Samantha Webb on the critical importance of retrospectives

When it comes to defining success, Samantha shares with us a moving story that starts with a piece of feedback she once received from one of her team members. That’s what success looks like. But how do we get there? Samantha shares how she uses the retrospectives as the engine of learning for teams. And as a tool to help ground the teams in the core ideas of their agile journey, so that they can get back to basics when necessary.

In this episode we discuss Agile Retrospective ideas, as well as Samantha’s retrospective format that helps Scrum Masters grow the agile adoption in their teams.  

About Samantha Webb

Samantha is a Scrum Master based in London where she works with clients in a number of different industries. In her spare time she is a game writer and designer and uses Scrum to work on game projects.

You can link with Samantha Webb on LinkedIn and connect with Samantha Webb on Twitter.

Samantha Webb on how to improve performance of organizations with your facilitation skills

Scrum Masters are facilitators by definition. However, some might think that facilitation alone is not enough to have a large impact. Well, Samantha proves those people wrong by sharing with us a story of how she was able to help a team, and an organization greatly reduce their time-to-market by focusing on her role as a facilitator. She shares with us tools and ideas on how to bring improvement ideas to reality by working with the team and stakeholders, with plenty of facilitation mixed in.

In this episode we mention Queueing Theory, which helps us understand how to speed up our processes; the LeSS framework for large scale Scrum; and the book Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins.

About Samantha Webb

Samantha is a Scrum Master based in London where she works with clients in a number of different industries. In her spare time she is a game writer and designer and uses Scrum to work on game projects.

You can link with Samantha Webb on LinkedIn and connect with Samantha Webb on Twitter.

Samantha Webb on the part-time Scrum Master anti-pattern

Many organizations look carefully at where their people spend their time. This is, in general, a good thing. Problems start when we don’t give our people the chance to succeed. A very common anti-pattern in this context is the part-time Scrum Master temptation. We believe that a good Scrum Master can handle more than 1 team. But do we know the problems that come from that? Can we recognize the anti-patterns that result in time to avoid bigger problems? In this episode, we discuss the anti-patterns that result from part-time Scrum Master assignments so that we can detect those in time and avoid them if possible!

About Samantha Webb

Samantha is a Scrum Master based in London where she works with clients in a number of different industries. In her spare time, she is a game writer and designer and uses Scrum to work on game projects.

You can link with Samantha Webb on LinkedIn and connect with Samantha Webb on Twitter.

Samantha Webb on how to succeed with Agile Transformations

Samantha shares with us a story of how agile transformations sometimes go, the pitfalls, that anti-patterns, and also what we need as Scrum Masters. Once we reach that level where we have our own skills in place, there’s still a lot of anti-patterns we must face and overcome in organizations in the middle of an agile transformation. We discuss agile transformation for organizations as well as for us: Project Managers on the journey to be Scrum Masters.

During this episode, we refer to the books Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher et al and Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn.

About Samantha Webb

Samantha is a Scrum Master based in London where she works with clients in a number of different industries. In her spare time, she is a game writer and designer and uses Scrum to work on game projects.

You can link with Samantha Webb on LinkedIn and connect with Samantha Webb on Twitter.

BONUS: Stefan Wolpers shares the results of the Scrum Master Salary Survey of 2017

There was an article in early 2017 stating that Scrum Master is one of the top 10 best paid jobs in IT in the USA (LinkedIn Data Reveals the Most Promising Jobs of 2017)

This inspired Stefan Wolpers to do a survey on the salaries that Scrum Masters can ask for world-wide. From this survey came the Age of Product Scrum Master Salary report of 2017.

According to the Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance websites we have now more than 500 000 Certified Scrum Masters or Professional Scrum Masters. With these kinds of numbers, it is clear that there is a demand for our profession. So what does that mean? How is the breakdown between countries and women vs men employed in this profession?

A more equal opportunity profession?

According to the report that Stefan compiled, there’s no significant difference between women and men when it comes to salary level. However, even if the profession has more women than the overall programming/technical professions, it is still a male-dominated profession (30% of people that replied to the survey are women).

When it comes to education, having a bachelor or similar degree plus hands-on experience seems to be the right level of qualification for aspiring Scrum Masters. Having one certification makes sense, but according to the survey there’s no significant effect of having more than one certification.

Finally, the organizations that hire Scrum Masters seem to be firmly rooted in the Product Development industry. Which begs the question: when will Scrum break-out of IT and product development? What is your view?

Agile PMO? Or waterfall with a bit of Scrum splashed on it?

An interesting aspect of the survey is that it reveals that many Scrum Masters are under the PMO (Project Management Office) umbrella in most organizations. We discuss why this is and what this might mean in terms of the Agile adoption process in certain organizations.

There are currently many different options as to how to govern software development in product organizations. We have SAFe, LeSS and other scaled framework and Oikosofy’s own Agile Portfolio Management governance framework. The Project Management paradigm is however, still the dominating paradigm, and we discuss what that might mean.

If you are interested in more details, and all the data from the Salary Report, you can download it in the Age of Product website.

What did you think of the results? Are they coherent with your experience?

 

 

About Stefan Wolpers

Stefan has been working as agile coach and product owner for fast growing, mainly Berlin-based startups for about 10 years. He is writing on hiring agile practitioners, Why agile fails?, and curates Age of Product’s “Food for Agile Thought” newsletter.

You can link with Stefan Wolpers on LinkedIn and connect with Stefan Wolpers on Twitter.

Karthik Nagarajan suggests: turn every Friday into a retrospective day

How do we learn how the system affects our teams? We study the system and the effects on our teams. And how do we do that? Why, retrospectives of course! Karthik shares his recipe for frequent retrospectives and suggests: turn every Friday into a retrospective day.

About Karthik Nagarajan

Karthik has worked as a Product Manager, Scrum Master and QA Manager across a variety of domains, including: Fintech, Travel, Human Capital Management, CRM, Recruitment, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services. He loves tackling complex business challenges and being a positive bridge between Product, Design, Engineering, Quality Assurance, Customers and Business Teams.

You can link with Karthik Nagarajan on LinkedIn.

Karthik Nagarajan on the metrics we can use to assess our impact in the team and organization

What is the value the Scrum Masters are bringing in to the organization? Of course the investors and management are going to ask this question. I would too if it were my company. So we need to be able to show how we are helping the teams and the organization grow and become better. How do we do that? We measure the impact of our work, and Karthik shares with us some of the metrics we can use to show the stakeholders around us what it is that we are contributing to.

In this episode we discuss experimentation and evolutionary change using Popcorn Flow, a continuous improvement approach developed by Claudio Perrone.

About Karthik Nagarajan

Karthik has worked as a Product Manager, Scrum Master and QA Manager across a variety of domains, including: Fintech, Travel, Human Capital Management, CRM, Recruitment, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services. He loves tackling complex business challenges and being a positive bridge between Product, Design, Engineering, Quality Assurance, Customers and Business Teams.

You can link with Karthik Nagarajan on LinkedIn.

Karthik Nagarajan on how games can help you change the organization

Karthik had a challenge. He needed to prove the benefits of Agile and Kanban to a team that wasn’t ready yet. Luckily he was aware of the Kanban game and he started showing the team how that works. Listen in to find out how the game helped him convey the benefits for the team, and help them visualize what the future could look like once they adopted Agile.

 

 

About Karthik Nagarajan

Karthik has worked as a Product Manager, Scrum Master and QA Manager across a variety of domains, including: Fintech, Travel, Human Capital Management, CRM, Recruitment, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services. He loves tackling complex business challenges and being a positive bridge between Product, Design, Engineering, Quality Assurance, Customers and Business Teams.

You can link with Karthik Nagarajan on LinkedIn.

Karthik Nagarajan shares 3 things you can do to make retrospectives more effective

It is very common that teams stay in the cycle of no improvement. They go through the motions, even have retrospectives every sprint. But nothing happens. This can be very de-moralizing. How can we help our teams get out of the rut and start making a real impact in their results? Listen in for Karthik’s 3 suggestions to make your retrospectives more effective.

About Karthik Nagarajan

Karthik has worked as a Product Manager, Scrum Master and QA Manager across a variety of domains, including: Fintech, Travel, Human Capital Management, CRM, Recruitment, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services. He loves tackling complex business challenges and being a positive bridge between Product, Design, Engineering, Quality Assurance, Customers and Business Teams.

You can link with Karthik Nagarajan on LinkedIn.

Karthik Nagarajan on how to break-out of the super-hero anti-pattern

As Scrum Masters we want to help our teams succeed. And we do everything we can to help them. Sometimes a bit too much. Sometimes we might become the bottleneck. Running from meeting to meeting, trying to answer all the questions, help everybody. But that does not scale. How can we break free from that anti-pattern? Karthik shares with us his journey and what he learned back then that helps him stay in his zone, help without taking over.

 

 

About Karthik Nagarajan

Karthik has worked as a Product Manager, Scrum Master and QA Manager across a variety of domains, including: Fintech, Travel, Human Capital Management, CRM, Recruitment, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services. He loves tackling complex business challenges and being a positive bridge between Product, Design, Engineering, Quality Assurance, Customers and Business Teams.

You can link with Karthik Nagarajan on LinkedIn.