BONUS: Psychological safety for teams, an interview with Stephan Wiedner

Psychological Safety is a commonly discussed topic in Agile circles. We’re frequently reminded how important it is for team performance. But how do we, as Scrum Masters, help our teams achieve that state, where they are free to express their thoughts on the challenges they face as a team without the fear of being overruled, ridiculed, or chastised for having a non-standard opinion?

In this episode, we explore Psychological Safety with Stephan Wiedner, and discuss what we can do to help create an environment where each individual can excel and help the team perform.

A personal lesson learned about the critical importance of Psychological Safety

Continue reading BONUS: Psychological safety for teams, an interview with Stephan Wiedner

Franziska Moenster: The missing ingredient for a Scrum team to be able to work remote! 

This is the story of a team that, even if they had a long history of working together, was faced with a new reality: remote work! During the pandemic years, many teams had to change from co-located work to remote work, and that change had big impacts on their work, and relationships. We discuss the lessons learned by Franny about teams that made that transition, and what is usually missing that leads to problems!

Featured Book of the Week: The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team by Lencioni

In The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team by Lencioni, Franny found a reminder that conflict is a necessary, and – if managed correctly – productive part of the team’s development. We discuss how everyone in the team has a different relationship with conflict, and why Scrum Masters should take that into account when observing, and intervening in team conflicts.

In this segment, we also talk about the book New Work needs Inner Work: Ein Handbuch für Unternehmen auf dem Weg zur Selbstorganisation, a German language book that helped Franny understand that the inner structures we have as Scrum Masters also need some work for us to be able to adapt ourselves to Agile.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Franziska Moenster

Franny (short for Franziska) loves seeing the power of building strong performing teams that build products in a customer centric way. She’s been working as a Scrum Master/Agile Coach for over 5 years. Profiting from her hands-on experience on scaling agile across teams and her joy of trying out new things she is always inspecting and adapting on an organizational level as well! On a personal note, she has recently moved to Tenerife to follow her passion of freediving.

You can link with Franziska Moenster on LinkedIn.

Juan Rodriguez: The unavoidable explosive team conflict, lessons learned for Scrum Masters

This story starts with what was supposed to be a normal, routine daily standup. However, that was not to happen. Two team members started a shouting match that left Juan confused, and surprised. Listen in to learn what happened next, and how to prepare for those, unexpected, but eventually unavoidable conflicts that Scrum Masters will face!

About Juan Rodriguez

Juan started his career as a Drafter. He then transitioned to Engineering IT support, eventually landing in software development. His first introduction to agile-like practices was in 2014, which did not go that well. A few years later, Juan was introduced to Scrum, where he now enjoys being a Scrum Master.

You can link with Juan Rodriguez on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Karin Tenelius on how Self-organization can have a major positive business impact

Karin has a long experience helping teams and businesses to use self-organization as a way to drive business success. She’s worked as an interim-CEO in several companies where she helped drive major changes and positive business results using the principles and ideas behind self-organization.

Self-organization is not only for small teams. Karin shares with us the stories of the businesses where she worked, and how some fundamental changes enabled not only self-organization but also major business changes.

Read on for the detailed insights from this episode.

Continue reading BONUS: Karin Tenelius on how Self-organization can have a major positive business impact

BONUS: Melissa Lang on using Nonviolent Communication as a method to build stronger teams

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).

Melissa was made aware of Non-violent communication via the work of Bob Marshall (check out his episode on Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast), and his blog where he published several articles about Nonviolent Communication. Thanks to this work, and some of the Marshall Rosenberg Nonviolent communication videos on YouTube, Melissa got started with NVC. A journey that changed her view of communication and what matters when it comes to building stronger teams.

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?

When it comes to getting started with NVC, Melissa has a few recommendations for us. The first is the book by Marshall Rosenberg: Nonviolent communication, A Language of Life, but is also very important to practice every part of the method as well as read and learn about emotions, feelings(PDF) and needs.

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.

You can connect with Melissa Lang on Twitter and link with Melissa Lang on XING or LinkedIn.

If you want to follow Melissa’s writings, be sure to follow her blog over at Medium.

 

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