Thomas von Busse: Focusing Scrum teams on improving what they can influence

Retrospectives can be an engine of growth for the team, but they can also turn in complain fests, where teams drown in negative comments. However, this is not inevitable. In this episode, we talk about how Retrospectives can be turned in a positive tool for improvement when Scrum Masters help teams understand and focus on what they can influence, instead of complaining about what they have no power over. 

In this episode, we refer to the circles of influence, a tool we’ve also reviewed in past episodes.

Featured Book for the Week: Theory U by Otto Scharmer

In Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges by Otto Scharmer, Thomas learned about how to unlock the fixed mindset within people and teams by learning to ask different questions. 

In this segment, we also mention the “Food for Agile Thought” Newsletter at the Age of Product blog.

About Thomas von Busse

Thomas is a Scrum Master since 2013. After his Bachelors’s Degree in Software Engineering, he gained experience as a Programmer and uses this deep understanding of how to build software systems to help his Teams get better with each iteration. 

You can link with Thomas von Busse on LinkedIn and connect with Thomas von Busse on Twitter.

Isaac Garcia: How Scrum Masters can help organizations, not just Scrum teams

It is a scary change, when Scrum Masters must go from focusing on the team to focusing on the organization. However, this is something that most Scrum Masters will have to face in their career. 

In this episode with Isaac Garcia, we learn about the circles of influence that help us understand what we can influence (and what we can’t); we discuss Causal Loop Diagram, a tool to understand organizational dynamics that affect our teams; and the ideas behind “flow”, a way to view organizations that focuses on allowing the teams to find their performance levels. 

In this episode, we refer to the book The Goal, by Goldratt

For more on Causal Loop Diagrams and their use for Scrum Masters, check this episode with Antti Tevanlina where we explore how you can use CLD’s to understand the causes of the problems affecting the team. 

About Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

You can link with Isaac Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Isaac Garcia on Twitter.

Isaac Garcia: Why Scrum Masters must learn to accept what you can’t influence

When Isaac joined this team, he encountered a team that had failed to deliver and was low on motivation. Isaac focused on helping the team find their motivation, organized a kick-off to get the team to come together around a goal, and a common vision, only to see management remove people from an already overwhelmed team… What should a Scrum Master do when that happens? We discuss that, and critical lessons learned about what we can influence (or not) as Scrum Masters. 

In this episode, we refer to the circles of influence, a tool to help Scrum Masters focus on what they can influence and accept what they can’t.

Featured Book for the Week: The Phoenix Project

In The Phoenix Project, Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford chronicle the story of a company that is on the brink. They walk the reader through the process of understanding what is holding the organization back, and what the hero of the story will learn to help turn the company around.

For Isaac, this is a book that teaches important techniques and helps Scrum Masters make a difference in their place of work.

About Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

You can link with Isaac Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Isaac Garcia on Twitter.

Paul Valitutto uses circles of influence to help the team understand the system around them

Teams often get stuck complaining about things beyond their control in retrospectives. The Circles of Influence help the team understand what they can affect and what they need to influence or just leave as is. This helps the team understand the system conditions and decide what to work on without feeling disempowered.

About Paul Valitutto

paul-valitutto-scrum-master-toolbox-podcastPaul is a Scrum Master that is passionate about continuous improvement and team building. And he truly believes that its that Scrum Master’s job to deliver a high performing team to the organization. You can link with Paul Valitutto on LinkedIn and connect with Paul Valitutto on Twitter.

Dennis Wagner maps the system, by mapping the stakeholders and their expectations

How do we get started mapping the system conditions we must face every day? Dennis suggests that you understand the stakeholders that the team needs to interact with. By understanding the map of the system you can then dig deeper with Expectation Mapping to understand what the team is expected to deliver to all those stakeholders. This will help you map the key system conditions. Use also visualization to understand how those other stakeholders interact among themselves and use Circles of Influence to understand what the team can affect on its own, and what they need help with.

About Dennis Wagner

Dennis is an Agile Coach with a lot of experience in the technical side of software development. Dennis has worked with teams in different industries, is thinking of writing a book about continuous delivery (bug him if you want to know more), and he loves, really loves his work.
You can connect with Dennis Wagner on LinkedIn and XING, and you can connect with Dennis Wagner on Twitter.

Daniel Hommel talks retrospectives

There are many sources of inspiration that help us understand how to “see” the system. Daniel mentions the Logical Thinking Process by Dettmer, and The Goal by Goldratt as good places to start understanding the system and how to address it. But the real tool we all already use and can have a large impact on our understanding and influence is the Retrospective meeting. Daniel suggest the Circles and Soup Retrospective as a way to help the team understand the system and act on it.

About Daniel Hommel

Daniel is a ScrumMaster and Agile Coach with a strong background in Software Engineering. His first touch point with Agility was starting to use the Extreme Programming practices in 2007. After some years of working more on the technical side in recent years his interest has shifted to facilitation, coaching, guiding continuous improvement and working with people in general. You can connect with Daniel Hommel on Twitter.