Lena Löfdahl: Hiring for culture fit is even more important than you thought, in a Scrum team

In a growing team, hiring a super qualified person is often a great achievement. A senior person can help the team grow, bring in the knowledge that would otherwise take a long time to acquire, and more! However, it does not always happen like that. In this story, we hear about a senior team member that created conflict and demoralized the team. Listen in to learn about the critical lessons Lena learned about onboarding and integrating senior team members in an existing team.

About Lena Löfdahl

Lena is a senior agile coach with a specialty in learning and psychological safety. Successfully coached over 200+ teams and taught courses for 8000+ hours, mostly in agile but also project management. She gets a lot of energy from building teams and colleagues, watching people grow is rewarding work. 

You can link with Lena Löfdahl on LinkedIn

BONUS: Why Experience is the Agile 3.0 with Jurgen Appelo

To start us off, Jurgen shares a personal secret that he had not shared before. And that secret explains why discuss some of the topics we do in this episode. 

Jurgen has applied a fair amount of the insights he’s collected over the years during 2020 when his own business got severely affected by the COVID19 crisis. Some of the projects he took on are on his blog –  like this Painting 3.0 post –  but there’s a lot more he shares in this segment. He hear about how Jurgen experimented with his own business during the pandemic. One piece of advice he shared, was to go to extremes with the experiments, trying something completely different from your regular approach or product. 

Introducing the idea of an Agile 3.0

We reflect on the 20 years of the Agile Manifesto (published in 2001), and what that means for product and software development. Jurgen shares a personal story to illustrate how a different approach to customers (“the experience approach”) can significantly change the perspective that people have on the services and products they use. 

This focus on experience may become what Agile 3.0 is all about. Including the role of games, and game mechanics in the design of products and services. But Jurgen takes it further and talks about experiences at all levels, not just the customer. We talk about the experience we have as employees working for an organization, and the need to start talking about “experience owners”, not “product owners”. 

Gamifying learning, to create a rewarding learning journey

We know that continuous learning is an aspect of modern work, knowledge work. However, how do we create that need, and design to continuously learn? Jurgen shares his latest project shiftup.work, a site where people can learn at their own pace, and get credits for learning. He uses gamification mechanics to create a rewarding learning journey through a community site. To learn more about shiftup.work, check out the learning site

About Jurgen Appelo

Jurgen describes himself as “the creative networker”. But sometimes he’s a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Inc.com has called him a Top 50 Leadership Expert and a Top 100 Leadership Speaker. He’s also one of the most influential Agilists, thanks to his work on Agile Management with his book Management 3.0

You can link with Jurgen Appelo on LinkedIn and connect with Jurgen Appelo on Twitter.

Inderdip Vraich: Great Product Owner translate “fuzzy ideas” into concrete asks for the Scrum team 

The Great Product Owner: How to translate “fuzzy ideas” into concrete asks for the Scrum team 

Great Product Owners ask about, and translate their ideas into business value. They ask about it from the stakeholders, and translate it for the team, so that the team may understand why their work is important. They also put significant effort in communicating (e.g. through feature kick-offs) with the team about what is expected. They act as a constant and solid bridge between the outside, and the inside of the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Recovering from conflict between team and PO

One of the characteristic PO anti-patterns is putting unreasonable expectations on the team, and using pressure as a tool to get the team to work “harder”. This kind of anti-pattern can lead to serious problems in the team and the relationship between PO and team. We discuss what a Scrum Master can do to recover from this kind of negative spiral

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter

Inderdip Vraich: A practical psychological safety Agile Retrospective

Reflecting on what success means for a Scrum Master is an important reflection activity for anyone interested in improving their impact on the team. Inderdip shares with us the questions that she has developed to keep her own success reflection going despite the hustle of everyday work.

In this segment, we talk about the Scrum Culture Index and mention a Forbes article that helps understand how to measure (“smell”) culture.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Practical Psychological Safety retrospective

As we often talk about psychological safety, it is important to learn how to introduce the concept to the team. In this segment, we explore a possible retrospective format around creating the understanding of and the actions that lead to psychological safety in the team.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter.

Inderdip Vraich: How the Scrum Master personal change journey can help the teams

In this episode, we explore Inderdip’s personal change. How she started to understand what really creates great teams. We learn how she realized what was missing in her own coaching, and actions that helped the team finally start to develop. And it all started with her own personal journey.

About Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter.

Inderdip Vraich: How to deal with conflict in the Scrum team caused by external pressure

Inderdip was working with multiple Scrum teams, and there were pressure and high expectations on the team. The high stakes led to micro-management, and suddenly the team – which was composed of competent and committed people – fell into hard conflict. The team was unhappy. This story taught Inderdip an important lesson of where to start when dealing with conflict caused by external pressure. 

Featured Book of the Week: The Art Of Doing Twice The Work In Half The Time, by Sutherland

In The Art Of Doing Twice The Work In Half The Time, by Sutherland, Inderdip found insightful lessons in every chapter, and stories of success from many different industries. Those lessons helped her to focus on actions, and learn to deal with unpredictability.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter

Inderdip Vraich: Why pushing changes to a Scrum team can easily backfire, and what to do instead

When we start with a new team or organization, and especially if we are experienced Scrum Masters, we often have the temptation to push changes, to help the teams move quickly to a state we can already see in our minds. But is that the best approach? Listen to this story of how “pushing” changes to a team made things worse.

About Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter

David Wallace: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

Great Product Owners know how to involve team members in the definition and decision-making processes. However, the contrast is a PO that thinks they were given the mission to be a Project Manager. Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager? Listen in to learn about the signs that the PO might have taken the Project Management role.

The Great Product Owner:  Building collaboration by involving team members across disciplines

Great Product Owners are amazing that getting people to buy in to the Vision for the product/project. But they also know how to help the team put in practice continuous discovery, involving both engineering and the design team. As the POs starts to involve team and stakeholders, they make their job both more effective, and easier! A win-win!

The Bad Product Owner: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

When Product Owners think they are Project Managers – maybe because they had that role in the past – they forget about the product vision and start focusing too much on topics that the team should focus on. They dictate dates, scope and force the teams to follow the plan without questioning it. When this happens, a lot is lost in the team. Is your Product Owner behaving like a Project Manager? 

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand based cloud accounting software company. 

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

David Wallace: How to know when Scrum teams have taken ownership of their work

We’ve heard many times here on the podcast, that success is about making ourselves obsolete. Allowing for the team to take ownership and leadership in their work. However, that’s easier said than understood! How do we know that we’ve reached that point? We discuss the signs and leading indicators that teams are stepping up and taking ownership of their work!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Spicying up an old format to keep things fresh

David likes to rely on a simple, and consistent format, and slightly change it to suit the situation. David shares how simple approaches, can help us spice up a familiar format, allowing the Scrum Master to focus on the conversation with the team.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand-based cloud accounting software company. 

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

David Wallace: How working with a team helped change leadership

David was working with a new part of the company that had just been acquired by his employer. This new unit had been using Agile for 2 years when David arrived, but all they had was a 2-day training by a local Agile Coach. As he started to dive in, David noticed that the team was unable to challenge the VP’s, they just took orders and never brought their creativity into the process. In this episode, we walk through a change process where this team went from being order takers to taking ownership of their work and the product. We discuss how a Scrum Master can help teams step up, even when senior managers are involved. Oh, and listen to the end, there’s a surprising change in this story! 

About David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand based cloud accounting software company. 

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