Jeffrey Koors: Collaboration at scale, the challenge that scaled Agile poses 

Agile at the team level is not easy, and it has serious challenges that need to be overcome for a team to reach their potential. However, agility in the large is even harder. We have to help teams collaborate across departments, functions, and sometimes even across different companies. In this episode, we dive into collaboration at scale, the challenge for Scrum Masters working with multiple teams in a scaled agile context.

About Jeffrey Koors

Jeff started his studies and career as a fine artist and has gone on to use his creative thinking and vision to help many organizations find ways to design systems, solve problems and embrace Agile. Jeff is also the co-founder and host of Coaching Agile Journeys.

You can link with Jeffrey Koors on LinkedIn and connect with Jeffrey Koors on Twitter.

Charles Rodriguez: How to help the PO focus on value

In this episode, we talk about the PO’s role inside the team, and how we can help Product Owners focus on value.

The Great Product Owner: The PO who focuses on team success

The Product Owner in Scrum is a very difficult role, maybe even a super-human role. Unless we start thinking about the role as part of the success of the team, rather than the only responsible for the product. Great Product Owners focus on helping the team succeed, and learn to say “no” to everything that gets in the way, even if that’s a feature they “love”.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that focuses on the “how” instead of the “why” 

When a PO focuses on the “how”, they miss their ability to communicate with the team in a way that describes what value is. The Value should be the center of the PO’s attention, but when the PO starts telling the team “how” something should be developed, they lose time outside the “value conversation”. In this episode, we explore ways to help the PO focus on, and define value for the team.

In this segment, we refer to an insight by David Hussman called “Dude’s Law” (Value = Why? / How?).

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 Charles Rodriguez

Charles has been working in software development for 16+ years with roles ranging from a database developer to manager to agile coach all in an effort to ‘try to make things better’ for future generations joining the IT industry.

You can link with Charles Rodriguez on LinkedIn and connect with Charles Rodriguez on Twitter.

Charles Rodriguez: Creating a learning model for Scrum Master success

Charles provides a clear vision for what success is for a Scrum Master, and we discuss what are some of the growth models that help us improve our performance. 

In this episode, we refer to the book Turn The Ship Around! by David Marquet, to the learning model based on Shu-Ha-Ri, and a movie, The Karate Kid, which illustrates a learning journey from the very early moments to a moment of mastery.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective

Metaphor retrospectives help teams enter a mood of reflection by creating a scene where the team projects their feelings and thoughts. In the sailboat retrospective, the metaphor helps the team talk about what is going on at that time, but also to plan for the future and draw a map to achieve their goals. Watch this video for a hands-on example of the sailboat retrospective.

About Charles Rodriguez

Charles has been working in software development for 16+ years with roles ranging from a database developer to manager to agile coach all in an effort to ‘try to make things better’ for future generations joining the IT industry.

You can link with Charles Rodriguez on LinkedIn and connect with Charles Rodriguez on Twitter.

Charles Rodriguez: Creating environments where Change is inevitable, a primer for Scrum Masters

Charles was visiting an Agile Coach Bootcamp organized for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches to get a solution to his problem: how to make other changes. It was then he noticed that everyone in that room had the same problem. What Charles realized was that his role as a Scrum Master was not to lead change, but rather to create the conditions for change to happen on its own. In this episode, we talk about the method that Charles uses to foster change-friendly environments. We also refer to a reference book: Leading Change by Kotter

About Charles Rodriguez

Charles has been working in software development for 16+ years with roles ranging from a database developer to manager to agile coach all in an effort to ‘try to make things better’ for future generations joining the IT industry.

You can link with Charles Rodriguez on LinkedIn and connect with Charles Rodriguez on Twitter

Charles Rodriguez: Scrum Teams that fail because they can’t face conflict

This team had very talented developers, they were able to work without conflict. But that’s when Charles started to realize that this team might be averse to conflict. Instead of confronting bad ideas, the team would go along with every idea because they didn’t want to start a conflict. In this episode, we talk about The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, where this pattern is explored in detail as part of one of the dysfunctions.

Featured Book of the Week: Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet

In Turn the Ship Around! by David Marquet, Charles found a leadership model that he could relate to, and adopt in his work. David Marquet has been a guest on the podcast where he explained the main ideas of Turn The Ship Around! 

About Charles Rodriguez

Charles has been working in software development for 16+ years with roles ranging from a database developer to manager to agile coach all in an effort to ‘try to make things better’ for future generations joining the IT industry.

You can link with Charles Rodriguez on LinkedIn and connect with Charles Rodriguez on Twitter.

Charles Rodriguez: When a successful team gets canceled, it is also the Scrum Master’s responsibility

As Charles joined this team, all seemed to be working perfectly. The team really got Agile, and they were following the ceremonies and producing high-quality software. But something was off. With time it became clear that there was a gap between the team and the stakeholders. Finally, the team realized that their project was about to be canceled. What happened? How could this team’s amazing work be canceled? The lessons Charles learned from that story are a critical warning for all of us. Listen in to learn what happened, and why you should start looking at your own team (even if successful) to look for possible early signals of the same pattern.

About Charles Rodriguez

Charles has been working in software development for 16+ years with roles ranging from a database developer to manager to agile coach all in an effort to ‘try to make things better’ for future generations joining the IT industry.

You can link with Charles Rodriguez on LinkedIn and connect with Charles Rodriguez on Twitter

BONUS: Incremental Delivery in Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Warehouse projects with Raphael Branger

Raphael has been a guest on our regular show, and in those episodes, we approached the topic of Agile applied to Business Intelligence projects. In this episode, we dive deeper into the concepts and ideas that Raphael mentioned earlier, and we learn how Business Intelligence projects can be delivered incrementally, and in an agile manner. 

Slicing User Stories to enable incremental delivery

We start this episode with a practice that is critical for Agile teams: how to slice User Stories to enable the delivery of incremental value to customers. We discuss several strategies that Raphael uses to be able to deliver valuable functionality even in the first week of a project. 

Taking into account that usually, BI projects are executed by larger, and more traditional firms, his approach brings clarity and ensures that the team and the customer are able to evaluate the product from the first week. This practice is critical in collecting feedback from customers early on and avoiding producing products (dashboards, in this case) that no one will use. 

In this segment, we refer to a blog post by Raphael where he describes his User Story slicing approach in more detail.

#NoEstimates in BI projects

One of the inspirations for Raphael’s work on slicing User Stories was the #NoEstimates book and a few conversations that he and Vasco Duarte had in the early stages of Agile adoption at IT-LOGIX, Raphael’s company.

In Raphael’s perspective, the focus should shift from “sizing” stories to understanding what might be a good experience for the customer: customer delight; and then validating those assumptions directly with customers by delivering possible solutions very early on. 

As a way to apply #NoEstimates, Raphael started to apply the concept of “timebox” (limited time) to each of the User Stories being developed. His own rule is that a User Story should be developed within 1 or 2 days at the most, which pushes the teams to focus on what is critical to provide value to the customer. 

Timeboxing User Stories to validate assumptions

In this episode, we also explore how Raphael came to the realization that User Stories need to be timeboxed, rather than estimated. He shares a story of a project where the team produced a dashboard that did not get used by the customer (they had metrics). That was a transformative point in Raphael’s approach, leading him to focus on early and often delivery. Which led to the #NoEstimates heuristic that a User Story should be given a timebox. 

In this segment, we refer to the episode about a team that Runtastic that is using #NoEstimates, and how that has helped the team focus, and provide value faster. 

About Raphael Branger

Raphael Branger is a Certified Disciplined Agile Practitioner and a pioneer in adapting agile methods in the context of data and analytics projects. He works as a Principal Consultant Data & Analytics at IT-Logix in Switzerland with more than seventeen years of experience in business intelligence and data warehousing.

You can link with Raphael Branger on LinkedIn and connect with Raphael Branger on Twitter

 

Christian Hofstetter: The Product Owner that was too busy to help the Scrum team

From the common and frequent “too busy to help” anti-pattern to the PO that was ready to handle the natural and predictable unpredictability of business. Two contrasting patterns that can make or break the success of the team and the product. 

The Great Product Owner: A PO who is ready for uncertainty

Good Product Owners have a clear Vision and know how to communicate it to the team and stakeholders. However, great Product Owners also are able to understand how to adapt that Vision and evolve it continuously in uncertain market and business conditions.

In this segment, we refer to the concept of VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguity.

The Bad Product Owner: Too busy to help the team

One pattern that emerges over and over again is that of the PO who is too busy to help the team succeed. In this episode, Christian shares his own story as a Product Owner, and what he learned about how to step out of the “too busy to help” anti-pattern.

 

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 Christian Hofstetter

Christian is an enthusiastic Release Train Engineer, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, and Facilitator who started his agile journey as a Product Owner. Later he turned his back on technology and focused on people and relationships. He is passionate about creating space for people and teams to be the best they can be.

You can link with Christian Hofstetter on LinkedIn.

Christian Hofstetter: The Flow Retrospective, helping Scrum teams make better decisions

Christian has been thinking hard about the question of what success means for Scrum Masters. He describes how the role of the Scrum Master must have a “risk” perspective, and be about minimizing risk. In this episode, we discuss what that may mean for Scrum Masters and what practices help with that goal.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Flow Retrospective

Christian shares his idea on “The Flow Retrospective”, which describes and illustrates how Agile software development can help teams reach much higher productivity and predictability. In this retrospective, Christian helps the team analyze and understand flow metrics to help them make better decisions. 

In this segment, we refer to Actionable agile metrics from Dan Vacanti and The #NoEstimates book by Vasco Duarte.

About Christian Hofstetter

Christian is an enthusiastic Release Train Engineer, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, and Facilitator who started his agile journey as a Product Owner. Later he turned his back on technology and focused on people and relationships. He is passionate about creating space for people and teams to be the best they can be.

You can link with Christian Hofstetter on LinkedIn.

Christian Hofstetter: My journey as a Scrum Master, how to promote the role in your organization

In some organizations, the question that emerges over and over again is: “what’s the value a Scrum Master brings?”

As Scrum Masters, we must be ready to answer this question. Christian found inspiration in the work by Barry Overeem, Chris Verwijs (both previous guests on the podcast), and started to work with his colleagues in defining what an impactful and inspiring Scrum Master role would be at his company. Barry Overeem also published his own journey as a Scrum Master for us to read, and learn from.

About Christian Hofstetter

Christian is an enthusiastic Release Train Engineer, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, and Facilitator who started his agile journey as a Product Owner. Later he turned his back on technology and focused on people and relationships. He is passionate about creating space for people and teams to be the best they can be.

You can link with Christian Hofstetter on LinkedIn.