BONUS: How to setup Agile and DevOps teams, Team Topologies interview with Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais

Setting up teams to work collaboratively is one of the challenges that organizations go through when adopting Agile. The functional team setup (all DBAs, all testers, all windows devs together, etc.) is not acceptable for teams that want to quickly develop and deliver products and services to the market. But neither is it possible to have all possible skills (sometimes 10’s of skills) in one team because organizations simply don’t have that many people with certain skills. 

In this episode, we talk about the possible team topologies, and how each of those affects our ability to deliver in different organizations. 

How we set up teams directly affects the quality of the software teams deliver

Continue reading BONUS: How to setup Agile and DevOps teams, Team Topologies interview with Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais

Olsen Turan: The Caring Product Owner, building trust is also the PO’s job!

From the PO who cared about the people to the PO who wanted to own the process. We explore two PO patterns that can help or hinder the team’s performance.

The Great Product Owner: The Caring Product Owner

Great Product Owners will care about the team, not only the product. In this segment, we explore the story of a Product Owner who wanted to get to know the team members, and was able to build a trustful and warm personal relationship with team members. And all of that with a simple trick. Listen in to learn more about the Caring Product Owner.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO who wants to own the process

When Product Owner help with process adoption, that’s sometimes a good thing. However, in this segment, we explore the situation when PO’s go too far and their help effectively demotivates and interferes with the team performance. Is your PO trying to help with Agile? Listen to this segment to learn if your PO is going too far.

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 Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Olsen Turan: A simple, yet effective Retrospective format Scrum Masters can use to build trust

When a Scrum Master joins a team, it is critical to start building trust from the first interaction. In this episode, we talk about what that means in practice and share Olsen’s approach to building trust and opening the communication channels with the team. 

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Casual Conversation

There are many retrospective formats out there, each serving a specific purpose, from problem definition to ideation and so on. However, in this episode, we focus on a simple format that aims at building relationships between team members and between Scrum Master and team members. The format is “the casual conversation”, which has been prepared and is facilitated by the Scrum Master but helps team members feel safe and at ease. 

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Olsen Turan: How Scrum Masters can “live” change and be an example for the team

As Scrum Masters, we work constantly with change. It is therefore critical to establish our own approach to being a change agent. In this episode, Olsen shares with us what he learned about the role, and the approach that works for him when working with change, and being a change agent.

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Olsen Turan: Healing the Product Owner – Team relationship

In this episode, we explore the dynamics that may happen between the Product Owner and the team. And how, sometimes, those dynamics can spiral and affect the team’s ability to perform. We also discuss how to approach the topic with the team and the Product Owner. How we choose to tackle the situation, and our communication approach may help or destroy that relationship.

The relationship between Product Owner and Team is critical for our success as Scrum Masters. Learn how to coach your product owner in our Coach Your Product Owner course. The Coach Your PO e-course includes 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

Featured Book for the Week: Crucial Conversations, Patterson et al. 

In Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Patterson et al., Olsen learned about the key conversation skills we need to help teams build trust and improve communication among team members.

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Olsen Turan: Letting teams fail (in the small) is part of the Scrum Master job!

As Scrum Masters, we cringe when we see an incoming problem which we know will hit the team and we have to stand back and let the team learn from that experience. In this episode, we talk about one such story, and why it is critical for Scrum Masters to let the teams experience failure, first hand. Be ready to help when that happens, listen in to learn how.

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan onLinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Sami Prentice: How to help Product Owners that don’t want help

From the PO who is too busy to ask for help, to the PO that works hard to get the team and the stakeholders to interact. We explore two contrasting patterns of the PO role and discuss how Scrum Masters can help the PO’s succeed, and accept help from others.

The Great Product Owner: Involving stakeholders that can help the team

Great Product Owners often focus on helping the team benefit from the knowledge and experience that stakeholders can bring to the team. In this episode, we learn about a PO that was focused on creating collaboration between team and stakeholders, as well taking the time to work together with the team to create a shared understanding of the product and the Vision for the team. 

In this segment, we refer to the User Story Mapping technique popularized by Jeff Patton. Here is the User Story Mapping hands-on facilitator guide if you want to start using that technique at work. 

The Bad Product Owner: The PO who didn’t want any help

Sometimes we work with Product Owners that don’t want any help but are too busy to fully fulfill the requirements of the role. That’s never an easy situation for the team or the Scrum Master. Sami reminds us that we can take advantage of the PO being busy, and start offering help in certain tasks. Building trust with the PO is then a critical focus for Scrum Masters, and Sami shares her tips on how to build that relationship.

In this segment, we refer to Module 02 (How Scrum Masters can onboard a new or beginner Product Owner) of the Coach Your Product Owner course, and how that can help you start a positive collaboration with your Product Owner. The course is available here: bit.ly/coachyourpo.

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 Sami Prentice

Sami is a Scrum Master in Denver, Colorado. She used to work in the beer industry before making the switch to Scrum Master and she is passionate about facilitating awesome meetings that don’t suck. 

You can link with Sami Prentice on LinkedIn.

How to coordinate #remote teams (and improve collaboration in #covid19 times)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We started a survey to collect your biggest challenges when it comes to transitioning to remote work. You can submit your answers here.

From that survey, the early results are conclusive, one of the biggest challenges you are facing right now is to help your teams coordinate their work, and collaborate effectively after transitioning to #Remote work.

So, to help you adapt to this new #Remote work reality, we collected the following strategies and tools for helping #Remote teams coordinate and collaborate effectively.

Scrum is #Remote ready, especially this one tool…

Read on for the full list…

Continue reading How to coordinate #remote teams (and improve collaboration in #covid19 times)

Sami Prentice: Self-organization and collective ownership in Scrum teams

Looking into how teams organize themselves is often a good indicator that our work is having an impact. In this episode, we talk about the need to help teams self-organize, and find ways to sustain their own progress and improvement. Finally, we discuss the key ingredient for success in Scrum teams: having collective ownership for the work they need to.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liberating Structures, TRIZ

Sometimes the best way to help teams focus on what they can improve is to talk about what is the worst that could possibly happen. In this Liberating Structure called TRIZ, the goal is to reflect on what can go wrong, so that the team is then ready to focus on how to avoid that negative outcome.

About Sami Prentice

Sami is a Scrum Master in Denver, Colorado. She used to work in the beer industry before making the switch to Scrum Master and she is passionate about facilitating awesome meetings that don’t suck. 

You can link with Sami Prentice on LinkedIn.

Working from home with Kids: Our #Remote work journey continues

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Many of us have started to work from home while our children are also at home, which presents additional challenges. Here’s a collected list of tips from our listeners on Twitter. You are not alone! Many others like you are working from home with kids!

Stay calm, be empathic with your colleagues

One of the most important rules when working from home is to respect each other, we are all in the same situation, we are all getting started in our #Remote work journey. A simple practice that will help you with this is to tell your self: “We are all figuring it out,” she said. “It might get a little messy.” Yes! It will, sometimes, get messy. But it will also improve over time.

Be understanding with your colleagues, give the example and say also to them at the start of your next call: “We are all figuring it out,” she said. “It might get a little messy.”

Use your mute button generously, but accept when the noise comes from the other side! Have a post-it ready to remind your colleagues they are not on mute. Be kind, though 🙂  

Pay attention to your children. You’ve gained time, give it to them

Our previous Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast guest and listener Bola Adesope reminds us that we have gained time by not having to commute. It’s only fair that you dedicate that time to your children. You will all benefit. In Bola’s own words:

Sotiris adds:

Talk to your partner/spouse. Agree on how you will help each other

Many of you are working from home with your spouse or partner. You are probably both in the same situation, so talk early about how to handle the situation.

Daniel suggests ~2 hours shifts, talk about it, and agree on what would work for you.

Another tip is to share your work meetings calendar with your spouse/partner and try to help each other. You may try to book meetings when one of the adults in the house is not having another meeting (if possible).

In any case, don’t forget: be empathic with your spouse/partner too! You are both going through the same experience.

Anna has a slightly different approach, she suggests short bursts (more likely to work with smaller children), it’s a bit like the famous Pomodoro technique (which some already call Mozarella technique because “Pomodoro” apparently have been trademarked 🤷🏻‍♂️)

Adjust your expectations, but know that you are learning and improving as you go

Rene reminds us:

Remember, this is what being empathic towards others and yourself means! However, you are an Agilist! You also know that you will be adapting and improving over time. Stay with it.

Create a routine of reflection, individually and with your partner/spouse. And if your kids are old enough include them in that reflection. They will benefit from your example and will learn to be deliberate about reflecting and adapting to novel situations in their lives.

Help your children learn and practice skills at home, it’s a win/win!

The final tip comes from Paul:


Do your children already want to practice a skill? Maybe playing the piano or guitar? Or learn how to draw? Help them out. Buy them an internet course, and let them practice. Those skills will be beneficial immediately for you, and in the future for them! It’s a win/win!

What other techniques and approaches have worked for you? Share your learnings below in the comments!

Stay healthy, #stayhome and enjoy your children!