Jim Sammons: Communities of practice for Scrum Masters as a change practice

When working with change, one of the tools we use most often use is the “community of practice” pattern, where people get together and talk about the challenges they are facing, and discuss possible solutions. For Scrum Masters, this is especially important as we are – Jim reminds us – also leaders in our organisations and must set the example that others can follow. What are you doing to be an example of the change you are supposed to help implement?

About Jim Sammons

Jim is currently a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and works with an amazing team at Insight as an Agile Coach and trainer for their clients around the world. His time as a Scrum Master was awesome and fueled his passion for agility at all levels.

You can link with Jim Sammons on LinkedIn and connect with Jim Sammons on Twitter.

Jim Sammons: How to recognize the anti-pattern the buries the Scrum teams in a mountain of technical debt

As this story starts, the team is buried under technical debt. Why they got there is the topic of this episode’s story. We talk about finding the signs that the team is starting to drown in tech debt, as the recognition of that pattern is the first step to avoid major damage to the team and the product.

In this segment, we refer to the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Featured Book of the Week: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, Jim found a reminder of some practices that are useful for Scrum Masters. The highlight is the process of “decluttering”, removing the mess we often have to deal with in our teams, our backlogs or in relationships between team members. Jim challenges us to find those “cluttered” areas in our work and ask the team: “do you feel overwhelmed?”

In this segment, we also refer to Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins.

About Jim Sammons

Jim is currently a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and works with an amazing team at Insight as an Agile Coach and trainer for their clients around the world. His time as a Scrum Master was awesome and fueled his passion for agility at all levels.

You can link with Jim Sammons on LinkedIn and connect with Jim Sammons on Twitter.

Jim Sammons: Dealing with Agile team destructive behaviours, what not to do!

As we start our journey as Scrum Masters, we are bound to find situations and team dynamics to deal with that we were either not familiar or not responsible for handling before.

Everyone will face one of those situations. In this episode, we talk about one such situation in Jim’s career. There was a pattern of behaviour happening that was destructive to the team, but Jim was unsure how to deal with it. Listen in to learn what he learned from that story, that you can also apply in your team when facing a similar situation.

About Jim Sammons

Jim is currently a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and works with an amazing team at Insight as an Agile Coach and trainer for their clients around the world. His time as a Scrum Master was awesome and fueled his passion for agility at all levels.

You can link with Jim Sammons on LinkedIn and connect with Jim Sammons on Twitter.

Martin Lambert: The weak or lost Product Owner and their impact on the team

From a weak or lost Product Owner to one that cared deeply about the product, we explore some of the critical contrasts between good and not so good PO’s, as well as how Scrum Masters can help them improve.

The Great Product Owner: The Product Owner that cared about the product

When it happens, this Product Owner pattern can really help the team succeed. In this segment we talk about the Product Owner that cared deeply about the product. Made the Vision clear to the team and even if she did not know how to write User Stories (she got help from the Scrum Master), or about “limiting the work planned for the Sprint”, she was ready to learn. We also discuss how Scrum Masters can be really powerful allies for their Product Owners.

The Bad Product Owner: The weak or lost Product Owner

Although Martin has seen several Product Owner anti-patterns (the seagull PO, the absentee PO), the one he wants to highlight is the “weak or lost PO”. This anti-pattern is about the PO being only a mouthpiece for someone else, having little insight into what he asks from the team, and letting the team often without answers to their questions.

In this segment, we also talk about how Scrum Masters can help these Product Owners overcome their 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 Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England, and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Martin Lambert: The Empathy Agile Retrospective Format How-to

When it comes to success as a Scrum Master, Martin asks us to consider the “little things”. For example: “how does your team react to adverse situations?” This and other questions help Martin assess his work as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn about the other questions that Martin asks himself to assess his own success as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Empathy Retrospective

In this retrospective format, Martin focuses on helping team members understand their colleagues’ perspectives. We discuss how to “warm-up” the team to this format, as well as how to execute the format. Learn also why this format is important, and what you can expect from it.

About Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England, and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Martin Lambert: Are you trying to change too much? 

Martin shares a story of an engagement which goal was to help a department adopt Agile. We review his first steps in that change, what he observed when the engagement started. We then discuss some of the tools he helped implement in that organization and how that was done.

In this episode, we refer to the Goal Roadmap by Roman Pichler, and one of the most critical skills for Scrum Masters working with change: to be able to distinguish what can be changed, influenced, and what cannot be changed. Are you trying to change too much?

About Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England, and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Martin Lambert: Swarming a whole-team approach to getting work done

What happens when team members see themselves as specialists? We discuss some of the common anti-patterns of the specialized team member perspective and talk about the benefits of swarming, an approach where the whole team feels responsible for the deliverables they have to complete, instead of standing by and letting the specialists work alone.

Featured Book of the Week: <Redacted>

Martin wants to share some of the insights that he got from a book he read. The book allowed him to feel free from previous fears, and find space to express his curiosity. This lead to Martin finding a newly rekindled thirst for knowledge. The book? You may want to ask Martin directly on LinkedIn, his LinkedIn page is linked below, in his bio! 🙂

About Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England, and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Martin Lambert: The common anti-patterns new Scrum Masters take, but should avoid

When we take the role of the Scrum Master, many of us are jumping into a new experience. Something we’ve never done before. Whether you have a background in technology or project management, Scrum Master is likely to be a very different role.

In this episode, we discover through Martin’s story what are the most common anti-patterns that we take up as new Scrum Masters. Have you been too committed to the previous ways of working? Have you tried to teach, when the right stance to take was to listen and ask questions? Don’t despair, we’ve all been there and Martin shares his personal story, as well as what he learned from that about the core of the Scrum Master role.

About Martin Lambert

Martin’s an agile coach, trainer and scrum master. He’s a Northener making a living in the south of England and finds great energy and sense of purpose from the agile movement during the second act of his career. Loves the hills and being out on a road bike. And to all the European listeners, he says: “sorry for you know what”.

You can link with Martin Lambert on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: The Secret Backlog, Product Owner anti-pattern

In this Product Owner episode, we talk about the importance of nurturing the collaboration between Product Owner and team, and we uncover The Secret Backlog, a Product Owner anti-pattern.

The Great Product Owner: Accepting team input

Having worked as a Product Owner for 2 years, Dirk has learned the hard way how difficult that role is. So, when he took the Scrum Master Role in a pilot project he wanted to help the PO. Worked to prepare the team environment, getting managers out of the daily meetings to give teams the freedom they needed. Once the team was ready, he worked with the PO to support him. He describes what behaviors made this PO a great PO, including how he treated the team members, interacted with stakeholders, and how the PO was able to accept and process team input.

The Bad Product Owner: The Secret Backlog

There are many things that can go wrong with the product owner. In this episode, we learn about a PO that wanted to micromanage the team, had a second (secret) backlog and was not able to accept and process feedback from the team or others. We also discuss what Scrum Masters can do to detect early signals of problems and to keep themselves in check. Avoiding to escalate the situation even further.

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 Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.

Dirk Fabricius: How do we measure the Scrum Master role?

A question Dirk has heard often (and you might have too!) is: how should we measure the Scrum Master role? That led him to think about possible metrics to present to stakeholders. In this episode, we discuss possible Scrum Master metrics as well as the “self-check” questions you can ask yourself when evaluating your own success and evolution as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Customizing your Retrospectives

At some point, the formats you are used to may not be enough, and you need to find another format for the issues at hand. In those situations, Scrum Masters must be comfortable with customizing the retrospective format for their team. In this segment, we discuss tools and approaches you can take to customize your next retrospective to the team’s specific needs.

A useful tool, which has been referred to before on the podcast is Retromat.org. However, there are some caveats when using that tool. Listen in to learn about possible drawbacks and how to overcome those.

About Dirk Fabricius

Dirk has worked in jobs with IT focus for 20 years. He has had the roles of Project Lead, Developer (Backend), Product Owner and Scrum Master. He’s also been a Teacher in Public Schools for 7 years.

You can link with Dirk Fabricius on LinkedIn.