The value that Agile coaching and Scrum Masters bring to your organization – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook). He joins us on this series of Q&A shows to answer questions you’ve submitted. You can submit your questions via our survey (short, about 2 min to fill-in) or by tweeting us @scrumpodcast with #agilejeff.

In this episode, we talk about the importance of technical excellence and how to help teams adopt that mindset.

How to explain the need for Agile coaching and Scrum Masters

Continue reading The value that Agile coaching and Scrum Masters bring to your organization – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

How to build trust with clients and stakeholders while getting what you deserve for your work: a story about trust

This is a guest blog post by Jacopo Romei. Author of Extreme Contracts, a book about how to build trust, and deliver value without traditional contracts.

How to build trust with clients and stakeholders while getting what you deserve for your work: a story about trust

Over the last ten years, I’ve experienced the direct impact of lack of trust in vendor-buyer and even colleague-colleague relationships. I’ve come to find that it is the main reason why collaborations in knowledge work fail.

I’ve tried to fix that in my own work as an independent consultant and when working with other colleagues. That’s why I ended up experimenting with a new type of agreements which are optimized for trust building. This experimentation resulted in a set of principles that I call Extreme Contracts. Now, all my customers and I use this approach to shape our collaboration and they have started using Extreme Contracts also with their customers.

Continue reading How to build trust with clients and stakeholders while getting what you deserve for your work: a story about trust

BONUS: Tim Herbig on Lateral Leadership a critical skill for Scrum Masters and Product Owners

Tim was faced with a problem. How to be a leader without any formal power. All Scrum Masters and Product Owners who have felt the responsibility, but not any “line authority” have faced the same problem. You need to help move the project along, but you can’t tell people what to do!

In this episode we explore the concept of Lateral Leadership how it can help you as a Scrum Master or Product Owner.

Tim Herbig is the author of Lateral Leadership a recent book published by Sense and Respond Press.

Continue reading BONUS: Tim Herbig on Lateral Leadership a critical skill for Scrum Masters and Product Owners

BONUS: Geoff Watts on what makes a great Scrum Master, the key challenges to Scrum adoption and much more about Agile

There are quite a few books out there about the Scrum Master job. However, the classic that many refer to over and over again here on the podcast is Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts.

In the description of the publisher writes: “Scrum coach Geoff Watts has identified patterns that separate a good Scrum Master from a great one”.

As a podcast for Scrum Masters, we wanted to have Geoff on, to share the key insights in the book, but also what he learned since the book was first published in 2013.

But, before we go into those new lessons learned, let’s quickly review some of the key insights from the book

The key insights from Scrum Mastery, the book

Read on for the detailed show notes and all the links…

Continue reading BONUS: Geoff Watts on what makes a great Scrum Master, the key challenges to Scrum adoption and much more about Agile

BIG LAUNCH: The @scrumpodcast Coach Your Product Owner e-course v2.0

Helping our Product Owners is a key part of the job a Scrum Master has.

Product Owners, as Antti Tevanlinna puts it, are responsible for making value explicit! (a great episode, by the way!)

So, I’ve been working for 1 year to put this e-course together.

I’ve coached Product Owners (check the video below). I’ve released some modules to collect feedback, and finally, I’ve asked what makes it hard to coach your Product Owner.

All of that to make this e-course available to you! The Coach Your Product Owner e-course v2.0 is now available.

You can check it out here.

Read on for details and a surprise! 🙂

Continue reading BIG LAUNCH: The @scrumpodcast Coach Your Product Owner e-course v2.0

How Agile and Lean saved a hospital from bankruptcy! Twice!

All of us working with Agile and Scrum are used to the (sometimes) large transformations that these approaches can have at work. But it is not everyday we see the impact, the amazing impact, it can have on other types of work. How about this: Marcus Hammarberg, walks into a hospital and the hospital is about the crumble. Literally! The roof has collapsed, there’s dripping water and buckets everywhere and the second floor is overrun with debris. But that is not where the problems end…

A few months later, and using Kanban, Agile and Lean ideas the hospital is saved. But how did that happen?

Marcus explains his story, and the amazing transformation in his latest book: The Bungsu (now available for pre-order at Amazon), and we have a short video to explain the main points of the story right here.

Click on to see the video, and sign-up to get the first chapter of the book.

Continue reading How Agile and Lean saved a hospital from bankruptcy! Twice!

Product Owner Anti-Patterns, and how Scrum Masters can help overcome those

Product Owners have an impossible job! I know, I’ve been a Product Owner. And even worse, a Product Manager transitioning to Product Owner! And even worse! I was also the Project Manager. Geeez! When I look back I am amazed I survived that phase of my career.

Here’s the kicker, that was the best time of my Agile adoption journey. I got to see my ideas come to life so quickly! And have a concrete business impact (the product we delivered went on to generate 10 Million Eur in sales a little over 3 years).

My Product Owner journey towards Agile was not easy! Let me tell you how I survived that stressful time, and lived on to learn a lot from the experience.

Continue reading Product Owner Anti-Patterns, and how Scrum Masters can help overcome those

Adrian Kerry on why coaching is so important for Scrum Masters

In change processes many behaviours, habits and practices need to change. As we adapt to the new way of working we struggle to find our footing in the new reality. How can a Scrum Master help a team in that kind of transition. What are the skills we should have? Where to go for those skills. Listen in to learn Adrian’s journey and how he found that coaching was a critical skill for him.

In this episode we refer to Behavior Driven Development, a practice that help teams collaborate with the product stakeholders, while defining concrete, automated tests.

About Adrian Kerry

A Scrum Master who specialises in Mobile and User Centred Design based approaches, Adrian comes from a testing background and he still finds that he champions making testing easier for the teams he works with. Due to that Adrian is also a strong advocate of XP practices (and, from that, BDD)

You can link with Adrian Kerry on LinkedIn.

Jacopo Romei asks us: Find the upper limit to your coaching skills and respect it

When working in certain organizations we are challenged with contexts that we just can’t cope with. Whether it is a personality problem, or just a complex social conflict, it is crucial to understand where our limits are, and accept those. Being humble is key to keep our sanity and move on. As a Scrum Master we should be very clear on what kind of situations we are not ready, or even wanting to face. Jacopo shares just that kind of story in this episode.

About Jacopo Romei

Agile practitioner since 2003, entrepreneur more than once, he has been agile coach in eBay Italia, co-founder of the ALE Network and a former member in Cocoon Projects, an open governance based company. His main focus now are contracts and lean-thinking-compatible agreements.

You can link with Jacopo Romei on LinkedIn and connect with Jacopo Romei on Twitter.

You can also follow Jacopo’s work at JacopoRomei.com, and follow the latest news on his book about Extreme Contracts on LeanPub.

BONUS Episode: Luca Minudel on the coaching role of Scrum Masters

Luca, who’s coached at the fast paced environment of the Ferrari F1 team surely knows what “speed” and “time-to-market” mean in the extreme cases. However, independently of all of that pressure Luca has been able to develop his coaching approach without focusing on pushing, forcing or manipulating people to do “the right thing”. How did he do that? We discuss his career and his learnings in this special episode about coaching.

Luca, just like all of us, tried to help people that did not want help, but that only led to his frustration as a professional and very little results. So he embarked on a journey to become a more effective coach. One of the key lessons Luca shares is about the commitment that is expected from the coach, as well as the team or individuals in the team.

Establish commitment and check often

As coaches, we need to ensure that we have the commitment of the people involved or risk failure and frustration. Luca shares his approach for how we can reach a mutual commitment with the people we work with in a way that supports their goals as well as the role we play as coaches and Scrum Masters.

Beyond the agreement between coach and team, we also need to learn to become better Scrum Masters. Luca shares his insights and the actions he took to learn to become a better Scrum Master and coach over his career. One simple tip he shares is: learn to facilitate key ceremonies in the process. The better you are at facilitating the ceremonies, the better the results will be with the team.

The information we need to learn our craft

On top of the work we must do to learn the facilitation role, we must strive to learn and improve ourselves at all times. For that we share in this episode several sources of knowledge and tools that can help us understand better organizations and people we work with. In short, if we are not improving on a regular basis, we are regressing in our knowledge.

Some of the knowledge areas we discuss in this episode are:

The challenges we must be aware of in an Agile adoption

As change agents, we face many challenges, and Luca shares the most common ones he has faced in his career. From the negotiated agreement on the role of the Scrum Master or coach (e.g using the GROW model as a basis for those conversations) to the support network we need to establish to support our work and the continued adoption (e.g. using the communities of practice pattern).

Do we need a Scrum Master when the team is working well?

The final question we tackle is: when is our job done? Luca shares a pattern from his previous employer (ThoughtWorks) that covers aspects that support the team in their efforts, but is not a Scrum Master role. We discuss the “Iteration Manager” role and what that might mean for Scrum Masters that want to continue to work with a team that has reached a certain maturity level.

About Luca Minudel

Luca Minudel is a Lean-Agile Coach & Trainer with 14 years of experience in Lean/Agile and 20+ in professional software delivery. He is passionate about agility, lean, complexity science, and collaboration.

 

He contributed to the adoption of lean and agile practices at Ferrari’s F1 racing team. For ThoughtWorks he has delivered training, coaching, assessments and organisational transformations in top-tier organisations in Europe and the United States. He worked as Head of Agility in 4Finance and he is working as coach for a top bank in Canary Wharf.

Luca is founder and CEO at SmHarter.com, a company that helps organisations turn their way of working into their competitive advantage.

You can link with Luca Mindel on LinkedIn and connect with Luca Mindel on Twitter.