BONUS: Troubleshooting your Agile adoption (and conversations) with Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick

We start this episode with a warning for Scrum Masters. The question Squirrel asks is: “what is the value the Scrum Master role brings?” If you want to hear my answer, you can listen to another podcast episode we recorded on the Troubleshooting Agile podcast with Jeffrey and Squirrel (make sure to check out part 2 of that conversation on the Troubleshooting Agile podcast). 

In this conversation, we mention an article on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast blog, where we talk about the Scrum Master as an apprentice role for future CEO’s.

Hacking culture through conversations: Agile Conversations book

One of the interesting points the authors make is that the conversations that happen (or not) in an organization are what defines the culture of that organization. In this segment, we talk about why we must pay special attention to the quality of the conversations, and why talking about culture, without talking about the conversations in an organization, is a dangerous pattern. 

Finding and entering the right conversations in your organization

Why don’t Scrum Masters take a more active role in the conversations ongoing in their organization? We discuss the fear that drives the inaction of Scrum Masters and suggests some techniques we can use to get ourselves, and others to take an active part in shaping the organizational culture and conversations. 

We talk about how “frustration” can be a resource for Scrum Masters to find and unlock important conflicts and related conversations. Scrum Masters must take an active part in finding that frustration, and using it to move the team, and the organization forward. 

In this segment, we refer to Chris Argyris and his work on organizational development.

Tools for high-quality conversations that drive the right culture

Squirrel and Jeffrey present two of the tools in the Agile Conversations book and share how they help Scrum Masters improve their interaction skills, and learn to trigger better conversations. 

We discuss the Four RRRR’s tool as well as the TDD for people tool. You can learn more about these tools in the book Agile Conversations.

In this segment, we discuss the Ladder of Inference (avoiding jumping to conclusions), and the TDD for people tool (audio). 

A call to action: mine for conflict to help your team and organization grow!

We end this episode with a call to action. We discuss how mining for conflict (seeking conflict and using it to generate energy that drives conversations) can help you pave the way for a transformation in your team and in your organization. 

We refer to The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, to describe how to create a safe environment where conflict is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.

About Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick

Squirrel has been coding for forty years and has led software teams for twenty. He uses the power of conversations to create dramatic productivity gains in technology organizations of all sizes. Squirrel’s experience includes growing software teams as a CTO in startups from fintech to biotech to music, and everything in between. He lives in Frogholt, England, in a timber-framed cottage built in the year 1450.

You can link with Douglas Squirrel on LinkedIn and connect with Douglas Squirrel on Twitter. 

Jeffrey Fredrick is an internationally recognized expert in software development and has over twenty-five years’ experience covering both sides of the business/technology divide. An early adopter of XP and Agile practices, Jeffrey has been a conference speaker in the US, Europe, India, and Japan. Through his work on the pioneering open-source project CruiseControl, and through his role as co-organizer of the Continuous Integration and Testing Conference (CITCON), he has had a global impact on software development. 

You can link with Jeffrey Fredrick on LinkedIn and connect with Jeffrey Fredrick on Twitter. 

 

BONUS: Applying Agile to Sales and in Sales teams with Brad Jeavons

When it comes to applying Agile and Scrum to a sales team and organization, the first things we need to be aware of are the key differences to product/software development teams. And there are quite a few! In this segment, we talk about those key differences and the process that Brad developed over time to help sales teams benefit from Agile and Scrum in their work. 

We talk about the 3 step process to defining what is the focus of the work, and how to measure the progress of the team. Listen in to learn what those 3 steps are, and also how to align the team’s work around improving the key metrics.

The key challenges to Agile adoption in sales teams 

As we learn more about how sales teams work, the next big question is: what are the challenges we often face when adopting Agile in sales teams? We dive into some of the challenges that Brad has seen in his work and learn about his approach to bringing a goal-centric way of working, by starting to work with the sales leader. 

We mention Eduscrum (an application of Scrum to education), and learn how sales teams were already remote Agile teams before the covid19 pandemic. The remote work aspect of sales brings with it a set of challenges that astute Scrum Masters will be ready to tackle. Brad explains his approach to getting sales teams to collaborate effectively, even when they are constantly remote.

Adapting the cycle of Scrum to the rhythm of sales teams

The adoption of Scrum can’t be complete without adapting the Scrum ceremonies to the reality of the sales work. Brad walks us through his ideas on how we can take advantage of what is already there (the natural sales meetings and cycle), and slowly build in the ideas of planning, follow-up, “live” demonstration, and retrospectives into sales teams. In this segment, we also discuss how important visualizing the work, and the results is when bringing a set of – usually – independent-minded folks to work tightly together as an agile team.

About Brad Jeavons

Brad Jeavons is the author of the book Agile Sales and the host of the Enterprise Excellence Podcast and the Enterprise Excellence Youtube Channel. Brad is passionate about helping create a better future economically, socially and environmentally. He does this by sharing knowledge and supporting organizations to create cultures of continuous improvement and innovation at all levels.

You can link with Brad Jeavons on LinkedIn and connect with Brad Jeavons on Twitter. 

 

BONUS: Aligning Agile Remote teams with Luke Szyrmer

Aligning teams is not only the challenge we face as Scrum Masters working with remote teams. There’s also the stakeholder side, and aligning stakeholders is even harder than aligning the teams we work with. 

We discuss some tactics, as well as a key metric to keep our eye on: “the velocity and quality of decisions that happen around the teams.”

Scrum team consequences due to missing alignment

When teams and stakeholders are not aligned, we can see decisions being delayed, or even ignored. All of this leads to a direct impact on the team’s ability to deliver. Luke shares with us some anti-patterns and some tips he’s collected over the years. 

We learn how important it is for Scrum Masters to keep tabs on the communication, and alignment between different departments (not only between teams), and we discuss how sometimes the solution is “more meetings”, leading to the inevitable meeting overload anti-pattern. 

We also discuss and describe some of the anti-patterns that emerge when teams and departments lose alignment. 

Solving the lack of alignment

When it comes to helping departments and teams get aligned, Luke suggests we try what he calls “sensemaking meetings”. These are meetings that help us find answers to questions and improve shared group understanding of a topic or situation. But there’s another goal for sensemaking meetings: to build the necessary interpersonal networks that are needed to solve future problems.

Solving meeting overload: an experiment

Just like many of us have experienced, Luke also experienced moments when there were too many meetings. In this segment, he suggests we try an experiment he tried before: cancel all meetings for 2 weeks. We discuss why you may want to try that experiment, what were some of the consequences of trying that experiment, and the good things that happened once people started to realize that some meetings were actually useful and necessary. 

Dealing with unreasonable expectations

There’s another aspect of remote work that leads to problems at the team level. The fact that work gets hard when remote, and that stakeholders are now more distant from the teams, leads often to unreasonable expectations. These expectations can cause problems at the team level, through high levels of stress, and between teams and stakeholders because of missed expectations. In this segment, we discuss the dynamics that lead to unreasonable expectations and what we can do to help both teams and stakeholders adjust their expectations to the reality of remote work. 

About Luke Szyrmer

Luke is the host of the Managing Remote Teams podcast. Luke has managed or participated in fully remote teams for almost a decade. He has lead programs of widely distributed teams. Over the last 9 years, he has lead teams building software, running marketing and sales, and launched a bestselling book. Remotely. In many cases, with people he never met or spoke to in person.

You can link with Luke Szyrmer on LinkedIn and connect with Luke Szyrmer on Twitter. 

You can also follow Luke’s work at AlignRemotely.com.

BONUS: Developing a Vision for the Scrum Master role in practice, the Scrum Master Summit 2021

In this episode, we have the organizing team for the Scrum Master Summit 2021, and they share their vision of how we can help form and develop the Scrum Master Community. 

As our guests, we have the track curators for the Scrum Master Summit sharing their vision for the Scrum Master role. We explore why the Scrum Master role is so critical for our organizations, and how we – as the Scrum Master community – can come together to develop and progress that role. 

Listen in to learn about the Scrum Master Summit live events, and community get-togethers that can help you become the awesome Scrum Master you want to be!

About Yves Hanoulle, Mike Leber, Rahul Bhattacharya, Nagesh Sharma

Yves Hanoulle is the track curator for the “Scaling Agile Beyond One Team” track in the Scrum Master Summit 2021. He’s also the author and co-host for the Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master Edition Audiobook. 

You can connect with Yves Hanoulle on Twitter and link with Yves Hanoulle on LinkedIn.

Mike Leber is the track curator for the “Scrum Masters enabling Business Agility” track, and organizer of the Business Agility Conference. Mike is also a Business Agility Coach. 

You can link with Mike Leber on LinkedIn and connect with Mike Leber on Twitter. 

Rahul Bhattacharya is the host of the Agile Atelier podcast and the curator for the “Common Product Owner blindspots” track. He’s also an Agile Coach. 

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

Nagesh Sharma is the curator for the “Remote facilitation for Scrum Masters” track on the Scrum Master Summit 2021 and a certified Remote Facilitator. 

You can link with Nagesh Sharma on LinkedIn and connect with Nagesh Sharma on Twitter. 

Vasco Duarte is a managing partner at Oikosofy where he wants to change the world, one company at a time. He’s also the regular host at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

Product Manager, Scrum Master, Project Manager, Director, Agile Coach are only some of the roles that he’s taken in software development organizations. Having worked in the software industry since 1997, and Agile practitioner since 2004. He as worked in small, medium and large software organizations as an Agile Coach or leader in agile adoption at those organizations.

Vasco was one of the leaders and catalysts of Agile methods and Agile culture adoption at Avira, Nokia and F-Secure.

You can read more from Vasco at his blog: http://SoftwareDevelopmentToday.com

You can link with Vasco Duarte on LinkedIn and connect with Vasco Duarte on Twitter.

BONUS: The Nexus Framework For Scaling Up Scrum with Simon Flossmann

The Nexus Framework has been a topic on the podcast before. In this episode, we explore critical lessons for Scrum Masters that need to work with multiple teams and large organizations with the help of the Nexus Framework. 

To know more about Nexus and how it can help your organization, visit Simon’s Nexus course. 

Organizing A Multi-Team Retrospective: A Key Scaling Tool

One of the aspects that gets shortchanged in the “scaling” frameworks and approaches is the aspect of learning as a whole organization. It is not enough that each individual team learns how to improve. We also need to help the wider organization learn, and for that, we need to be able to organize multi-team retrospectives. 

Simon introduces the idea of the “sandwich retrospective”, and highlights that we must ensure that there is a product level and an organizational level learning loop. 

In this segment, we refer to the Nexus Framework Guide and the concept of Double-Loop Learning.

Facilitating Multi-Team Planning Efforts: The Key Steps

Knowing how to help a single team is not enough when it comes to helping a set of teams succeed with planning the next increment. The “Nexus” (a group of teams working on a product) planning requires different tools to help eliminate and account for possible dependencies. One of the tips Simon shares is that of ensuring that refinement is done together with multiple teams and before a big room planning event, where multiple teams come together to plan their product increment.

In this segment, we talk about what works when helping multiple teams plan and sprint together, and how to facilitate the refinement when multiple teams are involved. 

Focusing on Product Development, not Organizational Development

Every scaling framework has a different focus. In this episode, we talk about what is the reason behind Nexus’ approach to scaling Agile and differentiate Nexus from other frameworks that may focus on organizational changes, while Nexus focuses on the Product Development aspects, not on the organization.

About Simon Flossmann

Simon helps teams effectively use Scrum and an agile mindset to deliver products and services that matter! As a Scrum Master and Professional Scrum Trainer, licensed by Scrum.org, he supports teams and organizations of varying sizes in a wide range of business domains, like automotive, home appliance, energy sector, federal government agency, and insurance.

You can link with Simon Flossmann on LinkedIn and connect with Simon Flossmann on Twitter.

You can follow Simon Flossmann’s writings on this home page.

 

 

BONUS: How to get a job as a scrum master when you don’t have enough industry experience, with Alioscha Chaplits, Rachel Macasek and Daniel Lenhart

In this episode, we explore a difficult topic for many people who want to start their career as a Scrum Master in an industry where they don’t have experience yet. This can be someone who wants to move into IT (listen to Rachel’s great story on this) or someone who already has IT experience, but wants to move into Marketing, Sales, or other industries. 

Being Agile, as Scrum Masters, means being able to learn and adapt to whatever life throws at us. And that means that we must be ready to learn new industries, technologies, or even new cultural habits when moving to new industries. 

How to start finding the right jobs in a new industry?

Rachel shares her story, of how she moved from a manufacturing background into IT. It was a long journey, but she was deliberate about her goals and learned some important lessons about finding a job in a new industry that she shares with us. 

The key lesson is: don’t trust the “application process” that many companies have. Networking with people around you, visit local meetups, participate in the community and get opportunities that way! 

We also learn about some great tips to use in every interview you have as a potential hire for a Scrum Master position. 

What do I invest in, when seeking a Scrum Master position in another industry? 

How to get ready for a job in another industry? That’s a question we explore and share some ideas and tips based on the experience our guests have. The most important lesson is, however, to find a mentor, someone who is familiar with the industry you are in. Maybe offer to help that person in some way first, and slowly learn from them about what matters in that particular industry. When moving industries, we have to start by learning the new cultural norms, the new terminology, and of course, the companies that are likely to hire you! A mentor can help with all of that. 

What have you learned about searching for a job as a Scrum Master? Share your lessons learned below in the comments and help your future colleagues get the job they seek! 

About Alioscha Chaplits, Rachel Macasek and Daniel Lenhard

Alioscha Chaplits has 20+ years of experience with a large international non-profit organization as a team and project leader, mentor, coach, change agent, etc. Alioscha switched to IT three and half years ago to a QA role and since then. He’s got a great question for us to discuss in this panel discussion episode. We’ll get to that in a second.

You can link with Alioscha Chaplits on LinkedIn. 

Daniel Lenhart never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Rachel Macasek 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.

 

BONUS: Busting the “tech genius” myth with Shawn Livermore

Shawn Livermore is the author of Average Joe: Be the Silicon Valley Tech Genius (Amazon direct link). In that book, Shawn describes how a few software developers and startup founders created breakthrough tech products like Gmail, Dropbox, Ring, Snapchat, Bitcoin, Groupon, and more. 

However, the way those products were created, was not as you expect it. Shawn shares what he learned about how the people behind acclaimed products work. Based on that he created the “Slow Create Framework”, a method that can help anyone apply what the “Silicon Valley Tech Geniuses” apply to create the products you love and use. 

What science says about creativity

Unlike many expect, what we learn when we research creativity is that a few recipes actually help greatly with the creative output. Many of these recipes are so simple that anyone can apply them. However, we are regularly bombarded with the wrong impression. Shawn describes how creating slack time, and “slowing down” are creativity boosters. 

Instead of letting their calendars take over their time, the Silicon Valley “tech geniuses”, block out time to think and develop their ideas. 

Listen in to learn more about the Slow Create Framework and Shawn’s book, where he describes the recipes that can help anyone perform like a tech genius!

About Shawn Livermore

Shawn Livermore is a tech startup founder, entrepreneur, and technology consultant for over 20 years. After raising investment capital for his startups 6 times, Shawn began to look beyond the code to see the bigger picture: The systems, patterns, and models of thinking that most deserve our attention. Instead of hype and hustle, Shawn focuses on tangible, factual, and replicable bits to help people think, speak, and create like a tech genius.

You can link with Shawn Livermore on LinkedIn and connect with Shawn Livermore on Twitter. 

You can learn more about Shawn Livermore’s work at his website.

 

 

BONUS: Modern Management trilogy by Johanna Rothman

In this episode, we talk with Johanna about some key insights and tips from her latest book series: Modern Management.

In this episode, we talk about the latest books from Johanna Rothman, which she collectively called “Modern Management” trilogy. 

The trilogy comprises three parts: a) Practical Ways To Manage Yourself, b) Practical Ways to Serve and Lead (Manage) Others, c) Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.

We start this episode, by talking about one critical transition for Scrum Masters: from expert to coach. When we start our Scrum Master journey, the focus of our work changes from delivery to helping others succeed with delivery. In that transition, we need to learn to manage ourselves and our work differently. Johanna shares insights from her book “Practical Ways to Manage Yourself”, which includes many stories and tips that Scrum Masters can take advantage of. 

How to overcome the “I’ll do it, I’ll be faster” Anti-Pattern 

Continue reading BONUS: Modern Management trilogy by Johanna Rothman

BONUS: Platform teams, how structural changes improve outcomes in Agile organizations, with Jeff Campbell and Simone Sciarrati 

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook).


In this episode, we discuss how the way we organize teams can impact the effectiveness of an organization. Jeff and Simone share the journey of a team, how it changed, and how that team structure change affected not only the team itself but also the organization around them. 

Simone shares that, at Meltwater, they try to focus on “empowered product teams”, and how that differs from most team setups. 

We refer to the book Inspired by Marty Cagan, and how that book influenced their view on how to organize and structure product development teams. 

The first problem they tackled was the Product Owner being an outsider to the team. 

Making the Product Owner, a first-order citizen in an Agile team

Continue reading BONUS: Platform teams, how structural changes improve outcomes in Agile organizations, with Jeff Campbell and Simone Sciarrati