Kirsi Sahlstén: When Protection Hinders Progress, A Guide to Tackling Psychological Safety in Agile Teams

In this episode, Kirsi shares an insightful story about a large team working on regulatory reporting that struggled with psychological safety. Even if the team tried to shut out Agile coaches, leadership noticed alarming employee satisfaction scores and helped the change get started. Kirsi reveals how the Product Owner’s protective approach stifled team growth and collaboration. She explains the anti-patterns observed and offers tips on how to address such challenges by taking a more directive stance and encouraging continuous improvement. Learn how small changes can make a big difference in a team’s dynamics and success.

Featured Book of the Week: Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching by Bob Galen

Kirsi discusses Bob Galen’s book, “Extraordinarily Badass Agile Coaching,” highlighting its comprehensive approach to Agile coaching. She emphasizes the importance of the Agile coaching contract, even for internal coaches, and shares how it helps in setting clear expectations. Kirsi also explores the significance of journaling for self-reflection. This book is not just for coaches but also for Scrum Masters seeking to deepen their understanding and practice of Agile coaching.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

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 Kirsi Sahlstén

Kirsi is a wanna-be neuroscientist and wanna-be full-stack developer who, in real life, ended up as an Agile coach. She is passionate about sparking and enabling learning and unlearning, working together across boundaries, and focusing on the essential. Her favorite question is “Why?” and she is fascinated by the complexity of simplicity.

You can link with Kirsi Sahlstén on LinkedIn.

Mike Lyons: Agile Beyond Teams, Leading Organizational Change

In this episode, Mike discusses the broader implications of Agile beyond just team dynamics, highlighting the need for coaching and influence at the organizational level. Why does Mike believe that Agile is not just a mindset but a substantial practice that requires change in behaviors before culture can shift? Explore how understanding business language and aligning with organizational outcomes can expand and strengthen the role of Scrum Masters.

Want to Improve Your Change Management Results? Discover the Lean Change Management Approach Today!

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.
About Mike Lyons

After reading the Agile Manifesto in 2006, Mike focused on making teams and organizations more adaptive and efficient. Despite facing failures and mistakes, these experiences provided him with valuable lessons that enhanced his ability to achieve tangible results with Agile.

You can link with Mike Lyons on LinkedIn.

Paul Jarvis: Unlocking Scrum Team Potential, The High-performance Tree Tool 

In this episode, we explore the dynamics of two high-performing teams hindered by a single member’s reluctance to seek help. This episode explores the critical lesson, such as leveraging the “power of the team”, and introduces the high-performance tree metaphor, illustrating the foundational values and desired behaviors in effective Scrum teams. How does one individual’s challenge affect team performance, and what strategies can encourage collective problem-solving and support? Paul discusses his approach and insights, and refers to a video from Lyssa Adkins about the high-performance tree.

Featured Book of the Week: Management 3.0 by Jurgen Appelo

Paul recommends the book “Management 3.0” by Jurgen Appelo. He shares the book’s profound impact on understanding Agile. Paul also shares other key references for Scrum Masters such as “Coaching Agile Teams” by Lyssa Adkins, “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott, “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshal Rosenberg, “Think Again” by Adam Grant, and Patrick Lencioni’s contributions. Each book offers a unique perspective on Agile principles, from fostering constructive disagreements and navigating conflicts to reevaluating our knowledge and embracing humility. Find out about Paul’s lightbulb moments and the collective wisdom these authors bring to the Agile table.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

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 Paul Jarvis

Paul is a seasoned Enterprise Lean Agile Coach, Trainer, RTE, and Scrum Master with a decade of experience in the FinTech sector, focusing on banking, payments, and e-commerce. Recently, he completed a 3.5-year tenure at a key player in investment banking.

You can link with Paul Jarvis on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Agile Coaching With a Philosophical Twist, Exploring Michel Foucault’s Work, The Panopticon, and Other Systems of Control With Michelle Pauk

In this episode, with Michelle Pauk – an Agile Coach – we explore what we can learn from philosophy, and Michel Foucault’s work on systems of power and discourse. Learn more about the systems we need to adapt to, and even transform. From the Panopticon, to the systems that drive compliance, and remove creative thought! A must listen for those interested in changing the world of work!

Michelle’s Journey into Agile Coaching

“It’s not about predicting; it’s about responding.”

Michelle’s journey into becoming an Agile coach was as unpredictable as volcanos can be, literally! Inspired initially by Michel Foucault during her studies, she found herself intrigued by the intricacies of thought and its impact on behavior. This intellectual curiosity led her to a company specializing in language learning software, where her role in project management opened her eyes to the stress and unpredictability inherent in the field. The realization that many of her challenges could be mitigated by Agile methodologies was a turning point. Agile, with its emphasis on adaptation over prediction, offered a solution to the guilt and responsibility she felt over uncontrollable factors, like a volcano disrupting her project. This journey not only transformed her approach to work but also challenged inherited industrial revolution-era notions of work processes.

Foucault’s Influence

“The panopticon and Agile: Visibility without the constraint.”

Michelle’s admiration for Michel Foucault’s work, particularly his book Discipline and Punish, provides a unique lens through which she views her role as an Agile coach. The book’s exploration of the panopticon—a system for observing without being seen—parallels the modern open office plan and contrasts with Agile’s emphasis on transparency and collaboration. Foucault’s historical analysis of justice systems and control mechanisms resonates with the systemic changes Agile coaching aims to implement in the workplace.

Systems of Control and Culture

“Pay attention to what is *NOT* being said; it speaks volumes about your team’s culture.”

One of the core aspects of Agile coaching for Michelle is the focus on discourse and culture within teams—what is being talked about, and perhaps more importantly, what isn’t. Drawing on Foucault and Wittgenstein, she emphasizes the power of unspoken norms and assumptions in shaping work environments. By encouraging teams to challenge these silent boundaries, Agile coaching not only aims to improve workflow but also to humanize the workplace, making it more receptive to change and innovation.

Awareness of Culture in Agile Practices

“Can we even think outside our language?”

The challenge for Agile coaches and Scrum Masters lies in becoming deeply aware of the surrounding culture and its influence on thought and action. By critically examining workplace norms and practices, Agile professionals can identify and challenge the limitations imposed by current systems of work. This awareness is crucial in fostering an environment where innovation thrives and work is humanized, reflecting the core goals of Agile methodology.

Philosophical Inspirations

“I’m curious on what I learn from literature. It helps to understand, and develop empathy.”

Michelle’s coaching philosophy is enriched by a broad spectrum of historical and literary insights, demonstrating a deep-seated belief in the value of diverse perspectives. Beyond Foucault, she draws inspiration from literature and other historical accounts of thought, believing that understanding different mental frameworks can enhance empathy and effectiveness in her coaching practice. Books like Edgar Schein’s explorations of organizational culture further contribute to her holistic approach.

Exploring Systems of Control

“Understanding ‘coercive persuasion’ sheds light on resistance to change.”

For those interested in delving deeper into the concepts of systems of control and their implications for learning and adaptation, Michelle recommends an article from the Harvard Business Review by Edgar Schein. This resource provides insights into ‘coercive persuasion’ and the natural resistance to change, topics that are crucial for Agile coaches aiming to navigate and mitigate these challenges in their organizations.

About Michelle Pauk

Michelle Pauk is the founder of Streamside Coaching, where she helps leaders and organizations thrive with change. She has over 15 years of experience working in diverse agile environments as a Product Owner, Scrum Master, project manager, and Agile coach. She is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation and has a master’s degree in leadership and organizational development.

You can link with Michelle Pauk on LinkedIn.

BONUS: The Agile-Product Continuum: Phillip Starke’s Blueprint for Becoming a Product Coach

This episode was triggered by Phillip Starke’s blog post titled “Why agile coaches should strive to be product coaches”. You can read that blog post here, and listen in this episode to Phillip’s perspective and why he reached those conclusions.

Agile to Product Coaching Transformation

“Agile Coaches are already product coaches in essence, they just need to realize and embrace it fully.”

Phillip reflects on why agile coaches should also consider themselves product coaches. He argues for a unified approach to coaching that encompasses both agile and product development principles.

A Pivot Towards Product-Centric Coaching

“I had a turning point when I realized, despite our success, how much more impactful we could have been with a stronger focus on user interaction and discovery.”

Phillip shares his experience transitioning from an agile-focused to a product-centric coaching approach, highlighting a project where greater emphasis on user discovery would have led to even more significant outcomes.

Enhancing Product Development Through User Engagement

Continue reading BONUS: The Agile-Product Continuum: Phillip Starke’s Blueprint for Becoming a Product Coach

Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
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Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Discover practical, real-world solutions from leading Agile practitioners. Download three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Discover practical, real-world solutions from leading Agile practitioners. Access three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Discover practical, real-world solutions from leading Agile practitioners. Download three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
FREE! Audiobook Chapters: Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Download three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
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