20 TOP Agile Blogs for Scrum Masters that you will not (easily) find on google searches (2017 edition)

Before reading the post, I wanted to share with you a great interview about how we, as Scrum Masters are always starting from Scratch (just like new year! 🙂 Here’s a Podcast episode as a new year gift from the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast archive built over the last 3 years interviewing Scrum Masters from all over the world.

Podcast Topic: We start a new with every team  (interview with Lucian Stroie)

Now for the list! 🙂

Here in the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we share insights and inspiring stories from Scrum Masters every day of the week because we believe we need inspiration and ideas every day. Therefore we also visit sites and blogs for the same reasons. To end the year with a bang, I wanted to create a list of Top blogs / Sites for Scrum Masters. Was I in for a disappointment… read on to know why…

Continue reading 20 TOP Agile Blogs for Scrum Masters that you will not (easily) find on google searches (2017 edition)

BONUS: From Project Manager to Scrum Master, an interview with Tanner Wortham

Many Scrum Masters have a past in Project Management. The growing adoption of Agile has brought Agile and Scrum to the attention of many Project Management Organisations (PMOs) in larger (and in some small) organizations.

The PMO was the traditional “execution” office of organizations. Governing the starting, financing, and reporting of projects.

With a growing adoption of Scrum for software development that has changed.

In this episode, we talk with Tanner Wortham, who spend 10 years in the US Marines and ended up in a project management job. Like many of us, his company started adopting Scrum and he became the Scrum Master.

We start by discussing why the Scrum Master position might be a very good fit for project managers that want to focus on collaboration, and on the team/people aspects of our work. We also discuss if project management is a good fit for software development; what the big contrasts are between software and other areas where project management has been successfully used, and we find one area where project management has a lot to give to Scrum. This is an area that we often forget because we focus so much on the team: Stakeholder Management.

Agile is a mindset

The transition from project manager to Scrum Master is not a problem if we bring an Agile mindset to our work. If we want to help teams succeed, and are able to re-work the plan whenever necessary.

We discuss the possible negative impacts of being too rigid with the plans, and how that might hinder the adoption of Agile in the organization.

We discuss LeSS, the large-scale scrum framework, as an example of how we can apply the Agile mindset to many areas of our organizations.

The critical craft for transitioning project managers

Of course, there are some changes that we must be aware of when we transition from project manager to Scrum Master. The one that Tanner refers to here is the “art of giving critical feedback”. When we work with teams, helping them grow in a way that makes them feel appreciated and safe is key. After all, as Scrum Masters, we know that our job is to make teams successful. Critical feedback is a key part of our job.

Tanner shares with us some tips on how to provide feedback to team members and stakeholders as Scrum Masters, and how to prepare the team for the coming growth journey they are embarking on.

How to successfully transition from project manager to Scrum Master

In the end, we must be learning all the time. The profession of Scrum Master is a new one and without being able to adapt, learn and continue to grow we will not be able to successfully transition from project manager to Scrum Master.

Tanner advises that we must search for new knowledge, try out different techniques, read a lot, and don’t be afraid to fail. Just make sure you find safe-to-fail experiments and learn, continuously.

These are Tanner’s ideas about the transition from project manager to Scrum Master. How about you? Share in the comments the most important learning you acquired when doing the change from project manager to Scrum Master. Help all of us learn and adapt faster! 😃  

 

 

About Tanner Wortham

Tanner is the author of a popular agile blog at www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility and currently works at LinkedIn. 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.

Christiaan Verwijs shares 4 perspectives that help identify systemic problems

We begin by sharing some of the anti-patterns that are caused by systemic problems and then dive into 4 perspectives that help Christiaan identify and understand systemic problems.

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organisational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Christiaan Verwijs on why self-organization is the metric for the team’s success

If we want to reduce the definition of success to one metric, then it is hard to argue with the “level of self-organization”. And that simple metric means so much, it drives so much of the improvements we want to see in the teams and organizations we work with.

In this episode we review why that might be the most important metric for us to follow-up on regularly, and what that means in practice. Including signs that self-organization is happening.

Featured retrospective format of the week

In this week we review the TRIZ retrospective. A format that, as Christiaan puts it, turns everything on its head, and creates a fresh perspective. Check out the description of the TRIZ facilitation technique.

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organizational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

 

Christiaan Verwijs on how a CEO became a better leader with the help of a Scrum Master

We see Scrum be used more and more to help manage teams in all industries. In this episode, we explore a story of how a Scrum Master, Christiaan, helped a CEO step back and allow the team to flourish. This helped both the CEO and the team, and as a result, the company achieves success.

In this episode, we discuss some of the lessons from a previous BONUS episode with David Marquet, author of Turn the Ship Around!

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organisational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Christiaan Verwijs on facilitation as the critical art for Scrum Masters

Sometimes it is hard to keep the team focused on the ceremonies that we facilitate. That’s ok and predictable. However, as Scrum Masters, we must be ready for it. We must be ready to regain the attention of the team on the issue at hand. Remember, the ceremonies are there for a reason. If they feel boring, or long, then they are probably not being used to tackle the important topics in the team’s mind.

In this episode we also talk about a facilitation book: Liberating Structures by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless, and discuss one of the facilitation techniques that Christiaan learned from that and still applies today.

Featured book of the week

 

 

 

 

 

In this week we discuss the lessons Christiaan learned from two inspiring books. The first is about Agile and Scrum: Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber. The second, a completely different book that helps Scrum Masters understand how to work with complexity and ambiguity: Black Swan by Nassim Taleb.

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organizational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Christiaan Verwijs on the importance of setting the example as a manager

Often, as Scrum Masters we see managers behave in ways that are counter the principles of Scrum. In this episode, we review such a situation. A manager and the team are in the same room for a workshop that Christiaan is facilitating. The conversation about the importance of safety comes up. What happens next? Listen in to learn what happened and what Christiaan learned from his failure in that meeting.

 

 

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organizational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo and the benefits of all-in change

When a transition to Agile is ongoing there are a lot of aspects that are new to the organization. Those aspects may lead to problems later that are seen as “change resistance”. Krisztina shares with us an adoption approach that is quite different: All-in change. She describes her own journey and the benefits she observed in using that approach.

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience in several aspects of IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary, she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, then a project manager, test manager, and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo recommends: measure and visualize everything!

At the start of her journey, Krisztina did not measure success. Later she started measuring many things and making those metrics visible. Over time, she realized that the team benefited from that information and she was also able to assess her own impact on the team. Listen in to learn how Krisztina started using the metrics for her, and her team’s success.

 

Retrospective format of the week: Simple, yet effective format and a special tip

Good facilitation is a major part of a good Retrospective. This week Krisztina introduces the Scrum Games format for the Retrospective, and shares a very special tip that makes Retrospectives the best moments of the Sprint for the team.

 

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects of IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary, she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on adopting Scrum in a Corporate Environment from scratch

Adopting Scrum is a hard journey for most even when the conditions are right. But how about driving change in an organization that is adopting Scrum from scratch, and is historically a top-down command and control organization? Krisztina shares her own story of how that went, and the hard-earned lessons she collected at that time.

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience in several aspects of IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary, she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, then a project manager, test manager, and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on the complaining negative spiral of death

Teams complain. I mean, who can blame them? Often they have to deal with corporate policies that would destroy the motivation of even the most excited Agile adopter. As Scrum Masters, we know this. But how do we get the teams out of the complaining negative spiral of death? Listen to this episode to learn how Krisztina was able to turn the meetings around, helping the team focusing on improving, rather than complaining. She also shares the concrete tips and tricks she used in her approach.

In this episode, we refer to the book Kanban in Action by Joakim Sundén and Marcus Hammarberg. Shameless plug: Marcus Hammarberg is writing a book with Oikosofy on how he used Kanban to save a hospital from bankruptcy, twice! Check it out.

Featured book of the week: Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development, Craig Larman and Bas Vodde describe their approach to leading large-scale Scrum implementations and suggest a number of practices that have worked in organizations around the world.

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects to IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the a project manager, test manager and many other roles.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.