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

Mandy Sunner: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

At the end of every Sprint, teams show their progress to key stakeholders. As Scrum Masters, we benefit from that ceremony to understand our impact and improve our work. In this episode, we talk about why it is critical for Scrum Masters to improve those ceremonies and focus on the feedback that stakeholders give. That feedback can become our fuel for improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

In retrospectives, we want to focus the teams on what we can do to become a better team. In this episode, we talk about Sprint Goals, and why those goals are important to help the teams be able to reflect better and have better retrospectives.

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Mandy Sunner: The missing Vision anti-pattern in business changes

When teams work on a new product, there’s a risk that the Vision is not set, and that the Product Owner is not able to convey the reason why the product is being developed. In this episode about a big business change, we talk about the risks of a missing Vision, and why the Product Vision is an essential tool for business changes.

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Mandy Sunner: 3 books to understand Agile beyond Scrum

When multiple teams work on high-impact or high-visibility programs or projects, it is critical that they align how they work, and that certain processes are in place to support the teams. In this episode, we talk about what problems arise when teams are working separately, not aligned, and the supporting processes are missing. A key realization for Scrum Masters: the supporting processes can have a big impact on the performance of the team

Featured Book for the Week: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, Kahneman et. al

Mandy mentions several books: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, by Kahneman et. al; The Bottleneck Rules, by Clarke Ching; Making Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis

These books helped Mandy understand many different aspects of Agile beyond the work with the team. 

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Mandy Sunner: How to handle the loss of a great Product Owner in a Scrum team

Teams need a great Product Owner to be able to exploit their potential. When Scrum Masters work with teams that have a great PO, they learn the impact that the PO role can have. However, when a great PO leaves the team, what should the Scrum Master do? In this episode, we learn about Mandy’s attempt to help the team by replacing the PO, and why it is so critical to avoid that anti-pattern. Listen in to learn what to do when a great PO leaves.

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Tony Richards: From “distant” to “team member”, a Scrum PO transformation story

From a distant PO to the PO that makes everybody feel part of the same team. A great transformation, and a great PO pattern to share with your favorite PO!

The Great Product Owner: The Great Facilitator

Great Product Owners focus on the Sprint Review as a ceremony that can help them, as well as the team and stakeholders understand the product better. In this segment, we talk about how great PO’s focus on their facilitation and approaches to get the most out of the Sprint Review sessions.

The Bad Product Owner: The Corner-office PO

You know that something is wrong when the PO actually has to say out loud that they have an “open-door policy”. There’s an implicit message that they are different, even superior to the team. In this “corner-office anti-pattern” segment we discuss how PO’s may alienate their teams, and what we – Scrum Masters – can do to help team members and PO learn to collaborate without the negative impact of hierarchy. Learn how to help the corner-office PO become a great, and productive team member!

 

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 Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A with Lisette Sutherland, #Remote meetings don’t need to suck!

#Remote meetings have been a topic that affects Agile teams for a long time. As many more teams go #Remote without previous experience, they become an even bigger topic for Scrum Masters who now need to facilitate online meetings almost every day.

In this episode, Lisette Sutherland (creator of the Work Together Anywhere Workshop) joins us to share her insights on how to make those remote meetings rock!

When going #Remote, it is harder to get the life/work balance right

Continue reading SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A with Lisette Sutherland, #Remote meetings don’t need to suck!

Tony Richards: Helping Scrum teams be aware of their anti-patterns (and patterns)

When Scrum Masters start working with a team, they might feel the need to intervene often. It might be just to get the team to start talking, or for the team members to respect each other’s turn to speak. However, when we evolve our practice and start seeing some success is when we are able to step back and use “mirroring” to let the team understand their own behavior. Just like us, team members are also often blind to their own behavior patterns, a successful Scrum Masters will help team members be less blind to their own behavior patterns.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Powerful Questions Walk

Tony found an approach that helps teams dive deeper into their experience and find improvement opportunities they would otherwise ignore. In this episode, he describes the Powerful Questions Walk exercise and how it improves the team’s ability to learn and reflect.

In this episode, we refer to the Coaching Cards by Deborah Preuss (PDF Download).

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A on #Remote work with Katja Zorina

Katja is an Agile Coach in an organization that had to organize a distributed/#Remote Big Room Planning session in less than 24 hours! Listen in to learn how they pulled it off.

One of the key learnings from that effort was that a #Remote event will take a longer time (maybe 3-4 days) than a locally organize Big Room planning event. But there are many more insights that Katja shares on this LIVE Q&A

What have been the biggest challenges for you and for the teams that you support?

Continue reading SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A on #Remote work with Katja Zorina

Tony Richards: Learning Sets, an approach to support large organization change 

When Tony joined this organization, the mandate was to help the organization change. There were about 4000 people involved in that change. There’s no Scrum Master/Agile Coach team big enough to take on that responsibility, so they took a different approach.

The organization invested in a way to scale up their ability to coach teams, using a “Learning Sets” approach and the “Challenging Coaching” approach to coaching. 

In this episode, we refer to the whitepaper by Scrum.org on the 8 stances of a Scrum Master, and the pain-relief cycle as a way to improve performance in teams.

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A with Molood Ceccarelli on #Remote work

Molood joins us in the special LIVE Q&A episode to talk about Distributed Agile software development and many tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for teams that just recently moved to a #Remote-first work setting.

The POWER framework for successful #Remote meetings

Continue reading SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A with Molood Ceccarelli on #Remote work