Kyla MacDonald: Failing to change a team, a critical lesson for Scrum Masters

When Kyla worked with her first Agile team, she got lucky. The team was filled with great people, who were curious, and willing to change and learn. Later on, when working with another team, she had the same expectations. However, that team was not like the first. They thought Agile was a waste of time. This setup Kyla for a very important lesson that all Scrum Masters will have to learn, sooner or later. 

About Kyla MacDonald

Kyla imagines a world where the talk at Friday drinks is all about the great things we achieved in the week, what we learned, and what we can try next. As she puts it, people who find satisfaction, meaning, fun, and growth in their work, will naturally be in a better position to find the same in their home life. The thing that excites Kyla the most about agile is how concepts and principles apply to any and every area of your life. Which for her is running, paragliding and life on her hobby farm (they call it a lifestyle block in NZ).

You can link with Kyla MacDonald on LinkedIn and connect with Kyla MacDonald on Twitter

Philip Rogers: Shared ownership in the Scrum Product Backlog

In this episode, we talk about how an empathic Product Owner can make a big difference when working with Scrum teams. We also discuss how Product Backlogs are really owned by the PO and the team, not only the PO.

The Great Product Owner: Empathy, and handling pressure, key PO skills

A team will quickly notice if the Product Owner has empathy, which is a critical asset for Product Owners that want to succeed. A great PO will also know how to communicate with the team, so that they can work on handling the inevitable delivery pressure that will affect both the team and the Product Owner. Finally, we discuss how great Product Owners are proactive about involving stakeholders. 

In this episode, we talk about the #NoEstimates approach to determining release dates (We’ve also discuss the #NoEstimates ideas in these episodes).

 

The Bad Product Owner: Sharing the ownership of the backlog

Philip shares with us why he thinks that there is widespread confusion about the Product Owner role. Many think that it is only the Product Owner that writes / maintains the backlog. However, really great teams understand that the PO is only one of the people that ensures the backlog is ready and up to the necessary level for the team. We also discuss what we can do, as Scrum Masters, to help teams and Product Owners own the backlog together. In this episode, we also talk about the idea of the “3 amigos” session to refine product backlog items (we’ve covered the 3 amigos sessions and approach in these episodes).

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 Philip Rogers

Phil is a father of four children and a volunteer paleontologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is also an “agile whisperer” (coach) who has worked with scores of teams in the spirit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and simply finding creative ways to collaborate and have fun in the workplace.

You can link with Philip Rogers on LinkedIn and connect with Philip Rogers on Twitter.

Philip Rogers: How to measure Scrum team happiness and team satisfaction

When we try to assess our impact and success as Scrum Masters, we can look at team happiness and satisfaction. Measuring those will help us assess our impact, and there are simple ways to do it. In this episode, we talk about the Niko Niko Calendar (the Niko Niko Calendar has been previously discussed also in other episodes) and the ideas from the Spotify Health Check approach.

Featured Retrospective From for the Week: Pick Discussion Questions

Philip shares with us a format that can be set up relatively quickly and focuses on helping the team get started with a productive discussion on some of the most pressing topics for them. Philip shares some of the questions he uses when starting this kind of retrospective, and suggests we use a Futurespective to help teams gain fresh insights on their approach to work. 

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 Philip Rogers

Phil is a father of four children and a volunteer paleontologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is also an “agile whisperer” (coach) who has worked with scores of teams in the spirit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and simply finding creative ways to collaborate and have fun in the workplace.

You can link with Philip Rogers on LinkedIn and connect with Philip Rogers on Twitter.

Philip Rogers: Aligning Agile teams despite resistance to change from leadership

Philip was working with a health care organization, and discovered that they had not yet had help from other agile coaches. As he started working with teams, he discovered that one of the people who brought him in, was not all that positive on the change Philip had been hired to do. 

This created confusion, and conflict. So Philip started working on how to align teams quickly and developed a “rapid alignment framework” using techniques like Inception from the book The Agile Samurai by Rasmusson

In this episode, we also discuss Story Mapping and the Scrum Master playbook by Philip

About Philip Rogers

Phil is a father of four children and a volunteer paleontologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is also an “agile whisperer” (coach) who has worked with scores of teams in the spirit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and simply finding creative ways to collaborate and have fun in the workplace.

You can link with Philip Rogers on LinkedIn and connect with Philip Rogers on Twitter

Philip Rogers: Team agreements to help Scrum teams thrive despite organizational constraints

Philip was working in an organization that was undergoing an Agile transformation. As they started to work with a few teams, they observed that the teams were quite large, and had a trade union representative. This meant that the teams were heavily silo-ed, with testers only doing testing, developers only programming, etc. Because of this, the teams could not be made smaller. In this episode, we discuss how we can help teams improve, even when they are stuck with their current structure. Philip shares the Team Canvas, to help facilitate the definition of working agreements

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen

In Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, Philip found a book that helped him learn how to run effective retrospectives and become a retrospective specialist. As he practices his approaches to retrospectives, Philip ended up creating a Trello Board with many retrospective formats to serve as inspiration and help other Scrum Masters host great retrospectives. You can check out Philip’s retrospective Trello Board here

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Philip Rogers

Phil, is a father of four children and volunteer paleontologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is also an “agile whisperer” (coach) who has worked with scores of teams in the spirit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and simply finding creative ways to collaborate and have fun in the workplace.

You can link with Philip Rogers on LinkedIn and connect with Philip Rogers on Twitter

 

Philip Rogers: Helping build a global software development operation with Agile teams

Philip was helping an organization setup an offshore operation by helping a team startup. That caused communication problems as the times the teams could be at work did not have sufficient overlap. But there were many other anti-patterns that came from having 2 teams on opposite sides of the planet. 

In this episode, we talk about how to setup a global software development operation, and share some of the practices that can help, even when teams are globally distributed. 

About Philip Rogers

Phil, is a father of four children and volunteer paleontologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He is also an “agile whisperer” (coach) who has worked with scores of teams in the spirit of continuous learning, continuous improvement, and simply finding creative ways to collaborate and have fun in the workplace.

You can link with Philip Rogers on LinkedIn and connect with Philip Rogers on Twitter.

Evelien Acun-Roos: Unfocused, solution-centric, part-time Product Owner, a recipe for failure

In this episode, we share some of the most critical anti-patterns in the Product Owner role.

The Great Product Owner: Constantly seeking to learn

This Product Owner was a “team player”, worked with the team closely, and did not try to establish a position of superiority. The PO made the roadmap visible to all, and was great at involving the stakeholders in product decisions. But the PO did not stop there, and actively searched for training, to learn even more about the Product Owner role!

The Bad Product Owner: Unfocused, solution-centric, part-time Product Owner, a recipe for failure

This Product Owner was not able to focus, the engineering background didn’t help in this case, as the PO was constantly drifting into discuss solutions instead of sharing the “what” and “why” that would help the team find the right solution. But the biggest anti-pattern is when the PO can’t even dedicate their whole time to the role of PO. 

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 Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.

Evelien Acun-Roos: Happiness and Business Value, the focus for a success conversation

Evelien focuses on the Happiness metric as well as business value to help her understand where the team and Product Owner are in their journey to success. By having the business value discussed during the retrospective and during Sprint planning she tries to focus the team on having an impact, and helps clarify what the PO wants to deliver. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4 L’s retrospective

Evelien shares the 4 L’s retrospective and how she changes the “Loved” square to focus on appreciating and thanking someone in the team for something they did. This helps us teach team members to compliment each other and creates positive energy in the retrospective. 

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 Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.

Evelien Acun-Roos: Helping middle management overcome anxiety and fear in an Agile transformation

In this organization, both the leadership and the teams wanted Agile. However, the middle management was resisting the adoption of Agile. This story helped Evelien understand that sometimes, we need to tackle the anxiety and fear that an Agile adoption brings. Middle-management was the “backbone” of the organization, they had been there for a long time, and they didn’t know what Agile meant for them. That created anxiety, and consequently resistance. Evelien explains how they engaged with middle-management and started helping them understand how Agile would help them (not only teams and leadership). 

About Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter

Evelien Acun-Roos: The “rotating” Scrum Master anti-pattern

This team had a “rotating Scrum Master”, however, what happened was that the Scrum Master role was mostly ignored, and the team stopped learning and improving. The rotating aspect of the Scrum Master role led to a lack of accountability for that role, and consequently for the team! The team stopped challenging themselves. 

Featured Book of the Week: Training From The Back Of The Room by Sharon Bowman

In Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, Evelien found one of the first professional agile coaching books, which helped her in her Agile journey. After that, Evelien found Training From The Back Of The Room by Sharon Bowman, a book that helped her perfect her delivery of training and understand why the game and engaging approaches are so important when delivering knowledge and information to the teams we work with.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Evelien Acun-Roos

Evelien Acun-Roos is an experienced Agile Trainer at Xebia Academy, Professional Scrum Trainer at Scrum.org and a Certified Trainer for “Training from the Back of the Room”.

You can link with Evelien Acun-Roos on LinkedIn and connect with Evelien Acun-Roos on Twitter.