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

Nagesh Sharma: Helping Scrum teams reach independence and self-organization

In this organization, the skills were not well divided between the teams. As this story starts, we hear of a team member that was helping 5 or 6 other teams because they were the one that had the necessary skills. How do we address this “unevenness” in skills between the teams? In this episode we discuss what we can do, as Scrum Masters, to better prepare our teams to be self-sufficient, and it all starts with looking at the skills in each team. 

About Nagesh Sharma

Nagesh is a Professional Scrum Trainer by Scrum.org, He is Co-Founder & CEO of Flowsphere India. His mission drives him in increasing the joy and accomplishment people feel with agile ways of working. Nagesh is a Management 3.0 & collaboration Superpowers Facilitator. Trained more than 3000 people across the globe and an active speaker at various international conferences.

You can link with Nagesh Sharma on LinkedIn and connect with Nagesh Sharma on Twitter.

Nagesh Sharma: How to solve the “It’s not my job” anti-pattern in Scrum teams

This story starts with a team that wasn’t making their customer happy. As Nagesh and his colleagues looked at the situation, they found out that the team members did not feel accountable for the success of the whole team. The team members thought they were only responsible for delivering on the tasks they were assigned. In this episode, we explore how to address this “it’s not my job” syndrome that affects so many teams.

Featured Book of the Week: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, helped Nagesh understand what are the things that need to be in place for a team to achieve high performance. Patrick Lencioni’s easy-to-read style is a great introduction to the model he builds in the story that helps us pay attention to the different interactions in the team, and be ready to analyze those in a way that helps the team succeed.

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 Nagesh Sharma

Nagesh is a Professional Scrum Trainer by Scrum.org, He is Co-Founder & CEO of Flowsphere India. His mission drives him in increasing the joy and accomplishment people feel with agile ways of working. Nagesh is a Management 3.0 & collaboration Superpowers Facilitator. Trained more than 3000 people across the globe and an active speaker at various international conferences.

You can link with Nagesh Sharma on LinkedIn and connect with Nagesh Sharma on Twitter.

Nagesh Sharma: Critical conditions necessary for Scrum teams to succeed

This was a dedicated team that wanted to succeed. However, the conditions were not in place for them to succeed. These conditions we talk about in the episode, are a great checklist for Scrum Masters who want to assess the conditions for success in their team. Through the story that Nagesh shares, we explore what we – Scrum Masters – can pay attention to, so that we help our teams put the right things in place to be able to deliver successfully. 

About Nagesh Sharma

Nagesh is a Professional Scrum Trainer by Scrum.org, He is Co-Founder & CEO of Flowsphere India. His mission drives him in increasing the joy and accomplishment people feel with agile ways of working. Nagesh is a Management 3.0 & collaboration Superpowers Facilitator. Trained more than 3000 people across the globe and an active speaker at various international conferences.

You can link with Nagesh Sharma on LinkedIn and connect with Nagesh Sharma on Twitter.

Rob Cooper: The Product Owner that was “far” from the Scrum team

The relationship between the Product Owner and the team is a critical aspect of the team’s performance. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting perspectives on building that relationship between PO and team.

The Great Product Owner: Deliberately building a relationship with the team

Great PO’s deliberately build a relationship with the team, but always have a clear idea of what the customer needs. Putting those two together, the PO is able to very clear about what they need to do to help the team deliver on the product vision. We also discuss how the PO is very much a leadership role. 

In this segment, we refer to the concept of Lateral Leadership

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that was “far” from the Scrum team

This story starts with a team that had 2 Product Owners. And even if both PO’s were passionate and wanted to do a good job, Rob noticed that the Business PO was very far from the team. In this segment, we discuss how the Product Owner is an “outreach” role, which tries to bring the team and the customer closer together. 

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 Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Rob Cooper: How Scrum Masters can adapt their definition of success to the team they work with

The Scrum Master role is not always easy to define, and in this episode, we discuss how that makes it hard to define success. Despite that, Rob shares his definition of success, and how he adapts his success definition to accommodate the situation of the team he works with. 

In this segment, we also refer to the idea/concept of Kaizen: Continuous Improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Soup Technique

In this segment, we talk about several possible retrospective formats. We start by discussing Themed Retrospectives and how they can be effective for teams, and we end up tackling one of the biggest obstacles to getting value out of Agile Retrospectives: focusing on things outside the control of the team. We discuss “The Circles and Soup” technique by Diana Larsen, which helps teams focus on the obstacles they have control over, and reach out for help on the items they don’t have control over.

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 Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn

Rob Cooper: A 3-step process to introduce change in an organization

This particular organization wanted to move to Agile. As Rob worked with the teams in the organization, he started to realize that the people aspect of the change process was crucial. In this episode, we discuss a 3-step process for change that takes that into account and helps you start to plan your actions as a Scrum Master in a change process. We also talk about the importance of narrative/storytelling when making the case for change. 

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Rob Cooper: Helping a team in an impossible situation, a Scrum Master story

Rob joined this company at the tail end of this team’s story. As Rob entered the organization, he understood that the organization was still stuck in the “old world”. The company had fired many of the people who had developed the legacy app that the team was trying hard to maintain. On top of that, there were many things going wrong at this organization. What could Rob do to help this team? Listen in, to learn about what we, as Scrum Masters, can do in very difficult situations, when everything seems to be going wrong for the team. 

In this segment, we refer to Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Laloux, and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.

Featured Book of the Week: Two surprising recommendations

Rob leaves us with two surprising recommendations that are worth an listen, to understand why he recommends these books. The first book, a book about the full complexity of human behavior and change aversion is The Bible. As Rob puts it: “it’s about human behavior”. The second recommendation, no less surprising is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a book that helped Rob understand storytelling and how a story can crystalize the direction for a team.

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 Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Rob Cooper: How to help teams that are stuck between Waterfall and Scrum

This team was stuck halfway between Waterfall and Scrum. The team was working in Sprints, but they had a 13-week development cycle, followed by a 13-week testing cycle. The separation of testing from development caused several issues, and the company tried to remedy that by asking developers to test in an attempt to speed up the testing cycle. However, things didn’t go according to plan. Listen in, to learn about what happens when organizations separate testing from development, and what we – Scrum Masters – can do to help teams that are in that position. 

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Susannah Chambers: Involving the team, an asset for great Scrum Product Owners

The way the PO involves the team in their work and decisions can make or break the collaboration between team and PO. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting approaches, and why the effective involvement of the team in the work of the PO is so important.

The Great Product Owner: User Experience focused PO

This particular Product Owner was very much focused on user experience, and that helped the team also focus on that aspect of their work. During meetings with the team, the PO constantly brought up the value they were trying to “drive” for the customer. 

In this segment, we refer to an approach Susannah calls “Metrics and Chill”. Listen in to learn what that is about.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that would have conversations without the team

Product Owners can help, or hinder the teams’ work. In this segment, we talk about a PO that would turn all blame on the team, and would have conversations with stakeholders without the team knowing about it, or being informed. This inevitably led to bad surprises that the team wasn’t ready for, and then was blamed for. Listen to these anti-patterns to learn to detect them before it is too late!

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 Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Susannah Chambers: Tips on assessing a Scrum team’s evolution over time

Can the team sustain the good practices they have in place? This is one of the questions that Susannah asks herself when assessing the impact of her work as a Scrum Master. She shares some tips that Scrum Masters can use to help the teams show if they are evolving in their Scrum and Agile journey. 

In this episode, we refer to the Personal Agility Movement

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Spinal Tap themed retrospective

One underrepresented retrospective format is that of a film-themed retro. Susannah, a musician herself, shares how she uses scenes from the Spinal Tap movie to help spark reflection and conversation in Agile Retrospectives. Susannah reminds us that the laughing that comes from watching some of the scenes in that movie, relaxes people and helps with the sharing of experiences.

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 Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter