Natalie Cervantes on how to work with an absent Product Owner



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 sometimes they are management. In this episode we talk about a Product Owner that was also the CEO of the company. What can we do when the Product Owner is so hard to reach? Listen to what Natalie has learned about engaging absent Product Owners.

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Natalie Cervantes on working with distributed teams



Looking at the outcomes from previous retrospectives, and what has been achieved so far based on those retrospectives, is a good way to assess our impact on the way the team works. This is only one of the methods Natalie uses to assess her success as a Scrum Masters. In this episode we also review some tools Natalie has learned to use in a distributed team environment.

Featured Retrospective format of the week: GOOD / IMPROVE / LOOK BACK

This week we look at a retrospective format that helps us re-evaluate what we achieved from previous retrospectives. Natalie asks us to focus on the positive (what works), what we want to do better (what to improve) and also to look at previous retrospectives to review the achievements to far.

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Natalie Cervantes on changing from a Project Management culture to an Agile culture



In many organizations Project Management is the defining paradigm for developing and delivering products to the market. How do we bring Agile to such organizations? Natalie shares with us a story of such a transition. We discuss concrete ways to bring Agile practices to that organization without overwhelming everybody, and explore ways to make that changes sustainable over time.

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Natalie Cervantes on the perils of the silo culture



Silos are very useful if you want to store cereals for a long time. However, in knowledge work organizations, silos do more harm than good. In this episode we explore how the silo culture can infect a team and lead to serious problems. Including lack of collaboration, having some people overloaded, while others are kept waiting, etc. We also discuss the impact silos have on team performance. How many different silos do you have on your team? Listen in to learn about the many silos that can develop in a single team!

Featured book of the week: NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates

This week we feature the book: NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates. A book that describes how you can help forecast completion dates for Agile projects even if the team has not estimated the size of all the stories in the backlog.

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Natalie Cervantes on the impossible task of predicting how long things will take



In a high stakes project, like the one Natalie describes, it is tempting to start focusing on the schedule from the start and spend time trying to predict how long things will take. But is that the best us of our time and talents as Scrum Masters? Listen in to learn what Natalie learned about making projects a success that require very little focus on duration or effort estimation.
In this episode we discuss the book NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates.

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

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.