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

Leslie McCormack: How to host impactful Agile Retrospectives

Retrospectives are an important ceremony for Agile teams. The goal of the retrospectives is to help the teams assess their practices, learn and improve. Without that ceremony, Scrum would not be an Agile practice. After all the manifesto clearly states: “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”

So, it’s no surprise that when Leslie struggled with her first retrospective, she went about learning how to host better, more engaging, and more impactful retrospectives. 

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Marcus Hammerberg on predicting Software development without estimation

Marcus wrote a blog post about predicting progress in ‘well-defined’ projects. He used a simple example where uncertainty was very limited. You can read the details in the blog post. However, even when uncertainty about the work was low, the predictions he was able to do (and he collects quite a few metrics in that story), was limited. 

In this episode, we explore the limits to prediction, and how that affects how we should look at prediction in our own software projects. 

Embracing uncertainty and what that means in practice for software projects

Continue reading BONUS: Marcus Hammerberg on predicting Software development without estimation

Darren Smith: 3 Anti-patterns PO’s should avoid

In this episode, we explore in detail some of the most common anti-patterns Darren sees in the Product Owner role, and we discuss why a PO training is not necessary for a great PO. 

The Great Product Owner: Business knowledge and outcome focus

To be a great Product Owner, it isn’t necessary to have attended a certification course. However, it is necessary to have a good connection to the business and a sharp focus on outcomes (impact) over output (more work). In this segment, we discuss what happens when you have those characteristics in your PO.

The Bad Product Owner: 3 Anti-patterns PO’s should avoid

There are many sides to a failed Product Owner role. In this episode, Darren shares with us some of the most common anti-patterns that he’s witnessed in his career as a Scrum Master.

In this segment, we refer to the remote facilitation online masterclass by Judy Rees.

For more anti-patterns, read Darren’s “How to Fail as Product Owner” infographic.

 

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 Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter.

Darren Smith: Leadership lessons for Scrum Masters

“Leaders make leaders of other people” is the phrase Darren shares with us to explain his view on what success is for a Scrum Master. By focusing on the team, and what they can do, Darren helps teams grow and become self-sufficient.

In this episode, we refer to Darren Smith’s The Naked Scrum Master blog, as well as the book Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A Walk In The Park

There are many formats that Darren likes to use. In this episode, he advocates the use of the “right” method for the retrospective, at the “right” time. Listen to the story of a team under pressure, and what Darren did to be able to help the team with his retrospective format.

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter.

Darren Smith: The question that can inspire change in your Scrum team

Change processes can sometimes be overwhelming. Darren has found his own way to handle that by focusing on small steps and one inspiring question he shares with us in this episode. Listen in to learn what is the question that can inspire change in your Scrum team. 

In this episode, we refer to the book Lean Change Management by Jason Little.

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter

Darren Smith: Great Scrum teams excel under pressure!

You only know a good team when they are under pressure. It’s easy to “follow the process” if you have a lot of time and little pressure. However, as a Scrum Master, you know you’ve done good work when the team sticks to the process (and even improves it) when they are under pressure. I advocate using self-imposed pressure to get better, I’ve written and recorded a video about that based on my own experience as a runner. The same is true in your work as a Scrum Master! 

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti

In Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti, Darren found the inspiration to start using and learning from metrics. It also got Darren started on Probabilistic Forecasting, a method he uses regularly. 

In this segment, we also refer to Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, and to Scrum Mastery, but Geoff Watts. Both Diana Larsen and Geoff Watts have been guests here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast. 

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter

Darren Smith: Scrum Masters are wrong all the time. Here’s why!

I’ve often said that we don’t coach the same team two days in a row. Each team is unique, but each team changes also daily. We must, as Scrum Masters, be on our toes and ready to adapt. In this episode, we explore a story that shares why that is important. We talk about a solution that worked for a team but backfired in another team. Same problem, same solution, completely opposite results! What do you believe in, which worked before, but might be wrong today? 

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter.

Addo de Visser: The Business Centric Product Owner as a success patter for the PO role

Product Owners are also responsible for the success of their products, not just for the content (user stories, etc.) they help develop. We discuss how PO’s with a business focus have a positive impact on the teams they work with. We also discuss what happens when the PO is overbearing and pushy towards the team.

The Great Product Owner: The business-centered PO

Product Owners are responsible for the success of the products they own, but also for the business success of those products. Addo shares some of the aspects that help PO’s succeed, like being physically present with the team, or making sure the team and the PO get together on the same location regularly, when working with a distributed team.

The Bad Product Owner: The overbearing, and pushy PO

When PO’s are overbearing and patronizing, they inadvertently cause the team members to step back and not share their insights and ideas. There’s a risk that team members will do only what they are “told” because they lose motivation. In this segment, we discuss how Scrum Masters can help these PO’s learn to allow the team to participate actively in the product design.

 

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 Addo de Visser

Addo is a good team player, has a broad experience in different roles (Agile Coach, Scrum Master). Trainer in Agile. He communicates very well within all levels of an organization. He is motivated by structuring, getting people to work together towards a common goal, and bridge the gap between Business and IT. 

Addo is the author of a book on Agile. Addo’s book in English: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”. Addo’s book in Dutch: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”.

Remember: the profit of the book goes completely to program for children in developing countries!

You can link with Addo de Visser on LinkedIn and connect with Addo de Visser on Twitter.

You can also visit Addo’s page on Cap Gemini Academy.

Addo de Visser: 2 aspects of a successful Scrum Master

In this episode, we talk about how predictable teams are, and the impact that the “energy” in the team can have on their success. We review how you can use these two aspects to measure your success as a Scrum Master or Agile Coach.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: 2-truths and a lie

Addo prefers any format that is not the standard Went well/Didn’t work/To improve. He shares with us an exercise that will help the team members conect on a personal level, and develop the team dynamic at the same time. Two truths and a lie, is a simple exercise to, for example, start a new team off on the right foot.

About Addo de Visser

Addo is a good team player, has a broad experience in different roles (Agile Coach, Scrum Master). Trainer in Agile. He communicates very well within all levels of an organization. He is motivated by structuring, getting people to work together towards a common goal, and bridge the gap between Business and IT. 

Addo is the author of a book on Agile. Addo’s book in English: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”. Addo’s book in Dutch: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”.

Remember: the profit of the book goes completely to program for children in developing countries!

You can link with Addo de Visser on LinkedIn and connect with Addo de Visser on Twitter.

You can also visit Addo’s page on Cap Gemini Academy

Addo de Visser: How to start a bottom-up Agile transformation

When Addo was asked to help an energy company to transition to Agile, he started to develop an approach that he shares with us in this episode. We discuss 5+ lessons he learned, and share how those practices can start a bottom-up transformation at your organization.

About Addo de Visser

Addo is a good team player, has a broad experience in different roles (Agile Coach, Scrum Master). Trainer in Agile. He communicates very well within all levels of an organization. He is motivated by structuring, getting people to work together towards a common goal, and bridge the gap between Business and IT. 

Addo is the author of a book on Agile. Addo’s book in English: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”. Addo’s book in Dutch: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”.

Remember: the profit of the book goes completely to program for children in developing countries!

You can link with Addo de Visser on LinkedIn and connect with Addo de Visser on Twitter.