Gonçalo Valverde: Turning Agile all the way up to 11, when the deadline is fixed

This story starts with the CEO saying “we are going agile”. As it usually happens, that transformation was not coming alone. Gonçalo was put on a project that had a very hard deadline: A Christmas release that would have a big impact on the company’s sales. 

When the project started, the requirements were not yet fully understood, yet the deadline was already known, and unmovable. How can a Scrum Master help a project like this successfully deliver? Listen in to learn what techniques and tools Gonçalo introduced, and used to help this super-critical, and super-time-sensitive project succeed.

About Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter

Gonçalo Valverde: How to deal with a disruptive team member (before it is too late)

Gonçalo was working with two teams that were busy migrating to a new system. However, in one of these teams there was a disruptive team member. The management tried to put this team member aside by pushing him into test management. But this only made the situation worse. Listen in to learn what Gonçalo tried to help this team member, and what he learned from this story that he carries with him ever since.

Featured Book of the Week: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Stone et al.

While reading Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Stone et al., Gonçalo realized that it’s possible and there’s a method to having conversations on very difficult topics, yet be constructive. This book shares some critical tools that all Scrum Masters should be aware of. 

In this segment, we also refer to the book User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton, and to the Oikosofy’s User Story Mapping facilitator’s guide, available for free. 

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 Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter

Gonçalo Valverde: How (not) to deliver bad news as a Scrum Master!

Sometimes things go wrong. And it is at that time that we need our senses to be sharp, and our communication to be on point. In this episode, we learn the story of a project that was about to go bad, but no one was willing to deliver the bad news. When should the Scrum Master be the messenger? Listen in to learn how Gonçalo handled this situation and what he learned for the future. 

In this episode, we refer to Monte Carlo simulation and Troy Magennis’ work

About Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter.

Kim Hinsch: How to help a PO step down from the “clouds”, and help the Scrum team make decisions

The Great Product Owner: Trust your Scrum team

Great Product Owners are able to trust the teams they work with. They help the team establish, and gain self-confidence in their actions and decisions. This does not mean the PO resigns, but rather that they first trust the team, and pull rank only rarely – even if they are very experienced in the product. Great PO’s often say “go ahead, I trust you”, even if they have another idea of what the solution could be. 

The Bad Product Owner: The “in the clouds” PO 

There are several PO anti-patterns that detract from the PO’s performance. One such anti-pattern is when the PO is constantly in “the clouds”, and is unable to bring their vision to the reality of everyday decision making. The PO isn’t invested in the “now”, but the team can only make immediate decisions, and they need the PO to help them make those decisions. 

Are you having trouble helping the teamwork 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 Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn.

Kim Hinsch: Measure all the things, to assess team and Scrum Master success

Kim likes to use metrics to assess her work and the evolution of the team. This helps the team reflect about their performance, but also about their motivation and engagement (when using team morale metrics, for example). Kim also mentions that your metrics should include a measure of value delivered to the customer.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simple formats to get started with

As Kim puts it, the best format for the Retrospective is “one that works”. Of course, that means the Scrum Master must pay special attention to what is going on with the team at the time, and learn to read the signs on which method is the most appropriate for the team. 

Kim shares with us her process to define what is the format “that works” for every sprint and every team. She also shares a few formats to get you started with a new team: The Agile Battleships (online version of Battleships retrospective) and Name Game Agile Retrospective formats.

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 Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn.

Kim Hinsch: Helping a Scrum team come together to overcome huge challenges

Kim was working with a company in the middle of an Agile transformation. The team Kim was working mostly with was struggling with understanding what was required from them. They were working with a new product, for which the expectations and requirements were unclear. The Product Owner was also new to the job, and the team. Kim understood she needed the team to come together if they were to overcome the challenges they were facing. So, she took on the mission of making the team jell. 

In this episode, we talk about The 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team by Lencioni, a book that has been mentioned several times here on the podcast. 

About Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn

Kim Hinsch: Going beyond “best practice” a must for Scrum teams that want to learn and improve

Kim was working with a new team, with a new PO. However, this team had a history in that organization, and their culture was already established. A lot of people came in with their own beliefs, and the inevitable culture clash happened between the “new” PO and Scrum Master, and the “old” team members. In this segment, we talk about how important it is to bring these issues up with the team and have them process/learn from the conflicts that are happening. This led Kim to understand that when teams (think they) “know the best practices”, they are not motivated to learn and improve. 

Featured Book of the Week: Corporate Rebels: Make work more fun by Joost Minaar et al.

In Corporate Rebels: Make work more fun, by Joost Minaar et al., Kim found examples of how different companies have taken decisions to the teams, and empowered them to take responsibility for their own work and success. She found those stories inspiring. 

In this segment, we also talk about Turn The Ship Around! By David L. Marquet, a book we’ve reviewed with the author here on the podcast

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 Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn

Kim Hinsch: How to recover from an Epic fail during a workshop you had prepared for!

When working with this team, Kim heard a predictable and unsettling question: “what does the Scrum Master do?” Many of us have faced this question from all kinds of directions. However, when Kim started digging into the question, she found that what the team needed was not to know what the Scrum Master did, but rather something else that is critical for any team. They had projected their lack of clarity on the role of the Scrum Master, even if what they needed as something else.

About Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Agile Leadership Fitness, get your HR leader to listen to this episode! with Nick Horney

As he helped leaders, Dr. Nick Horney worked hard to understand what was going on in the business world in a way that could be explained to others, and to form a curriculum for leaders in worldwide organizations. He came up with the acronym VUCA, which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. 

Nick wrote a book titled VUCA Masters: Developing Leadership Agility Fitness for the New World of Work, and created a curriculum to help leaders deal with complexity in a VUCA world, this curriculum is part of the VUCA Masters Academy

In this episode, we dive into what VUCA means in practice and share insights that Scrum Masters can take and help the leaders in their organization.

About Nick Horney

Dr. Horney has written four books. The most recent is VUCA Masters: Developing Leadership Agility Fitness for the world of work, the topic of this episode. 

Nick retired from the U.S. Navy (Special Operations) at the rank of Captain and has applied that experience to his work with high performance team agility. He serves as a coach for The Honor Foundation focusing on the successful transition of Navy SEALs to the business world.

Dr. Horney founded Agility Consulting in 2001 and has been coaching leadership agility and organizational agility for over 30 years.

You can link with Nick Horney on LinkedIn and connect with Nick Horney on Twitter

Priyanka Keswani: Helping busy PO’s collaborate better with their Scrum teams

The Great Product Owner: Communication and negotiation as key skills for great PO’s

Great Product Owners focus on communicating their Vision, and helping the team understand where they want to take the product. But that’s only one perspective on communication. We discuss how the ability to communicate and negotiate with the team and stakeholders become a key contributor to a great PO.

In this segment, we refer to WSJF prioritization or Weighted Shortest Job First

The Bad Product Owner: Helping busy PO’s collaborate better with their Scrum teams

When PO’s have several hats, it becomes difficult to give teams the time they need to clarify questions and receive feedback. This lack of availability can quickly become a blocker for the team if we – as Scrum Masters – don’t help the team and PO define clearly how they will collaborate. We explore how to help busy PO’s collaborate better (and in many cases more!) with the team. 

In this segment, we refer to the PO’s Sprint Checklist, a tool we created at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help Scrum Masters guide and support their PO’s. 

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 Priyanka Keswani

Priyanka is a seasoned Agile Coach with a firm belief in innovation, continuous improvement, and a focus on Agile transformation in the organization. With 14+ years of experience, she has worked across various domains- Content Delivery Network, Travel, CRM, and Storage. She started as a QA Manager, then became Scrum Master and Agile Coach. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to music, dancing, traveling, and networking with people.

You can link with Priyanka Keswani on LinkedIn and connect with Priyanka Keswani on Twitter.