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What you need to learn about being a Scrum Master, but will never get from a CSM course

No matter how many courses you attend, there are things that, as a Scrum Masters, you only really learn the important lessons on the field. Doing the work.

One of the reasons I don’t think certification courses are enough for Scrum Masters that certifications courses very often focus on the rules and regulations of the job, but not on the problems, the hardships and the obstacles we face, day-in, day-out when we try to do a good work as a Scrum Master.

So, what can we do when courses aren’t enough?

Continue reading What you need to learn about being a Scrum Master, but will never get from a CSM course

Peter Janssens: From Big Bang thinking to incremental delivery, an Agile success story

When Peter joined this project, the teams had been working on it for years and had little to show for it. Thanks to the CTO at the company, the new team which Peter coached, was able to focus on small, valuable increments to deliver the back-office system the company needed. Listen to this segment, to hear how we can help teams go from BIG BANG thinking to incremental delivery, a crucial need for Agile teams.

In this segment, we refer to the Toyota Kata and the PDCA cycle.

Featured Book of the Week: Accelerate by Forsgren et al.

In Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Forsgren et al., Peter found evidence-based support for many of the approaches, and practices used by Agile teams and Agile organizations. In this segment, we talk about the DORA metrics, and how to focus software development on business results.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Peter Janssens

Peter built a long career in agile coaching and training, and worked in leadership positions leading a PO team, and recently became CTO in a SAAS product company. Peter loves all conversations on effectiveness of team decisions, but he quickly realized that being responsible is different from being a coach. As a leader there is the challenge of sticking to the same foundations when dealing with delivery pressure

Peter Janssens: Learning to work well with a difficult team member, a critical lesson for Scrum Masters

Peter joined a team, and after a while he found himself not wanting to coach one of the team members. The team member in question was well respected in the team for this technical knowledge, and his “hero” status, but Peter was not able to help him to adapt to the needs for the team. He missed daily meetings on a random basis, and did not accept other ways of working. Over time, Peter and this team member grew apart, and Peter eventually handed the team to another Scrum Master. In this episode, we talk about how to avoid situations like this, and what Peter learned that now helps him deal with even the hardest to coach team members!

Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story – How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

About Peter Janssens

Peter built a long career in agile coaching and training, and worked in leadership positions leading a PO team, and recently became CTO in a SAAS product company. Peter loves all conversations on effectiveness of team decisions, but he quickly realized that being responsible is different from being a coach. As a leader there is the challenge of sticking to the same foundations when dealing with delivery pressure.

You can link with Peter Janssens on LinkedIn.

Gert Brits: Involving the Agile team in Product Owner decisions, the why and how!

The Great Product Owner: How to involve teams in the whole product development process

Good PO’s always include the teams in the process of making decisions, but great PO’s go much further. They include the team in the process of gathering information, and listens to the team’s feedback.

In this segment, we refer to the “Superchicken Paradox” a video with Margaret Heffernan.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s that think they need to do everything, even the Scrum team’s work!

Sometimes, the Product Owners we work with behave as if the thought there was no team to develop the product with them. In fact, they might try to do everything up to, and sometimes even including, writing code! In this segment, we explore what might be some causes of this Anti-pattern, and how we can help the Product Owner step back from the team’s domain of work, and focus on the PO’s domain of work!

Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Gert Brits

Gert came from a programming background, and has worked across multiple industries, applying Agile Coaching across diverse and non tech areas. He has a focus on group dynamics blended with systems thinking, and the art of balancing application vs theory.

You can link with Gert Brits on LinkedIn.

Gert Brits: A simple question that helps Scrum Masters evaluate their impact on Agile teams

When it comes to evaluating our success as Scrum Masters, Gert suggests we start with a simple question to frame our work: how is the scrum master helping the team deliver faster or better results? In this segment, we also talk about the importance of setting up a coaching agreement with the team and stakeholders, and we refer to Vasco’s Christmas 2022 bonus episode.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Tips on how to improve a simple Agile Retrospective format

Gert likes the simple format that focuses on 3 questions (what went well, not well, what can we do about it?). However, he brings in different tools and practices around that format to adapt it to the reality of the team at the time of the retrospective. He suggests starting with an ice-breaker, and shifting the order of the main questions around depending on what you feel the team needs to talk about at the time.

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Gert Brits

Gert came from a programming background, and has worked across multiple industries, applying Agile Coaching across diverse and non tech areas. He has a focus on group dynamics blended with systems thinking, and the art of balancing application vs theory.

You can link with Gert Brits on LinkedIn.

Gert Brits: Implementing OKR’s in a distributed Agile organization

In this organization, they struggled with the implementation of the OKR framework (Objective-Key Results). As Gert talked to the teams, he heard that they were frustrated with the long time the process took, how tightly structured it was, and how they felt unprepared to translate all their plans into the OKR framework.

Over time, Gert worked with leadership and the teams to find out how to adapt the framework to the reality of that organization and those teams. In this episode, we hear how Big Room Planning helped with the implementation of OKR’s and we learn other tools and practices to support the use of OKR’s in any organization.

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

 

About Gert Brits

Gert came from a programming background, and has worked across multiple industries, applying Agile Coaching across diverse and non tech areas. He has a focus on group dynamics blended with systems thinking, and the art of balancing application vs theory.

You can link with Gert Brits on LinkedIn.

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Avoid scope creep! And learn to scope projects around impacts and outcomes, not requirements!
Get These Valuable Lessons Today!
Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
Checklist
Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works