Lakshmi Ramaseshan: Helping Scrum teams go from an individual contributor mindset to a collaboration mindset

When Lakshmi started to work with this team, she noticed that the team did not see the value of the Scrum ceremonies, and started to silently sabotage those by being late or not participating actively. As Lakshmi investigated the situation further, she understood that at the root, the team did not see themselves as a team, but rather as individual contributors. In this episode, we discuss how we can help teams get out of the individual contributor mindset and into a team-effort and collaboration mindset.

Featured Book of the Week: Turn The Ship Around! By David Marquet

In Turn The Ship Around! By David Marquet, Lakshmi found a story that shaped her understanding of the Scrum Master role. The book is about how to go beyond building high-performing teams and focus on the organization and how it impacts the teams. We discuss Intent-Based Leadership, which David Marquet introduced when he visited the podcast in a previous episode.

About Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

You can link with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on LinkedIn and connect with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on Twitter.

Lakshmi Ramaseshan: When contracts trump collaboration, even in Agile software development

Lakshmi tells us a story that is very unusual. In this story, the team and the client were communicating well, and effectively. They had agreed to change the content of the deliverable through collaboration. However, the leadership of the company where the team worked, was not happy with that. They still had the Waterfall, fixed price / fixed schedule mindset. In this story, Lakshmi shares how important it is to work with all stakeholders, and never ignore the fact that when a contract exists, we must make sure that contract is respected.

About Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

You can link with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on LinkedIn and connect with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on Twitter.

Daniel Lenhart: Turning Product Owner fears into better collaboration tools

PO’s can be overly prescriptive when they feel unsure about certain aspects of the product. In this episode, we share tips about how to turn those fears into collaboration boosters.

The Great Product Owner: Setting boundaries to encourage the teams to make decisions on their own

Good PO’s are able to communicate the vision and ideas behind the stories in a way that the teams will even repeat their words when discussing how to implement the stories they work on. But great PO’s are also available to the team then the team needs and is able to say “no, that’s your decision, not mine” to the teams that feel insecure and try to get the PO to make all the decisions, even implementation technical details. 

The Bad Product Owner: Turning PO fears into better collaboration tools

A Product Owner with technical knowledge can be a blessing for a team that requires more support when creating their User Stories, however, that’s not always the case. In this segment, we talk about the Technical PO that could not stop telling the team “how” they should work and develop the solutions the PO had in mind. In this segment, we talk about how we can work with those Technical PO’s and help them turn their fears and anxieties into tools for better collaboration with their teams.

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.

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel 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.

Daniel Lenhart: Focusing on people interactions over Agile Retrospective formats

Successful Scrum Masters are able to help their teams self-organize and find a way of working that helps them communicate effectively. In this segment, we talk about what that means in practice and share tips on how to help your teams move towards self-organization

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Focusing on interactions over Retrospective formats

Daniel shares a different approach to structuring a retrospective. He shares how he used learnings and ideas from Improv Theatre to help the team reflect, learn, and take action by focusing on the interactions during the Retrospective, instead of the format upfront.

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 Daniel Lenhart

Daniel 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.

Daniel Lenhart: Helping an Agile organization change despite lack of leadership action

Daniel and the team started working on a change effort to help the organization improve how they communicated. However, leadership did nothing even after listening to the ideas and recommendations from the group. This is a very common situation, but Daniel and the team did not stop there. They took ownership of the change and made concrete changes. Listen in to learn how they were able to help the organization change and improve despite the lack of support from leadership.

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel 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.

Daniel Lenhart: Helping a Scrum team recover from disappointment and resignation

A team that Daniel was working with was at the start of their Agile adoption journey, but everything around them was not Agile. In a retrospective, Daniel helped verbalize the problems and impediments they were facing. In this situation it is very easy for a team to resign and feel demoralized, but then Daniel took a different approach, and helped the team recover from that frustrating situation. Listen in to learn how. 

Featured Book of the Week: School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

In School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, Daniel found a book that impacted him personally and influenced his personal development. The lessons from that book helped Daniel change aspects of his personal life and focus on making an impact. 

In this segment, we also refer to Elon Musk’s biography by Ashlee Vance

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel 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.

Daniel Lenhart: Learning to deal with crucial conversations in a Scrum Team

Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.

When emotions run high, it’s difficult to be the one that helps everybody calm down. As Scrum Masters, we need to be ready and know what to do when our colleagues get into a heated discussion. In this episode, we talk about what not to do, and then Daniel shares an important lesson about how to handle those situations. 

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel 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.

SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Ivana Gancheva on Learning to see the Big Picture of Agile Organizations

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.

One thing that is clear from this interview is how the role of community is important in our journey as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches. Ivana shares how she got started with Agile, and how the community helped her learn where to focus and improve her skills and knowledge. 

Learning about our personal Prime Directive

Ivana calls on us to reflect, and learn about what our personal Prime Directive is, and based on that develop our Agile practice. Ivana shares that her prime directive is about focusing on the “bigger picture” and the culture and leadership context she works within. 

We also talk about what that “bigger picture” is like in practice. From understanding the type of business we are working in, to mapping out the relationships and influencers within the organization. Ivana always tries to create a mental map of what influences the people she works within her context. 

Continuous Improvement, the missing lesson in Agile 

Ivana’s experience has helped her understand that many teams get focused on the “tool” or “process” of Agile, and forget that ultimately we are trying to build the habit of continuously getting better at what we do. 

In this segment, we talk about the importance of double-loop learning for Agilists as well as Solution Focused Coaching. We also discuss the book Crucial Conversations, and some key lessons we can take from that approach.

Learning about the big picture, a perspective to take on as an Agile Coach and Scrum Master

Ivana’s focus on the “bigger picture” has also come thanks to the book Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar Schein. The book influenced Ivana’s perspective when working with organizations, and she still goes back to that book, and its particular way of defining and describing organizations.

Finally, Ivana leaves us with the idea that we should be learning and sharing as a community. Just like she did in this incredibly insightful podcast episode! 

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 Ivana Gancheva

Ivana is passionate about working with people, not titles. She works with companies from various sectors to help improve their organizational culture and well-being by helping them become learning and growing organizations. She coaches and mentors decision-makers, C-level corporate executives, leaders, product managers, who have the passion and the intent to disrupt the status quo, and enable genuine growth. 

You can link with Ivana Gancheva on LinkedIn and connect with Ivana Gancheva on Twitter.

 

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EPISODE: Ryan Ripley and Chris Williams join Vasco Duarte in reflecting on Agile and the future 

In this special Christmas episode, Ryan Ripley (host of the Agile for Humans podcast) and Chris Williams (host of the Badass Agile podcast) join our host Vasco Duarte to reflect on what Agile has become and what the future holds for us! 

Don’t’ miss this special, funny, and insightful podcast episode! 

Merry Christmas Scrum nation!

About Ryan Ripley, Chris Williams, and Vasco Duarte

Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.

You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.

Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans.

Chris Williams is one of Canada’s most recognized agile and business performance coaches. Chris has his own proprietary philosophy, built on years of research and practice; participating in elite programs with in team and Human Performance coaching.

You can link up with Chris Williams on LinkedIn.

Chris also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Badass Agile.

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

 

SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Yogini Moodley on learning to speak freely as an engine of improvement for Agile teams

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 Yogini took on her Scrum Master journey, she noticed that there was more friction in the team. Curious, she looked into the reasons for that friction. After all, they had just left Waterfall-like ways of working behind. What was causing that friction? Was it Agile? As she looked more into it, she found that Agile had something to do with it, but the real reason for the friction between team members was that they were, for the first time, honestly discussing the problems they were facing. They were no longer apathetic, and that was visible in the level of friction between them. 

Another side effect of Agile adoption, Yogini noticed, was that the team was much more productive, “they did more in a month, than I thought was possible in six!” Yogini shares. 

A key lesson for Agile teams: speak freely 

This story led to a key lesson for Yogini. Agile teams improve and transform their ways of working when they speak freely and aren’t afraid to tackle tough conversations. 

When teams finally take on the difficult topics that are impeding their progress, they often fail to reach consensus. However, as Yogini reminds us, that’s no reason not to act. “Buy-in does not imply consensus!” She reminds us.

Retrospectives as the engine of growth and learning

Retrospectives are the aspect of Agile methodologies that Yogini wants to highlight as key for teams and individuals working in an Agile environment.

And in that spirit, Yogini recommends Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby as the book for all agilists to read and learn from.

In the spirit of self-improvement, Yogini mentions and recommends the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. She reminds us that part of the Scrum Master’s responsibility is to improve herself, otherwise, improvements elsewhere are less likely to happen.

The Christmas Agile Message from Yogini Moodley

Yogini asks us, in this festive season, to take time to reflect, and practice being mindful of what we do, say, and feel. The challenge she leaves us with: “think about the habits you have at the moment, and what you’d like to leave behind, in 2020”

Merry Christmas friends!

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 Yogini Moodley

Yogini is a certified Scrum Master and agile practitioner, with extensive experience in the financial services industry, in roles that encompass both business and technology. She is passionate about enriching the lives of people and nurturing and growing teams to deliver value to their customers, and an active member of the agile community locally and globally. 

You can link with Yogini Moodley on LinkedIn and connect with Yogini Moodley on Twitter

You can also find out more about Yogini Moodley’s company at their website.