But when an organization is in massive change, how can we keep teams motivated and engaged with the work? In this episode we discuss the story…
Technical Debt in software development and having the courage to say “no” | Lynoure Braakman
May 29 • 11 min
Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister is one of the classics in the management of software projects niche. Originally published in 1987, the book focuses on the specific aspects that relate to successfully managing a software development team. In this…
The Scrum vs Kanban debate, and the problems with both | Lynoure Braakman
May 28 • 10 min
Scrum vs Kanban is a very common debate. Some teams will be adamant that only one of those applies to their context. Whichever you choose, you should be aware of the consequences. In this episode we explore one such process change, and the problems…
FitRep: How to find the impactful system conditions | Kathy Andersen
May 25 • 11 min
On Friday’s we usually discuss system conditions. This episode is no exception, however we also take a look at a method to identify those system conditions before they cause major problems for the teams. We discuss the Spotify Squad Health Check as…
FitRep: Applying lessons from the Marines to following progress for teams | Kathy Andersen
May 24 • 11 min
Kathy presents the FitRep, a performance evaluation system from the US Marines and how it inspired her to create a similar approach for measuring team progress and Scrum Master success. Kathy also shares with us the specific questions she looks at…
Kanban adoption as an example of change leadership in an organization | Kathy Andersen
May 23 • 10 min
The adoption of a new process can be a great example of how change happens and is gradually accepted, and then adopted by the teams and team members. In this episode we explore a Kanban adoption, and how the process of Kanban also had an impact on the…
From waterfall project management to Agile Software Development | Kathy Andersen
May 22 • 13 min
When a team has a past firmly in the waterfall camp there are some specific problems we should look for. In this episode we talk about one such team, how they looked at requirements and how that impacted their work. We also discuss about the changes…
Mapping how a Story gets developed and what we can learn from that | Kathy Andersen
May 21 • 12 min
In retrospectives with the team we are looking for improvement opportunities. And often the team members will already have ideas about how to improve the ways of working. But sometimes we need to look for improvement opportunities, and the “The…
Bottlenecks are caused by system conditions | Umer Saeed
May 18 • 10 min
When working with teams, we often face bottlenecks. Points in the process that slow everything down. Those bottlenecks are where we should focus our attention if we want to help our team deliver more and faster. For that to happen we need to…
Success as a Scrum Master and a Scrum team | Umer Saeed
May 17 • 11 min
When thinking about our success as Scrum Masters, Umer invites us to think about the success of the team as well. But not forgetting that, as Scrum Masters, we have a specific job to do with concrete questions to ask ourselves in order to assess our…
Change management at the team level | Umer Saeed
May 16 • 10 min
Sometimes we have to work on team-level changes. Changes about how to release for example. In this episode we explore one such change, and everything that we need to be aware of when working with team, stakeholders and a process that needs to improve….
Artificial Scrum and other anti-patterns | Umer Saeed
May 15 • 12 min
Teams sometimes take “timeboxes” in Scrum as something of a “soft rule”. A rule that is ignored when necessary to avoid the hard-truth of failing to deliver in the Sprint. This is just one of the anti-patterns we discuss with Umer in this…
Start by fixing the basis of Scrum, but beware… | Umer Saeed
May 14 • 12 min
Umer was working in a project where chaos was the approach the teams were taking. Not a good way to start, especially not for a new Scrum Master. This led Umer to learn a few tough, but critical lessons about how important it is to set…
DevOps and related anti-patterns | Jeff Maleski
May 11 • 16 min
Sometimes, with the best of intentions, we create policies that actively detract from the team’s ability to deliver. Jeff shares with us such a story, where the team was not able to deliver their product to production. They needed some other team in…
Menlo Innovations and inspiring work | Jeff Maleski
May 10 • 12 min
When Jeff discovered that Menlo Innovations (from the book Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan) was a drive away from his workplace, he got a few people together and started a journey that would change his view of how work should work. He decided that his…
Change Management gone wrong and what to do about it | Jeff Maleski
May 9 • 13 min
Sometimes we do a great job, we help the teams reach a cross-functional collaboration, they are able to release production ready code but… Did we really reach our goal? Jeff tells a story of a change process where some of the critical ingredients of…
Developing teams and team members | Jeff Maleski
May 8 • 12 min
When we let the team grow their own silos, then we end up with teams that have many single points of failure. Is that really what is best for the team or the business? The famous bus-factor metric tells us how many people would have to be run over by…
Digital Transformation in traditional organizations | Jeff Maleski
May 7 • 15 min
What can 5 monkeys tell us about agile/digital transformation? That’s what Jeff was asking when he found himself in the middle of an agile transformation in an organization where some people had been working for decades. That led to an important…
BONUS: Tim Ottinger on practical ways to enable psychological safety: The Trust Transaction
May 5 • 41 min
Psychological safety has been claimed to impact greatly the productivity and well being of teams. Building trust is how we reach psychological safety, but trust is a touchy topic for teams. Scrum Masters try to build trust between team members, with…
Working harder as an Anti-Pattern and the importance of asking why | Lucas Smith
May 4 • 12 min
Nobody gets credit for solving problems that never happened is a paper that explores why the tools that are the reason for success in some companies are ineffective in other companies. And when that happens, people in those organizations have the…
5 Scrum Master success benchmarks | Lucas Smith
May 3 • 12 min
The questions we ask from ourselves, and the team asks from themselves are critical to influence our behaviour and decisions. In this episode we explore 5 different aspects for a successful Scrum Master, and what Lucas has learned about them. Featured…
A step-by-step change process to help you navigate organisational change | Lucas Smith
May 2 • 11 min
In this episode we discuss a step-by-step approach that Lucas took to help him navigate change in an organisation where he worked. We discuss each step, why it is important, and how it helped Lucas in his quest to help the organisation change. In this…
The secret ingredient that is critical to Scrum | Lucas Smith
May 1 • 12 min
Getting a team to learn and practice Scrum is not enough. There’s a critical aspect to a team’s own success and further development: feeling ownership over the product they are developing. In this episode we discuss how the lack of ownership in…
How being yelled at by users changes your perspective | Lucas Smith
Apr 30 • 11 min
It is common to claim that we must user-centric, or listen more to users, or even involve users more in the product development. But Lucas has an extreme case of that message for us. Listen in to learn how being yelled at by users can totally change…
How we can help a Scrum team quickly overcome certain system conditions | Michael Küsters
Apr 27 • 12 min
Some of the anti-patterns that cause problems in our organisations are: thinking only about efficiency, separating skills and having only specialists, and trying to maximise utilisation of people’s time. In this episode we discuss how those…
Success for a scrum master is a mature team | Michael Küsters
Apr 26 • 11 min
Conversation can open up the biggest issues that the team has in mind. And sometimes a good, open conversation is the best way to get the team to open up. In this episode Michael shares his approach to organising and facilitating a retrospective…
Avoiding Death March with Agile adoption and the help of the team | Michael Küsters
Apr 25 • 8 min
A software company wins a bid to build a software product. They realise that the time and money they have to deliver that project is way shorter than what they have done in the past. What do you do? Many companies start their Agile journey in a…
A real story about the negative consequences of too much autonomy | Michael Küsters
Apr 24 • 13 min
Autonomy is one of the key aspects in Daniel Pink’s motivation triggers: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose. However, there is such a thing as too much autonomy. In this episode we explore the story of a team that was too autonomous. Listen in to learn…
The eternal IT - Business conflict, and how it affects collaboration | Michael Küsters
Apr 23 • 14 min
In this episode we explore a possible anti-pattern: the IT - Business conflict. It may start softly with some minor disagreements over priority, but if unchecked it can grow much bigger. In this episode we discover Michael’s own story of trying to…
BONUS: Richard Kasperowski on high-performance teams and The Core Protocols
Apr 21 • 35 min
In this episode we explore The Core Protocols, a set of ideas developed by Jim and Michele McCarthy as they investigated the causes of performance improvement in teams. During that research Jim and Michele discovered that high-performance teams did a…
How deeply held beliefs shape the system of work | Jeff Bubolz
Apr 20 • 10 min
One of the least spoken about system conditions is the deep belief that “more is better”. Many organisations make decisions and organize their work based on that model: more features = more success for the product. But is it really like that?…
The importance of having the team measure their own success | Jeff Bubolz
Apr 19 • 15 min
Success is when a team has reached a point where they improve regularly, and perhaps don’t even need a Scrum Master present at every meeting, or facilitating every session with the team. When that happens it is time to move on to other topics. Is…
How to change from component teams to feature teams | Jeff Bubolz
Apr 18 • 10 min
When we visualise the work, how it flows in the organization we discover the real bottlenecks that prevent us from delivering. In this episode we study the case of an organisation that was divided into component teams instead of feature teams. That…
How to change Retrospectives from complaining sessions to improvement sessions | Jeff Bubolz
Apr 17 • 10 min
Retrospectives can sometime be affected by an atmosphere of negativity. When the team is only complaining, but not looking forward we have a challenge. In this episode we explore such a situation. And how simple changes helped Jeff turn the atmosphere…
The journey from Agile Skeptic to Agile advocate | Jeff Bubolz
Apr 16 • 19 min
An untold story in the Scrum Master community is that not all of us started out as Agilists. That’s my case, and also Jeff’s case. In this episode we explore the personal transformation that Jeff went through: from skeptic to advocate of Agile in…
Applying Scrum in an old-world industrial company | Petr Holodňák
Apr 13 • 10 min
Scrum was “born” in the IT world, and it is still mostly applied in that environment. But the lessons that Scrum can teach us go over industrial borders. In this episode we learn how the ideas in Scrum can apply to an old-world industrial company….
The importance of a shared goal to spark improvements | Petr Holodňák
Apr 12 • 11 min
Often we organize retrospectives at the end of the Sprint. But is that the best time to solve problems? It may be! But not always. So what to do when we need to act now? The Immediate Retro, of course! Petr explains his view of why the Immediate Retro…
How Scrum can help teams of teachers as well as it helps IT teams | Petr Holodňák
Apr 11 • 10 min
Petr has been working with a democratic school in Prague. At first blush it may seem hard to get a democratic school to find a common direction and productive collaboration. After all, isn’t it natural that kids want to skip class? Maybe. But…
Start with Scrum as a way to start the improvement journey | Petr Holodňák
Apr 10 • 14 min
Scrum is a starting point. The goal of Scrum is to unlock the ability that the teams have to continuously improve and get better at satisfying the customer in a way that is sustainable for both the company and the business. In this episode we review a…
Pushing and punishing will not help you with Agile adoption | Petr Holodňák
Apr 9 • 16 min
As Scrum Masters we need to pay attention to much more than the process we are supposed to help develop. It is usually said that Scrum has two outcomes: the product we want to develop, and the team that is able to develop it. But there’s a third…
BONUS: Mary and Tom Poppendieck on Lean Software Development, Business Agility and how autonomous teams enable adaptability
Apr 7 • 43 min
Tom and Mary Poppendieck have authored several books over the years about what needs to change in how we develop software to be able to meet the demands of the market, competition, and the growth in complexity of technology businesses. A recurring…
Tools are not what drives Agile adoption! | Daniel Hooman
Apr 6 • 11 min
In many organizations, especially late majority companies, the Agile adoption is often overwhelmed with a tool change. Instead of adoption Agile, we adopt JIRA or SAFe, or Scrum, or Kanban. All of those are forms of tools (entities we use to achieve…
Learning as the metric for Scrum Master success | Daniel Hooman
Apr 5 • 12 min
Agile is an approach to software development that is based on quick learning cycles: we do something, we check the results and then we learn from those results. This cycle (previously known as the PDSA/PDCA cycle) is about creating a learning loop…
How to move the focus away from change, to make change happen faster | Daniel Hooman
Apr 4 • 10 min
We talk about change, and change becomes the goal. When we talk about other goals, then those other goals become the topic. In this episode we explore how we can make change happen faster by moving the focus away from change, and more into the…
How to strike a balance between specialists and collaboration | Daniel Hooman
Apr 3 • 13 min
When companies or teams start to grow, the initial roles we play need to change. Some prefer to focus on one specialty, and growth enables (through hiring of more people) some people to hide from some of the work and focus on only one skill. But is…
From Project Management to Agile Product Development, Crossing the Chasm | Daniel Hooman
Apr 2 • 12 min
Daniel started his Agile transition a long time ago, when those adopting were mostly early adopter companies, eager to change. Today, in 2018, we are faced with more and more late majority companies. Companies that may not even be ready to start their…
Understanding the system requires system thinking | Chad Beier
Mar 30 • 13 min
No surprise in that title, hein? I guess not. But this is an aspect very often ignored by manager, team members and, unfortunately, also by us, the Scrum Masters. In this episode we discuss anti-patterns (estimation as an anti-pattern, with references…
5 steps to success Scrum Masters need to be aware of | Chad Beier
Mar 29 • 12 min
Scrum Masters become a force for change over time. This “fate” we meet, sooner or later, requires us to be aware of different stages in our role. In this episode we discuss 5 steps that are critical in a Scrum Master’s journey according to Chad….
Avoiding the Death March project management anti-pattern | Chad Beier
Mar 28 • 9 min
Many organizations are set up around the concept and idea of projects. Projects are the way we get work approved, funded, controlled, and ultimately released. Organizations set up their governance around projects with the customary PMO (Project…
How Agile adoption can be defeated by the use of Email | Chad Beier
Mar 27 • 10 min
Email is a very helpful tool. It has a lot of things going for it. Email gives us a quick way to jot down some thoughts and ask a colleague (or many) for help. It helps keep track of conversations. It even enables remote teams (with limited overlap in…
Agile metrics, and their anti-patterns | Chad Beier
Mar 26 • 11 min
When we start in a new organization, it takes a while before we understand all the anti-patterns around us. And something innocent, like a manager asking for a burndown chart, can quickly spiral out of control if we don’t pay attention. In this…
BONUS: Erwin van der Koogh, #NoEstimates as seen by a CEO
Mar 24 • 47 min
Erwin has his own company, and invests his own money in that company. For him #NoEstimates solves a clear problem: too much time wasted estimating, instead of producing. He challenges us to investigate how much money and time we already invest in that…
What happens when only part of the company is on board with Agile | Heidi Araya
Mar 23 • 12 min
Systems, the collection of all the stakeholders and actors, that we work within are not always aligned. A common anti-pattern is when only part of the company is on board with Agile. What happens then? We need to be aware of our supporters, our…
4 characteristics of successful teams | Heidi Araya
Mar 22 • 12 min
Heidi shares with us 4 characteristics she has identified in successful teams, the ultimate measure of our Scrum Master success. We also talk about how retrospectives can be used to assess our own impact as Scrum Masters. In this episode we mention a…
Learning what is possible to change, step-by-step | Heidi Araya
Mar 21 • 9 min
We don’t always work with teams that are ready, or even able to change as much as we know they need to. What do we do then? In this episode we discuss some of the reasons why we may want to step back, and not change too much. We also discuss what we…
The dangers of changing too much, too often | Heidi Araya
Mar 20 • 11 min
When things don’t go well we are tempted to act. “Just do it!” we hear often. But is that always the right approach? In this episode we explore some of the problems teams experience, but we also discuss the temptation to act too early, and too…
Working at NASA and with widely distributed teams | Heidi Araya
Mar 19 • 14 min
From NASA to Scrum consultant, Heidi has collected a lot of experience of how to apply Agile in diverse environments. From all of those experiences she collected many lessons about working in large organizations, distributed teams and other…
When shared responsibility does not work | Felix Handler
Mar 16 • 12 min
When teams, and organizations grow in size they suffer from totally different problems from when they were smaller. That’s to be expected. However, we often react by “doubling down” on what worked before, even if that is not the best approach….
4 questions Scrum Masters can reflect on to evaluate their success | Felix Handler
Mar 15 • 14 min
Each Scrum Master should spend some time reflecting on their work, and its impact. Felix likes 4 questions that he asks regularly to understand the impact of his work. He also shares some tips to check if the team is evolving and trusting each other….
How growing companies can end up drowning in meetings | Felix Handler
Mar 14 • 13 min
Companies that are successful are likely to grow. As they grow, they enter the meeting inflation period, and some may even become meeting obsessed. In this episode we review such a situation, and the tools and approaches Felix used to create a…
The infinite loop of bug fixing | Felix Handler
Mar 13 • 12 min
Teams want to do their best, and many want to deliver high-quality. It is only natural that they would focus on improving the quality of the software that they develop. However, without the understanding of why the quality is important, we may get…
Agile adoption in remote / distributed teams | Felix Handler
Mar 12 • 15 min
Adopting Agile in a co-located organization is hard enough, but when you need to adopt Agile in distributed team, things get even more complicated. In this episode we discuss how Agile adoption in a distributed / remote team can create problems that…
The command-and-control systemic problem | Leonardo Bittencourt
Mar 9 • 12 min
Where does the need to micro-manage and control come from? In a system there may be many causes for that pattern. In this episode Leonardo shares a story with us, where the system was stuck in this command-and-control anti-pattern. We discuss the…
3 questions, and many tips on how to be a successful Scrum Master | Leonardo Bittencourt
Mar 8 • 11 min
Leonardo shares with us 3 questions he asks himself when thinking about what defines success for him in his Scrum Master role. During this episode he also shares with us some of the tips he’s collected along the way, and help him tackle the…
How to go from detailed plan to shared goal | Leonardo Bittencourt
Mar 7 • 10 min
Teams, and their stakeholders tend to think that the more they invest in planning, the easier the work will go. However, there’s a lot of problems a plan does not solve. For example, more time in planning does not ensure we know “why” we are…
Building self-confidence in the teams you work with | Leonardo Bittencourt
Mar 6 • 11 min
Teams can be their own worst enemies some times. In this story, Leonardo shares the story of a team that slowly entered a negative self-defeating pattern: they didn’t believe any of the positive feedback they got, but felt destroyed by any of the…
Things to consider as a beginner Scrum Master | Leonardo Bittencourt
Mar 5 • 11 min
When we start as Scrum Masters, there’s a lot of things we don’t know yet. Not only are we not able to see the anti-patterns, but we also don’t know how to react to the problems we face. Scrum has in itself a set of patterns that help us when we…
Using the team setup to understand the system we work within | Ryan McCann
Mar 2 • 11 min
The system around us (policies, rules, culture, etc.) influences the teams we work with. But how can we detect those influences so as to be able to react to them? Ryan suggests we start by looking at the team setup and shares examples how a simple…
Scrum Master success is a people puzzle | Ryan McCann
Mar 1 • 11 min
When we start our roles, we often (and rightly so) focused on the process. How to get people to understand and benefit from the power of Scrum. This focus on process may seem counterproductive because, after all, our success depends on the success of…
Leading change by focusing on the people | Ryan McCann
Feb 28 • 12 min
Organizational change is a constant in our lives. We are faced with tiny changes, or big changes all the time. And how we react to those changes is a critical part of succeeding or not with the change. In this episode, Ryan shares the story of an…
A pattern of team excellence | Ryan McCann
Feb 27 • 11 min
On Tuesdays we focus on the moments when the teams get into trouble. But Ryan breaks the pattern this week, and shares with us a moment when a team went from a problem, so a pattern of excellence. Listen in to learn how the team Ryan was working with…
What to do when Scrum doesn’t work as you expect? | Ryan McCann
Feb 26 • 13 min
Some of us are lucky to have a good experience with our first try at using Scrum. Some, even more lucky, can get great results during the first 2, 3, 5 or more times they help a team adopt Scrum. But, whether we like it or not, eventually we will face…
BONUS: Agile Strategy Round Table discussion | Trent Hone, Karl Scotland, Henrik Mårtensson
Feb 24 • 50 min
Can we apply Agile ideas to the definition and execution of Strategy for our businesses? Trent Hone, award winning Naval historian, Karl Scotland, Agile Strategy pioneer, and Henri Mårtensson, long time author on the topic of business strategy got…
How to work with an absent Product Owner | Natalie Cervantes
Feb 23 • 12 min
The role of the Product Owner is critical for the success of a Scrum team. However, that’s also one of the roles that is the most affected by company policies and culture. Product Owners are not usually shielded from management, and in fact…