Micah Stamper: Small improvements for big changes in Scrum teams

Many Scrum Masters are incredibly passionate about their work, and helping teams. That’s a great energy and inspiration resource unless… In this episode, we talk about what happens when we expect or ask too much from the teams and people we work with. 

In this episode, we refer to the Lean practice of Kaizen, small, constant improvements.

About Micah Stamper

Micah worked in technology for about 7 years. He has a background in lean principles and how to bring that to technology. Has done everything from Project Management to Software Engineering, Leadership, and Scrum Master.

You can link with Micah Stamper on LinkedIn and connect with Micah Stamper on Twitter.

Rahul Bhattacharya from Micro-managing to engaging the team, a critical shift for Product Owners

In this episode, we talk about 2 extremes of team engagement by Product Owners: from micro-managing to asking questions and involving the team.

The Great Product Owner: Asking Questions to involve the team

Good Product Owners allow the team to participate and contribute their views when planning the Sprint. In this segment, we talk about Great Product Owners, those that not only allow, but encourage the team to bring their view into planning and defining the product.

We also discuss how asking questions is a critical tool for Product Owners to get teams engaged in the development of the product.

In this segment, we talk about transactional analysis, a tool that can help Scrum Masters recognize when the Product Owner needs help in involving the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The micro-managing Product Owner

When Product Owners “take over” the planning aspects they miss the team’s contribution, and likely motivation. However, there is an even more serious anti-pattern for Product Owners: being a micro-manager. In this segment, we discuss the dangers of over-controlling Product Owners, and how Scrum Masters should react in those cases.

 

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 Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at trivago. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback.

He is also the host of a podcast about Agile, called the Agile Atelier.

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter.

Rahul Bhattacharya: Follow Scrum team progress with the Agile Fluency Model

In this episode, we review 5 different aspects that Rahul follows with each team he works with. From how the team delivers each Sprint, to the interaction with the Product Owner, we discuss different aspects that Scrum Masters should pay attention to.

In this episode, we also refer to the Agile Maturity Model. There are several maturity models you can follow, I’d recommend starting with the Agile Fluency Model by Diana Larsen and James Shore, which has been introduced here on the podcast.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Radar chart for team self-evaluation

There are many different exercises for teams to run a self-evaluation exercise. The Radar chart helps the team choose several (typically 5-7) items they want to follow-up on, and evaluate themselves in each topic. If you collect similar charts over time, you will have a graphical representation of how the team has evolved in those core skills or aspect.

About Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at trivago. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback.

He is also the host of a podcast about Agile, called the Agile Atelier.

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter.

Rahul Bhattacharya: a new change management model by John Shook

Rahul and Markus, another Scrum Master were helping the QA team move from QA at the end to a more involved QA approach, where QA engineers were to be involved earlier in the process. As you’d expect, this was not an easy change. How did they pull it off? They started by thinking that change happens as a result of new actions as described by John Shook and helped the QA’s and the teams experiment with new approaches. In this episode, we also talk about the importance of accepting that not everybody can accept certain changes, and how that affects your change management efforts.

In this episode, we also mention Test-Driven Development and the concept of Pi-Shaped Skills.

About Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at trivago. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback.

He is also the host of a podcast about Agile, called the Agile Atelier.

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter.

Rahul Bhattacharya: the dangers of specialized Scrum teams

When Rahul started to work with a team that was new to Scrum and Agile, he noticed that the team members were very focused on their individual part of the product. Front-end developers only worked and worried about the front-end, and back-end developers focused on the back-end functionality. In the Sprint reviews, team members focused on their individual contribution, and the inevitable synchronization and coordination problems followed.

In this episode, we talk about the risks of highly specialized teams and how to tackle those in your role as a Scrum Master.

Featured Book for the Week: The 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss

In The 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss, Rahul found an inspiring story about the choices we make in our daily lives. He learned about “time” as a spendable resource, and how to create more options for yourself as you seek a better life situation. In this segment, we also refer to the Tim Ferriss podcast.

About Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at trivago. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback.

He is also the host of a podcast about Agile, called the Agile Atelier.

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter.

Rahul Bhattacharya: Be flexible to avoid Scrum rejection by the team

In this episode, we learn about Rahul’s unusual route to being a Scrum Master, and how the initial focus on velocity led Rahul astray from what really affects a Scrum team’s performance.  

We then explore how beginner Scrum Masters can learn to focus on the right aspects from the start and to be flexible enough so that the team does not reject the adoption of Scrum.

About Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at trivago. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback

He is also the host of a podcast about Agile, called the Agile Atelier.

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter.

Ines Stuppacher: The super-fast PO who got up to speed with the team in 1 Sprint!

In this episode, we talk about one of the most common anti-patterns for PO’s: being too busy, and we also discuss how PO’s can get up to speed in one sprint when they join a new team.

The Great Product Owner: The Goal-Oriented PO

In this segment, we talk about a new PO. The PO had just joined the company and had to learn quickly. Instead of spending a lot of time reading and asking people, this PO did something different. This PO engaged the team directly and with their help got off to a great start in just one sprint.

The Bad Product Owner: The Proxy PO 

When teams don’t have direct access to the “customer” PO, they usually resort to using a “proxy PO”. Someone close to the team, that acts as a communication link with the end customer and real PO. However, sometimes those Proxy PO’s have to fulfill other duties, and may even need to serve multiple teams. How can we help teams when that happens? 

In this episode, we talk about how to help super busy-PO’s and teams that suffer from their absence. We’ve also produced a guide, that helps you, step-by-step get to an agreement of how to collaborate with overly busy or absent PO’s. You can get the guide on how to work with absent or overly busy Product Owners here.

 

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 Ines Stuppacher

Ines Stuppacher is a passionate team coach and Scrum Master. Working with people challenges and inspires her every day. Her coaching mentality is an important pillar of her life and work. Ines does not impose things on people but rather sees herself as a waiter of options. She strives to show up as her full human self in all kinds of situations and with that fosters real connections with other people.

You can link with Ines Stuppacher on LinkedIn or XING and connect with Ines Stuppacher on Twitter

Ines Stuppacher: Help the team find a better future with the Wonder Question Agile Retrospective Exercise

One way to look at success for Scrum Masters is to ask the team about the contribution of the Scrum Master. Asking them directly, however, can lead to “polite” answers, and avoiding the problems that need solving. In this episode, we talk about other signs that tell us that the team appreciates the contribution of the Scrum Master, and we talk about concrete tools Scrum Masters can use to continue to grow and succeed with their teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Wonder Question Agile Retrospective Exercise

When a Scrum team is stuck and needs help to find improvements, we can ask them to imagine that something “magic” has happened. Then, we ask what does the team look like now that the “wonder” has happened. With this exercise, we help teams “think outside the box”, without ever having to bring them outside the box. This exercise appeals to the imagination and helps teams imagine a better team that they are all part of.

About Ines Stuppacher

Ines Stuppacher is a passionate team coach and Scrum Master. Working with people challenges and inspires her every day. Her coaching mentality is an important pillar of her life and work. Ines does not impose things on people but rather sees herself as a waiter of options. She strives to show up as her full human self in all kinds of situations and with that fosters real connections with other people.

You can link with Ines Stuppacher on LinkedIn or XING and connect with Ines Stuppacher on Twitter

 

Attract the right customers with another #ExtremeContracts principle: Customer Channel

This is a guest blog post by Jacopo Romei. Author of the Italian version of the book Extreme Contracts, and author of an upcoming book on the same topic in English.

We all know how easy it is to leave Netflix after having subscribed to their service.

Whenever you want to cancel the subscription, you just click a button and you are free, no questions, no tricks, no cheating.

You are free to use the service until the date you had paid for and you will be free to rejoin again, whenever you want. This feeling of freedom is a crucial part of Netflix branding, and was a key attractor for their first users. You read it on their homepage, clear and bold: “Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.” It is a promise, second only to the one about the chance to see your favorite movies in full mobility on any device.

Now, imagine for a minute, what would happen if Netflix were to not keep their promises. Imagine that Netflix would ask for extra documentation before the user was allowed to leave, perhaps even setting a mandatory notice period, preventing users from quitting when too close to the subscription expiry date.

Imagine what would happen if Netflix wouldn’t actually allow you to “cancel anytime.” If this nightmare scenario was a reality, tons of disappointed friends would tell you that Netflix is not up to expectations, they would abandon the service with no intention to return, and they would actively discourage other people from subscribing in the first place! In the end, Netflix would see fewer users and less engagement.

The Anti-Netflix contract

The plot thickens…

Continue reading Attract the right customers with another #ExtremeContracts principle: Customer Channel

Ines Stuppacher: How Scrum Masters can help deploy OKR’s in their organizations

As more and more companies adopt OKR (Objectives – Key Results) as a management practice, it is critical that Scrum Masters understand how that tool is used in their organization. In this episode, we discuss how OKR’s can totally derail a company, and how Scrum Masters can join the process and help it improve. This is especially important because OKR’s – when effectively used – will have a large influence on the teams we work with.

About Ines Stuppacher

Ines Stuppacher is a passionate team coach and Scrum Master. Working with people challenges and inspires her every day. Her coaching mentality is an important pillar of her life and work. Ines does not impose things on people but rather sees herself as a waiter of options. She strives to show up as her full human self in all kinds of situations and with that fosters real connections with other people.

You can link with Ines Stuppacher on LinkedIn or XING and connect with Ines Stuppacher on Twitter.