Ellen Santamaria: Asking questions to enable and empower the Scrum team

In this episode, we explore the case of the PO who was absent, but great at asking questions, and we discuss what can be done when the PO says that “everything is a priority”.

The Great Product Owner: Asking questions to enable and empower the Scrum team

Although it can be a problem that the Product Owner is absent, sometimes that works out really well for the team. In this segment, we explore the story of the CTO that became the Product Owner for a team, and even if he was not always available, he was good at enabling and empowering the team to take ownership of their work through the questions he asked. 

The Bad Product Owner: The “Everything is a priority” anti-pattern

When everything is a priority, there are 2 ceremonies that break down. Refinement/Grooming meetings and Sprint planning start to fall apart. There’s too many stories to refine, we try to fit too much into one sprint, which leads to conflicts in Sprint planning. Ultimately teams start taking short-cuts which may lead to even bigger problems. In this segment, we discuss how to help a PO that says “everything is a priority”.

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 Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: Cards Against Agility, a fun Agile retrospective game

When it comes to Scrum Master success, Ellen likes to look at metrics that indicate if her work is having an impact. She suggests that a simple metric around the quality of the Sprint planning may be enough to assess the success for the Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Cards Against Agility

Ellen developed a game called Cards against Agility based on another popular game. Ellen uses this game as a simple way for the team to blow-off some steam, or as she puts it “trash talk in a fun way”. 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: A simple tool to help non-Software teams adopt Scrum

How do we help teams that are not developing software, but still are using Scrum? In this episode, we talk about how different the adoption process is for non-technical teams, and learn about the tool that Ellen developed to help teams adopt Scrum even when not working in a software development role. 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: Dealing with value conflicts between Scrum Master and team or organization

How often do you reflect on the prevailing culture of the team and organization where you work? Are that team or organization’s values aligned with you own personal values? 

As Scrum Masters, the organizations and teams we work with have a big impact on the work we can do. In this episode, we discuss how sometimes the organization and team’s cultures are not aligned with the Scrum Master’s values, and what we should do about it.

Featured Book for the Week: The Hitchhiker’s guide to Agile Coaching

In The Hitchhiker’s guide to Agile Coaching, by the Agile42 coaches (free sign-up required), Ellen found a good description of the different stances Scrum Masters need to take in their role. The book invites us to consider the stance we take at each moment. 

In this segment, we also refer to the 5 coaching stances for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches (free sign-up required).

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: How to keep Scrum teams motivated in the Agile adoption process

Let’s say that a team has started adopting Scrum. That’s great, right? No so quick! Did the team start adopting Scrum of their own accord? Or was it a dictate from above? As a Scrum Master, we need to pay special attention to why the teams started adopting Scrum. And we must work with them to define and help them stick to their own work agreements. It’s easy to say that people are motivated to do the work they themselves define, but as a Scrum Master are you helping the team define what they want to achieve, and how they want to work? 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Valeria Greco: 3 critical PO skills, that great PO’s have

From the absent PO to the 3 critical skills PO’s must-have, this is an episode filled with in-depth details of how to work well with your Product Owner.

The Great Product Owner: 3 critical PO skills, that great PO’s have

The Product Owner might be the toughest role in the Scrum framework. PO’s are often required to juggle a lot of activities when doing their job. In this segment, we talk about the 3 skills that great Product Owners have: 1) they are able to prioritize quickly; 2) they are able to speak different languages (business and tech); 3) they are able to negotiate when stakes are high. Does your PO exhibit these skills? Listen in to learn about how Valeria helps the PO’s she works with.

The Bad Product Owner: The Absent PO

When the Product Owner is not available to the team it is impossible for the collaboration to emerge. But that’s only one aspect that is hindered by the PO’s absence. In this segment, we explore how Valeria is able to talk to, and collaborate with PO’s that are absent, and get them closer to a collaborative relationship with the team. 

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 Valeria Greco

Valeria has worked as a Scrum Master for 4 years. She has experience with both Software development and non-software development Agile teams. When asked what she does for a living, Valeria replies: “I build teams!” And she does it by focusing on building relationships first. As Valeria says: “all my teams will tell you that I like talking about the feelings :-)”

You can link with Valeria Greco on LinkedIn and connect with Valeria Greco on Twitter.

Valeria Greco: Speed up the learning cycle with this Agile Retrospective

When talking about success, we learn that Valeria focuses on evaluating the level of collaboration between team members. Listen in to learn about what collaboration “signs” Valeria looks for, and to learn more about what kind and why conflict might be a good thing in a Scrum team.

Featured Retrospective format for the Week: Playing Jenga, the wooden blocks game

In this segment, we discover how Valeria used a concrete game to help the team practice retrospectives in a short period of time. Through the game, Valeria was able to help the team practice “observation”, and speed up the learning cycle greatly. 

You can learn more about the Jenga game from wikipedia and from this YouTube video.

About Valeria Greco

Valeria has worked as a Scrum Master for 4 years. She has experience with both Software development and non-software development Agile teams. When asked what she does for a living, Valeria replies: “I build teams!” And she does it by focusing on building relationships first. As Valeria says: “all my teams will tell you that I like talking about the feelings :-)”

You can link with Valeria Greco on LinkedIn and connect with Valeria Greco on Twitter.

Valeria Greco: Key questions in a change process for a Scrum team

Happy New Year Scrummies! 🙂 Today marks the first day of 2020, and we have a great episode for you. 

In this episode, Valeria shares a story of a company that wanted to go towards Continuous Delivery and Delivery on Demand. The main challenge was to help the developers and the teams understand the difference in mindset. For that Valeria took up a few questions she would repeatedly ask the team such as: “can we release this right after you finish it”?

What questions do you have for your team when helping them through a change? 

Listen in to learn what other questions and techniques Valeria used in that process.

If you are interested in Continuous Delivery and the changes associated, don’t miss our Continuous Delivery special series.

About Valeria Greco

Valeria has worked as a Scrum Master for 4 years. She has experience with both Software development and non-software development Agile teams. When asked what she does for a living, Valeria replies: “I build teams!” And she does it by focusing on building relationships first. As Valeria says: “all my teams will tell you that I like talking about the feelings :-)”

You can link with Valeria Greco on LinkedIn and connect with Valeria Greco on Twitter.

Valeria Greco: The “Senior Team Member” anti-pattern in Scrum teams

Teams benefit from team members with a lot of experience. However, when those team members become the “only voice” in the team, that may lead to serious problems. In this episode, we explore the Senior Team Member anti-pattern, whereby one team member “overpowers” everyone else in the team, and the other team members are hesitant to share their perspectives. What should a Scrum Master do in this situation? Listen in to learn more, and get Valeria’s tips.

Featured Book for the Week: Coaching agile teams by Lyssa Adkins

In Coaching agile teams by Lyssa Adkins, Valeria found an inspiring book that helped her in her journey as a Scrum Master. In the book she finds a valuable reminder of the things she still has to practice and learn to be better at. 

About Valeria Greco

Valeria has worked as a Scrum Master for 4 years. She has experience with both Software development and non-software development Agile teams. When asked what she does for a living, Valeria replies: “I build teams!” And she does it by focusing on building relationships first. As Valeria says: “all my teams will tell you that I like talking about the feelings :-)”

You can link with Valeria Greco on LinkedIn and connect with Valeria Greco on Twitter.

Valeria Greco: The critical step some Scrum Masters skip, and get into problems for

As Scrum Masters, we may be tempted to go straight to problem-solving when we join a team. As “quick” as that may sound, what Valeria learned in this story was that it makes our Scrum Master work harder, not easier. There’s a critical step we must go through before the team is ready and willing to work with us. Listen to learn what that step is. 

About Valeria Greco

Valeria has worked as a Scrum Master for 4 years. She has experience with both Software development and non-software development Agile teams. When asked what she does for a living, Valeria replies: “I build teams!” And she does it by focusing on building relationships first. As Valeria says: “all my teams will tell you that I like talking about the feelings :-)”

You can link with Valeria Greco on LinkedIn and connect with Valeria Greco on Twitter.