Mher Nalbandyan: Reducing estimation arguments, and focusing on better refinement for Scrum teams

When Mher joined the team, he noticed that the team was going through the refinement meetings in a way that made the estimation the core aspect of the meeting. It took too long, and led to some team members to just sit there without participating. In this episode, we explore how to get over this estimation-centric refinement meeting anti-pattern!

About Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter.

Mher Nalbandyan: Overcoming the “only the senior team members are allowed to speak” Scrum anti-pattern

Sometimes we face teams where team members start, and then get used to making decisions on their own without involving the rest of the team, or communicating those decisions to their colleagues. In this team, the people were changing, and the new team members were not “given” the right to speak, which led to the oldest team members making all of the decisions on their own. Mher noticed that this was causing a motivation problem in the team, and started to work with the team to overcome this anti-pattern.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time by Sutherland

In Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time by Sutherland, Mher found a book that was easy to read and understand, which reminded him of what Agile, Scrum, and Extreme Programming are all about. The book includes stories and the “why” behind Scrum’s impact.

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 Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter.

Mher Nalbandyan: When team members skip the retrospective, a communication problem in the Scrum team

Mher prepared a retrospective for his team, but 5 minutes past the starting time, there were only a few team members in the room. He looked around and saw that the team members that were present, were not fully engaged. “Something is wrong here, he thought… In this episode, we explore why sometimes team members don’t communicate and discuss what might be the reasons, and how to avoid it.

In this episode, we refer to the book Agile Retrospectives by Larsen and Derby.

About Mher Nalbandyan

Mher works at Mbition in Berlin, where they develop the next generation of information systems for Mercedes-Benz.

You can link with Mher Nalbandyan on LinkedIn and connect with Mher Nalbandyan on Twitter.

Catherine Kraus: Helping the Product Owner understand why interruptions are disruptive for the team

The Great Product Owner: The PO as a key role in customer involvement, and understanding

A good PO has a good understanding of the product, and is also able to communicate the Vision they have for the product. This particular PO was also able to delegate to the team many of the decisions that were needed, and invested their time into building and maintaining relationships with the customers of that product. Because of that, he was able to set up user testing sessions, where the team was invited, to collect direct feedback and help the team understand the product, and the customer better!

The Bad Product Owner: Helping the PO understand why interruptions are disruptive for the team

This PO was amazingly organized, and great at following up with the team. This was the PO’s superpower. However, in some cases, this superpower also had a negative effect. This team, which was working remotely, was being constantly interrupted by the PO, in their attempt to follow-up on the progress by the team. The team went to Catherine, and shared what was going on. This started a process of changing how the PO worked, so that the team could be given the time and focus to finish their work.

In this segment, we talk about the concept of “maker time”, popularized in this article by Paul Graham.

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 Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn.

Catherine Kraus: Effective improvement – helping teams accept what can’t be changed, and focus on what can!

Catherine likes to use a metaphor to picture what success looks like for a Scrum Master. She describes the Scrum Master work, as that of a look-out on a ship. A person who is constantly paying attention to what is happening on, and around the ship. In that position, Scrum Masters are perfectly placed to understand what is emerging, but rely on others to tackle the challenges the team faces.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Control / Influence / Accept circles, helping teams accept what can’t be changed, and focus on what can!

When a team is playing the victim, complaining, but not taking action, this format helps them understand what they can influence. But it also helps them understand what they need to accept, and move on! The Control / Influence / Accept retrospective is similar to the Circles and Soup retrospective that we’ve presented on the podcast before.

In this segment, we refer to the book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Covey.

 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 Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn.

Catherine Kraus: How to setup an Agile team working remote and hybrid

Catherine was in the process of helping set up a team with on-shore and off-shore team members, which was being setup as a hybrid work team. As she discussed with the team members, and stakeholders, she quickly understood the team setup would have to be thought through, and followed-up carefully. In this episode, she describes the process she used, and how she involved the stakeholders in the process of setting up that team.

About Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn.

Catherine Kraus: How a team of specialists became a well-rounded, T-shaped Scrum team!

When Catherine joined this team, she was told by the previous Scrum Master that she should not bother with the “fluffy stuff”, as the team only wanted to “get on with the work”. As soon as she heard that, Catherine was alarmed, but also curious. A few weeks later, she knew what was going on. The team was a group of specialists, that had very deep, but narrow experience in the area they were working. This specialty-focus affected everything in the team, from the PO who had to choose work that fit the available specialist, to the motivation of the team, who felt bored and de-motivated when they did not have work for their specialty. In this segment, we talk about how Catherine approached the elephant in the room: the silos that were not allowing the team to perform!

Featured Book of the Week: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

In The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor, Catherine found research that helped her understand the impact of a positive outlook can have on her work, and the teams she works with.

In this segment, we also refer to Essential Scrum by Ken Rubin, a book that presents Scrum for those wanting to go beyond what they can learn in their first Scrum training course.

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 Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn.

Catherine Kraus: What leads Scrum teams to be unpredictable, and unreliable!

The team had a lot of unfinished work, and sprint-to-sprint spillovers. It started to feel that the management of the work was out of control. As Catherine investigated, she found that a lot of work was being added to the Sprint after planning. All of these new items diverted the team’s focus, and they were no longer predictable, or able to finish some of the critical user stories planned. In this episode, we explore what were the reasons the team got to that point, as well as what Catherine learned that helps, still today, avoid falling into the same trap.

About Catherine Kraus

As a Scrum Master & Team Coach, Catherine Kraus inspires and galvanizes others into action with her playful and pragmatic approach. She works with organizations to build happier, healthier teams with purpose. She has over 15 years experience leading various transformation and change management projects in IT, Finance, HR & Marketing.

You can link with Catherine Kraus on LinkedIn.

Miguel Moro: Helping a “bossy” Product Owner, learn how to collaborate with the Scrum team

The Great Product Owner: The PO that is also a team member

Great Product Owners have the ability to make themselves part of the team. They put the team’s success on their first priority by focusing on what the team needs to succeed. They also help the team collaborate with different sides of the organization.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping a “bossy” PO, learn how to collaborate with the Scrum team

When the PO thinks they are “the boss”, they usually develop certain behaviors that push the team to just follow orders. Although this may seem logical for some PO’s, the problems that arise will make the team uncomfortable, and ultimately conflict may arise between team and PO.

In this segment, we also talk about how to prepare a conversation with this kind of PO, helping the team come forward and share how they feel, and resolve the problem together with PO, and team.

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 Miguel Moro

As an Agile practitioner, Miguel’s passion is to delight customers using Agile practices and Lean methodologies in development teams, to explore the best alternatives to deliver in an iterative and incremental way, with a continuous value of flow, as fast as possible, and with innovative solutions. He does that by focusing on high performance teams and happiness at work.

You can link with Miguel Moro on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Moro on Twitter.

Miguel Moro: Avoiding Shame And Guilt In Retrospectives, with The Retrospective From The Future

When does a Scrum team not need their Scrum Master anymore? In this episode, we explore what that means in practice, and share some examples of the behaviors Scrum Masters can adopt to help their teams gain independence, and ownership of their work.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Avoiding Shame And Guilt In Retrospectives, with The Retrospective From The Future, Futurspective

Miguel likes to help teams discuss the success of the sprint, starting from the beginning of the Sprint, instead of doing it at the end. Although this may seem counterintuitive, the looking forward retrospective helps Scrum Masters prepare the team to discuss some uncomfortable topics later on, by having them point those out before they happen, and before there’s shame or guilt associated with those behaviors.

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 Miguel Moro

As an Agile practitioner, Miguel’s passion is to delight customers using Agile practices and Lean methodologies in development teams, to explore the best alternatives to deliver in an iterative and incremental way, with a continuous value of flow, as fast as possible, and with innovative solutions. He does that by focusing on high performance teams and happiness at work.

You can link with Miguel Moro on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Moro on Twitter.

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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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Internal Conference
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Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works