Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole: The Scrum Master is NOT an admin role! And other Scrum Master anti-patterns

Jen and Jamie share with us one of the common anti-patterns around the Scrum Master role. Many seem to think that the Scrum Master is an admin person. Setting meetings, ensuring the teams have post-its, etc. But could not be farther from the truth.

In this episode, we discuss how we can avoid the Admin anti-pattern, and how to set the right expectations with teams and the wider organization.

In this episode we refer to the book The Power of Now by Eckhart.

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

Jen and Jamie (sweet and salty as they call themselves) are passionate about people, relationships, leadership, accountability, common sense, and getting sh*t done! Ultimate dream job would be to coach individuals, teams, and organizations in discovering and cultivating potential and doing things better by identifying people’s strengths, passions, and skill sets, along with effective processes and strategy to build a strong, healthy culture.

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Nisha Balwatkar on being a Scrum Master and a programmer at the same time

When Nisha got started she loved the logical thinking required for programming. However, the role of the Scrum Master was much more than that. On top of that, being a Scrum Master and trying to program at the same time brought some serious problems that Nisha had to face. Listen in to learn how you can survive the dual role of being a programmer and a Scrum Master (or not).

About Nisha Balwatkar

Nisha started her career as a programmer for the love of logical reasoning and technology and soon found herself trapped in the mismanagement of software teams affecting the work and efforts put in by the teams. She always had a feeling she could fix it and eventually moved to be a scrum master. She enjoys helping out teams and see the joy of success by identifying and fixing small things.

You can link with Nisha Balwatkar on LinkedIn and connect with Nisha Balwatkar on Twitter.

Eddie Kenny: from project management to software delivery

Often we mix-up software delivery with project management. Those are different activities. Both necessary, but quite different. When we focus on project management only, we often miss critical work that is necessary to ship software. In this episode, we discuss why that difference matters and how to help teams move from project management focus to project management + software delivery focus.

In this episode, we refer to the book Dynamic Reteaming by Heidi Helfand. Heidi Helfand was a guest on a past podcast week.

About Eddie Kenny

Eddie is an agile coach who has been working with Agile since 2004 using XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban & Scaled Agile. He coaches teams, scrum masters, product owners, leaders, coaches, organizations and little humans. He likes teaching agile with Lego & games and is also co-founder of the LeanAgileBrighton conference.

You can link with Eddie Kenny on LinkedIn and connect with Eddie Kenny on Twitter.

Ivo Peksens asks: As a Scrum Master, are you good at facilitating meetings?

A recurring anti-pattern in Scrum is when people hate the meetings that are part of the process. Scrum does not have many meetings, but when badly facilitated they can feel overwhelming, or worse: boring.

In this episode, we explore some of the signs that you might need to improve your meeting facilitation skills and what to do about that.

About Ivo Peksens

Ivo is an Agile Coach at heart. He tries to live that role every day. His view is that to be somebody like an Agile Coach is a lifestyle, attitude across everything you do. Ivo has been in IT industry about 20 years and has been a Scrum Master and Agile Coach for the last 5 years.

You can link with Ivo Peksens on LinkedIn and connect with Ivo Peksens on Twitter.


Richard Griffiths: Improve your change management, sell the problem, not the solution

Often, as Scrum Masters, we know what needs to change and focus our efforts in “selling” the solution. What it is, why it is a good idea, etc. But, when Richard failed to help an organization change he learned an important lesson. To improve how we help change progress, we should sell the problem, not the solution.

About Richard Griffiths

Lapsed software developer, agile and scrum learner, tenor, drummer.
Richard guides and coaches Scrum Teams and organizations on how to use Agile/Scrum practices and values. Helping to teach, facilitate, collaborate & mentor software development teams, enhancing their agile maturity through coaching technical practices as well as the ceremonies and techniques. Richard likes to help teams and organizations obtain higher levels of maturity, at a pace that is sustainable and comfortable for the team and organization.

You can link with and connect with Richard Griffiths on Twitter.

Rade Zivanovic on being a part-time Scrum Master

Like many of us, Rade started out as a part-time Scrum Master. A part-time tester and part-time Scrum Master, Rade had to re-think his role.

Many of us go through this process: should I do my “primary” job? Or help the team in my role as a Scrum Master. Rade’s story is both a warning and an inspiration for those of us who are stuck in a part-time Scrum Master role.

About Rade Zivanovic

Rade is a compassionate Scrum Master, who enjoys helping and supporting teams in their work and seeing them succeed.

You can link with Rade Zivanovic on LinkedIn and connect with Rade Zivanovic on Twitter.

Massimiliano Fattorusso on when Cognitive Diversity fails, and how Scrum Masters can avoid it

We’ve heard that cognitive diversity in a team can have a good impact on team performance. Whether that diversity is added by looking at gender, race or any other dimension, the expectation is that when you add more points of view to a team you avoid things like Groupthink, and other related pitfalls. But is that so?

In this episode, we explore a situation when adding cognitive diversity to the team was a big problem. And then we discuss how we can avoid that in our own work.

About Massimiliano Fattorusso

Massimiliano has a strong interest in agile methodologies and lean principles. He is keen on sharing lessons learned as a speaker at international and local conferences. Empathy, creativity and drive to innovate is part of his identity. Massimiliano is not afraid of addressing the uncomfortable truth, that’s how he helps bring teams forward.

You can link with Massimiliano Fattorusso on LinkedIn and connect with Massimiliano Fattorusso on Twitter.

Donna Marie Lee on Scrum Masters taking things personally

Scrum Masters face difficult moments regularly. Helping organizations and teams improve is not a linear process, and sometimes people react emotionally to the changes they are facing. Donna Marie shares a story of when she took that push-back personally. We then discuss how to overcome the temptation to take things personally, and what to do instead.

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

You can link with Donna Marie Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Donna Marie Lee on Twitter.

Daniel Heinen on how Scrum Masters can protect the team from political games in the organization

In this episode, Daniel tells us the story of when the Product Owner took a “leader” role, and hid information from the stakeholders. The Product Owner promised many things to management to ensure funding for the project. This is a common anti-pattern in project organizations, but it can have serious consequences in an Agile environment because of the additional transparency that Agile and Scrum bring to the process.

In this episode, we talk about how Daniel and the team handled the difficult and delicate situation they were facing.

In this episode, we refer to the #NoEstimates movement, and the concept of Muda (Type 1) from Lean Manufacturing.

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

David Denham on what happens when Scrum Masters have their own Agenda

When Scrum Masters come to work with a team they must make a critical decision. Are they there to help the team, in their own terms, or to “bring in” Scrum or improvements? There’s a critical difference between these alternative approaches.

In this episode, we discuss how Scrum Masters can fail when they come to the team to “bring in” Scrum. Listen in to learn how that looks like, and how to detect that anti-pattern before it is too late.

In this episode, we refer to the Kanban Method.

About David Denham

David Denham works as a Scrum Master in Workday in Dublin and is one of the leaders of the Agile-Lean Ireland community and co-organiser of the ALI conference. He previously worked as a UX lead and believes in the power of Product delivery teams being involved in Product Discovery, through practicing Design Sprints. He practices failure every single day by attempting to use his agile coaching skills with his 2 small daughters!

You can link with David Denham on LinkedIn and connect with David Denham on Twitter.