Doug Rabow: Daily Standups as a Success Barometer in Agile, And Other Lessons For Scrum Masters

In this segment, Doug discusses the dual aspects of success for Scrum Masters: defining it and demonstrating it to others. We also talk about how the quality of daily standups reflects the overall health of the Agile practices in the team. We also explore how fostering an environment of good-faith feedback and continuous improvement can lead to success for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Asking Questions

In this segment about Agile Retrospectives, Doug highlights the importance of asking pointed, empathetic questions during retrospectives to uncover deep insights about team dynamics and challenges. We learn about the role that well-crafted questions play in driving continuous improvement. And learn how Doug’s approach of integrating impactful questions into conversations, helps teams to navigate and overcome obstacles more effectively.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Doug Rabow

Doug is a passionate practitioner of Lean-Agile strategic management with a focus on developing empowered teams and Lean process improvement.

You can link with Doug Rabow on LinkedIn.

Stephanie Cully: How To Lead with Empathy, The Story of an Open-Minded Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Leading with Empathy, The Story of an Open-Minded PO

In this episode, Stephanie discusses her experience with an exceptional Product Owner (PO) who, despite having no prior experience in Agile and Scrum, demonstrated a remarkable willingness to learn and adapt. The PO’s approach was characterized by asking questions, seeking help, and engaging in training sessions to better understand Agile practices. This openness extended to discussions about customer pain points and the user journey, contributing significantly to the team’s ability to deliver effectively. The PO’s caring attitude towards the team and flexibility in adapting to the developers’ needs further exemplified the qualities of a great PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Addressing the Root Causes of an Absent PO

In this segment, Stephanie shares an experience with a Product Owner (PO) who was essentially absent, leaving a Business Analyst (BA) to handle product prioritization. The BA inadvertently compounded the issue by taking on the PO’s responsibilities instead of addressing the root cause together with the team and the PO. Stephanie intervened to emphasize the importance of understanding why the PO was unavailable, revealing that the PO was overwhelmed with multiple roles. Through facilitating direct conversations among the BA, developers, and stakeholders, Stephanie highlighted the need for clear roles and effective time management in agile teams.
If you are facing a similar situation, where the PO is mostly absent, you may want to review our Sprint Checklist, which helps you have a coaching conversation with the PO, and define clear expectations about participation in the work with the team.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Stephanie Cully

Stephanie Cully is a Scrum Master, and CEO of Scrum Life Consulting. Stephanie founded Scrum Life with a mission to help Scrum Masters overcome self-doubt and land the role.

You can link with Stephanie Cully on LinkedIn.

Chuck Durfee: Clash of Perspectives, Managing Differences between Startup and Established Company Mindsets in an Agile Team

In this episode, Chuck discusses a team he led for a mission-critical software project with structural challenges. The arrival of a new developer from a startup background, while the rest of the team had experience in larger companies, created friction. Misunderstandings arose when the new developer pushed the message “move fast, break things,” leading to frustration as the team, and the company were not ready to hear and act on that message. Chuck sought help from his manager, who asked questions to understand the situation. Lessons learned included the importance of setting clear expectations, focusing on people problems, fostering relationships with product managers, and ensuring regulatory clarity. Effective communication and problem-solving within the team were highlighted as crucial elements for success.

Featured Book of the Week: “The Coaching Habit” by Bungay Stanier

In this segment, Chuck recommends the book “The Coaching Habit” by Bungay Stanier, which focuses on the power of asking questions. Chuck highlights that he found seven specific questions from the book to be highly effective in his role. One of these questions is the strategy question: “If I say YES to this, what do I need to say NO to?” This question helps in making thoughtful decisions by considering trade-offs. Chuck also advises staying curious a little bit longer, emphasizing the value of maintaining a curious mindset during coaching conversations.

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 Charles “Chuck” Durfee

Chuck Durfee is an Engineering Manager in the Denver area. He leads teams to deliver quality software on-time and within budget. With expertise as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach, he uses relationships, teamwork, and a pragmatic approach to solve complex business problems. In this episode, we explore his perspective as an engineering leader, and learn what makes a great Scrum Master from the perspective of the leaders they work with.

You can link with Charles “Chuck” Durfee on LinkedIn and connect with Charles “Chuck” Durfee on Twitter.

Gil Zilberfeld on the importance of collecting information to understand the systems conditions

Understanding the system we work within is a detailed and painstaking process of collecting and processing information. There are many questions we must ask as we collect that information. Gil shares with us the questions he asks to collect the right information about the system, and map the system conditions that affect the team.
In this episode we discuss Theory of Constraints, a body of knowledge that every Scrum Master should be aware of.

About Gil Zilberfeld

For over 20 years, Gil has developed, tested, managed and designed software products. He’s gone through failures and successes, in different types of projects and companies.
He has trained and coached developers how to write tests for their untestable code. He has worked with testers on complex applications and with very tight deadlines. He’s helped release products that fit customer needs, by testing the waters, and getting their feedback integrated. He has implemented agile, kanban and lean principles and adapted them to fit teams better.
You can link up with Gil Zilberfeld on LinkedIn, or find Gil Zilberfeld on Twitter.
Gil is writing a book on Unit Testing. Check it out.

Get The Booklet!
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Avoid scope creep! And learn to scope projects around impacts and outcomes, not requirements!
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Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
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
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
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
Checklist
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
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.