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.

David Wallace: When Agile teams care more about the product than its users

In this team, we could see the team members cared for the product they were working on. However, they cared so much, they started to allow themselves to “dive into the code and refactor” at will. Eventually, that care for the product was translated into an anti-pattern: caring more about the code, than the people using the product. Does your team care more about the product than the users? In this episode, we share some tips on how to handle that Agile anti-pattern of caring more for the product than the users.

Featured Book of the Week: The human side of Agile by Gil Broza

In The human side of Agile by Gil Broza, David found insights on how to focus on the people in the team, and the organization that is adopting Agile. The book helped David understand that, even if it is tempting to focus on the tools and processes, the core of Agile adoption is focusing on people. 

In the same vein, the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast published a book that is exactly about how to focus on people in your Agile adoption. If you want to know more, download your free chapters to Shift from Product to People, a book by Michael Dougherty and Pete Oliver-Krueger.

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 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: Working with Agile skeptics in a Scrum team

David was working with a team that had just started its Agile journey. And while most of the team seemed enthusiastic, the tester/QA in the team was not happy about the new way of working. Listen in to learn how to prepare for team members that might not be keen on adopting an Agile way of working. 

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

BONUS: Rahul Bhattacharya on what do on your first 90 days of a scrum master for a new team

We start this episode by talking about why it is important to have a specific focus on your first 90 days when working with a new team. The first 90 days are all about setting yourself up for success, and that requires that you take certain actions. 

Start preparing before you start helping

Rahul suggests that we start preparing for our new role as a Scrum Master by asking specific questions (even in the job interview if that’s the case). Rahul suggests that to understand the expectations placed on you, you must understand what others have done before, what the team might be struggling with, but also how the context around the team works. What are the hierarchies, what do the team expect the Scrum Master to do, and more!

Do the Gemba: a critical step for your success as a Scrum Master

The gemba (a term from Lean that means “the place where the work happens”) walk is all about seeing with your own eyes, and talking directly to the people that you will be working with, or that your work will depend on. It’s important for Scrum Masters that are getting started that they not only talk to the team, but also to the stakeholders of the team, and possibly other teams that represent dependencies for the team you are trying to help. 

See the system: looking beyond software development

Finally, the third step in this structured approach to the first 90 days with a new team, is all about what’s around the team that you need to deal with, even if it is not at the core of what the team does. This is “the systemic view” or context for the team. Rahul shares some critical questions we should ask ourselves (and those around the team), so that you can understand what kind of pressure and expectations are placed on the team.

Mega tips to close off this episode (make sure you listen all the way to the end) 

Once we review the 3 main activities to prepare your Scrum Master assignment successfully, we dive into some of the tips that Rahul has collected over the years as an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. Rahul shares some critical insights that will help you overcome the most common challenges Scrum Masters face when taking on a new team. 

To know more about Rahul’s approach, check out this article for Agile Coaches and Scrum masters called “Needs-oriented model of Agile Coaching”

And check out Rahul Bhattacharya’s podcast, The Agile Atelier

About Rahul Bhattacharya 

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at Delivery Hero. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter

And check out Rahul Bhattacharya’s podcast, The Agile Atelier

 

Richard Lizama: “Just enough” Planning, the secret super power of great Product Owners

When it comes to planning, there’s plenty of opinions about how much is “just enough”. In this episode, we discuss this question from two different perspectives: the PO that wanted “just enough” planning, and the PO that wanted to over-plan everything in minute detail! 

The Great Product Owner: “Just enough” Planning, the secret superpower of great PO’s

Great Product Owners realize that they are part of the team, and focus on helping the team continuously improve in respect to how they think about customers and their role as product developers. In this segment, we also talk about how much is “just enough planning”, and the importance of feedback when helping develop the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Too much planning and its nasty consequences

In this segment, we talk about the PO that wants to plan everything, and in detail! We also discuss how to know when we are doing too much planning, or too little! Learning to hit the sweet spot in terms of planning is a critical enabler for team agility, and the Scrum Master can help the PO with that goal!

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 Richard Lizama

Before becoming a Scrum Master, Richard spent time as a college counselor, then a small business owner, then a tech support rep. Once he found Scrum and Agile, he knew it was where he needed to be.

You can link with Richard Lizama on LinkedIn.

Richard Lizama: Reflecting on the role of the Scrum Master with powerful questions

Scrum Masters do a lot of intangible things. It is not easy to assess the impact of all of those, but Richard shares some tips with us, like running surveys and asking some specific questions that help us reflect on our role.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: What went well, with a twist

Richard prefers to focus on Retrospective formats that help the team start, and continue a productive conversation. Therefore, he prefers simple formats like the traditional “what went well, not so well and what we want to change. However, Richard adds a twist at the end of this format that helps us grow great teams. Listen in to learn about Richards addition to this traditional format that helps your team grow.

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 Richard Lizama

Before becoming a Scrum Master, Richard spent time as a college counselor, then a small business owner, then a tech support rep. Once he found Scrum and Agile, he knew it was where he needed to be.

You can link with Richard Lizama on LinkedIn

Richard Lizama: How to onboard scrum masters in your organization

In this episode, we talk about how to prepare for an Agile transformation, by preparing the Scrum Masters in the organization as they come in. The first weeks of a Scrum Master are critical for them and for the organization, so it becomes critical to learn how to onboard Scrum Masters.

About Richard Lizama

Before becoming a Scrum Master, Richard spent time as a college counselor, then a small business owner, then a tech support rep. Once he found Scrum and Agile, he knew it was where he needed to be.

You can link with Richard Lizama on LinkedIn.

Richard Lizama: The order-taker Scrum team anti-pattern, and what to do about it

From the many Scrum team anti-patterns, Richard highlights the “order taker” anti-pattern. When the Scrum team accepts that the Product Owner knows everything, and gives them already pre-digested features they just need to deliver. In this episode, we discuss why some teams adopt this anti-pattern, and what we can do as Scrum Masters to help them understand what they are missing.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

The book Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts, gave Richard that “aha!” moment he was looking for. In the book, Geoff Watts goes over the differences between doing a good job, and being a great Scrum Master and that helped Richard grow in the role of the Scrum Master. 

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 Richard Lizama

Before becoming a Scrum Master, Richard spent time as a college counselor, then a small business owner, then a tech support rep. Once he found Scrum and Agile, he knew it was where he needed to be.

You can link with Richard Lizama on LinkedIn

Richard Lizama: Tips on getting started with a new Scrum team

Richard’s first week on the job as a Scrum Master started with a realization that helped Richard change his stance. But not before he went through an important lesson for all newly minted Scrum Masters. Read on to learn about what you should consider in your first week, and when working with teams that have been at it for a long time!

About Richard Lizama

Before becoming a Scrum Master, Richard spent time as a college counselor, then a small business owner, then a tech support rep. Once he found Scrum and Agile, he knew it was where he needed to be.

You can link with Richard Lizama on LinkedIn