What is Business Agility? In a time where it seems that every company wants to adopt Agile, there’s also the dark side of Agile: the belief that it only affects “people in the IT department”. That could not be further from the truth.
In this episode, we have Evan Leybourn sharing what Business Agility is about, and why it matters for your organization.
Diana and I were kicking around a few topics for this episode, and we ended up selecting “Agile and Leadership, friends or foes?” The idea is to talk about how Agile and Leadership play together (or not)
In this episode, we talk with Diana Larsen and Jutta Eckstein about what problems Leaders try to fix with Agile, what challenges they have when they try to adopt Agile, and we will do this with the focus on the Scrum Master role, and what they can do by working with the leaders of the organizations they work within.
Let’s start by defining some of the major challenges we see happening out there.
The 3 biggest challenges on how Agile plays (or not) with Leadership
Some of the challenges we mention in this episode are not new. You are probably familiar with many of them. We talk about how Agile requires us to think about leadership as a distributed responsibility that team members need to take on, which is itself a major challenge for Scrum Masters as they help their teams understand what that means in practice.
We also discuss how important it is to understand that leadership is not simply a “role”, but also something we need to earn, including Scrum Masters.
Finally, we talk about the important role that leaders play for the teams they work with. Specifically in setting the direction that helps the teams adopt quicker processes like Hypothesis-Driven-Development, for example.
How Scrum Masters can cope with these challenges
We then discuss how Scrum Masters can understand, and learn to cope with these challenges. Not surprisingly, Agile Retrospectives come up as a critical tool for Scrum Masters to use when working with teams and their leaders.
Regarding collaboration with leaders, we discuss how Scrum Masters can help teams focus on the right goals, which need to be defined in cooperation with leaders in the organization.
But there’s a second tool we discuss that complements perfectly the work we do with the retrospectives and helps the teams and leaders understand where they can contribute the most: visualization as a way to establish a shared context.
Do Scrum Masters really need to protect the team from their leaders?
Stop me if you have heard this one before. Way back when I was taught that Scrum Masters need to protect the team from interference. Although it made sense to me at the time, with the passing of time, and after collecting more than a decade of experience, I have come to value a different approach.
In this segment, we talk about the need (or not) to protect the team from Leadership interference.
The goal, of course, is to generate a real collaboration between the team and the leaders in the organization.
The key resources on leadership and Scrum by Diana Larsen, Jutta Eckstein and Vasco Duarte
Given that leadership, and the collaboration between teams and leaders is a critical topic for Scrum Masters, we discuss some of the resources (books, podcasts, articles) we’ve found useful and informative on how to tackle that collaboration.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)