How Agile and Lean saved a hospital from bankruptcy! Twice!

All of us working with Agile and Scrum are used to the (sometimes) large transformations that these approaches can have at work. But it is not everyday we see the impact, the amazing impact, it can have on other types of work. How about this: Marcus Hammarberg, walks into a hospital and the hospital is about the crumble. Literally! The roof has collapsed, there’s dripping water and buckets everywhere and the second floor is overrun with debris. But that is not where the problems end…

A few months later, and using Kanban, Agile and Lean ideas the hospital is saved. But how did that happen?

Marcus explains his story, and the amazing transformation in his latest book: The Bungsu (now available for pre-order at Amazon), and we have a short video to explain the main points of the story right here.

Click on to see the video, and sign-up to get the first chapter of the book.

Continue reading How Agile and Lean saved a hospital from bankruptcy! Twice!

Sarah O’Brien on the line manager anti-pattern in Scrum

Scrum teams are supposed to be fully responsible for their work, and autonomous in the way of working. However, in many organizations line managers are still the ones yielding the power over teams, and even assign work directly to team members. This is one of the system conditions we must face and struggle with as Scrum Masters. In this episode we discuss how to interact with line managers, so that the Scrum team can really be responsible and autonomous as Scrum suggests.

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Sarah O’Brien on two aspects of Scrum Master success

There are two aspects of success: our own evolution as Scrum Masters, and what the team feels about their own progress. With Sarah we explore some of the questions we can use to reflect on these two aspects of Scrum Master success.

In this episode we refer to the book #NoEstimates, How to Measure Project Progress Without Estimates.

Featured Retrospective Format of the week: The Postcard Retrospective

The postcard retrospective is an invitation to describe the Sprint to ourselves, and find the most important events, and problems as well as wins we had during the Sprint. It is a simple, yet effective and fun way to talk about what we went through in the last sprint.

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Sarah O’Brien: In change, start with visualization

Visualization is one of those tools we often ignore, or dismiss because it does not fit the distributed world we live in. However, that’s one of the most important ways to get a change started. In this episode we explore how adding a simple visualization (Kanban Board) helped a team to go from Chaos to a flow of work.

In this episode we refer to Modern Agile, a community of practitioners asking: what’s next for Agile?

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Sarah O’Brien on the tough Scrum Master job of listening

Listening is not the easiest part of the Scrum Master job. However, that’s one of the most important and powerful tools we have in our toolbox. In this episode we explore the case of a team that was entering a spiral of conflict and what was needed to avoid that from going out of control.

Featured Book of the Week: The Human Side of Agile by Gil Broza

The Human Side of Agile by Gil Broza is a book that helped Sarah understand the personal transformation we need to go through when we adopt Agile.

In this episode we also refer to Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Sarah O’Brien on being a woman and a Scrum Master

An issue that we often ignore (or want to ignore?) is the impact of prejudice on our work as Scrum Masters. Maybe it is about being different, or not fitting in the prevalent engineering culture. There can be many differences that make our job as Scrum Masters harder to master.

In this episode with Sarah we explore how sometimes being a woman Scrum Master makes the job even harder than it usually is.

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Marcus Hammarberg talks about simple techniques that can transform your leadership

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, a book we here at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast are helping to publish. This book is inspiring, and will definitely move you to action.

In this episode, we discuss some of the many techniques Marcus used in Indonesia while he was helping the team at The Bungsu Hospital literally save the hospital from bankruptcy. And that’s not an over-statement!

Click to liste to the interview and read more about the topics of this episode.

Continue reading BONUS: Marcus Hammarberg talks about simple techniques that can transform your leadership

Jella Eifler on how different questions can radically change how you plan software projects

The planning system, i.e. all the planning approaches, and techniques we use, can often create a set of non-negotiable needs that teams need to fulfill. Starting with up-front planning! If our planning system requires estimates for every possible feature in the roadmap, then the teams will inevitably need to estimate a lot of work that will eventually not be done at all! However, if our planning system is based on “value” instead, then the teams are asked different questions. Jella asks: “What if you would ask “is this worth doing?” instead of how “how much does this cost?”?” What kind of changes to your planning system would that change bring?

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

Jella Eifler on Self-guided retrospectives and how to keep ourselves accountable as Scrum Masters

The common thread in our Thursday episode is that many Scrum Masters have a set of criteria that helps them re-assess their own work and personal evolution in their role as Scrum Masters. Jella is no exception. She shares with us 3 criteria that she uses to assess her work, learn from what is happening, and evolve. But she asks a very important question: How do you keep yourself accountable? When no one is looking, is when self-reflection is the most important. How do we, as Scrum Masters, keep ourselves accountable? Listen in to hear Jella’s interesting answer to this question.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Self-guided retrospectives for advanced teams

In our work as Scrum Masters, we meet some teams that are already at the point where they can start to take ownership of some (if not all) critical aspects of the work they do. Retrospectives are one great example of that. In this episode we talk about the “self-guided” retrospectives for advanced teams.

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

Jella Eifler on Change as the operating model for Agile organizations, and how to reach #NoEstimates

Change is a big scary word in many organizations. But why is that? In this episode we talk about change in a different way. We explore what change would be, if it were the basic operating model of the organization. We talk about Nils Pflaeging’s work, about Complexity and how it affects the way organizations work in reality (as opposed to theory). As Jella says: “Change should be like adding milk to coffee.”

In this episode we mention the book #NoEstimates, How to Measure Project Progress Without Estimates, and Jella’s own journey to #NoEstimates.

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

Jella Eifler on what to do when you, or the team, feel stuck

Teams can sometimes enter a negative, destructive cycle whereby their actions make their own situation even worse. In this episode we talk about a team that refused to engage with users, and did not want to host their sprint reviews with stakeholders. Most importantly, we understand why the team entered that cycle and what we can do to help them find their own way to implement one of the most important Agile principles: “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.“

Featured Book of the week: Coaching Agile Teams

The book Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins discusses the different coaching approaches we can take when working with a team, and shares some of the problems we will face throughout that process. It’s a very important book, especially for those getting started in their coaching journey.

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.