Doug Knesek on how to help Scrum teams evolve their process

When teams come together, even if they have Scrum experience, they don’t always agree on the process. That can paralyze teams. In this episode, we explore a story about a team that was stuck with their definition of the process. All team members had different versions of Scrum in their mind. But still, they needed to progress. Listen in to learn how Doug tackled that problem and helped the team start to deliver.

In this episode, we talk about the concept of Semantic Diffusion as defined by Fowler, and we discuss the importance of changing the team setup often (something Heidi Helfand discusses on the podcast in a previous episode).

Featured Book of the Week: Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

In Toyota Kata by Mike Rother, Doug found an approach that helps him deal with the natural uncertainty that comes with the Scrum Master role. We want to help teams reach a target condition, but we don’t know all the steps we need to take, so using the approaches in Toyota Kata helped Doug prepare for that uncertainty, and help teams progress even when only the next few steps are visible.

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Anja Bonatto-Minella: doing Scrum without feedback leads to failure!

When teams start working with Scrum they try to follow the process. They organize the process, they keep their meetings, but sometimes forget critical things that are not in the process. In this team, Anja felt frustrated. Something was missing.

Anja started looking for symptoms. At first only frustration, but later the symptoms started to become clearer. The team was missing the feedback! They held the ceremonies, but the concrete actionable feedback was missing. Check out this episode and compare with your team. Are you seeing the same symptoms?

Featured Book of the Week: Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only)

In Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only), Anja found stories that she could relate to. The book is a Scrum fable. Where people in a village need to build a Dragon trap, but they don’t know how. All they have is their ingenuity and ability to collaborate. The book walks you through a full experience of what it looks like to build a Scrum team.

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole on how to handle teams that can’t stop complaining

There are many behaviors and dynamics that can lead to problems in a team. Jen and Jamie talk about a team that was feeling defeated and had a negative/complaining attitude towards everything around them. What can cause that? We discuss possible causes and also what we can do as Scrum Masters, when our teams are feeling down and out.

In this episode we refer to the “circles and soup” activity, a game used to efficiently form high-quality plans through retrospective analysis by recognizing factors that are within the team’s control.

Featured Book of the Week: Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

In the Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, Jen and Jamie found a good follow-up on another Lencioni book: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. This is a book that can help you grow as a Scrum Master, and think about those personal characteristics that make certain people great team players.

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 how to overcome the endless debate anti-pattern in Scrum teams

Teams want to excel at their work. So much so, that sometimes they forget that in order to succeed they need to act. In this episode, we talk about the anti-pattern of endless debate and what Scrum Masters can do to help teams overcome that anti-pattern and move on.

Featured Book of the Week: Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn

In Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn, Nisha found practical advice and concrete examples that helped her in her journey as a Scrum Master. She calls it a good point to start your Scrum Master journey.

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.

BONUS: Tim Herbig on Lateral Leadership a critical skill for Scrum Masters and Product Owners

Tim was faced with a problem. How to be a leader without any formal power. All Scrum Masters and Product Owners who have felt the responsibility, but not any “line authority” have faced the same problem. You need to help move the project along, but you can’t tell people what to do!

In this episode we explore the concept of Lateral Leadership how it can help you as a Scrum Master or Product Owner.

Tim Herbig is the author of Lateral Leadership a recent book published by Sense and Respond Press.

Continue reading BONUS: Tim Herbig on Lateral Leadership a critical skill for Scrum Masters and Product Owners

Eddie Kenny: the dangers of long-lived Scrum teams

In Agile we often talk about the importance of having relatively stable teams. But is that always the right thing to do?

In this episode, we explore the possible consequences of keeping the teams stable for too long. We discuss possible anti-patterns and what to do about that.

In this episode, we mention the concept of groupthink and the book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni.

Featured Book of the Week: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

In Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Eddie learned about how people tend to think, especially in situations where quick decisions are necessary. And he considers that a key asset for change agents like Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we also mention:

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 on Distributed software development challenges

Distributed software development is one of the challenges for Agile organizations. The element of globalization is impossible to avoid because of the nature of the business we work in. However, there are some things we should be aware to ensure that teams are able to deliver. In this episode, we discuss some of the anti-patterns that come when distributed teams fail to account for the different kind of communication that is needed when working with distributed organizations.

Featured Book of the Week: Finding your Element by Ken Robinson

In Finding your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Ken Robinson (book website), Ivo discovered something about himself that helps him be a better Scrum Master. He found and understood the importance of some of the personal strengths he has that help him in the role of Scrum Master.

In this segment, we also discuss Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins.

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 and the perils of siloed Scrum teams

Teams are usually encouraged to specialize. That may be a necessary step in some organizations. But even when it is necessary, we must be aware of the side-effects and prepare for those.

In this episode, we talk about the reasons why teams start behaving like silos, what the consequences might be, but also what we can do to overcome those anti-patterns.

Featured Book of the Week: The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year by Mitch Lacey

In The Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey, Richard found many lessons that helped him in his journey as a Scrum Master. The book shares models and keys to successful scrum mastering, but also many references and other sources to read up on.

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 Richard Griffiths on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Griffiths on Twitter.

Rade Zivanovic on how to help Agile teams be more comfortable with mistakes

As we work with many different teams, we start to notice some patterns. In this episode, we talk about the pattern where team members take a very critical stance when a mistake happens. As Rade puts it, when this pattern develops, the team creates a culture that does not tolerate failure or allows people to take risks.

How can Scrum Masters tackle this problem? We discuss some concrete approaches to help teams scale back their risk-averse, and mistake-intolerant culture. After all, no mistakes means no learning.

Featured book of the Week: Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor

In Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor, Rade learned about the techniques we can use to help people change behavior by building new habits and using positive feedback and reinforcement.

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 team conflict, and what a Scrum Master can do to detect and resolve it

When a team is starting down the conflict path there are signs we can detect early enough to help them. In this episode we talk about the signals of conflict, and when the conflict starts to become too big to solve without management intervention.

Conflict is one of the ways in which teams destroy themselves, listen in to learn about what you can do to avoid or resolve the conflict.

Featured Book of the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

In Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Massimiliano found something that changed his view on how to provide feedback. One takeaway was: “it’s crucial that the person getting the feedback knows that I want the best for them”. Do you care for the people you give feedback to?

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.