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

Linda van Sinten: Navigating the product predictably, and inviting criticism enables great product conversations

The Great Product Owner: Navigating the product predictably, and inviting criticism enables great product conversations

Great PO’s are well organized, as that helps the team know what to expect, and when to expect it. Not only the features/work to do, but also the type of information they get as well as when they can interact with the PO. But the good organization of the PO goes beyond their relationship with the team, and also includes having a good understanding of what the stakeholders needs. 

We also discuss how the PO invites, and welcomes criticism of the product and their work, and is not afraid of calling the team out when they are gold plating, and not focusing on the customer/user/stakeholder needs. 

The Bad Product Owner: Stepping back so much that the team got lost

This PO had no say on what the team was doing. The PO acted almost as a secretary because someone else was defining and scheduling the stories for the team. Even if the PO role was not clear in this organization, the fact that the PO was stepping back so much let the team in limbo. We discuss how the PO role is critical in enabling the team to succeed!

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 ​​Linda van Sinten

Linda van Sinten is an experienced Scrum Master and creator of the Liberating Structures Visual design cards. She combines her knowledge of Scrum with the powerful skill of creating visualizations and visual tools to drive teams forward. She has trained over 500 people in making powerful visuals out of ideas, structuring strategies and product visions in Tech, Healthcare and other industries. 

You can link with ​​Linda van Sinten on LinkedIn.

Linda van Sinten: Creative thinking formats to spice up your retrospectives 

Linda describes her own success as a Scrum Masters through the behaviors she wants to see in the teams she works with. We discuss what we need to do as Scrum Masters to enable those behaviors as well as the importance of asking questions. The goal: to help teams feel enthusiastic about their work!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Creative thinking formats to spice up your retrospectives

Linda prefers to use different formats in most retrospectives, and especially likes to use formats and exercises that encourage creative thinking by the team. These formats help the teams get out of “complaining” and focus on improvements. She describes some formats for us, and we refer to Story Cubes; The 4 L’s; Liberating Structures; 1-2-4-all and other formats you can use to spice up your retrospectives. 

In this segment, we also refer to the Ecocycle planning workshop

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 ​​Linda van Sinten

Linda van Sinten is an experienced Scrum Master and creator of the Liberating Structures Visual design cards. She combines her knowledge of Scrum with the powerful skill of creating visualizations and visual tools to drive teams forward. She has trained over 500 people in making powerful visuals out of ideas, structuring strategies and product visions in Tech, Healthcare and other industries. 

You can link with ​​Linda van Sinten on LinkedIn.

Linda van Sinten: How to help organizations kickstart change!

Working with change is a lot about helping the organizations “see” what is going on, and helping them decide what they already want to change. In this episode, we discuss a specific technique that Linda used to bring insights, and visibility into the teams and their challenges, and how that technique helped kick-start a change that was necessary. 

About ​​Linda van Sinten

Linda van Sinten is an experienced Scrum Master and creator of the Liberating Structures Visual design cards. She combines her knowledge of Scrum with the powerful skill of creating visualizations and visual tools to drive teams forward. She has trained over 500 people in making powerful visuals out of ideas, structuring strategies and product visions in Tech, Healthcare and other industries. 

You can link with ​​Linda van Sinten on LinkedIn.

Linda van Sinten: How do teams engage, improve and own their own work?

In this organization, the teams found themselves dependent on their managers or group leads. The culture was that the group leads would know the answer to everything. Additionally, all improvements were given to “improvement teams”, leaving the Scrum teams out of the improvement discussions. Listen in to learn how Linda and the rest of the Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters were able to turn this story around, and help the teams take an active role in the definition of their work!

Featured Book of the Week: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

In Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, Linda learned a different way to lead. She learned that it is ok to not know the answer to every question, and it is necessary to give space to the others, to the teams we work with. She learned about inviting others to share to be vulnerable. 

As Linda puts it: “if you always talk, you hear only what you already know!”

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About ​​Linda van Sinten

Linda van Sinten is an experienced Scrum Master and creator of the Liberating Structures Visual design cards. She combines her knowledge of Scrum with the powerful skill of creating visualizations and visual tools to drive teams forward. She has trained over 500 people in making powerful visuals out of ideas, structuring strategies and product visions in Tech, Healthcare and other industries. 

You can link with ​​Linda van Sinten on LinkedIn.

Linda van Sinten: From Scrum dictator, to Scrum Master – a learning journey

As Linda worked with multiple teams, she saw a pattern emerge. When she brought all her experience, and advice to teams that were new to Agile, the teams would invariably run away from here, or even tell her to step back. This helped Linda learn a very important lesson for Scrum Masters: we are there to help the team, not to help the team “do what we want them to do”. Listen in to learn what Linda went through, and how she works with Scrum teams now. 

About ​​Linda van Sinten

Linda van Sinten is an experienced Scrum Master and creator of the Liberating Structures Visual design cards. She combines her knowledge of Scrum with the powerful skill of creating visualizations and visual tools to drive teams forward. She has trained over 500 people in making powerful visuals out of ideas, structuring strategies and product visions in Tech, Healthcare and other industries. 

You can link with ​​Linda van Sinten on LinkedIn.

Samet Ulutas: The many anti-patterns that develop when people are forced to take on the PO role

The Great Product Owner: Developing great networks with stakeholders

Great Product Owners know their product backlog back and forth, and develop great networks within the organization that help solve the critical problems, and answer questions for themselves and the teams they work with. This particular PO also made a point of being available for the team when the teams needed them, and met regularly with stakeholders 1-on-1. 

In this segment, we talk about User Story Mapping, and Impact Mapping

The Bad Product Owner: The many anti-patterns that develop when people are forced to take on the PO role

This Product Owner did not want to take on that role, they were forced to take it, and acted mostly like a Backlog secretary. By stepping back due to other responsibilities, this PO left the team to their own devices, and was mostly absent when the team needed them. 

And this was just the start, listen in to learn about the many anti-patterns that develop when people are forced to take on the PO role. 

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 Samet Ulutas

Samet has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 3 years and coached 35+ different teams until now. Samet has plenty of experience dealing with difficulties of an Agile Transformation, including being to witness the Agile Transformation of the largest private bank in Turkey from the beginning. Samet is also the co-owner of “Be Agile Stay Agile” YouTube channel. 

You can link with Samet Ulutas on LinkedIn and connect with Samet Ulutas on Twitter.

Samet Ulutas: Check-in, a critical aspect for successful retrospectives

There are 3 factors that Samet reviews regularly to assess his own work as a Scrum Master. We discuss those 3 factors, as well as some of the questions to take into account for a possible survey that documents the progress of the team over time. 

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: Helping teams warm up to the retrospective

Samet shares Retromat.Org, a tool that helps Scrum Masters come up with new formats for every retrospective. When preparing for the retrospective, Samet puts special focus on the warm-up/check-in part, to help teams get ready to discuss the really important topics. Samet shares with us some tips on how to help teams get ready for the retrospective with some warm-up/check-in exercises. 

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 Samet Ulutas

Samet has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 3 years and coached 35+ different teams until now. Samet has plenty of experience dealing with difficulties of an Agile Transformation, including being to witness the Agile Transformation of the largest private bank in Turkey from the beginning. Samet is also the co-owner of “Be Agile Stay Agile” YouTube channel. 

You can link with Samet Ulutas on LinkedIn and connect with Samet Ulutas on Twitter. 

Samet Ulutas: How to start an Agile transformation without having to “push” teams

The organization was going through an Agile transformation, when Samet joined the Agile Coaching office in that organization. As the Agile Coaching office developed they were tasked with helping the teams adopt Agile, but that would require more than just “coaching”. Together with the rest of the team, Samet developed an “Agile Mirror” that would help the teams assess their own performance and progress. Listen in to learn how they deployed that Agile assessment to help the team, and the organization adopt Agile. 

About Samet Ulutas

Samet has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 3 years and coached 35+ different teams until now. Samet has plenty of experience dealing with difficulties of an Agile Transformation, including being to witness the Agile Transformation of the largest private bank in Turkey from the beginning. Samet is also the co-owner of “Be Agile Stay Agile” YouTube channel. 

You can link with Samet Ulutas on LinkedIn and connect with Samet Ulutas on Twitter.

Samet Ulutas: Helping a team willingly adopt Agile, even when they start by saying “no”!

Samet was working with a team that was new to Agile. This team had been successful in the past, so they did not see any need to change, or move to a new process. As Samet tried to organize the Scrum ceremonies for the team, he was met with their absence. The team did not participate. Through this experience, Samet learned that trying to push Agile on a team that is not ready is not a good idea, but there are certain activities that are helpful even for teams that are not yet ready for Agile. Listen in to learn how Samet turned this situation around.

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Larsen and Derby

In Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby, Samet learned about the retrospective standard format, and started believing that retrospectives could have a great impact on the team’s performance over time. This is a book that Samet now recommends to all Agile leaders, not only Scrum Masters. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Samet Ulutas

Samet has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 3 years and coached 35+ different teams until now. Samet has plenty of experience dealing with difficulties of an Agile Transformation, including being to witness the Agile Transformation of the largest private bank in Turkey from the beginning. Samet is also the co-owner of “Be Agile Stay Agile” YouTube channel. 

You can link with Samet Ulutas on LinkedIn and connect with Samet Ulutas on Twitter. 

Samet Ulutas: How Scrum Masters can help Agile teams develop ownership of their process 

In our eagerness to help, often we try to come up with solutions for the teams. When we do so, we amplify an anti-pattern of disengagement and lack of ownership. In this episode, we explore that anti-pattern, and discuss how Scrum Masters can avoid, or get out of that behavior, so that we may help the teams grow and take ownership of their process!

About Samet Ulutas

Samet has been working as an Agile Coach for more than 3 years and coached 35+ different teams until now. Samet has plenty of experience dealing with difficulties of an Agile Transformation, including being to witness the Agile Transformation of the largest private bank in Turkey from the beginning. Samet is also the co-owner of “Be Agile Stay Agile” YouTube channel. 

You can link with Samet Ulutas on LinkedIn and connect with Samet Ulutas on Twitter.