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

Moana Pledger: How to help Scrum teams stuck in a Waterfall organization

Not all teams have the benefit of working within an Agile organization. Some of the teams we work with are stuck between Waterfall and Agile. And as Scrum Masters, we very often get asked to work with teams that are struggling with exactly that problem. In this episode, we discuss how we can help teams that are in a similar situation, and what Mo learned from that story that you can use to your advantage.

In this episode, we refer to Martine Davos, and Agile Coach and Scrum trainer.

About Moana Pledger

Mo started her career in education and program management before moving into digital delivery. She’s pretty sure she was a servant-leader before she had even heard the term. Her passion is to build healthy teams and foster the all-important relationship between business and team, which allows a safe space for the magic to happen.

You can link with Moana Pledgeron LinkedIn and connect with Moana Pledger on Twitter.

Chelsie Raiola: When 2 Product Owners pair, and succeed!

It’s not only developers that may pair. We talk about the Product Owners that were better working as a pair, and discuss what happens when the PO “knows it all”. 

The Great Product Owner: Pairing as Product Owners

The Product Owner role is one that requires several focus points. In this segment, we talk about how two PO’s working together were able to both involve the team and do long term planning. Both are needed for the team to succeed, and the pairing of Product Owners may be a good way to handle that split focus.

The Bad Product Owner: The “Know it all” Product Owner

When the Product Owner is not able to share the knowledge they have and involve the team in the product development, we end up with a big dependency on the PO. This usually leads to the team losing ownership, and feeling demoralized. We discuss the consequences of having PO’s be the “bottleneck” for answering questions.

In this segment, we refer to the book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni

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 Chelsie Raiola

Chelsie has been working as a Scrum Master in the Greater Boston Area for just over two years. She has experience working with both co-located and distributed teams developing on-premise and SaaS solutions worldwide. She is an avid lover of technology, dogs, and bullet journals, Chelsie loves finding ways to bring Agile outside of the office.

You can link with Chelsie Raiola on LinkedIn

Chelsie Raiola: How to measure Scrum team improvements over time

When looking at success for Scrum Masters, measuring improvements on the team, and how they work is usually a big part of the evaluation process. We also look at the outcome of retrospectives and discuss how to measure accountability in the team. 

Finally, we discuss an Agile Coach/Scrum Master assessment approach (Agile Coach NPS by Jason Little) that can help Scrum Masters assess their contribution to the team’s success.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: If this Sprint was a GIF?

Do you like searching for funny GIFs and memes to share with your colleagues? Well, you can make that part of your next retrospective with this format that Chelsie shares with us. 

Here’s one to inspire you

via GIPHY

About Chelsie Raiola

Chelsie has been working as a Scrum Master in the Greater Boston Area for just over two years. She has experience working with both co-located and distributed teams developing on-premise and SaaS solutions worldwide. She is an avid lover of technology, dogs, and bullet journals, Chelsie loves finding ways to bring Agile outside of the office.

You can link with Chelsie Raiola on LinkedIn.

Chelsie Raiola: Helping a DevOps team form and perform

A new team was formed, with new responsibilities. Now both that team and the others needed to adapt. How to help teams adopt and adapt to these new ways of releasing software? In this episode, we explore the DevOps change from the client team and provider team perspective. 

In this episode, we also refer to the Agile Online Meetup, a monthly event where we’ve discussed also the transformation into DevOps in an episode with Helen Beal (to be notified of upcoming Agile Online Meetup events organized by your Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, sign-up to our mailing list and get 5 lessons from our Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition).

About Chelsie Raiola

Chelsie has been working as a Scrum Master in the Greater Boston Area for just over two years. She has experience working with both co-located and distributed teams developing on-premise and SaaS solutions worldwide. She is an avid lover of technology, dogs, and bullet journals, Chelsie loves finding ways to bring Agile outside of the office.

You can link with Chelsie Raiola on LinkedIn.

Chelsie Raiola: Helping Scrum teams learn how to re-team, accept new team members

Teams can’t always remain the same over time. What happens when the team needs to change its composition, or even work with new colleagues but refuses to do so? In this episode, we explore how Scrum Masters can help teams accept new team members and adapt to the inevitable organizational changes that will happen over time.

Featured Book for the Week: The Pocket Guide to Scrum by Gunther Verheyen

In The Pocket Guide to Scrum by Gunther Verheyen (who was a guest previously on the podcast), Chelsie found a quick to read and easily understandable collection of tips for Scrum Masters. 

In this segment, we also refer to User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton (also a guest on the podcast) and The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim et al

About Chelsie Raiola

Chelsie has been working as a Scrum Master in the Greater Boston Area for just over two years. She has experience working with both co-located and distributed teams developing on-premise and SaaS solutions worldwide. She is an avid lover of technology, dogs, and bullet journals, Chelsie loves finding ways to bring Agile outside of the office.

You can link with Chelsie Raiola on LinkedIn.

Chelsie Raiola: How Scrum Masters can help teams handle critical escalations

Once in while, Scrum teams need to face critical situations. In this episode, we explore what a Scrum Master can do to help a team that is facing a critical customer escalation. These are situations where urgency can easily lead to conflict and negatively affect a team. Are you ready to handle such a situation? Listen in to learn how Chelsie tackled that challenge.

About Chelsie Raiola

Chelsie has been working as a Scrum Master in the Greater Boston Area for just over two years. She has experience working with both co-located and distributed teams developing on-premise and SaaS solutions worldwide. She is an avid lover of technology, dogs, and bullet journals, Chelsie loves finding ways to bring Agile outside of the office.

You can link with Chelsie Raiola on LinkedIn

Ellen Santamaria: Asking questions to enable and empower the Scrum team

In this episode, we explore the case of the PO who was absent, but great at asking questions, and we discuss what can be done when the PO says that “everything is a priority”.

The Great Product Owner: Asking questions to enable and empower the Scrum team

Although it can be a problem that the Product Owner is absent, sometimes that works out really well for the team. In this segment, we explore the story of the CTO that became the Product Owner for a team, and even if he was not always available, he was good at enabling and empowering the team to take ownership of their work through the questions he asked. 

The Bad Product Owner: The “Everything is a priority” anti-pattern

When everything is a priority, there are 2 ceremonies that break down. Refinement/Grooming meetings and Sprint planning start to fall apart. There’s too many stories to refine, we try to fit too much into one sprint, which leads to conflicts in Sprint planning. Ultimately teams start taking short-cuts which may lead to even bigger problems. In this segment, we discuss how to help a PO that says “everything is a priority”.

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 Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: Cards Against Agility, a fun Agile retrospective game

When it comes to Scrum Master success, Ellen likes to look at metrics that indicate if her work is having an impact. She suggests that a simple metric around the quality of the Sprint planning may be enough to assess the success for the Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Cards Against Agility

Ellen developed a game called Cards against Agility based on another popular game. Ellen uses this game as a simple way for the team to blow-off some steam, or as she puts it “trash talk in a fun way”. 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: A simple tool to help non-Software teams adopt Scrum

How do we help teams that are not developing software, but still are using Scrum? In this episode, we talk about how different the adoption process is for non-technical teams, and learn about the tool that Ellen developed to help teams adopt Scrum even when not working in a software development role. 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: Dealing with value conflicts between Scrum Master and team or organization

How often do you reflect on the prevailing culture of the team and organization where you work? Are that team or organization’s values aligned with you own personal values? 

As Scrum Masters, the organizations and teams we work with have a big impact on the work we can do. In this episode, we discuss how sometimes the organization and team’s cultures are not aligned with the Scrum Master’s values, and what we should do about it.

Featured Book for the Week: The Hitchhiker’s guide to Agile Coaching

In The Hitchhiker’s guide to Agile Coaching, by the Agile42 coaches (free sign-up required), Ellen found a good description of the different stances Scrum Masters need to take in their role. The book invites us to consider the stance we take at each moment. 

In this segment, we also refer to the 5 coaching stances for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches (free sign-up required).

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.