Zeshan Ilyas and the role Retrospectives play in the successful outcome for a Scrum Master’s work

Retrospectives are a critical tool for the Scrum Master. How we use them, how we treat the information from them is critical for our success. In this episode we explore how we can approach retrospectives from our Scrum Master’s role point of view.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Hot Air Balloon

The Hot Air Balloon is one of the many metaphor-focused retrospective formats. These formats help the teams talk about the real problems without the pressure of being exact or literal in their descriptions. “It felt as if we had too much ballast”, can be the conversation starter that leads to finding previously undiscussed (and undiscussable?) blockers for the team.

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

Zeshan Ilyas on how to involve management in an Agile adoption process

Change Leadership is expected to come from the leaders of an organization. And although that usually happens, sometimes the leaders forget that the change they are driving affects them as well. In this episode we talk about how management can be brought into the Agile adoption process, and be an active part of supporting it and set the example for the rest of the organization.

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

Zeshan Ilyas on the move from hard estimates to Story Points in Release Planning

Planning is not the ultimate solution to problems we face. Agilists know this to be true, and it is even one of the values in the Agile Manifesto: Responding to Change Over Following A Plan.

But planning is still necessary, and a critical part of how teams and organisations work. As Scrum Masters, the planning discipline is one of the key aspects we should focus on. In this episode we talk about one possible evolution of planning for our teams. From hard estimates, to Story Points.

Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins

The coaching stance and the ability to help team members progress in their own learning journey is critical for us, Scrum Masters. In Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins describes and teaches us about Coaching as an approach to help teams, and how that affects our Scrum Master role.

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

 

Zeshan Ilyas on learning about and removing fears we face as Scrum Masters

Agile adoption is a process that can create fear in the organization. Not the least of which because it changes team composition (from component and functional teams to cross-functional teams). How do we identify the fears in the organization and address them may be the difference that makes Agile succeed or fail.

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.

David Spinks on understanding the real reasons for Scrum adoption

When organizations adopt Agile and Scrum in particular, the usual reason is “faster and better”. However, that can be a smell that the organization has not yet understood the real reasons why they are adopting a new approach to managing their work. This focus on “faster” may drive more work into the “in progress” column and clog up the whole organization with work that is started, but not finished. As Scrum Masters, we must understand the stated, and real reasons for Agile adoptions in the organizations that we support, so that we can address the systemic problems that will inevitably arise!

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

David Spinks on customer-centered success metrics for Scrum Masters

As Scrum Masters it is easy to get focused on the team or the organization. However, the customer is the reason for the work we do. In this episode we discuss some of the metrics or questions we can use to assess our success as Scrum Masters. A special focus on the customer is part of the mix!

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Constellation exercise

The Constellation Retrospective starts with the team standing in a circle, then the facilitator asks a question with a yes/no or agree/disagree answer, and the team moves away from the center of the circle if they say “no” or disagree, and move towards the center if they say “yes” or agree. This exercise allows the teams to see where each team member stands, and helps recognize possible differences that need to be addressed. David also shares a tip on how to make these retrospectives deliver anonymous information that is useful for the Scrum Master but can avoid unnecessary conflict.

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

David Spinks on how to help a team adopt Kanban

When David met this team, it was clear that the team had a serious problem in managing their work. There were more than 150 items in progress with 12 people in the team. The recipe for disaster. During his work David recognized that maybe Scrum wasn’t going to be the best approach for this team, and did what a good Scrum Master should do: helped the team adopt a method that was right for them. Listen in to learn how sometimes, Scrum Masters have to help teams adopt other methods.

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

David Spinks: how to help a team get unstuck

When teams are stuck in their Agile adoption, it is tempting to bring in more training, do more teaching and expect that to solve the problem. In reality, however, the situation is much more complicated. We need to understand the real reasons for the team’s lack of progress, and adapt our approach to the reality we face. Training may be a good option, but it certainly isn’t the only one. In this episode we talk about a team that was stuck, not completing sprints, no tester in the team, etc. And we cover some practical tips on how to deal with similar situations.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey

In the Scrum Field Guide, Mitch Lacey lays out advice for the Scrum practitioner’s first year. It is a practical advice-filled book that will help you face, and overcome the most common problems that Scrum Masters face in their first few months on the job.

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

David Spinks: facing failure as a Scrum Master is a key part of the journey

When we start our journey as Scrum Masters, we are not only learning something that is new to us, but we are also learning something that is new to everyone else. Scrum is new, even in it’s 20 or so years of life, there’s not been time to develop enough knowledge to claim a “definitive body of knowledge about Scrum”. Therefore, learning something that is yet undefined is a critical part of our journey as Scrum Masters.

Despite that realization, it is common to feel “we” are the failure, when in fact, we are just learning a new art. In this episode we discuss the impact of failure in ourselves, not just our learning, and we touch on how to bring the insights that Scrum helps uncover to the rest of the organization.

About David Spinks

David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.

You can link with David Spinks on LinkedIn and connect with David Spinks on Twitter.

Jem D’jelal on creating the space for Transformation to happen

In this reference filled episode we talk about change, how to involve people in change, the different approaches to management and many other topics.

We also discuss one of the possible skills you can use as a Scrum Master: the energy level you put into the role. Finally, we discuss tips on how to engage with teams and team members so that your role as a Scrum Master is easier and pleasurable.

In this episode we refer to Non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg, Theory X and Theory Y of management and David Marquet’s book: Turn the Ship Around!. If you are interested in David Marquet’s work, please check also our interview with him here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking 🙂 In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion – helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic”, having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.