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

Evelien Acun-Roos: Unfocused, solution-centric, part-time Product Owner, a recipe for failure

In this episode, we share some of the most critical anti-patterns in the Product Owner role.

The Great Product Owner: Constantly seeking to learn

This Product Owner was a “team player”, worked with the team closely, and did not try to establish a position of superiority. The PO made the roadmap visible to all, and was great at involving the stakeholders in product decisions. But the PO did not stop there, and actively searched for training, to learn even more about the Product Owner role!

The Bad Product Owner: Unfocused, solution-centric, part-time Product Owner, a recipe for failure

This Product Owner was not able to focus, the engineering background didn’t help in this case, as the PO was constantly drifting into discuss solutions instead of sharing the “what” and “why” that would help the team find the right solution. But the biggest anti-pattern is when the PO can’t even dedicate their whole time to the role of PO. 

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.

Evelien Acun-Roos: Happiness and Business Value, the focus for a success conversation

Evelien focuses on the Happiness metric as well as business value to help her understand where the team and Product Owner are in their journey to success. By having the business value discussed during the retrospective and during Sprint planning she tries to focus the team on having an impact, and helps clarify what the PO wants to deliver. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4 L’s retrospective

Evelien shares the 4 L’s retrospective and how she changes the “Loved” square to focus on appreciating and thanking someone in the team for something they did. This helps us teach team members to compliment each other and creates positive energy in the retrospective. 

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 Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.

Evelien Acun-Roos: Helping middle management overcome anxiety and fear in an Agile transformation

In this organization, both the leadership and the teams wanted Agile. However, the middle management was resisting the adoption of Agile. This story helped Evelien understand that sometimes, we need to tackle the anxiety and fear that an Agile adoption brings. Middle-management was the “backbone” of the organization, they had been there for a long time, and they didn’t know what Agile meant for them. That created anxiety, and consequently resistance. Evelien explains how they engaged with middle-management and started helping them understand how Agile would help them (not only teams and leadership). 

About Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter

Evelien Acun-Roos: The “rotating” Scrum Master anti-pattern

This team had a “rotating Scrum Master”, however, what happened was that the Scrum Master role was mostly ignored, and the team stopped learning and improving. The rotating aspect of the Scrum Master role led to a lack of accountability for that role, and consequently for the team! The team stopped challenging themselves. 

Featured Book of the Week: Training From The Back Of The Room by Sharon Bowman

In Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, Evelien found one of the first professional agile coaching books, which helped her in her Agile journey. After that, Evelien found Training From The Back Of The Room by Sharon Bowman, a book that helped her perfect her delivery of training and understand why the game and engaging approaches are so important when delivering knowledge and information to the teams we work with.

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 Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.

Evelien Acun-Roos: How leadership sometimes pushes Scrum teams back into Waterfall

Evelien was asked to help an organization transition to Agile using Scrum. There were multiple teams in that organization which Evelien and others started working with. With a mix of training and hands-on support they started working with all the teams. However, later it became clear that leadership in that organization was not aware of what Agile or Scrum meant in practice. Leadership started to ask for the same things, and in the same way that they always had. Effectively pushing the teams back into waterfall!

We discuss what we can do, when starting to work with a new organization, to help leadership understand what changes when we adopt Agile.

About Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.

Wouter Gheysen: Physical and emotional distance, the destroyers of the Scrum Product Owner effectiveness

In this episode, we discuss how distance, both physical and otherwise, can help build or destroy the relationship between the Product Owner and the team.

The Great Product Owner: The emotionally available Product Owner

Great Product Owners are emotionally available to the team. That’s the first characteristic we discuss in this episode, where we also explore the role of having a Vision for the product, as well as knowing how to negotiate with stakeholders, and helping the Scrum Master protect the team from interference. 

The Bad Product Owner: Physical and emotional distance, the destroyers of the Product Owner effectiveness

This Product Owner was sitting 5 floors above the team (literally). He was not available for the team to ask questions or interact with. The physical distance a PO builds with their team also transforms into emotional/relationship distance and destroys the collaboration that is so critical. We share some tips on how to overcome that distance between team and Product Owner.

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Wouter Gheysen

Wouter is a creative generalist with a broad area of interest beyond agility, a focus on people, and working with teams. He is a coach, guide and life long learner with a keen interest in facilitation, design thinking and systemic coaching.

You can link with Wouter Gheysen on LinkedIn and connect with Wouter Gheysen on Twitter

Wouter Gheysen: Scrum team success from many different perspectives

Success can have many different perspectives. We start this episode, discussing how those perspectives affect how we define and measure success with the teams we work with. And Wouter asks an important question, we should all think about: “What do you do that brings success to the team you work with?”

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective

Even if he uses many different retrospective formats, the first retrospective format that Wouter uses with a new team is The Sailboat Retrospective. For many teams, this format is something new, that helps them feel engaged with the retrospective. The use of metaphor and drawing can also engage the team, and help the team discuss difficult problems that would otherwise be difficult to approach.

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 Wouter Gheysen

Wouter is a creative generalist with a broad area of interest beyond agility, a focus on people, and working with teams. He is a coach, guide and life long learner with a keen interest in facilitation, design thinking and systemic coaching.

You can link with Wouter Gheysen on LinkedIn and connect with Wouter Gheysen on Twitter

Wouter Gheysen: Helping a team, learn and then own the Demo/Review ceremony in Scrum

Wouter was working in a bank, with a team that was just at the start of their Agile transformation. This team was insecure about the idea of a demo, they weren’t sure about how to conduct a demo with stakeholders, and the team members were hesitant to take ownership of that ceremony. 

Slowly, and methodically, Wouter helped the team first learn how, and then slowly take over the demo. By the end of this change, the team fully owned the demo, and team members put themselves forward to be the ones demonstrating the achievements they had accomplished during the sprint.

About Wouter Gheysen

Wouter is a creative generalist with a broad area of interest beyond agility, a focus on people, and working with teams. He is a coach, guide and life long learner with a keen interest in facilitation, design thinking and systemic coaching.

You can link with Wouter Gheysen on LinkedIn and connect with Wouter Gheysen on Twitter

Wouter Gheysen: How to help teams improve, even after an Agile transformation

When we work in a company that is in, or has just gone through an Agile transformation, we often see that external coaches leave and slowly the good behaviors fade away. The pressure of delivery takes over, and the teams start skipping the good things that had helped them before, like the retrospectives. In this episode, we discuss what Scrum Masters can do to help teams stick to the good practices they’ve learned and how the collaboration with the PO is so critical in keeping the process going, and the team improving. 

Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams, by Lyssa Adkins

In Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, Wouter found instpiurational and practical tops that he wanted to try in his work. It helped him understand the importance of coaching and gave him methods and tools to deal with conflict in the team.

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 Wouter Gheysen

Wouter is a creative generalist with a broad area of interest beyond agility, a focus on people, and working with teams. He is a coach, guide and life long learner with a keen interest in facilitation, design thinking and systemic coaching.

You can link with Wouter Gheysen on LinkedIn and connect with Wouter Gheysen on Twitter.

Wouter Gheysen: How to find the “right” sustainable pace for your Scrum team

One of the challenges for Scrum Masters is to know when the team is already working at their pace. The idea of sustainable pace is that we help the team find and slowly improve their pace, rather than do the “death march” sprints that can destroy the team’s morale and productivity. In this episode, we talk about how we may be able to help the teams we work with find their pace, and how to know when we are pushing them too hard (and too little). 

About Wouter Gheysen

Wouter is a creative generalist with a broad area of interest beyond agility, a focus on people, and working with teams. He is a coach, guide and life long learner with a keen interest in facilitation, design thinking and systemic coaching.

You can link with Wouter Gheysen on LinkedIn and connect with Wouter Gheysen on Twitter