Ellen Santamaria: Asking questions to enable and empower the Scrum team

In this episode, we explore the case of the PO who was absent, but great at asking questions, and we discuss what can be done when the PO says that “everything is a priority”.

The Great Product Owner: Asking questions to enable and empower the Scrum team

Although it can be a problem that the Product Owner is absent, sometimes that works out really well for the team. In this segment, we explore the story of the CTO that became the Product Owner for a team, and even if he was not always available, he was good at enabling and empowering the team to take ownership of their work through the questions he asked. 

The Bad Product Owner: The “Everything is a priority” anti-pattern

When everything is a priority, there are 2 ceremonies that break down. Refinement/Grooming meetings and Sprint planning start to fall apart. There’s too many stories to refine, we try to fit too much into one sprint, which leads to conflicts in Sprint planning. Ultimately teams start taking short-cuts which may lead to even bigger problems. In this segment, we discuss how to help a PO that says “everything is a priority”.

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: Cards Against Agility, a fun Agile retrospective game

When it comes to Scrum Master success, Ellen likes to look at metrics that indicate if her work is having an impact. She suggests that a simple metric around the quality of the Sprint planning may be enough to assess the success for the Scrum Master. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Cards Against Agility

Ellen developed a game called Cards against Agility based on another popular game. Ellen uses this game as a simple way for the team to blow-off some steam, or as she puts it “trash talk in a fun way”. 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: A simple tool to help non-Software teams adopt Scrum

How do we help teams that are not developing software, but still are using Scrum? In this episode, we talk about how different the adoption process is for non-technical teams, and learn about the tool that Ellen developed to help teams adopt Scrum even when not working in a software development role. 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: Dealing with value conflicts between Scrum Master and team or organization

How often do you reflect on the prevailing culture of the team and organization where you work? Are that team or organization’s values aligned with you own personal values? 

As Scrum Masters, the organizations and teams we work with have a big impact on the work we can do. In this episode, we discuss how sometimes the organization and team’s cultures are not aligned with the Scrum Master’s values, and what we should do about it.

Featured Book for the Week: The Hitchhiker’s guide to Agile Coaching

In The Hitchhiker’s guide to Agile Coaching, by the Agile42 coaches (free sign-up required), Ellen found a good description of the different stances Scrum Masters need to take in their role. The book invites us to consider the stance we take at each moment. 

In this segment, we also refer to the 5 coaching stances for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches (free sign-up required).

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.

Ellen Santamaria: How to keep Scrum teams motivated in the Agile adoption process

Let’s say that a team has started adopting Scrum. That’s great, right? No so quick! Did the team start adopting Scrum of their own accord? Or was it a dictate from above? As a Scrum Master, we need to pay special attention to why the teams started adopting Scrum. And we must work with them to define and help them stick to their own work agreements. It’s easy to say that people are motivated to do the work they themselves define, but as a Scrum Master are you helping the team define what they want to achieve, and how they want to work? 

About Ellen Santamaria

Ellen is a Scrum Master based in Berlin, and originally from Australia. She completed a Bachelor in Australian and later a Masters in Berlin, Germany where she works.

Ellen is passionate about startups, innovation, social entrepreneurship, new business models, organisational change management, and other topics. She also loves story-based video games, sci-fi, pétanque, and finding new ways of doing things.

You can link with Ellen Santamaria on LinkedIn.