Jesse Houwing: Customer collaboration AND contract negotiation for Scrum Masters

While working on a project for a client, Jesse was able to help develop a good collaboration with the client, and the client was happy with the team’s deliverables… except that Finance and Legal got involved and refused to pay. The reason was that even if the collaboration was working well with the people who would use the software, the Finance, and Legal department wanted to withhold payment due to missing functionality. 

The final user and client did not want or need that functionality, but it was written in the contract. 

There’s a key lesson here for us Scrum Masters: even when we focus on customer collaboration, we must not forget that contracts may be strictly enforced, and we must be ready for it. Jesse shares some tips on how to be ready for such situations.

About Jesse Houwing

Father of 2, husband of 1, Professional Scrum Trainer with, Steward of the Scaled Scrum curriculum there, gadgeteer and techy at heart. Lives in the middle of The Netherlands.

You can link with and connect with Jesse Houwing on Twitter.

Ludmila Reyter: Agile transition failures and how to prepare

Ludmila started in a company as an internal tool project manager. Soon after that, the company adopted Agile, and project managers were “remodeled” to be Scrum Masters. Ludmila’s journey as a Scrum Master started, and soon she was working in another organization where she was the only Scrum Master, leading to an unhappy outcome that taught Ludmila an important lesson for Scrum Masters stuck in difficult agile transitions.

About Ludmila Reyter

Ludmila started as a project manager and became a scrum master early on, and has been working with teams in the software development sector for 7 years now – but with other teams in general (basketball, studies) much longer. 

She loves to see people working together successfully, which of course means going through some tough times, too. Ludmila realized that the things she once learned somehow rearrange and has a thought for us: never be sure that what you think you know will always be true!

You can link with Ludmila Reyter on LinkedIn and connect with Ludmila Reyter on Twitter.

Mahesh Jade: Learning to apply the spirit of Servant Leadership as a Scrum Master

The lessons that Mahesh learned in one organization, were not applicable when he changed organizations. That story brought Mahesh an important lesson that all Scrum Masters should pay attention to. We must learn to apply the “spirit” of servant leadership and not only the tools we might have learned in the past.

About Mahesh Jade

Mahesh is an Agile evangelist dedicated to championing the cause of building winning teams and winning products. A facilitator by passion, a coach, and an agilist at heart, he works to bring agility to the organization and humanizing the workplace. 

You can link with Mahesh Jade on LinkedIn and connect with Mahesh Jade on Twitter.

Leigh Griffin: Managing stakeholder expectations, a critical task for Scrum Masters

When Leigh was working on this project, he tried his best to keep all the stakeholders up to date, including traveling to headquarters to meet up and talk to his managers.

Then, when the news came that the project was delayed, the managers denied ever having heard about any delays. This was a critical lesson for Leigh on how to work with stakeholders and manage their expectations. 

In this episode, we talk about the book The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson.

About Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Ben Maynard: Struggling as a Scrum Product Owner, lessons learned in collaboration

Ben reminds us that Product Owners can sometimes focus on their work so much that they forget about the importance of interacting directly with the team. In this story, Ben shares his own experience as a struggling PO and what happened when he tried to create the backlog in isolation, without the team being involved. His intentions were good, but the way we create the backlog can make or break the product development process. 

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: 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Ben Maynard

Ben is an experienced coach, trainer, and mentor assisting senior leaders in medium to large organizations with organizational design and the cultural repercussions. 

You can link with Ben Maynard on LinkedIn and connect with Ben Maynard on Twitter.

Jacy Ong: As a Scrum Master, be helpful, not compliant

When we get started in our Scrum Master journey it is easy to try and comply with other people’s expectations, and end up betraying the original ideas for the Scrum Master role. In this story, Jacy describes one such moment. We walk through the problems that come from trying to please, instead of trying to help and share some tips for Scrum Masters facing pressure to comply and ignore some of the basic Scrum rules.

About Jacy Ong

Jacy is a big anime fan! And she has found a strong connection between sports anime and her work as a scrum master. As she puts it: “nothing feels more rewarding than to watch your teams grow and achieve goals they never thought they could possibly achieve. :)”

You can link with Jacy Ong on LinkedIn.

Chris Stone: Creating a culture of high-performance in Agile organizations

When mistakes happen, the natural tendency in many organizations is to find the ones “to blame”. However, that’s not how you create a high-performing culture. Understanding this, helps us work as Scrum Masters to direct people’s energy and attention to the next step: “how do we make sure similar problems don’t happen, what change do we need?” In this episode, Chris shares one story where an organization was able to go beyond the blame game and create a culture of achievement that helped everyone feel supported and accountable. Listen in to learn what tools helped create that culture.

About Chris Stone

Chris is The Virtual Agile coach, a #PeopleFirst champion, and an Agile Evangelist / Agile Transformation Lead / Scrum Master possessing over 8 years of experience within the IT industry.

You can link with Chris Stone on LinkedIn.

Adrienne Rinaldi: Scrum Masters as the lighthouse in impossible situations

As Scrum Masters, we will sometimes face an impossible situation. Or at least, it will seem that way. In this episode, Adrienne tells the story of a team that was set up for failure, and we explore what Scrum Masters can do in those situations. 

About Adrienne Rinaldi

Adrienne Rinaldi is an Agile Transformation Coach and co-founder with PinnacleTek Consulting. She has a passion for topics such as emotional intelligence in agile leadership, cultural transformations and breaking the norms in hierarchical organizations. She has enabled value-based strategy and business agility at many levels of client organizations: teams, programs and portfolios. When not being an agilist, Adrienne’s activities a published book (about beer and yoga!), mountaineering, hiking (Colorado 14er finisher), kayaking and spending time with friends/family.

You can link with Adrienne Rinaldi on LinkedIn

Arjay Hinek: Adapting Agile to any industry, tips and lessons learned

From his early days as a Project Manager adopting Agile, Arjay was hooked. He saw how Agile could help him and the teams he worked with. However, when he tried to apply Agile outside the software industry, he discovered how the industry context had a direct impact on the applicability of some of the Agile ideas he had learned to love. Arjay shares what he learned about how to adapt Agile ideas to any industry.

About Arjay Hinek

Arjay has been an Agilist for over a decade. In the last few years, he’s focused on Agile and “product development” for non-software applications. A considers himself a teacher at heart, he uses metaphors and story-telling to help others see their challenges from a different perspective and overcome them. 

You can link with Arjay Hinek on LinkedIn and connect with Arjay Hinek on Twitter

You can follow Arjay’s blog at

Leland Newson: Focusing on increasing velocity over continuous improvement in an Agile organization

This episode starts with a story of a team that was asked to “improve their velocity”. It’s a cautionary tale about what happens when Scrum is used as a method to get the teams to “go faster” without thinking about the larger consequences of Agile adoption. 

In this episode, we talk about the Rational Unified Process, a process developed in the 90’s that ultimately re-enforced the waterfall anti-patterns in organizations.

In this episode, we also refer to the work by Dan Vacanti and Troy Magennis

About Leland Newson

Leland is a SAFe Release Train Engineer and servant leader who is passionate about helping improve the work environment and helping teams uncover better ways to development software. He focuses on collaboration, shortening feedback loops, improving the flow of work through the system and increasing the team’s adaptability so they can quickly respond to changes and satisfy customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

You can link with Leland Newson on LinkedIn and connect with Leland Newson on Twitter.