Jella Eifler on how different questions can radically change how you plan software projects

The planning system, i.e. all the planning approaches, and techniques we use, can often create a set of non-negotiable needs that teams need to fulfill. Starting with up-front planning! If our planning system requires estimates for every possible feature in the roadmap, then the teams will inevitably need to estimate a lot of work that will eventually not be done at all! However, if our planning system is based on “value” instead, then the teams are asked different questions. Jella asks: “What if you would ask “is this worth doing?” instead of how “how much does this cost?”?” What kind of changes to your planning system would that change bring?

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

Jella Eifler on Self-guided retrospectives and how to keep ourselves accountable as Scrum Masters

The common thread in our Thursday episode is that many Scrum Masters have a set of criteria that helps them re-assess their own work and personal evolution in their role as Scrum Masters. Jella is no exception. She shares with us 3 criteria that she uses to assess her work, learn from what is happening, and evolve. But she asks a very important question: How do you keep yourself accountable? When no one is looking, is when self-reflection is the most important. How do we, as Scrum Masters, keep ourselves accountable? Listen in to hear Jella’s interesting answer to this question.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Self-guided retrospectives for advanced teams

In our work as Scrum Masters, we meet some teams that are already at the point where they can start to take ownership of some (if not all) critical aspects of the work they do. Retrospectives are one great example of that. In this episode we talk about the “self-guided” retrospectives for advanced teams.

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

Jella Eifler on Change as the operating model for Agile organizations, and how to reach #NoEstimates

Change is a big scary word in many organizations. But why is that? In this episode we talk about change in a different way. We explore what change would be, if it were the basic operating model of the organization. We talk about Nils Pflaeging’s work, about Complexity and how it affects the way organizations work in reality (as opposed to theory). As Jella says: “Change should be like adding milk to coffee.”

In this episode we mention the book #NoEstimates, How to Measure Project Progress Without Estimates, and Jella’s own journey to #NoEstimates.

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

Jella Eifler on what to do when you, or the team, feel stuck

Teams can sometimes enter a negative, destructive cycle whereby their actions make their own situation even worse. In this episode we talk about a team that refused to engage with users, and did not want to host their sprint reviews with stakeholders. Most importantly, we understand why the team entered that cycle and what we can do to help them find their own way to implement one of the most important Agile principles: “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.“

Featured Book of the week: Coaching Agile Teams

The book Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins discusses the different coaching approaches we can take when working with a team, and shares some of the problems we will face throughout that process. It’s a very important book, especially for those getting started in their coaching journey.

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

 

Jella Eifler: Agile is not about “Faster and Cheaper”, it’s much more

Agile is getting adopted by more and more companies. It is inevitable that some managers will think that Agile is about “faster and cheaper”, but essentially the same as before. But is it? And is the focus on faster and cheaper going to help the teams deliver? In this episode, Jella shares with us a story that was pushed and pressured to deliver faster and cheaper, and what happened. We discuss how to engage management to avoid the “agile is faster and cheaper” anti-pattern, and what we should talk about instead.

About Jella Eifler

Jella has a background in linguistics (totally non-tech) and calls herself “agile native” (having never worked any other way, at least in software development). She works as a Scrum Master since 2014 at Qudosoft in Berlin. She has worked with both colocated as well as distributed teams.

You can link with Jella Eifler on LinkedIn and connect with Jella Eifler on Twitter.

BONUS: Karin Tenelius on how Self-organization can have a major positive business impact

Karin has a long experience helping teams and businesses to use self-organization as a way to drive business success. She’s worked as an interim-CEO in several companies where she helped drive major changes and positive business results using the principles and ideas behind self-organization.

Self-organization is not only for small teams. Karin shares with us the stories of the businesses where she worked, and how some fundamental changes enabled not only self-organization but also major business changes.

Read on for the detailed insights from this episode.

Continue reading BONUS: Karin Tenelius on how Self-organization can have a major positive business impact

Lynoure Braakman and the case of the destructive Bonus System

The casual reader of HR websites and journals may think that bonuses, and their methods/systems are a very important part of keeping a workforce motivated. They do have an impact, but it is not always as we expect it to happen. In this episode we discuss the type of bonus systems that can easily destroy the productivity of a software organization, and how important it is to pay attention to the “unexpected consequences” that some bonus systems bring with them.

About Lynoure Braakman

Lynoure has worked in many roles in the IT, from operations, scrum mastering and requirements analysis to programming, even a little as a tester. She’s worked in agile teams since 2000 and loves being an adapter type, bringing in a wider perspective into her projects and to help different types of personalities to work together.

You can link with Lynoure Braakman on LinkedIn and connect with Lynoure Braakman on Twitter. You can also follow Lynoure Braakman’s blog at: Lynoure.net

Lynoure Braakman Delivering value as the key to Scrum Master success

Scrum Masters work and influence many aspects of an organization or project. However, there’s one overarching concern that we must have in mind at all times: “are we delivering real value to our customers and stakeholders?” Lynoure discusses the importance of focusing on value delivery.

In this episode we also talk about team dynamics and mention The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Good / Bad / What to change

Sometimes it is the simpler formats of the retrospective that work best. This week we review some of the classic formats (e.g. Good / Bad / What), and how variation in formats may negatively affect the teams we work with.

About Lynoure Braakman

Lynoure has worked in many roles in the IT, from operations, scrum mastering and requirements analysis to programming, even a little as a tester. She’s worked in agile teams since 2000 and loves being an adapter type, bringing in a wider perspective into her projects and to help different types of personalities to work together.

You can link with Lynoure Braakman on LinkedIn and connect with Lynoure Braakman on Twitter. You can also follow Lynoure Braakman’s blog at: Lynoure.net

Lynoure Braakman on how organizational changes heavily affect team dynamics in software projects

Working with a team is hard enough when the organization is stable and not going through a major upheaval. But when an organization is in massive change, how can we keep teams motivated and engaged with the work? In this episode we discuss the story of a team that was “alone” in the middle of a major organizational change, and what they did to keep the motivation and even going far beyond the call of duty. An inspiring story of how, sometimes, change comes from the team itself!

In this episode we discuss the Agile Fluency Model and refer to Deming’s 14 points for management, a list of points to help transform the role and effectiveness of management.

About Lynoure Braakman

Lynoure has worked in many roles in the IT, from operations, scrum mastering and requirements analysis to programming, even a little as a tester. She’s worked in agile teams since 2000 and loves being an adapter type, bringing in a wider perspective into her projects and to help different types of personalities to work together.

You can link with Lynoure Braakman on LinkedIn and connect with Lynoure Braakman on Twitter. You can also follow Lynoure Braakman’s blog at: Lynoure.net

Lynoure Braakman on Technical Debt and having the courage to say “no”

Software developers are often put in a position where they need to “enable” some other aspect of the business. After all, software is a tool for businesses. In those cases, developers may be pressured and encouraged to say “yes” without taking into account (or heavily discounting) the effect on the long term maintainability of the code. This need to please management, marketing, sales (wherever the requests might come from) will only be visible much later down the line. In this episode we discuss what we can do to help developers learn to say “no” also.

Featured Book for the Week: Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister is one of the classics in the management of software projects niche. Originally published in 1987, the book focuses on the specific aspects that relate to successfully managing a software development team. In this episode we talk about how it helped Lynoure understand what are the factors that influence a team’s productivity.

About Lynoure Braakman

Lynoure has worked in many roles in the IT, from operations, scrum mastering and requirements analysis to programming, even a little as a tester. She’s worked in agile teams since 2000 and loves being an adapter type, bringing in a wider perspective into her projects and to help different types of personalities to work together.

You can link with Lynoure Braakman on LinkedIn and connect with Lynoure Braakman on Twitter. You can also follow Lynoure Braakman’s blog at: Lynoure.net