Richard Griffiths on 4 clear success signs for Scrum Masters

When thinking about the role of the Scrum Master, Richard comes up with 4 clear signs that indicate we are on the right path with the teams we work with. In the end, Richard says, we must do ourselves out of a job to be successful Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective of the Week: The Amazon Product Review retrospective

Richard suggests the Amazon Product Review retrospective format. And although Retromat suggests this can be used as a “check-in” exercise, we can also use it as the core exercise for the retrospective.

In this episode, we refer to the Agile Retrospectives book and the retrospective outline defined in the book.

About Richard Griffiths

Lapsed software developer, agile and scrum learner, tenor, drummer.
Richard guides and coaches Scrum Teams and organizations on how to use Agile/Scrum practices and values. Helping to teach, facilitate, collaborate & mentor software development teams, enhancing their agile maturity through coaching technical practices as well as the ceremonies and techniques. Richard likes to help teams and organizations obtain higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organization.

You can link with Richard Griffiths on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Griffiths on Twitter.

Richard Griffiths discusses 4 steps to adopt SAFe

Richard shares the story of a change process where an organization decided to standardize on SAFe as the scaling approach. Richard also shares what they learned about adopting SAFe, and the 4-step process they created to help the adoption of SAFe.

About Richard Griffiths

Lapsed software developer, agile and scrum learner, tenor, drummer.
Richard guides and coaches Scrum Teams and organizations on how to use Agile/Scrum practices and values. Helping to teach, facilitate, collaborate & mentor software development teams, enhancing their agile maturity through coaching technical practices as well as the ceremonies and techniques. Richard likes to help teams and organizations obtain higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organization.

You can link with Richard Griffiths on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Griffiths on Twitter.

Richard Griffiths and the perils of siloed Scrum teams

Teams are usually encouraged to specialize. That may be a necessary step in some organizations. But even when it is necessary, we must be aware of the side-effects and prepare for those.

In this episode, we talk about the reasons why teams start behaving like silos, what the consequences might be, but also what we can do to overcome those anti-patterns.

Featured Book of the Week: The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year by Mitch Lacey

In The Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey, Richard found many lessons that helped him in his journey as a Scrum Master. The book shares models and keys to successful scrum mastering, but also many references and other sources to read up on.

About Richard Griffiths

Lapsed software developer, agile and scrum learner, tenor, drummer.
Richard guides and coaches Scrum Teams and organizations on how to use Agile/Scrum practices and values. Helping to teach, facilitate, collaborate & mentor software development teams, enhancing their agile maturity through coaching technical practices as well as the ceremonies and techniques. Richard likes to help teams and organizations obtain higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organization.

You can link with Richard Griffiths on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Griffiths on Twitter.

Richard Griffiths: Improve your change management, sell the problem, not the solution

Often, as Scrum Masters, we know what needs to change and focus our efforts in “selling” the solution. What it is, why it is a good idea, etc. But, when Richard failed to help an organization change he learned an important lesson. To improve how we help change progress, we should sell the problem, not the solution.

About Richard Griffiths

Lapsed software developer, agile and scrum learner, tenor, drummer.
Richard guides and coaches Scrum Teams and organizations on how to use Agile/Scrum practices and values. Helping to teach, facilitate, collaborate & mentor software development teams, enhancing their agile maturity through coaching technical practices as well as the ceremonies and techniques. Richard likes to help teams and organizations obtain higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organization.

You can link with and connect with Richard Griffiths on Twitter.

Rade Zivanovic navigating the rules vs improvising cultural changes as a Scrum Master

In some countries, we favor order and rules. However, that’s not the case for everybody. How can we adapt to a country that emphasis more rules than what we learned back in our home country?

In this episode, we learn about the German and Serbian cultural traits and how they affect the work of the Scrum Master.

About Rade Zivanovic

Rade is a compassionate Scrum Master, who enjoys helping and supporting teams in their work and seeing them succeed.

You can link with Rade Zivanovic on LinkedIn and connect with Rade Zivanovic on Twitter.

 

Rade Zivanovic on success metrics for Scrum Masters

When thinking about the aspects that define our success, measuring the critical aspects of our work needs to be part of it. Rade challenges us to try to measure those things that we think we need to improve. We talk about how to measure interactions and the right kind of interactions in the team and between team and stakeholders. Are you measuring the key aspects of your contribution as a Scrum Master?

Featured Retrospective format for the week: Three little piggies

The Three Little Piggies retrospective format focuses on risk management. Asking us to consider what are our Houses of straw, Houses of sticks and the solid House of bricks. And why not ask: who or what is our big bad wolf?

About Rade Zivanovic

Rade is a compassionate Scrum Master, who enjoys helping and supporting teams in their work and seeing them succeed.

You can link with Rade Zivanovic on LinkedIn and connect with Rade Zivanovic on Twitter.

Rade Zivanovic on change management for Scrum teams struggling with new technology

In a business where change and new technology are a day-to-day occurrence, it may seem that teams are constantly ready to adapt to new situations. That’s not the case, however. In this episode, we discuss the story of a team that was uncomfortable with taking on a new technology. This was the perfect environment for Rade to put in practice his approach to helping teams change.

About Rade Zivanovic

Rade is a compassionate Scrum Master, who enjoys helping and supporting teams in their work and seeing them succeed.

You can link with Rade Zivanovic on LinkedIn and connect with Rade Zivanovic on Twitter.

Rade Zivanovic on how to help Agile teams be more comfortable with mistakes

As we work with many different teams, we start to notice some patterns. In this episode, we talk about the pattern where team members take a very critical stance when a mistake happens. As Rade puts it, when this pattern develops, the team creates a culture that does not tolerate failure or allows people to take risks.

How can Scrum Masters tackle this problem? We discuss some concrete approaches to help teams scale back their risk-averse, and mistake-intolerant culture. After all, no mistakes means no learning.

Featured book of the Week: Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor

In Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor, Rade learned about the techniques we can use to help people change behavior by building new habits and using positive feedback and reinforcement.

About Rade Zivanovic

Rade is a compassionate Scrum Master, who enjoys helping and supporting teams in their work and seeing them succeed.

You can link with Rade Zivanovic on LinkedIn and connect with Rade Zivanovic on Twitter.

Rade Zivanovic on being a part-time Scrum Master

Like many of us, Rade started out as a part-time Scrum Master. A part-time tester and part-time Scrum Master, Rade had to re-think his role.

Many of us go through this process: should I do my “primary” job? Or help the team in my role as a Scrum Master. Rade’s story is both a warning and an inspiration for those of us who are stuck in a part-time Scrum Master role.

About Rade Zivanovic

Rade is a compassionate Scrum Master, who enjoys helping and supporting teams in their work and seeing them succeed.

You can link with Rade Zivanovic on LinkedIn and connect with Rade Zivanovic on Twitter.

BONUS: Geoff Watts on what makes a great Scrum Master, the key challenges to Scrum adoption and much more about Agile

There are quite a few books out there about the Scrum Master job. However, the classic that many refer to over and over again here on the podcast is Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts.

In the description of the publisher writes: “Scrum coach Geoff Watts has identified patterns that separate a good Scrum Master from a great one”.

As a podcast for Scrum Masters, we wanted to have Geoff on, to share the key insights in the book, but also what he learned since the book was first published in 2013.

But, before we go into those new lessons learned, let’s quickly review some of the key insights from the book

The key insights from Scrum Mastery, the book

Read on for the detailed show notes and all the links…

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When Geoff was starting out his own Scrum Master journey, like many of us, he started as a Project Manager who was trying to adopt a new approach to the old work. Back then, we had very few books available. Agile Software Development by Beedle and Schwaber was the book we all read.

Like us, Geoff had to make a lot of mistakes and “learn by doing” what being a Scrum Master was really about. While in that journey Geoff started to appreciate the importance of a behavior that many previous project managers are not familiar with. Holding the silence in the conversation. We often get tempted to break the silence, but silence can allow team members and other stakeholders to come forward and take responsibility.

We also discuss what are some of some other actions that truly great Scrum Masters take as opposed to the good Scrum Masters.

Lessons for recovering Project Managers

Geoff also has a lot of lessons and ideas to share with those of us who are moving from a Project Manager position to a Scrum Master role. The key lesson is to give ourselves time to reflect. “Build time in your day to learn what worked and didn’t work, and detect your project managers traits.”

But there are many more lessons. Be open about your failures, your behaviors that come from the previous position. Be deliberate about what you want to change in your own behavior to adopt a Scrum Master role in all its depth.

Success for Scrum Masters according to Geoff Watts

This is the core question in our Success Thursday here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast. But what does success mean according to Geoff Watts?

Geoff takes a similar stance to the one many of our guests share on the podcast. A great Scrum Master aims to do themselves out of a job. In practice that means they help the team manage conflict on their own; work well with the Product Owner; collaborate with each other; and remove – by themselves – impediments to the team’s productivity or agility.

However, it takes time to get there, and we are sometimes too quick to judge the teams we work with. Perhaps one required condition before we can reach success is to accept the team as it is when we start working with them and pick a place where to start. The journey is long but worth it!

New lessons learned on how to be a great Scrum Master

When Geoff looks back to the book he wrote before 2013, he feels that it is as if another person wrote it. He’s collected many lessons since then and shares those on the podcast. However, there’s something he wants to highlight.

Today, Scrum Masters are expected to be coaches, and they don’t necessarily have the experience or education to perform that role. Geoff’s written a book about that aspect of the role of the Scrum Master, in The Coach’s Casebook Geoff  and Kim Morgan try to explain the 12 traits that trap us when trying to be a coach, and share case studies where “the coach shares their emotions, their thought processes and their reflections from coaching supervision as they try to understand the psychological origins of these behaviors and to work out how to help their client”.

But being a coach is not the only aspect that he feels should have had more space in the original Scrum Mastery book.

Why Scaling Agile is not about more teams or larger organizations

Another aspect that Geoff has studied and gotten a lot more experience on since the original book was published in 2013 is the Agile Scaling trend that we have seen emerge.

Geoff shares his unique perspective on the process of scaling as well as why scaling is not really about the size of organizations or more teams, but rather a cultural challenge that our organizations face.

The major obstacles to Scrum adoption in 2018

As we review how the Scrum Master role has evolved over time, it is inevitable to look at what else has changed. And the key question we all must face is about which obstacles we face when adopting or expanding the use of Scrum in our organizations. In this regard, Geoff does not see much difference, except in one aspect: it is now, more than ever, crucial that we adopt Agile and Scrum to enable our organizations to survive the competitive landscape. Back in 2001, when Geoff started with Scrum, there were not many organizations using Agile or Scrum. Now there are plenty of competitors, who are smaller, nimbler, more Agile than your organization.

Agile adoption has become a survival imperative.

Talent over processes, keeping the key people is critical for survival

Because Agile is now more spread, there’s a related challenge: people who want to work in an Agile environment will not stick around if your organization is not progressing in its Agile journey.

According to Geoff, retaining the talent you have is now a major challenge. This is more obvious in the Agile Coach and Scrum Master roles because people in those roles want to work in organizations that not only pay lip-service to Agile but are actually actively adapting that new way of working.

Geoff Watts on the part-time Scrum Master dilemma

Scrum Masters all over the world are faced with the necessity to serve multiple teams. In some companies, we still question the value that Scrum Masters can bring. This “meeting secretary” anti-pattern of the Scrum Master role is not easy to remove.

In this episode, Geoff shares his own view on this topic, as well as some tips on how to introduce the idea of a dedicated, and full-time Scrum Master to your leadership. A must-listen for anyone who is facing this problem right now.

Helping Product Owners as a key job of the Scrum Master

We end this episode talking about the role of the Product Owner. Geoff Watts wrote Product Mastery, a book that helps both Product Owners and Scrum Masters to understand that role.

Helping Product Owners is a key aspect of the Scrum Master role, so we must endeavor to understand and support people in that role. This, in turn, means that Scrum Masters must get up to date with that role, and develop experience in facilitating key meetings/workshops (see our FREE Vision Workshop e-course, and our Story Mapping Facilitiator guide) for Product Owners who need to be more focused on the content, and preparing the needed artifacts that support the team.

This is a value-bomb filled podcast episode! Happy listening!

About Geoff Watts

Geoff Watts is the founder of Inspect & Adapt Ltd and one of the most experienced and respected Scrum coaches in the world. Geoff helps individuals create great teams by developing a culture of reflection, empowerment, and engagement.
He started using Scrum at British Telecom, one of the first large-scale agile adoptions, Geoff, then coached organizations large and small through their agile journeys.
He’s also the author of 3 books, including Scrum Mastery, from good to great servant leadership. A book we explore in this episode of Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

You can link with Geoff Watts on LinkedIn and connect with Geoff Watts on Twitter.

You can also connect with Geoff Watts on Instagram and on watch Geoff Watts on YouTube.