Tanner Wortham on the importance of cross-functional teams

Tanner’s military background has taught him that team members need to help cover for each other. And they can’t do that by seating on their own silos and working only on one type of tasks. Tanner explains how he got trained in multiple skills in his military career and how that can help us as Scrum Masters.

In this episode we discuss the LeSS framework for large-scale Scrum and how to use the Causal Loop Diagram to understand the system we work within.

About Tanner Wortham

www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Tanner Wortham on the Scrum Masters as a conversation facilitator

How many conversations have you helped start as a Scrum Masters. Have you helped the team tackle the problems in a collaborative manner? And what kind of culture do you drive in your team?

These are some of the questions Tanner asks of himself when assessing his impact as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn how he evaluates his performance, and helps teams start and benefit from the conversations they have.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: Creating a container for the team to have a conversation

Tanner challenges us to think of the role of the Scrum Master as a creator of conversations. In this conversation about the role of retrospectives we explore what our role is as a Scrum Master; how that helps the teams; how to measure the outcome of our work in facilitating retrospectives.

About Tanner Wortham

www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Tanner Wortham on collaborating with the Product Owner as a way to help the team evolve

Tanner joined a team where the “Scrum Master as a secretary” had evolved. When he brought in a new approach that caused problems, and confusion. How to deal with that change? Listen in as Tanner describes his approach of collaborating with the Product Owner to bring about a change in ways of working, and how to tackle those difficult situations we inevitably face over time.

About Tanner Wortham

www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Tanner Wortham: How the Product Owner influences the Scrum team

In this story Tanner shares how a team he took over was struggling to improve. When looking at the situation he detected a pattern: the Product Owner was not delegating any work to the team. In this story we explore the idea that fixing Symptoms never solves real problems for the team, and that the Product Owner’s approach has a significant impact on how the team works. And we give out some important tips about what affects culture in the teams we work with.

Featured book of the week: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game is a Sci-Fi novel about a future encounter with an alien civilization. What does that have to do with being a Scrum Master you ask? Listen in to learn the lessons we can take from that story, and apply to our roles as Scrum Masters.

 

About Tanner Wortham

www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Tanner Wortham: how asking questions can get you out of tricky situations

Working with a team that is under pressure from someone high-up in the organization is never easy. How about if that person is also changing their mind regularly? And interrupting the team with new ideas all the time? In this episode we explore such a situation. The VP is constantly asking the team for new things, interrupting their work, and requesting everything in very short timeframes. How can we help as Scrum Masters? Ask the right questions. Listen in to learn about how to ask the right questions.

About Tanner Wortham

www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Miguel Santos: Anti-pattern of repeating the same approach with every new team

If something worked in the past, it must work with new teams in the future. Or must it? In this episode we explore how the system around the team significantly affect what works in practice. The same daily meeting format may have worked in some teams before, but how is this new team’s context affecting the format of the daily meeting? As Scrum Masters we must be aware of the team culture, the management culture, the technical tools and other critical system conditions. Only then can we know what might work, and what will not work in that team’s context.

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

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

 

Miguel Santos uses metrics to define and reach success as a Scrum Master

Miguel shares with us his approach to define and reach a successful outcome of his work. We explore the role of metrics in defining what we should focus on and improve. After all, without data to backup your ideas, you are just another person with an opinion.

Featured Retrospective format for the week: Start-Stop-Continue

When looking at what to improve, what to amplify in our teams, the start-stop-continue retrospective format helps the team identify not only what they want to change or improve, but also those things that are working well. When we find what is working well, we can then amplify that. Select items from the Continue section of the retrospective and ask: how can we benefit even more from this technique?

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

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

 

How to help the PO be involved with the Scrum team, even if the PO does not have time

The Product Owner (PO) is a tough role to fill. Product Owners are torn between users, senior management, team and other stakeholders that they need to attend to.
While the team is working on completing the backlog items, the PO is probably meeting with the Director of Product to agree on a roadmap; with the CEO to hear about the latest ideas he got from visiting a client; trying to meet with the user research group to understand better the customer; reporting status to the head of Project Management; and still needs to visit the Sprint Planning, Backlog Grooming, Demo and the occasional daily meeting to answer questions from the team. And let’s not forget the email backlog!
With all of these tasks one has to ask: do we believe a single person can do this all alone? What I describe here is not even rare! We seem to collectively think that the Product Owner is a super-hero!

Given all of these tasks, it is little wonder that the PO’s end up struggling to even manage the JIRA tickets the teams ask them to review, give feedback on, and prioritize.

The feeling of overwhelm is common in Product Owners. They ask themselves if they are spending their time on the right things. Wouldn’t you, if you got constantly interrupted by questions and requests from others? How do we solve this, increase collaboration between Team and Product Owner, and improve our work place at the same time? Read on for more…
Continue reading How to help the PO be involved with the Scrum team, even if the PO does not have time

Miguel Santos: Change management in the small

Agile at scale is all the rage, but is that what we should be focus on? Miguel shares a story of how change management is hard even in the small things that need to improve. As Scrum Masters we need to learn to deal with change in the small, with the team, only then are we ready to take it further and apply what we learn to larger problems and eventually to larger organizations. Just like in software development, let’s ask the question: what’s the smallest change that could work to get us towards our goal?

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

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

 

Miguel Santos on how to help teams tackle their problems head-on

When teams face problems they have a choice: avoid, or confront. Which of these patterns does your team adopt when faced with problems? This can make the difference for the teams that want to grow and improve. In this episode we review the story, and the consequences that teams face when they can’t face the problems they are going through.

In this episode we discuss the Retrospectives’ Prime Directive, a rule we can follow to ensure that Retrospectives stay focused on improvements, rather than blame.

Featured book of the week: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is a book that we’ve covered often here on the podcast. So often that we even included it in a bundle offer we had for our listeners: 4 books every Scrum Master should read! In this book Patrick Lencioni walks us through a process of building a team that is not able to collaborate, where trust isn’t present. The goal: a functioning high-performance team.

About Miguel Santos

Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.

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