Joe Scherler: The Self-Driving Team, Signs of a Self-Sufficient Scrum Team

In this episode, we discuss how important it is to help a team evolve to the point where they no longer need direct guidance. But what are the signs of such a transformation? This episode explores possible indicators of a team’s growing autonomy, from self-initiated process improvements to a shift from seeking solutions to seeking opinions. How can discussing value over output and engaging with the team on waste reduction contribute to this evolution? Discover the key questions and approaches Joe recommends for Scrum Masters aiming to foster truly self-sustaining teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A Dialogue-Based Timeline

In this segment, Joe introduces a reflective and dialogue-rich retrospective format that begins with understanding the current state of the team and tracing back through the events of the last Sprint. By drawing a timeline and encouraging team members to share their personal experiences and impacts, this format fosters a deeper understanding of the team’s dynamics. How can incorporating personal experiences into retrospectives enhance team empathy and collaboration? Learn how this approach helps teams transition from identifying events to interpreting their significance and planning actionable improvements, ultimately strengthening the team’s ability to navigate challenges together.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Joe Scherler

Having experienced Scrum and Agile in various roles, Joe’s mission is to unlock the hidden potential of teams and those who work with them to create a work environment that is as enjoyable as it is effective. He loves working on both soft and hard skills with the teams.

You can link with Joe Scherler on LinkedIn.

Nimi Bello: The Vacation Test and Other Self-Assessment Prompts to Assess Agile Team Independence

In the episode, Nimi explores critical questions for self-assessment as a Scrum Master. From team improvement and autonomy to conflict resolution and collaboration, she delves into self-assessment prompts like “Can I go on vacation?” and “Am I a good Scrum Master?” Nimi emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement, hands-on guidance, and personal development. The episode serves as a guide for Scrum Masters seeking to enhance team performance and their own effectiveness.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Generating Organic Team Discussions with the Start/Stop/Continue Retrospective format

In the segment, Nimi explores the effectiveness of the “Start/Stop/Continue” framework for fostering organic team discussions. Highlighting the simplicity and action-oriented nature of this approach, she emphasizes its role in promoting both individual and team reflection. Nimi provides tips, suggesting timeboxing the conversation and embracing silence, recognizing its transformative potential in retrospectives. The episode underscores the value of unplanned, authentic conversations and the bravery that silence can inspire in team members.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Nimi Bello

Nimi Bello is a seasoned Agile professional with a diverse skill set. She currently serves as a Release Train Engineer at Deloitte. With over 8 years of experience, Nimi is an award-winning Creative Director, Principal Agile Consultant, and Strategic Partner. Her expertise lies in sales, technology, and guiding teams through the complex journey of transitioning to Agile methodology. Nimi is a global change agent with a fervor for building and scaling businesses and communities.

You can link with Nimi Bello on LinkedIn.

Armin Mandara: Thriving Teams and Joyful Work, Armin’s Vision of Scrum Master Success

Armin reflects on the essence of success for Scrum Masters, emphasizing the delivery of high-performing teams and consistent, valuable software. He emphasizes the importance of joy and camaraderie within the team, highlighting laughter and open communication as key indicators. Armin stresses the value of fun in facilitating difficult conversations. Success, in his view, also hinges on the team’s ability to openly discuss problems.

In this episode, wer refer to the episode about a team that got into trouble: “When Harmony Hinders Progress, Learning to Trigger Difficult Conversations”. [LINK]

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Fostering Open Conversations with Simple Retrospective Techniques and Exercises

Armin likes to use the framework by Derby and Larsen (introduced in the Agile Retrospectives book). He begins with a warm-up exercise to set the stage and assess the mood of the team. For data gathering on what’s going well and what needs improvement he might run the “glad/sad/mad” exercise. Armin values open conversation for generating insights and emphasizes clear instructions for each phase. To conclude, he incorporates a lively check-out exercise, ensuring a fun and engaging close to the retrospective session. This approach enhances team reflection and facilitates meaningful discussions for continuous improvement.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Armin Mandara

Armin is the Head of Scrum Masters at IBM iX, a leading digital agency. With a career spanning seven years as a Scrum Master, Armin has partnered with numerous teams to successfully deliver top-notch digital products. His passion lies in enabling agile teams to achieve their goals and unleash their true potential.

You can link with Armin Mandara on LinkedIn.

Armin Mandara: When Harmony Hinders Progress, Learning to Trigger Difficult Conversations

Armin shares his experience with one of his initial teams, responsible for QA and user acceptance. The team lacked cross-functionality and faced uneven work distribution. Communication about improvements was scarce, leading to stagnant progress. Some stakeholders provided no feedback, and the team maintained a facade of contentment. Armin observed a reluctance to engage in conflict and recognized the team’s collective unawareness of necessary improvements. Even if in one-on-one meetings, individuals were more candid, they did not raise the topics in a wider group. Armin advises addressing issues individually to gauge openness for discussion. The team’s absence of external pressure hindered growth, reflecting the challenge of balancing harmony with performance.

Featured Book of the Week: “Radical Honesty” by Brad Blanton

In this episode, Armin delves into his favorite book, “Radical Honesty” by Brad Blanton. He highlights how the book goes beyond conventional honesty, emphasizing the importance of genuine self-connection. Armin asserts that this radical honesty is a crucial skill for Scrum Masters, enabling them to tap into their emotions effectively. The book prompts a re-evaluation of authenticity, urging individuals to be true to themselves on a deeper level.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Armin Mandara

Armin is the Head of Scrum Masters at IBM iX, a leading digital agency. With a career spanning seven years as a Scrum Master, Armin has partnered with numerous teams to successfully deliver top-notch digital products. His passion lies in enabling agile teams to achieve their goals and unleash their true potential.

You can link with Armin Mandara on LinkedIn.

Michael Schmidt: When Comfort Stagnates Progress For An Agile Team, The Problem Avoidance Anti-pattern

In this episode, Michael recounts his experience in a company where he went against his instincts due to comfort. The software development environment prioritized being busy over progress. Goal setting and sprint planning were undervalued, and negative behaviors like gossiping prevailed. Michael’s attempts to offer help were met with resistance, as the team downplayed any possible issues. This anti-pattern of avoiding talking about problems hindered growth. Through perseverance, Michael learned the importance of trusting his intuition and initiating small, positive changes to build trust and overcome the fear, or dislike to discuss obstacles and problems.

Featured Book Of The Week: Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby

In this episode, Michael shares his favorite Agile book, Esther Derby’s and Diana Larsen’s “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great”. He emphasizes that every practice should have a purpose, instilling a profound sense of understanding. Michael highlights the true objective of retrospectives – not just for change, but for personal reflection. Establishing a routine for reflection minimizes change risks, providing a safe space for experimentation and learning from new approaches. The book’s insights resonate with Michael, underlining the importance of intentionality in Agile practices.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Michael Schmidt

Michael a Berlin-based Agile Coach for teams, roles and organisations around software based product development. Michael invented “the taskboard” on his own, which ignited his working agile by conviction some 13 years ago.

You can link with Michael Schmidt on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Schmidt on Twitter.

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