Leslie McCormack: Trying to be Agile in a Waterfall organization

Sometimes we work with teams that are in a context where Agile values and principles are not applied correctly. In this episode, we explore the story of a team that thought they were practicing Agile, but in fact, were still in the Waterfall mentality. We discuss how the mentality of the team directly affects their ability to understand and benefit from Agile ways of working.

Featured Book of the Week: The Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey

In The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year by Mitch Lacey, Leslie found inspirational ideas and practical advice that she could relate to, and therefore apply in her own practice. 

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

Darren Smith: Great Scrum teams excel under pressure!

You only know a good team when they are under pressure. It’s easy to “follow the process” if you have a lot of time and little pressure. However, as a Scrum Master, you know you’ve done good work when the team sticks to the process (and even improves it) when they are under pressure. I advocate using self-imposed pressure to get better, I’ve written and recorded a video about that based on my own experience as a runner. The same is true in your work as a Scrum Master! 

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti

In Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti, Darren found the inspiration to start using and learning from metrics. It also got Darren started on Probabilistic Forecasting, a method he uses regularly. 

In this segment, we also refer to Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, and to Scrum Mastery, but Geoff Watts. Both Diana Larsen and Geoff Watts have been guests here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast. 

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter

Addo de Visser: The leadership style required from Scrum Masters

It is tempting to make project managers the new Scrum Masters. They just need to be trained, right? In this segment, we discuss what can happen when people with the wrong mindset get assigned to the position of Scrum Master. We also talk about the different leadership styles that Scrum Masters need to embrace.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum a pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen 

Scrum a pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen (who’s been a guest on the podcast before) is a book that Addo describes as “concise and to the point”. In this segment, we also refer to Software in 30 days by Ken Schwaber and The Goal for Eliahy Goldratt, a book on Theory of Constraints

About Addo de Visser

Addo is a good team player, has a broad experience in different roles (Agile Coach, Scrum Master). Trainer in Agile. He communicates very well within all levels of an organization. He is motivated by structuring, getting people to work together towards a common goal, and bridge the gap between Business and IT. 

Addo is the author of a book on Agile. Addo’s book in English: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”. Addo’s book in Dutch: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”.

Remember: the profit of the book goes completely to program for children in developing countries!

You can link with Addo de Visser on LinkedIn and connect with Addo de Visser on Twitter.

You can also visit Addo’s page on Cap Gemini Academy

Rik Pennartz: Making remote, distributed team members feel part of the team

In this episode, we explore the story of a team that was scattered and working outside the office. We then explore the anti-patterns that made those team members feel like outsiders in their own team. Finally, we talk about the antidote, what to do to make the team feel like a team, no matter where they are.

In this episode, we also talk about Transformational Leadership.

Featured Book for the Week: The culture code, Daniel Coyle

In The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, Rik found a definition of the characteristics of successful groups. What makes them tick and got some inspiring stories that help him be a better coach for his teams.

About Rik Pennartz

Rik is an agile coach, who’s worked during the last years at the Volksbank, the Dutch Railways and ABN AMRO bank. Rik also teaches various agile courses such as Professional Scrum Master, DevOps fundamentals and Leading SAFe.

You can find Rik Pennartz at the Cap Gemini Academy.

You can link with Rik Pennartz on LinkedIn and connect with Rik Pennartz on Twitter

Moana Pledger: What happens when the Scrum Master leaves and the tech lead takes over

When all works well with a team, there’s the temptation for us as Scrum Masters to think that the “team gets it”, but even if that is the case, your role, and who you are is part of that system. When you leave things will be different. In this episode, we explore what happens when the Scrum Master leaves, and the previous technical lead takes over. In this story, we will hear the anti-patterns that can easily develop when the critical role of the Scrum Master is taken by someone else.

In this episode, we refer to Behavior Driven Development and “The New World Order” retrospective exercise, you can host a similar Agile Retrospective by using The Perfection Game exercise by Jim and Michele McCarthy, authors of the Core Protocols.

Featured Book for the Week: Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline

In Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline, Moana learned that it is critical to focus on improving our own performance so that we can help the teams we work with. In the book, she learned about the importance to focus on the quality of attention she gives to others when working with them.

About Moana Pledger

Mo started her career in education and program management before moving into digital delivery. She’s pretty sure she was a servant-leader before she had even heard the term. Her passion is to build healthy teams and foster the all-important relationship between business and team, which allows a safe space for the magic to happen.

You can link with Moana Pledger on LinkedIn and connect with Moana Pledger on Twitter

Chelsie Raiola: Helping Scrum teams learn how to re-team, accept new team members

Teams can’t always remain the same over time. What happens when the team needs to change its composition, or even work with new colleagues but refuses to do so? In this episode, we explore how Scrum Masters can help teams accept new team members and adapt to the inevitable organizational changes that will happen over time.

Featured Book for the Week: The Pocket Guide to Scrum by Gunther Verheyen

In The Pocket Guide to Scrum by Gunther Verheyen (who was a guest previously on the podcast), Chelsie found a quick to read and easily understandable collection of tips for Scrum Masters. 

In this segment, we also refer to User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton (also a guest on the podcast) and The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim et al

About Chelsie Raiola

Chelsie has been working as a Scrum Master in the Greater Boston Area for just over two years. She has experience working with both co-located and distributed teams developing on-premise and SaaS solutions worldwide. She is an avid lover of technology, dogs, and bullet journals, Chelsie loves finding ways to bring Agile outside of the office.

You can link with Chelsie Raiola 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.

Valeria Greco: The “Senior Team Member” anti-pattern in Scrum teams

Teams benefit from team members with a lot of experience. However, when those team members become the “only voice” in the team, that may lead to serious problems. In this episode, we explore the Senior Team Member anti-pattern, whereby one team member “overpowers” everyone else in the team, and the other team members are hesitant to share their perspectives. What should a Scrum Master do in this situation? Listen in to learn more, and get Valeria’s tips.

Featured Book for the Week: Coaching agile teams by Lyssa Adkins

In Coaching agile teams by Lyssa Adkins, Valeria found an inspiring book that helped her in her journey as a Scrum Master. In the book she finds a valuable reminder of the things she still has to practice and learn to be better at. 

About Valeria Greco

Valeria has worked as a Scrum Master for 4 years. She has experience with both Software development and non-software development Agile teams. When asked what she does for a living, Valeria replies: “I build teams!” And she does it by focusing on building relationships first. As Valeria says: “all my teams will tell you that I like talking about the feelings :-)”

You can link with Valeria Greco on LinkedIn and connect with Valeria Greco on Twitter.

Reinald Kirchner: How a “team of specialists” can kill productivity

In this episode, we explore the anti-pattern of the “team of specialists”. This team was formed by many freelancers and sub-contractors that were hired to do a specialist job and were not about to give that up. Listen in to learn what that caused and how Reinald handled the problem.

Featured Book of the Week: The Responsibility Process by Chris Avery

In The Responsibility Process by Chris Avery, Reinald found a good reason to change his personal attitude towards the things he didn’t like to do.

Reinald also mentions the Rene Brown’s talk about Vulnerability, a talk that helped him change his attitude as a freelance software developer, and stopping to try to be a superhero, a problem that many freelancers face in their desire to help their clients.

About Reinald Kirchner

Reinald is active in the IT industry for more than 20 years. With agile methods and systemic project management he found his role as coach to inspire individuals and teams to learn, have fun and get better at what they want to do.

You can link with Reinald Kirchner on XING and connect with Reinald Kirchner on Twitter.

Dmytro Balaba: How to handle a low performer in your Scrum team

What happens when a team member who joined as a “gift” from management fails to keep the standard expected from each of the team members? If you add to this, the fact that some team members become vocal about the problem, but others don’t even want to touch the subject, you have all the ingredients you need for massive conflict. What can a Scrum Master do? Listen in to learn how Dmytro, the Scrum Master helped the team get out of this negative spiral.

Featured Book for the Week: Accelerate, by Nicole Forsgren et al.

Dmytro’s recommendation is the book by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, and Nicole Forsgren, Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations.

In Accelerate, Dmytro found many inspirational stories and anecdotes that helps him improve the organization and the teams he works with.

Dmytro also recommends Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time by Sutherland. In this book, he highlights the many real-life examples.

Additionally, Dmytro refers to The DevOps Handbook by Gene Kim, a book he describes as filled with technical practices that teams can apply.

About Dmytro Balaba

Dmytro calls himself one of the most dedicated Scrum Masters/Agile Coach in the world 🙂 On his right hand, he has a tattoo with the golden ratio, Fibonacci sequence. After almost 15 years of work in IT management, Dmytro found himself balanced and happy. He’s been a full-time Scrum Master for more than 3 years.

You can link with Dmytro Balaba on LinkedIn and connect with Dmytro Balaba on Twitter.