Steen Villumsen: Coaching the Product Owner, a key strategy to help teams succeed

The team Steen was working with, wanted to do Scrum by the book, which, in their mind, meant attending to every request the Product Owner would bring to them. However, Steen started to see a loss of focus, and messy Sprint planning sessions. The team was not able to help the PO focus, and create a coherent Vision. This story illustrates why it is so important to be ready to help our Product Owners. In this episode, we refer to the Coaching Your PO e-course that we put together to help Scrum Masters that want to help their Product Owners

Featured Book of the Week: Getting Things Done, by David Allen

The book Getting Things Done by David Allen resonated with Steen, and helped him understand that, as professionals, we must have a system that we can trust. As Scrum Masters, we are very often attending to many burning platforms, and being able to manage with that diverse focus of attention is a key skill that GTD (Getting Things Done) helps with.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Steen Villumsen

Steen is an Agile Coach, who calls himself a conceptualiser and a communicator. His focus is on moving people and supporting change through coaching.

You can link with Steen Villumsen on LinkedIn

Luís Santos Silva: Focusing on flow, a must for Scrum Masters and teams

Sometimes teams want to have too many stories in progress. This detracts from their ability to deliver. Luís suggests that, instead, teams should be focusing on “flow”, and instead highlight and solve the possible priority conflicts that sometimes lead to this anti-pattern of having too much in progress. 

Featured Book of the Week: Inspired by Marty Cagan 

The book Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan, helped Luís understand that he needed to get out of the Scrum Master comfort zone, and work on the “upstream” activities as well. The book broadened Luís’ sision on what product development is. Luís leaves us a call-to-action as Scrum Masters, to stop focusing only on the “downstream” activities and learn how to help the organizations we work with focus on “the right things”.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Luís Santos Silva

Luís is not your typical Agile Coach as he doesn’t have an IT background. He worked his way from a contact center up to Lean and Agile Coach and is now a Agile Coach team lead at OutSystems.

You can link with Luís Santos Silva on LinkedIn

Bevan Williams: Helping a team grow and step out of their comfort zone

Bevan was working with a product tenma that ghad started their move towards Agile. But he started to notice an anti-pattern in their behavior. They acted as if Agile meant freedom to do “anything we want”. The team was focusing on their own comfort, and happiness, but did not seem to be worried about the product they were trying to develop. Listen in to learn how Bevan helped this team step out of their comfort-only anti-pattern and grow. 

Featured Book of the Week: How Emotions Are Made, by Lisa Barrett

In How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Barrett, Bevan learned how important it is to understand the people we work with, and starting with ourselves. This book helped Bevan understand deeply the role of feedback and empathy on the Scrum Master role. 

In this segment, we also refer to Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, which provides “a good overview of what is expected from the Scrum Master role”, as Bevan puts it. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Bevan Williams

Bevan is an Agile Coach & Trainer at Think Agile. His career has been driven by his passion of creating inclusive environments where people can be at their best. 

You can link with Bevan Williams on LinkedIn and connect with Bevan Williams on Twitter

Pratik Dahule: Helping an Agile team that is stuck in the skill silo, which created chaos at the end of the sprint

Often, developers want to work on their stories until the last day of the sprint. However, that leads to many problems which we explore in this episode. We learn the story of a team that was clearly divided in skill silos, which led to a lot of chaos at the end of the sprint. When faced with this tricky situation, Pratik started to help the team understand the anti-pattern they were in, and using tools like cause-and-effect diagrams (aka Ishikawa Diagrams), he helped the team understand and get out of this anti-pattern.

Featured Book of the Week: Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

In Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, Pratik learned an approach that helps him make daily choices and be consistent in applying what he’s learned in his career. This approach has helped him accept that we must do things over and over again, if we aim to succeed in being a great Scrum Master and other areas of life.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Pratik Dahule

Pratik is an Agile Project Manager and Agile enthusiast working in the USA. He leads teams and creates a culture of lifelong learning, constant collaboration and continuous improvement. Pratik has 12 years of experience and is passionate about helping teams in their agile transformation. Outside of work, he has a blogging site ClassactLifestyle.com where he shares insights on books and exotic places to travel.

You can link with Pratik Dahule on LinkedIn.

Daniel Lutz: Difficult conversations, how to confront a Scrum team that became too passive

This team started on the right foot. Everything seemed to be working. However, a pattern started to develop. The team was becoming quieter and quieter in their Agile Retrospectives as time went by. The body language was passive, and every team member had the camera off as much as they could. You could feel they were distracted, not present during the retrospectives. In this episode, we discuss how to turn around this anti-pattern of passiveness and lack of commitment to agile retrospectives by the team. 

In this segment, we also talk about the book Moose heads on the table by Karin Tenelius. Karin Tenelius has been a guest on the podcast to talk about her book

Featured Book of the Week: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni

In The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni (a book we’ve mentioned a few times here on the podcast), Daniel found a great guide to the dynamics that can emerge on a team, and helped him understand how to slowly walk up the pyramid of needs for the team. The book also gives us tools and models that are useful to apply when working with teams. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Daniel Lutz

Daniel is an organizational agile coach, working full time at a leading European Energy company, scaling agile with around 30 agile teams. After years in Marketing departments, he realized how much more impact he can have as a Scrum Master by empowering people and building cross-functional teams. He also works part-time as a freelance coach and business consultant helping clients on building high performing teams.

You can link with Daniel Lutz on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lutz on Twitter.

Luis Carvalho: From hero to zero, how to not setup a new Scrum team

Luis was working with a consultant team that had been “sold” to the organization as a “superhero team”. However, the setup of that team had some major flaws. To start with the team was not clearly given a mission to deliver, but rather to “evaluate and help” the other teams working on the same product. This triggered an anti-pattern that would later create big problems for this and other teams. Listen in to learn about how “great teams” can sometimes become the source of “great problems”. 

Featured Book of the Week: The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

In The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek, Luis learned many lessons that are critical also for Scrum Masters. The book discusses the difference between the finite and infinite mindsets. Luis also learned about how important it is important to prepare our teams to outlast our own contribution, and in that way “survive their Scrum Master”. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Luis Carvalho

Luis is an enthusiast for all things related with organizations, teams, structures and ways of working. He has been working in large scale consumer products for most of his professional life, worked with people of many backgrounds, cultures and locations and made many friends in the process. He loves traveling, food and getting to know people.

You can link with Luis Carvalho on LinkedIn.

Nick Nielsen: Helping Agile teams survive the conflict of values between Agile and Waterfall

In this story, we hear about one person that joined an Agile team, but was not ready to adopt the Agile mindset and values. What happened next was a warning for all of us that face similar situations. We discuss what happens when people join a team with very different mindsets and values than their own, and how Scrum Masters can prepare for that situation.

Featured Book of the Week: Accelerate by Gene Kim et al. 

In Accelerate by Gene Kim et al., Nick found out about the DORA metrics, and how metrics can be a key source of insights for Agile adoption, and continuous improvement. Nick describes how the book helped him create his own dashboard for Agile adoption the organizations where he works.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Nick Nielsen

Nick completed his education at Aarhus University in Denmark and currently works in the Digital Organisation at Grundfos, the worlds biggest pump manufacturer. He views him self as a pragmatic Agile Handyman.

You can link with Nick Nielsen on LinkedIn and connect with Nick Nielsen on Twitter

Lorna Mason & Jon Lawrence: Unlearning old habits and dynamically re-teaming a Scrum team

This team had a strong “legacy debt”, lots of old code they needed to maintain and develop further. Having worked in a waterfall before did not help this team, as they looked at testing as “a separate task”. How to help this team adjust, and learn to be Agile? We discuss the many anti-patterns this team had to overcome, and how the idea of “unlearning” the old ways of working helped this team evolve.

Featured Book of the Week: Dynamic Re-teaming by Heidi Helfand, and Start with Why by Simon Sinek

In this tag-team episode, we hear about two books that Lorna and Jon find critical for any Scrum Master. First we learn about Start with Why by Simon Sinek, and we discuss his Ted Talk on the topic. Then we learn about the book Dynamic Re-teaming by Heidi Helfand, who’s been a guest here on the podcast. 

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Lorna Mason & Jon Lawrence

Lorna Mason and Jon Lawrence are both agilists working in an insurance scale-up based in Brighton. Their journey to agile has walked a less ‘traditional’ path of Change Management and Continuous Improvement, to Scrum Master, Delivery Manager and Agile Coach; (proving not EVERY Scrum Master needs to code!). They hold the firm belief that you can be a successful Scrum Master as long as you genuinely care about people and value first; and hold a profound desire to always make things better!

You can link with Lorna Mason on LinkedIn

You can link with Jon Lawrence on LinkedIn

Usman Kotwal: Helping Agile teams when the Product Owners are absent

In this project, some new Product Owners were appointed. However, the PO’s wanted to have their own teams. Working with a consulting company, they set the new teams up for the project, however, and based on experience, the consulting company organized for each team to have a “shadow PO”. Over time, it became clear that the buyer-side Product Owners were very much “hands-off”, and the teams were discouraged from talking directly to the stakeholders, which led to trouble because they started missing information they could not get any other way. 

In this episode, we explore this anti-pattern in a team, and what we can do – as Scrum Masters – to combat the potential consequences.

Featured Book of the Week: Empowered by Marty Cagan et al.

In Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products by Marty Cagan et al, Usman learned about how to help teams move towards the focus on outcomes, and own the decision making in the product development process. The book shares tips on how to help product teams, also from the perspective of a manager or Scrum Master.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Usman Kotwal

Usman is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach in the field of data analytics in life sciences. He considers his learning journey to continue forever when it comes to bringing forward change in the ways we work collaboratively. His mission is to help guide the way to empowered product teams.

You can link with Usman Kotwal on LinkedIn.

Jan Neudecker: Sustainable pace can save lives, and save teams!

Does your team have a sustainable pace? Sometimes teams let quality slip and suffer from that, but some other times, missing a sustainable pace can lead to much more serious consequences. Jan shares his own story, of how not focusing on what he needed to keep a sustainable pace, almost led to missing a critical health diagnosis that thankfully saved his life. In this segment, we talk about both the individual sustainable pace, as well as the team’s sustainable pace. 

Featured Book of the Week: The People’s Scrum by Tobias Meyer

In The People’s Scrum: Agile Ideas for Revolutionary Transformation by Tobias Meyer, Jan found a book that had different views on what Scrum is about. He recommends this book as a great and inspiring text for experienced Scrum Masters.  

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Jan Neudecker

Jan is an Agile Coach and Trainer. His vision is to make workplaces more humane, enjoyable and purposeful. An unpleasant diagnosis three years ago had a big impact on how he looks at these topics today. It became his mission to get these topics more into the spotlight of teams and organizations so they are less of a taboo subject in future.

You can link with Jan Neudecker on LinkedIn and connect with Jan Neudecker on Twitter.

If you want to know more about Jan’s fight with cancer, you can follow his blog

Jan also organizes a Scrum User Group in Germany.

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Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
Checklist
Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works