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

Yousef T. Fahoum: Learning to understand Agile transformations, and associated change processes

As Yousef puts it: “Everything is a change process”. In an Agile transformation, there can be many dynamics at play, so we need to pay attention to finding out what is going on at all times. In this episode, we investigate how we can bring an Agile mindset to change, and learn what are the key change dynamics we need to work with.

About Yousef T. Fahoum

When starting out as a ScrumMaster and BA years ago Yousef passionately followed the ScrumMaster Podcast. Yousef is a SAFe Enterprise Coach at Elabor8 with experience implementing Agile and SAFe at some of the largest and most recognized brand leaders across industry domains in the U.S. and Australia.

You can link with Yousef T. Fahoum on LinkedIn and connect with Yousef T. Fahoum on Twitter.

Yousef T. Fahoum: The missing ingredient for a Scrum team to succeed

Yousef was working with a team that others call “trouble team”. But, as he observed the team, it looked like they were trying hard to do a good job. So he started working through 1-on-1’s to try to get a better, more detailed picture of what was going on. In that process, he realized that something critical was missing for that team to work well.

Featured Book of the Week: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Lencioni

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Lencioni, Yousef learned how to diagnose a team by looking at their dynamics. He also learned a model that helps him work with teams and grow the people in it.

In this segment, we also refer to Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General McChrystal, and MobProgramming, a topic we’ve covered before here on the podcast.

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 Yousef T. Fahoum

When starting out as a ScrumMaster and BA years ago Yousef passionately followed the ScrumMaster Podcast. Yousef is a SAFe Enterprise Coach at Elabor8 with experience implementing Agile and SAFe at some of the largest and most recognized brand leaders across industry domains in the U.S. and Australia.

You can link with Yousef T. Fahoum on LinkedIn and connect with Yousef T. Fahoum on Twitter.

Yousef T. Fahoum: Scrum Master job descriptions tell you a lot about the company hiring

When applying to a Scrum Master position, you should pay attention to the job description. Does it describe the job as you see it? Yousef shares a story of a Scrum Master job that did not go as expected. The manager wanted to be in all the meetings, and asked the Scrum Master to record and share of the Retrospective sessions. This was not looking good! Listen in to learn how Yousef got out of this tricky situation.

About Yousef T. Fahoum

When starting out as a ScrumMaster and BA years ago Yousef passionately followed the ScrumMaster Podcast. Yousef is a SAFe Enterprise Coach at Elabor8 with experience implementing Agile and SAFe at some of the largest and most recognized brand leaders across industry domains in the U.S. and Australia.

You can link with Yousef T. Fahoum on LinkedIn and connect with Yousef T. Fahoum on Twitter.

BONUS: Learning what makes a great place to work with Woody Zuill and Yves Hanoulle

The idea for this episode started with a conversation with Yves and Woody when recording one chapter for the Tips from the Trenches Audiobook (check out the audiobook). In this episode, we talk about, and try to define what makes a great place to work, or as Woody calls them: wonderful places to work!

Woody starts by describing two different workplaces, one that was “wonderful”, and one that was not. We explore what the differences were between those two places, and what we can learn from those stories as Scrum Masters. 

As Scrum Masters, our role is to help our teams, and our organizations move towards a better place to work, therefore these lessons are critical for us to act on. 

In this segment, we refer to MobProgramming, an approach to teamwork that Woody has been talking and writing about for some years; and Cynefin, a model that tries to describe the differences between different levels of complexity, and defines certain strategies for managing different types of work.

“Turn up the good” a heuristic to build great places to work

Continue reading BONUS: Learning what makes a great place to work with Woody Zuill and Yves Hanoulle

Julie Wyman: How to help unempowered Product Owners step up, and start to make decisions

The Great Product Owner: Two characteristics that make a great PO

This Product owner had two characteristics that made her a great Product Owner for the team. She had: a) domain expertise, and b) availability to work with the team. She also knew that it was important to involve others in making decisions and actively asked help from other experts when needed. She was also great at collecting feedback. 

The Bad Product Owner: Helping unempowered PO’s step up, and start to make decisions

This Product Owner was missing empowerment to make decisions. This was further complicated by the fact that the PO was part of a larger program, where there were multiple PO’s that also did not feel empowered. We discuss how to help these Product Owners slowly start to gain ownership, and assert their ability to make decisions.

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

Julie Wyman: Involving the Scrum team in defining our success as Scrum Masters

Julie invites us to ask what success looks like for the teams we work with. Based on that, and a few other questions that Julie suggests, we can assess our impact, as well as invite the teams themselves into the reflection about success. 

In this segment, we talk about Psychological Safety, a topic we have also covered in previous episodes. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Mixing up formats to focus on the right question for the team

Julie likes to mix up several formats as a way to try and tap into what’s critical for the teams at that time. We also talk about bringing up the team working agreements regularly, to ensure that the team sticks to the agreements they have made. 

In this segment, we refer to the Agile Retrospectives book and a tool Julie calls The Working Agreement Report Card, where the team scores themselves on how well they follow the agreements they had defined for themselves.

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 Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

Julie Wyman: Introducing Agile to a new organization with Kanban

While working with an organization in their Agile transition, Julie and colleagues recommended that they start with Kanban. Kanban would bring minimal disruption to the teams, and enable them to learn what Agile would mean in their context. However, there was a lot more to do before the teams were able to run a Kanban flow and start learning what Agile meant for them. In this episode, we explore not only how to introduce Kanban, but also what to consider when bringing Agile to a group of teams that are new to Agile.

About Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

Julie Wyman: Getting a Scrum team back on the retrospectives train

Julie was part of a team supporting a large program of 10 scrum teams. The team that Julie was working with, started to skip the retrospectives because they were trying to catch-up. However, after they had been able to catch-up, the team did not come back to start holding their retrospectives again. When should the Scrum Master stand-up and push the team to hold their retrospectives again? In this episode, we talk about the critical role Scrum Masters play in keeping the teams accountable to themselves when it comes to process, and how sometimes, it is important to stop, even if that affects delivery, because retrospectives are the “power station” for the rest of the work the team does. 

Featured Book of the Week: Impact Mapping, by Gojko Adzic

In Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects by Gojko Adzic, Julie found a way to crystalize the concept of business impact. Impact Mapping, is a short book with lot of visuals. You can also learn about Impact Mapping in Gojko Adzic’s presentation on Impact Mapping

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 Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

Julie Wyman: Learning to coach, and listening to the Scrum team’s needs

As we move from our mentoring/training stance, to more of a coaching stance, we need to be mindful of the team’s own journey. In this episode, we talk about the transition that Julie was going through, from mentoring to coaching, and how the team reacted to her change. Listening to the team, and learning what is the right stance to take is critical for Scrum Masters. 

About Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Highlights of the Scrum Master Summit 2022 with the track hosts Kjell de Ruiter and Ari-Pekka Skarp

In this podcast we explore some of the main highlights from the Scrum Master Summit 2022 with track hosts Kjell de Ruiter and Ari-Pekka Skarp. 

We also name the remaining track hosts and the other tracks that you can check out at https://scrummastersummit.org/. Those include: 

  • Dana Pylayeva, will host the coaching track at the summit, where we explore some of the hard lessons we need to be aware of when adopting coaching in our practice
  • Ayodeji Ishola, hosts a track on the state of Agile in the African continent, and will be showcasing talks that address the cultural specific aspects of Agile in Africa
  • Mariana Trigo, will have 6 sessions on career advice for Scrum Masters and hiring advice for those hiring Scrum Masters. She’ll have a special focus on how you can get into the Scrum Master role even if you don’t have a tech background. 
  • Yves Hanoulle, the co-author of the Tips from The trenches audiobook, hosts a track on Hybrid work, very topical now that we have our teams remote most of the time
  • Martin von Weissenberg, will share patterns of scaled agile. Not the frameworks we always hear about, but rather practical, down-to-earth advice for specific needs when we scale agile 

Accepting and learning to deal with Social Complexity in Agile adoption 

Continue reading BONUS: Highlights of the Scrum Master Summit 2022 with the track hosts Kjell de Ruiter and Ari-Pekka Skarp