In this reference filled episode we talk about change, how to involve people in change, the different approaches to management and many other topics.
We also discuss one of the possible skills you can use as a Scrum Master: the energy level you put into the role. Finally, we discuss tips on how to engage with teams and team members so that your role as a Scrum Master is easier and pleasurable.
Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking 🙂 In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion – helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic”, having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.
Nonviolent communication is a method of a communication process developed by Marshall Rosenberg beginning in the 1960s. It focuses on three aspects of communication: self-empathy (defined as a deep and compassionate awareness of one’s own inner experience), empathy (defined as an understanding of the heart in which we see the beauty in the other person), and honest self-expression (defined as expressing oneself authentically in a way that is likely to inspire compassion in others).
But how can we, as Scrum Masters benefit from this method?
A simple context where NVC may be useful is when teams and team members want to get and give feedback. NVC can be very useful to phrase our feedback in a way that highlights what we are looking for (our needs being met) without expressing judgement over others (our opinions of them). But that’s only one of the contexts where NVC may be useful. There are many others.
I bet your team has a lot of written communication with stakeholders and within the team. Is that right? Well, then you know that written communication has a lot of potential for misunderstandings and to generate conflicts. How can we avoid that? By using better approaches to communicate. Melissa also explains how we can use NVC ideas to make written communication less conflictuous and more likely to have the impact we hope.
What we need to be able to communicate effectively
NVC is a good method to structure our communication, but before we can use that method we need to understand how we feel. NVC, being a needs/emotions driven communication method requires us to be aware of our own emotions and feelings. So we need to learn about emotions and needs. And especially we need to enlarge our vocabulary about needs and feelings so that we can communicate them in a way that is understandable by others. This is especially important if you are not a native speaker of the language you use at work.
Where should I get started if I want to know more about NVC?
In this episode Melissa also shares simple practices you can take into use immediately to help you practice NVC and help your team learn about, and maybe even get started with NVC.
About Melissa Lang
Melissa has worked in many diverse jobs over the last 20 years: ethnomusicologist, cook, IT project manager, agile coach. In all of those jobs, her main focus has been on strengthening team work and facilitating communication. As a dedicated agilist for 10+ years Melissa has worked at a range of companies, from start-up to multi-national corporation. Currently she is coaching teams from Barcelona and Hamburg at Xing AG where she has been employed since December 2011.
One of the tasks we take up as Scrum Masters is to help to change the wider organization. Starting with the teams that our team interacts with. Jason explains how he is able to detect and work with the teams outside that are ready and willing to help change the organization.
“That’s not Agile!” is a common phrase we hear when a team does not want to compromise their view of agile in order to improve the collaboration with external stakeholders. Although that phrase may be true, we as Scrum Masters must look beyond the surface and understand how to help teams collaborate better with stakeholders.
The word team is often abused. Many teams do not meet the basic requirements of what it means to be a team, yet they are called a team, and expected to behave like a team. Woody discusses such a team and explains what are the key aspects that make a team a real team.
About Woody Zuill
Woody Zuill, an independent Agile Consultant, Trainer, Coach, and Guide and has been programming computers for 30+ years. As a pioneer of the Mob Programming approach of teamwork for software development he has been sharing presentations and workshops on Mob Programming for conferences, user groups, and companies all over the world. He is considered one of the founders of the “#NoEstimates” discussion on Twitter.
You can connect with Woody Zuill on LinkedIn or contact Woody Zuill on Twitter.
If you are interested, check the MobProgramming conference.
When we try to help teams we often forget that just because people work in the same area or are nominally called a “team” they may not be a real team. In this episode Ryan relates the story of a team that imploded because of the anti-patterns inherent to teams that aren’t really teams.
We also refer to the Super-Chicken Ted talk that explains some of the anti-patterns that destroy team’s effectivity. We also talk about the book Get Rid or Performance Appraisals by Luis Goncalves.
About Ryan Ripley
Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.
You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.
Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans. Be sure to check it out!
The systems view of the Scrum Master work is not limited to one system. We work with the teams which are one system, but we also work with the team of teams. How the teams interact and cooperate is a system in itself. Enabling cooperation between Scrum Masters can be a very effective way to work with the larger systems.
Retrospectives are one of the key ceremonies for teams. Well prepared and executed retrospectives can take a team from ordinary to extraordinary and can help teams avoid the anti-patterns that so often lead to difficult problems down the line.
One of the resources that Jiri uses when preparing his retrospectives is Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives.
The Product Owner role can enable to make the work of the team very difficult. In this episode Jiri talks about how important the Product Owner role really is and how to help teams align. We also talk about aligning remote teams discussing some of the techniques that Jiri uses to have remote teams collaborate effectively.
Sometimes we enter organizations and teams where everybody talks about how messy things are. This language prevents the people in that organization from seeing the situation clearly and does not allow them to move on. Alberto uses many techniques to help teams and organizations recognize and remove the “messiness” from their lives. In this episode he explains how he does that.
About Alberto Brandolini
Alberto looks at himself as sit at the intersection between the Agile/Lean community and the Domain-Driven Design community. Sometimes, he says, the solution is to write better software, sometimes the solution is to take a big modelling surface and see “the problem” in all its magnificence, sometimes the solution is to have a beer.
You can link up with Alberto Brandolini on LinkedIn, or connect with Alberto Brandolini on Twitter.