Keep your negotiation value-centered and finish them in a second! – an #ExtremeContracts principle

This is a guest blog post by Jacopo Romei. Author of the Italian version of the book Extreme Contracts, and author of an upcoming book on the same topic in English.

A few years ago I managed to work less than a week for a 5-digit fee. The best part is that my customer was very happy to pay and didn’t even try to negotiate the price down: they just accepted my proposal as-is. Do you want to know how I did it? I just made my agreement value-centered. Read on for the details!

Continue reading Keep your negotiation value-centered and finish them in a second! – an #ExtremeContracts principle

Martin Lambert: The common anti-patterns new Scrum Masters take, but should avoid

When we take the role of the Scrum Master, many of us are jumping into a new experience. Something we’ve never done before. Whether you have a background in technology or project management, Scrum Master is likely to be a very different role.

In this episode, we discover through Martin’s story what are the most common anti-patterns that we take up as new Scrum Masters. Have you been too committed to the previous ways of working? Have you tried to teach, when the right stance to take was to listen and ask questions? Don’t despair, we’ve all been there and Martin shares his personal story, as well as what he learned from that about the core of the Scrum Master role.

About Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: The Secret Backlog, Product Owner anti-pattern

In this Product Owner episode, we talk about the importance of nurturing the collaboration between Product Owner and team, and we uncover The Secret Backlog, a Product Owner anti-pattern.

The Great Product Owner: Accepting team input

Having worked as a Product Owner for 2 years, Dirk has learned the hard way how difficult that role is. So, when he took the Scrum Master Role in a pilot project he wanted to help the PO. Worked to prepare the team environment, getting managers out of the daily meetings to give teams the freedom they needed. Once the team was ready, he worked with the PO to support him. He describes what behaviors made this PO a great PO, including how he treated the team members, interacted with stakeholders, and how the PO was able to accept and process team input.

The Bad Product Owner: The Secret Backlog

There are many things that can go wrong with the product owner. In this episode, we learn about a PO that wanted to micromanage the team, had a second (secret) backlog and was not able to accept and process feedback from the team or others. We also discuss what Scrum Masters can do to detect early signals of problems and to keep themselves in check. Avoiding to escalate the situation even further.

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 Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: How do we measure the Scrum Master role?

A question Dirk has heard often (and you might have too!) is: how should we measure the Scrum Master role? That led him to think about possible metrics to present to stakeholders. In this episode, we discuss possible Scrum Master metrics as well as the “self-check” questions you can ask yourself when evaluating your own success and evolution as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Customizing your Retrospectives

At some point, the formats you are used to may not be enough, and you need to find another format for the issues at hand. In those situations, Scrum Masters must be comfortable with customizing the retrospective format for their team. In this segment, we discuss tools and approaches you can take to customize your next retrospective to the team’s specific needs.

A useful tool, which has been referred to before on the podcast is Retromat.org. However, there are some caveats when using that tool. Listen in to learn about possible drawbacks and how to overcome those.

About Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: Scrum Master Journal, a tool to survive large scale Agile adoption (and 9 other tools)

In large organizations, Agile adoption is often a long and complicated process of constant expectation management for both stakeholders and Scrum Masters. In this episode, Dirk shares with us his experience with the Scrum Master Journal, a tool that helps him reflect and survive large scale adoption.

Dirk also has 9 other tools to share with us that will help your Scrum Master journey.

In this episode, we refer to Battle Mapping and some practical tips on how to get help from the other Scrum Masters.

About Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: Helping Scrum teams survive micromanagement

Sooner or later, Scrum Masters will face the micro-management anti-pattern. What should Scrum Masters do in that case? In this episode, we talk about the anti-patterns that can emerge in a team that is subject to micro-management and some of the tools that Scrum Masters can use in those situations.

We discuss the Game of Trust and the Niko Niko Calendar.

Featured book for the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

Geoff Watts has been a past guest of the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast, and is also the author of Scrum Mastery: From Good To Great Servant-Leadership. In that book, Dirk found out about servant leadership and how that could change his approach to the Scrum Master role.

In this segment, we also mention Scrum for the people by Tobias Mayer and Product Mastery by Geoff Watts.

About Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: How Scrum Masters can navigate Agile adoption in large organizations

What can a Scrum Master do when they are part of Agile adoption in a large organization? In this episode, we explore some of the common problems you should be ready for. Dirk shares with us what he learned and how Scrum Masters can prepare for the predictable problems they will face.

In this episode, we refer to the technique “Battle Mapping (PDF at Scribd)” that can help Scrum Masters understand where to put their focus during a transformation.

About Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Business Agility, what it is and how to achieve it with Evan Leybourn

What is Business Agility? In a time where it seems that every company wants to adopt Agile, there’s also the dark side of Agile: the belief that it only affects “people in the IT department”. That could not be further from the truth.

In this episode, we have Evan Leybourn sharing what Business Agility is about, and why it matters for your organization.

The origins of Business Agility

Continue reading BONUS: Business Agility, what it is and how to achieve it with Evan Leybourn

Stanislava Potupchik: The importance of listening to the team, a key skill for the Product Owner role

Stanislava has shown a keen focus on people, and their interactions this week, and to finish off the week we talk about how to apply that focus in the Product Owner role. First as a learning process, and helping a team member gain trust in their abilities. Later we talk about the great Product Owner, one that was ready to listen to the team, and answer their questions.

The Great Product Owner: Listening to the team

As an example of a great Product Owner, Stanislava mentions the ability to listen. To pay attention to what the team needs, and to be available to answer questions when they arise in the team.

We also talk about how important it is for teams to ask questions, and how Scrum Masters can coach teams to learn how to ask questions from the Product Owner.

The Bad Product Owner: Learning to be a Product Owner from scratch

Sometimes the “bad” Product Owner, is a temporary situation for a team member that wants to take on a new role. In this segment, we talk about how we can help shy, and inexperienced team members learn a new role.

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 Stanislava Potupchik

Stanislava is not only a serious games facilitator and a team coach, but she also spends a considerable amount of time rock-climbing and hiking, traveling with her partner and son, and drawing zentangles.

You can link with Stanislava Potupchik on LinkedIn and connect with Stanislava Potupchik on Twitter.

Stanislava Potupchik: in Scrum, we produce value through the actions of people

When it comes to the success of a Scrum Master, Stanislava likes to focus on the conflicts that emerge in the team, and ask if they have been solved, and if people are collaborating again.

I the end the value we produce is fully dependent on what people contribute, in Scrum, we only produce value through people!

Featured Retrospective of the Week: The simple matrix

Stanislava likes to refer back to the previous action points from the previous retrospectives and examine what has changed. She asks, for all items listed: “has it changed in the previous 2 weeks?” This way she focuses the conversations on the core outcome of the retrospective: the changes we want to implement to improve our work.

About Stanislava Potupchik

Stanislava is not only a serious games facilitator and a team coach, but she also spends a considerable amount of time rock-climbing and hiking, traveling with her partner and son, and drawing zentangles.

You can link with Stanislava Potupchik on LinkedIn and connect with Stanislava Potupchik on Twitter.

Stanislava Potupchik: how to break the “agile bubbles” some teams are stuck in

Are you working on an “agile bubble”? Agile bubbles emerge in organizations, where one or more teams are allowed to use Agile, but all other teams are stuck in Waterfall. How do we help organizations that have these Agile Bubbles?

In this episode, we talk about the Cynefin Framework and how visualization helps groups understand how they can change.

In this episode, we also refer to Michael Sahota’s work.

About Stanislava Potupchik

Stanislava is not only a serious games facilitator and a team coach, but she also spends a considerable amount of time rock-climbing and hiking, traveling with her partner and son, and drawing zentangles.

You can link with Stanislava Potupchik on LinkedIn and connect with Stanislava Potupchik on Twitter.