BONUS: Stephen Parry on how to create Alignment and Purpose in your Agile organization

“Most purpose statements are dry and uninspiring”, that’s how this episode starts. But Stephen goes deeper and explains why that may be the case. We dive into what are the missing aspects in most purpose statements and share some examples of how he’s been able to help organizations go beyond those dry and uninspiring purpose statements.

The three types of purposes we need to take into account

When we think about purpose, usually we talk about the purpose of the team, or organization we work within. However, Stephen also challenges us to consider that there is one more perspective we need to take into account: the customer’s purpose. 

Stephen outlines a 4-quadrant purpose canvas, where we have the business purpose (your organization’s purpose), the employee’s purpose (the team, and other actors inside the business), and finally the customer’s purpose: what reasons do they have to use your product or service? 

The final quadrant is the purpose that is constructed from the other three, and becomes the purpose for the teams working on a product. 

“Purpose defines value, value defines meaningful work” 

— Stephen Parry @leanvoices

The problem with traditional ways of drafting a purpose statement

Purpose is a critical aspect of the conversation within an organization. When the purpose is not clear, it becomes much harder to create and maintain alignment between the many different teams and people that need to collaborate. 

However, the way most organizations go about creating a purpose statement is inadequate and does not consider the different purposes in the “system” of work. 

In this segment, we talk about how the traditional approaches to creating a purpose statement feel like “waterfall” purpose creation processes, and what we can do as Scrum Master to start moving towards a more inclusive, and inspiring purpose statement.

Purpose as the engine of change

When we talk about change, whether that is Agile transformation, or something else, we often forget that those changes are often started from the “tools” perspectives and that the people in the organization are not given a purpose to align to. 

In this segment, we talk about the role that a purpose statement plays in successful change processes. 

“The success of your product is defined by your customer meeting their business goals.”

— Stephen Parry @leanvoices

You can find more from Stephen Parry on YouTube, including a five-part video series that includes a video about purpose.

About Stephen Parry

Stephen Parry is the managing director for the Sense and Adapt Academy.

He was cited as one of the Top 25 CX influencers of 2019/2020 by the Customer Experience Magazine.

Stephen is also a multi-award winning business leader, strategist, and author

He’s the author of the acclaimed Sense and Respond: The Journey to Customer Purpose (MacMillan 2005), Application of Lean to Service industries.

Stephen is the Managing Director of The Sense and Adapt Academy, For developing change designers and change-makers to create Adaptive Organisations.

You can link with Stephen Parry on LinkedIn and connect with Stephen Parry on Twitter

Pieter Verbaarschott: The Product Owner that created trust with the Scrum team

Trust as a productivity amplifier in the team can be hindered or boosted by the Product Owner’s attitude when interacting with the team. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting approaches that affect (differently) the team’s productivity

The Great Product Owner: The PO that created trust with the Scrum team

When Scrum Masters don’t have to “fix” the relationship between team and PO, that’s a great start. But this PO had gone beyond that, he had created instant trust with the Scrum team, and was able to bring customer feedback directly in the team’s Backlog. This all lead to Pieter being a happy observer in the PO – team relationship.

The Bad Product Owner: The Dictator/Boss PO

When PO’s want to be “the boss” and dictate what the team should be working on, it may lead to the team feeling they have no contribution to the product. That they are simply task handlers. This, in turn, may lead to the team feeling they don’t need to improve or collaborate better because the PO already tells them what to do. Listen in to learn what Pieter tried to help the PO and the team find a better way to collaborate. 

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 Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter.

Pieter Verbaarschott: Helping teams feel safe, and empowered as a success metric for Scrum Masters

There’s one phrase Pieter heard that made him understand that his work had had a positive impact on the team. The phrase was: “Psychological safety is more than a buzzword in our team”.

Pieter shares how important it is for us to focus on the dynamics between Scrum Master and team members that help create that aspect of safety, and the ability to contribute at all times.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retrospectives for Engineering minded folks

Not every team member will appreciate having games in the retrospectives they participate in. For those folks, it is important to have some simple, to the point formats in our back pocket to help them engage without feeling awkward. 

In this episode, we talk about simpler formats that focus on triggering conversations between team members.

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 experiences: 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 Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter.

Pieter Verbaarschott: Driving agile adoption as Scrum Masters

In this episode, Pieter shares the story of a transformation as it happened, from the initial steps to how it was managed and supported by the Scrum Masters in the organization.

Pieter shares how they came to define and develop a training program, and how they used ideas from Agile and Scrum to constantly improve and deliver the training to all the new hires for the company.

About Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter

Pieter Verbaarschott: What happens when Scrum teams work harder, but lose their improvement focus

When teams are pressured or pushed to work harder, or longer hours, the easy solution is to just say yes, and carry with it. However, the role of Scrum Masters is to help teams understand and prevent those cases when the “work harder” mantra is disconnected from the goals of the company. In this episode, we discuss one such example, where the team was not able to say “no” to the PO, and was, therefore, pushed to do more, and more work and forgetting to focus on improving as a team.

Featured Book of the Week: Leading Teams by Richard Hackman

In Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances by Richard Hackman, Pieter found the results of a long research process that lead to defining some of the conditions and patterns that exist in successful teams. One such aspect was the definition of goals for the team. We explore what that means in practice and how to apply it as a Scrum Master.

About Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter

Pieter Verbaarschott: What should a Scrum Master do when a team member does not collaborate well with others

In this episode, Pieter shares a story that, as he points out, could be an exam question for a Scrum Master certification exam: what should a Scrum Master do when a team member does not collaborate well with others? 

We discuss what options Scrum Masters have when this happens, and also what did not work for Pieter in that situation. 

About Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter

Rachel Macasek: Building trust between Product Owner and the rest of the Scrum team

The difference between a passionate and committed team might be as simple as the attitude the PO brings to work. Which of these describes your PO right now? 

The Great Product Owner: Sparking passion and commitment as a Product Owner

When PO’s are able to explain the problem that they want to solve, they enable the designers, developers, and testers to contribute their perspective and help the PO improve their possible solution ideas. When the PO focuses on the problems to solve, rather than the solutions they may also help spark passion and commitment in the team!

The Bad Product Owner: Building trust between PO and the rest of the Scrum team

When the PO does not have faith in the team’s ability to work on the problems they want to solve, they often rely on micro-management, and solutioneering (describing solutions instead of customer problems). This, in turn, prevents the team from being creative, bringing their best thinking to the product, and ultimately leads to demotivation and resignation in the team. Rachel asks us to work with the Product Owner and find ways to focus on understanding the problems and enabling the team to bring their creativity to the work. 

In this episode, we refer to the Coach your PO e-course that we’ve created at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, to help you work with the Product Owners directly and bring about the right focus to their work. 

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 Rachel Macasek

Rachel is passionate about individual and team growth. She has fostered an environment of collaboration and continuous improvement in the manufacturing, biotech, and software industries. Currently, Rachel is focused on the power of an individual and recently acquired her Leadership and Performance Coaching certification.

You can link with Rachel Macasek on LinkedIn and connect with Rachel Macasek on Twitter.

Rachel Macasek: How to “work yourself out of a job” as a Scrum Master

The advice “work yourself out of a job” may be true, but it is too broad to act on. Rachel breaks that down into a set of simple ideas that she uses in her works as a Scrum Master. We talk about the importance of modeling the right behavior and being a good observer. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Start/Stop/Continue with a twist

In this segment, Rachel starts by describing the Start/Stop/Continue format, and then takes a different perspective on the “end” of that retrospective format by asking the team “how might we…” questions designed to help the team uncover breakthrough improvements. 

 

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 experiences: 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 Rachel Macasek

Rachel is passionate about individual and team growth. She has fostered an environment of collaboration and continuous improvement in the manufacturing, biotech, and software industries. Currently, Rachel is focused on the power of an individual and recently acquired her Leadership and Performance Coaching certification.

You can link with Rachel Macasek on LinkedIn and connect with Rachel Macasek on Twitter.

Rachel Macasek: Helping Scrum organizations grow quickly, collaboratively

When companies grow very fast, the teams don’t have the time to adjust and grow their inter-team collaboration. Scrum Master must then learn to detect those anti-patterns and help the teams build their collaboration strategies deliberately, and quickly to keep up with the company’s growth. 

About Rachel Macasek

Rachel is passionate about individual and team growth. She has fostered an environment of collaboration and continuous improvement in the manufacturing, biotech, and software industries. Currently, Rachel is focused on the power of an individual and recently acquired her Leadership and Performance Coaching certification.

You can link with Rachel Macasek on LinkedIn and connect with Rachel Macasek on Twitter.

Rachel Macasek: Detecting toxic cultural anti-patterns in Agile organizations

That there are projects where teams feel under pressure is no news. In fact, stress-related to pressure is a very common problem in software teams. However, sometimes the situation goes too far and turns into a toxic culture. In this episode, we explore what are the signs that the normal “pressure” teams feel is turning into a much more impactful and negative set of patterns.

Featured Book of the Week: Co-Active Coaching by Henry Kimsey-House et al.

As Rachel grew in the coaching role, she felt frustrated by the reactive mindset she saw in leadership. That led her to explore other approaches to help executives understand and benefit from Agile Values and principles.

In Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives, Rachel found a good guide to help her focus her work on helping the individual team members and executives she worked with. 

About Rachel Macasek

Rachel is passionate about individual and team growth. She has fostered an environment of collaboration and continuous improvement in the manufacturing, biotech, and software industries. Currently, Rachel is focused on the power of an individual and recently acquired her Leadership and Performance Coaching certification.

You can link with Rachel Macasek on LinkedIn and connect with Rachel Macasek on Twitter.