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

Your cultural anti-patterns are AMPLIFIED by remote work. Are you ready? (Tips for Scrum Masters)

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Scrum Masters often have to face cultural anti-patterns when working with teams, and the organizations they are part of. Those cultural anti-patterns are being amplified by the move to #Remote work due to the #covid19 situation.

What can we do? How can we get ready?

Here are some tips to get you started or to help you further adapt to this new reality.

Lack of transparency is even worse when #Remote

There are many Scrum Masters that come on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast and share stories that relate to a culturally-engrained lack of transparency. This lack of transparency takes many forms:

  • Team members don’t share their struggles in the Daily Standup because they perceive that as a sign of weakness (for example)
  • Product Owners don’t share the reasons why certain changes are brought into the Sprint, perhaps because they themselves don’t know
  • Other teams we collaborate with don’t share changes to a dependency we have on them

Whatever symptoms of lack of transparency you experienced when working in the same office, those symptoms will only get worse when our organization moves to #Remote work. Some of the reasons are:

  • Individuals are less engaged and motivated due to the stress, or being distracted by the presence of children while they work, or because they don’t see (and therefore don’t take into account) their colleagues during the day
  • Sudden tasks or priority shifts are communicated to individuals, and the rest of the team isn’t physically present to witness that change
  • Now that we’re distributed we miss out on all the spontaneous collaboration that used to happen.
  • etc.

Tips for Scrum Masters to increase transparency and foster collaboration

As Scrum Masters, we must be deliberate about improving transparency and collaboration in #Remote teams. Our domain of expertise is collaboration, and we must keep adapting to enable collaboration at all times. Here are some tips, that may help you improve transparency, information sharing, and collaboration between team members and with other teams: 

  • Have a collective retrospective with the teams on which your team has regular dependencies
  • Discuss with the Product Owner how to share changes to the Sprint so that all team members are aware and can share their possible impact on the work they have to finish
  • Move to a shorter Sprint. Agile is about creating more, and faster, feedback loops. As we go #Remote those feedback loops are even more important. Shorter sprints provide more transparency (problems are found faster), makes the amount of work smaller which helps with clarity (shorter stories), and with identifying and solving process problems in the team, and across teams
  • Have 2 daily check-ins

  • Integrate more often. If you are integrating with dependant teams at the end of the Sprint, consider bringing their work into your daily build pipeline, or assign specific team members on both teams to work on integration from the start of the sprint
  • Track dependencies on other teams just like you would a User Story. Understanding of dependencies will grow during the Sprint. Make sure you are covering that dependency on the Daily Standup if nothing else to learn that “everything is proceeding according to plan”
  • Create an URGENT Slack/Teams channel, so that team members can always explicitly ask for help to solve a problem they are facing. When #Remote, even waiting one more day can make the problem harder to find.

When we are #Remote, collaboration and cooperation are harder to achieve, and transparency can be a critical trigger for that collaboration to flourish. Consider what you can do as a Scrum Master to improve collaboration. Every day.
Stay Safe, #StayHome

More tips, and more insights from the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

We have started a page to help you deal with the reality of #Remote work. Bookmark this page to easily access all the tips we share related to #Remote work. In this page you will find blog posts, as well as links to the YouTube videos of our LIVE Q&A sessions with #Remote work experts!

Tony Richards: Metrics for Agile teams, and how to avoid the velocity metric trap

Stop me if you have heard this before. There was once upon a time a company that was working well, and leadership, wanting to make it even better started following up team velocity… Already? Well, that’s expected, this is a very common anti-pattern (the velocity tunnel vision). But this episode goes into a deeper discussion of what anti-pattern, and most importantly, what Scrum Masters can do to get out of that. We discuss metrics, their impact, and which to use when working with Agile teams.

Featured Book for the Week: An Everyone Culture by Kegan et al.

In An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization by Kegan et al., Tony found an insightful description of a leadership model that focuses on the potential of an organization, on how to improve the chances for success in any organization.

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 Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby

Many of us are going #Remote because of the #covid19 situation world-wide. In this very special episode we cover tips, tricks and techniques on how Scrum Masters can help their teams go #Remote to thrive, not just survive.

In this episode, we mention a treasure trove of resources to help you in your adaptation to #Remote work. You can find those below

Resources for going #Remote and Distributed Agile teams

Continue reading SUPER SPECIAL: LIVE Q&A on #Remote work with Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby

Tony Richards: When Scrum Masters get carried away with something they find useful

When Tony heard he would be facilitating a large event (250 people) he thought immediately about using an approach that he had good results with. But as we learn in this episode, that’s not always a good idea. Learn about what Tony failed to consider, and get some critical tips on how to prepare for such events. 

In this episode, we refer to the Clean Language technique and to Judy Rees, Caitlin Walker, and David Groves as active developers of the Clean Language technique.

 

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.

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.