Doug Knesek on how individualist cultures affect Scrum adoption

What can we learn from individualist cultures, and how they affect Scrum and Agile adoption?

We discuss how the Wisconsin natives look at the Scrum values and what might be some of the challenges they face when trying to put those in practice.

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Doug Knesek and Nanny McPhee define Scrum Master Success

Helping Scrum teams take ownership, and drive their self-improvement is Doug’s definition of success.

We talk about the Nanny McPhee phrase: “When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.” A simple, yet effective heuristic for Scrum Masters!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Kata

The Toyota Kata is a method of reflection and learning that helps people and teams to keep themselves accountable for their work, and how they develop over time.

We discuss the format, how to facilitate a Toyota Kata retrospective and what were the influences (e.g. Deming) that led Doug to choose this format.

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Doug Knesek on how to help teams take responsibility for the change process

When helping Scrum teams, Scrum Masters must keep this heuristic in mind: Team members don’t take responsibility for “other people’s” proposed solutions.

This heuristic is even more important when it comes to a change process. So Doug suggests we should help teams reflect, learn and improve on their own.

In this episode, we refer to Extreme Programming and the Causal Loop Diagram (the causal loop diagram was described by Antti Tevanlinna in a previous episode).

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Doug Knesek on how to help Scrum teams evolve their process

When teams come together, even if they have Scrum experience, they don’t always agree on the process. That can paralyze teams. In this episode, we explore a story about a team that was stuck with their definition of the process. All team members had different versions of Scrum in their mind. But still, they needed to progress. Listen in to learn how Doug tackled that problem and helped the team start to deliver.

In this episode, we talk about the concept of Semantic Diffusion as defined by Fowler, and we discuss the importance of changing the team setup often (something Heidi Helfand discusses on the podcast in a previous episode).

Featured Book of the Week: Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

In Toyota Kata by Mike Rother, Doug found an approach that helps him deal with the natural uncertainty that comes with the Scrum Master role. We want to help teams reach a target condition, but we don’t know all the steps we need to take, so using the approaches in Toyota Kata helped Doug prepare for that uncertainty, and help teams progress even when only the next few steps are visible.

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

How to amplify Agile Enterprise collaboration: The Internal Unconference how-to guide

  • Are you having trouble getting inter-team cooperation going?
  • Is it difficult to attack issues that require people from all over the organisation?
  • Do you find decision making to be difficult and slow?
  • Do you find it hard to just knuckle down and get things done?
  • Do you want to remind people in your organisation how many brilliant people they work with?

In that case, you might consider running an “Internal Unconference”.

Internal Unconference is an exclusive blog post by Jeff Campbell, author of Actionable Agile Tools, a book that includes 19 practical tools with step-by-step guides for Scrum Masters. Actionable Agile Tools is now available on Amazon.

Continue reading How to amplify Agile Enterprise collaboration: The Internal Unconference how-to guide

Doug Knesek on moving from Scrum “enforcer” to Scrum Master

When we get started as Scrum Masters, especially those that have a Project Management or Management background, we tend to “enforce” Scrum. As our understanding progresses though, we start to learn that there’s a lot of value in helping teams learn by themselves, help them feel confident and take over the process.

In this episode, we discuss that change in our approach to the Scrum Master role, and a lot more!

We talk about Extreme Programming and how that approach should be looked at by Scrum Masters. We also refer to Kent Beck’s Extreme Programming Explained and Martin Fowler’s Refactoring book.

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Anja Bonatto-Minella on how direct cultures follow the values of Scrum

Anja shares her experience in Germany. We discuss how people express their ideas in that culture, and how direct they can be. We also discuss why that’s important in Scrum, especially in Retrospectives, when we must address topics quickly and find solutions or changes to help the team progress.

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

How to build trust with clients and stakeholders while getting what you deserve for your work: a story about trust

This is a guest blog post by Jacopo Romei. Author of Extreme Contracts, a book about how to build trust, and deliver value without traditional contracts.

How to build trust with clients and stakeholders while getting what you deserve for your work: a story about trust

Over the last ten years, I’ve experienced the direct impact of lack of trust in vendor-buyer and even colleague-colleague relationships. I’ve come to find that it is the main reason why collaborations in knowledge work fail.

I’ve tried to fix that in my own work as an independent consultant and when working with other colleagues. That’s why I ended up experimenting with a new type of agreements which are optimized for trust building. This experimentation resulted in a set of principles that I call Extreme Contracts. Now, all my customers and I use this approach to shape our collaboration and they have started using Extreme Contracts also with their customers.

Continue reading How to build trust with clients and stakeholders while getting what you deserve for your work: a story about trust

Anja Bonatto-Minella on encouraging new team members to contribute from the start

One of the critical tasks of a Scrum Master is to help team members contribute to the success of the team. When we look at Anja’s Scrum Master success definition, helping team members directly contribute to the team is very high on the list.

In this episode, we cover how Scrum Masters can help new team members feel like they are part of the team and directly contribute to the team from the start.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: What went well/not so well/what can we change?

Anja prefers the classic “What went well/not so well/what can we change?” retrospective format. In her experience, this format gives people the ability to bring up the points that affect them personally. When experimenting with different formats remember that it takes a while for people to get used to new formats.

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Anja Bonatto-Minella: when Scrum teams ask for help, help them!

When teams that are new to Scrum start adopting a new way of working, there’s a window of opportunity to help them. When they are still new and recognize that they need help. In this episode, we review the story of a team that had a difficult project ahead, and how Anja and the rest of the organization went about finding a way to help the team.

A reminder that teams sometimes ask for help, and that’s the right time to help them!

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.