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

Mahesh Jade: Dealing the critical team members in an Agile adoption at the team level

Mahesh started to work with a new organization, and there were several people and teams that were not familiar with Agile. When focusing on continuous improvement, one of the people in the team constantly pointed out mistakes in others, which caused resentment in the team. This helped Mahesh learn a very important lesson about the difference between being kind and being right.

Featured Book of the Week: Evolvagility by Hamman and Cooney

In Evolvagility: Growing an Agile Leadership Culture from the Inside Out, Mahesh found guidance on how to look at the agile adoption process. 

About Mahesh Jade

Mahesh is an Agile evangelist dedicated to championing the cause of building winning teams and winning products. A facilitator by passion, a coach, and an agilist at heart, he works to bring agility to the organization and humanizing the workplace. 

You can link with Mahesh Jade on LinkedIn and connect with Mahesh Jade on Twitter.

Mahesh Jade: Learning to apply the spirit of Servant Leadership as a Scrum Master

The lessons that Mahesh learned in one organization, were not applicable when he changed organizations. That story brought Mahesh an important lesson that all Scrum Masters should pay attention to. We must learn to apply the “spirit” of servant leadership and not only the tools we might have learned in the past.

About Mahesh Jade

Mahesh is an Agile evangelist dedicated to championing the cause of building winning teams and winning products. A facilitator by passion, a coach, and an agilist at heart, he works to bring agility to the organization and humanizing the workplace. 

You can link with Mahesh Jade on LinkedIn and connect with Mahesh Jade on Twitter.

BONUS: Peter Oliver-Krueger and Michael Dougherty on shifting from “product” to “people” centric practices in your Agile adoption

Download the first chapters of the book Shift: From Product to People at: https://bit.ly/shift_book

Peter and Michael just finished the first half of a book they are writing together on the topic of shifting our attention, and focus from the “product” focused techniques to “people” focused techniques in order to achieve superior performance. 

The first four chapters of the book are freely available here. Sign-up to get the first four chapters today.

Listen to the podcast with Peter and Michael in the player below, and check out the show notes with the details of the topics discussed.

The third wave of Agile adoption: People focus

As Peter and Michael describe it, we went through different phases of Agile adoption in the industry. The first phase was a move away from projects and into a “product” thinking approach to software development. The move to focus on people is according to Peter and Michael, the third major shift in our industry.  Continue reading BONUS: Peter Oliver-Krueger and Michael Dougherty on shifting from “product” to “people” centric practices in your Agile adoption

Leigh Griffin: The part-time PO that starved the Scrum team, and other anti-patterns

From the “starving the team” anti-pattern to the PO that was able to talk to, and be understood by both the technology and the business teams. 

The Great Product Owner: The PO that spoke the business and technology language

This PO was a very experienced PO, who had worked as an analyst before and had a technology background. This gave the PO the ability to speak both business and technology language as serve as a bridge between the two sides. On top of that, this PO was able to keep the team informed, and help them think from a customer perspective.

The Bad Product Owner: The part-time PO that starved the team

This was a part-time PO that ended up letting the team starve by not feeding them enough content for their work. This kind of PO can stop the Agile transformation and affect the overall adoption in the organization. 

We also talk about other anti-patterns in the PO role that Scrum Masters should keep an eye out for. 

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 Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Leigh Griffin: From releasing regularly to growing our Agile mindset, the success journey

Releasing software regularly is one of the aspects of success for the team, and for the Scrum Master, but – as Leigh shares – many teams struggle with the mechanics. Leigh suggests we set up the structure with Scrum, to help teams deliver reliably at first, and predictably later. 

Finally, Leigh likes to focus on the mindset growth in the team as a measure of progress for his work as a Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Starfish Retrospective

Leigh shares a retrospective format that works well for remote/distributed teams, the Starfish retrospective. He mentions how this format helps teams find what is worth continuing to do, instead of only what needs changing. A great format to help reinforce positive behaviors. 

Check out what other guests have said about The Starfish Retrospective

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 experiences: 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 Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Leigh Griffin: Futurespective as a Change Management tool for Scrum teams

When Leigh started to work with this team, he wanted to help them focus on improving their process without pushing Scrum or Agile on them. This was a startup team, they were already pretty “agile”. 

Leigh started with a Futurespective, to help them get a sense of the direction they wanted to go in. Leigh then used different data sources to help the team improve, and the outcome of the Futurespective to help them prepare for some of the difficult situations they would have to face. 

About Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Leigh Griffin: The Scrum team that would not improve because they wanted to be “perfect”

“Not all things that matter can be measured, and not all the things that can be measured are important” is a phrase that summarises this conversation with Leigh. He shares the story of a team that was stuck in the perfection self-defeating loop. Focusing on seemingly important metrics that, in the end, did not allow them to improve as a team.

Featured Book of the Week: The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey

In The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by Timothy Gallwey, Leigh found a book that inspired his own approach as a Scrum Master and coach. He reflects on the similarities between the mental aspects in sports and product development. 

About Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter.

Leigh Griffin: Managing stakeholder expectations, a critical task for Scrum Masters

When Leigh was working on this project, he tried his best to keep all the stakeholders up to date, including traveling to headquarters to meet up and talk to his managers.

Then, when the news came that the project was delayed, the managers denied ever having heard about any delays. This was a critical lesson for Leigh on how to work with stakeholders and manage their expectations. 

In this episode, we talk about the book The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson.

About Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Ben Maynard: The relationships of a Scrum Product Owner

Being a PO is not only about the backlog items, it is mostly about collecting feedback and involving the right people in the product development. We talk about the 5 relationships of a Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: The 5 relationships of a Product Owner

Ben starts by sharing “the 5 relationships of a Product Owner”, and how great PO’s focus on building those relationships, not only on the backlog items they need to create. In this segment, we talk about a PO that spent their time learning the practices that were required to be able to work with those “5 relationships”, and help the team develop a simple initial impact map that would help them throughout the project.

In this segment, we refer to the LeSS framework for scaling Agile and Scrum.

The Bad Product Owner: 4 critical PO anti-patterns

Ben discusses a particular anti-pattern for the Product Owner: the PO that created the backlog alone in their room, without talking to the team. We discuss how this anti-pattern leads to the team feeling they are “out of the loop”, and be disconnected from the real customer needs. In this episode, we also refer to the following anti-patterns:

  • The PO as a requirements manager; 
  • The PO going in between teams, not allowing them to talk to each other;
  • The PO as the Analyst, instead of Product Owner.

 

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 Ben Maynard

Ben is an experienced coach, trainer, and mentor assisting senior leaders in medium to large organizations with organizational design and the cultural repercussions. 

You can link with Ben Maynard on LinkedIn and connect with Ben Maynard on Twitter.

Ben Maynard: Key questions to consider as a Scrum Master

Ben reminds us that action, rather than knowledge (not acted on) is the key to being a successful Scrum Master. He then goes through a list of aspects he considers important for Scrum Masters to keep track of. 

In this episode, we refer to the Q12 survey, and a few questions Ben likes to ask from the team members.

Featured Retrospective for the Week: The Lego Retrospective

Ben suggests we use the Lego Retrospective, to help the team visualize their last Sprint. He shares how the construction process using Lego allows the team to “point to something” when discussing the learnings from the last Sprint, and helps us find new learnings that we would otherwise ignore with other Retrospective formats. 

 

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 experiences: 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 Ben Maynard

Ben is an experienced coach, trainer, and mentor assisting senior leaders in medium to large organizations with organizational design and the cultural repercussions. 

You can link with Ben Maynard on LinkedIn and connect with Ben Maynard on Twitter.