SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Rashina Hoda on using Scrum, Kanban and Agile in academic research 

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020. 

When Rashina first got introduced to Agile, she was mesmerized. It was a way of looking at software that focused on people instead of only on the technical aspects of the work to be done. 

The key lesson for Agilists, Rashina’s view

When we asked Rashina about the most important lesson learned while learning Agile, she shared that it was the ability to deal with, and thrive in uncertainty. The year of 2020 is a great backdrop to illustrate this lesson, and we discuss some of those aspects. 

Rashina then explains what she has learned from Agile that she now applies in her work as a researcher. 

In this segment, we refer to Rashina’s work, and her website.

The reference book for agilists

Agile Retrospectives by Diana and Esther is the reference book that Rashina refers to. As she puts it: “of all the different practices, Retrospective reflection is the one that brings it back home.”

And I totally agree, however, she also refers to the New New Product Development Game. A foundational paper that illustrated the power of self-organization in product development. We discuss what aspects from that paper we can learn from and apply to our work as Scrum Masters. 

Inspiring others

If you want to know more about Rashina and her work you can visit her website, and listen to her TED Talk on Agile Nations. This is the last message, the inspiring message that Rashina leaves for us: “thing big. Agile is already widespread, but we can learn from it and apply it to more and more challenges.”

What an inspiring interview!

Merry Christmas everybody!

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 Rashina Hoda

Rashina is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (Academic Workforce) in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, Australia.

She’s been studying people and how they become agile for over a decade. My PhD research explained how agile teams self-organize through the informal roles they play. Rashina has written and spoken extensively on agile transformations, agile project management, customer collaboration, team practices, reflective practices, and culture, with over 70 publications on these topics.

In 2017, Rashina’s Theory of Becoming Agile received the distinguished paper award at the prestigious International Conference on Software Engineering. But she has also applied the theory to a wider societal context and coined the idea of “Agile Nations” captured as a TEDxAuckland talk.

You can link with Rashina Hoda on LinkedIn and connect with Rashina Hoda on Twitter

 

BONUS: Justin Chapman on becoming one of today’s top Agile leaders, lessons for Scrum Masters just getting started

Justin published a book named “Become on of today’s top agile leaders”, where he shares his lessons learned on becoming a top Agile practitioner and leader. 

In this episode, we explore his lessons learned and learn about the key topics in the book. 

You can get Justin’s book here.

Even when Agile is bought into, it’s hard to make significant progress

Continue reading BONUS: Justin Chapman on becoming one of today’s top Agile leaders, lessons for Scrum Masters just getting started

BONUS: Peter Oliver-Krueger and Michael Dougherty on shifting from “product” to “people” centric practices in your Agile adoption

Download the first chapters of the book Shift: From Product to People at: https://bit.ly/shift_book

If you have already accessed the book, you can log back in at: https://www.oikosofyseries.net/login

Peter and Michael just finished the first half of a book they are writing together on the topic of shifting our attention, and focus from the “product” focused techniques to “people” focused techniques in order to achieve superior performance. 

The first four chapters of the book are freely available here. Sign-up to get the first four chapters today.

Listen to the podcast with Peter and Michael in the player below, and check out the show notes with the details of the topics discussed.

The third wave of Agile adoption: People focus

As Peter and Michael describe it, we went through different phases of Agile adoption in the industry. The first phase was a move away from projects and into a “product” thinking approach to software development. The move to focus on people is according to Peter and Michael, the third major shift in our industry.  Continue reading BONUS: Peter Oliver-Krueger and Michael Dougherty on shifting from “product” to “people” centric practices in your Agile adoption

BONUS: Karin Tenelius, Self-management in practice for Scrum teams and entire organizations

How to help teams self-organize, and why that matters to Scrum teams. Success stories from self-organizing teams.

Karin shares stories from her recent book: Moose Heads on the Table: Stories About Self-Managing Organisations from Sweden.

We are organizing a self-organization masterclass for Scrum Masters. It’s a unique opportunity to talk to Karin and get direct coaching from the author of one of the latest self-organization books. Don’t miss this chance!

Karin’s book’s title “Moose Heads on the Table” is a reference to a method she describes that helps her work with teams towards self-organization. We start this episode by discussing what that metaphor means, and why it is so critical for teams wanting to self-organize. 

Karin refers that it is critical to bring up the hot topics (the Moose heads) and discuss those openly and without judgment. It is not always necessary to have an idea of what a solution would look like, and being open about that with the teams is actually a bonus in the self-organization process!

Being a CEO in a business you don’t know anything about, and succeeding wildly!

Continue reading BONUS: Karin Tenelius, Self-management in practice for Scrum teams and entire organizations

BONUS: Module 3, Retrospectives Master Class with David Horowitz

This is the third of a multi-part series on Agile Retrospectives with David Horowitz who’s the CEO of Retrium, a company that builds tools to help you facilitate remote retrospectives. The links to Retrium’s Retrospectives Academy below are affiliate links, if you prefer to follow a link that takes you to Retrium’s site, but does not give anything back to the podcast, you can. Just follow this link: Retrium.com. On the other hand, if you want to help us grow this podcast, you can follow the links below or this link to Retrium’s Retrospective’s Academy.

When we start facilitating retrospectives (I still remember the first ones I facilitated), we are often focused on getting the structure right, and we may forget that we can uncover insights at any time during the retrospective. This module is all about increasing our chances of facilitating a productive and effective retrospective. 

Team Norms, a productivity and engagement tool for Scrum Masters

Continue reading BONUS: Module 3, Retrospectives Master Class with David Horowitz

BONUS: Simon Severino on Strategy Sprints, Agile turned all the way up to 11!

Does Agile apply when managing a company? In this episode, Simon Severino shares his story and his business of taking Agile to the C-Suite of fast-growing companies!

If you follow this podcast, the success of Agile methods is not a news item. It’s clear that Agile has improved greatly our ability to deliver software products to the market. In this episode, however, we look at a different application of Agile ideas. What if we could apply Agile to the methods we use to manage our businesses? That’s where this interview focuses: how Agile changes our approaches to running a business. 

Simon is a growth consulting, he works with business leaders to help them improve the performance of their business. He does that using methods that will sound familiar to all Agile product development team members. 

Managing your business as if it were an empirical problem, not a planning problem

Continue reading BONUS: Simon Severino on Strategy Sprints, Agile turned all the way up to 11!

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

BONUS: Module 2, Retrospectives Master Class with David Horowitz

This is the second of a multi-part series on Agile Retrospectives with David Horowitz who’s the CEO of Retrium, a company that builds tools to help you facilitate remote retrospectives. The links to Retrium’s Retrospectives Academy below are affiliate links, if you prefer to follow a link that takes you to Retrium’s site, but does not give anything back to the podcast, you can. Just follow this link: Retrium.com. On the other hand, if you want to help us grow this podcast, you can follow the links below or this link to Retrium’s Retrospective’s Academy.

In the second instalment of the Agile Retrospectives Masterclass with David Horowitz, we talk about the 5 phases of a successful retrospective, and share tips and ideas for each of those phases to ensure you are prepared and get the team to find and act on breakthrough improvements. 

You can find Module 1 of the Retrospectives Master Class here

It all starts with a simple check-in: “Set the Stage”, Phase 1 of a successful retrospective

When we start a retrospective, usually at the end of a Sprint, the team member’s minds might be on that last bug they just closed, or the story that didn’t get delivered, or the feedback they just got from stakeholders. The Check-in phase of the retrospectives helps all the team members, and the facilitator to get into the retrospective mood. To forget the open threads that will need to be picked up later, and focus on the question: “How can we do even better in the next Sprint?”

In this segment, we talk about the Constellations exercise that helps everyone visualize agreement and disagreement with a specific statement in a way that raises engagement, and increases the energy level of the retrospective. You can find here a detailed description of the Constellation exercise for Agile Retrospectives

We also discuss the “one-word check-in” exercise and the “Mad/Sad/Glad” check-in for Agile retrospectives.  

For retrospectives that try to focus on improving collaboration between team members, David suggests The Circle Of Appreciation exercise

In this segment, we also refer to the classic book: Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby

Gathering Data and Generating Insights, the core of an Agile Retrospective

If we want to enable deeper conversations, we need to be aware that the information that is shared will directly affect the quality of the conversations. Therefore, Agile Retrospectives require special attention to the “gathering data” phase. There are many ways to gather data, and some might even happen during the Sprint, instead of during the retrospective. 

During the retrospective, however, we will visualize that data and help the team make sense of it. 

In this segment, we talk about the timeline exercise, and how to use emotional-queues to help uncover important pieces of information. 

Soft or qualitative data can also be used to augment the use of other data in the timeline exercise. One such way is to use the “journey lines” exercise.

When the data is visible and understandable, then the team focuses on finding insights by analyzing the data and generating possible connections and causal links. Here the challenge for a Scrum Master is to prevent the team from jumping too early into solutions before they deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve. 

David shares some tips to help prevent the team from discussing solutions before they have a shared understanding of the problem. We talk about The 5 Why’s technique, but there are many more. 

Making Retrospectives Impactful: Deciding what to do

Many teams fail in Phase 4, Deciding what to do. But they might fail in quite different ways. For example, some teams might want to commit to too many items at once, while other teams might not commit to any improvement. And finally, the worst problem: those teams that commit to improvements, but work on none of them. 

Great teams, understand well how many improvements they can take from a retrospective, and are clear on the commitment, maybe even including the improvement ideas as items on their Sprint backlog. 

In this segment, we talk about the ICE method for prioritizing improvement ideas and the importance of brainstorming several solutions before deciding what to do. It’s also important to use methods of consensus generation when there are several options that seem equally valuable. The commitment of each team member to the solution to be tried will directly impact their commitment to the work to be done for that solution. 

In this segment, we talk about experiments and the use of such templates as the Hypothesis-Driven Development template by Barry O’Reilly

Phase 5: Close the retrospective

At the end of the retrospective, our goals are to provide closure, a sense of achievement, and energy for the work ahead. 

How can we do that? In this segment, we talk about the “retro on the retro” and the “gif check-out”. Two simple approaches that help the team feel a sense of accomplishment, and also get better at doing future retrospectives. 

Which closing exercises have you used? Share those with us on Twitter or LinkedIn

About David Horowitz

David Horowitz is the CEO of Retrium, a platform for agile retrospectives that has powered over 100,000 retrospectives from thousands of companies across the world.

Prior to co-founding Retrium, David spent a decade at The World Bank as an engineer turned Agile coach.

He has degrees in Computer Science and Economics from The University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Technology Management from The Wharton School of Business.

Learn more about Better Retrospectives with David Horowitz by accessing the FREE Retrospective’s Academy by Retrium: http://bit.ly/retromasterclass

You can link with David Horowitz on LinkedIn and connect with David Horowitz on Twitter

BONUS: Influencing management in an Agile change process with Scott Rosenblatt and Jeff Campbell

In this mega-episode on change, we have Jeff Campbell (long time contributor to the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast) and Scott Rosenblatt (engineering lead at Meltwater) share their experience with agile adoption in a large organization.

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

Why does Management resist Agile change? 

This is the first question of the episode and one that Scott and Jeff have worked together on for years. Scott shares how his past as a developer has helped him understand the role of management in an Agile organization.

We also talk about how to understand the reaction of managers when employees come to them with gripes, or ideas for changes to implement. We tend to think that when managers don’t do what we ask, they haven’t listened to us. Is that really so? 

Anger management, not change management

Continue reading BONUS: Influencing management in an Agile change process with Scott Rosenblatt and Jeff Campbell

BONUS: 4 critical Product Owner anti-patterns with David Pereira

In this special BONUS episode with Daniel, we cover some of the most serious Product Owner anti-patterns. These are anti-patterns that can severely affect the teams’s ability to deliver, and to focus on value. 

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.

 

And we start with a big myth about the PO role…

Does the Product Owner REALLY own the Product Backlog?

Continue reading BONUS: 4 critical Product Owner anti-patterns with David Pereira