Peter Zylka on the problematic relationship between a team and their Product Owner

What happens when the Product Owner and the team can’t collaborate? When the team just takes orders from the Product Owner and stops contributing to the planning and content of the User Stories? This was the situation that Peter had to face. Listen in to learn how he tackled this relationship problem.

Featured Book of the Week: Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan

In this book, Peter found an approach that helps him as a Scrum Master. In Search Inside Yourself, Chade-Meng tries to offers a method for enhancing mindfulness and emotional intelligence in life and work.

About Peter Zylka

Peter is a freelancing Scrum Master who really loves what he does.

Peter is passionate about Agility and loves supporting teams and organizations on their way into the agile world. As a Scrum Master his goal is to enable each individual in the team to perform the best possible way and to actually understand what a team really is all about.

He starts every day with the goal to make the people around him better.

You can link with Peter Zylka on LinkedIn.

Paulo Rodriguez on how even small changes can wake up a team

In this team Paulo was facing an environment of complacency. The team wasn’t taking initiative, not holding their daily stand ups unless asked to. Paulo had to come up with ways to help the team raise their energy level and commitment to the Scrum process. It is a story on how helping to raise the level of energy in the team meetings helped the team get excited and have productive meetings.

Featured Book of the Week: Drive, by Daniel Pink

Continuing the theme from the previous episode, we talk about rewards and their impact on teams. In the book Drive, Daniel Pink explores what research has revealed about the use of rewards in different environments, and that helped Paulo find better ways to use rewards. Listen in to learn about his tips.  

About Paulo Rodriguez

Paulo has worked in the IT industry for 15 years. He started as a web developer for a local bank. His Agile journey began in 2015 and he’s been a Scrum Master for 3 years. Paulo is also a Certified Professional Scrum Master from (PSM I).

You can link with Paulo Rodriguez on LinkedIn and connect with Paulo Rodriguez on Twitter.

Claudia Toscano how a Scrum Master can help the team create a more successful “self identity”

It’s inevitable that teams bump against problems sooner or later. That’s something all teams go through. However, how the teams decide to react to those problems makes a huge difference. In this episode we talk about the “self identity” that teams develop and how that affects their development and effectiveness as a team. What “self identity” is your team developing?

Featured Book of the Week: Por Un Scrum Popular

In the Spanish version of People’s Scrum by Tobias Mayer (Por Un Scrum Popular by Tobias Mayer and Alan Cyment), the authors go further than in the original English language book. For Claudia the focus on how to work with the organisation and the disquieting role of the Scrum Master were the key takeaways. If you don’t read Spanish, you can find the English book on Amazon.  

About Claudia Toscano

Claudia is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master since 2014, she in charge of the Agile Transformation at EPM with a team of 5 other people. Agile and being Mom are the things she enjoys the most.

You can link with Claudia Toscano on LinkedIn and connect with Claudia Toscano on Twitter.

Darryl Sherborne: when team empowerment goes wrong

Empowering teams to take initiative, react to the changes that come their way, and quickly adapt is (in principle) a good thing. Or is it? In this episode we explore a story of a team that took their empowerment and turned it into an obstacle. A set of behaviors that caused more problems than solutions. Because sometimes, empowerment is not a good thing. Listen in to learn about this story, and what Darryl learned about empowerment that can help you avoid the same problems.

Featured Book of the Week: The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim et al.

In the Phoenix Project, Gene Kim and his co-authors tell a story based on their real-life experience about how IT needs to change to adapt to the fast paced digital world we live in. For Darryl this book is the best written story that showcases the trials and issues faced on an agile/devops transformation, and the often forgotten direct link to the business struggles and goals.

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

You can also find out more about Darryl’s work at his company website:

Joanna Koprowicz and the subversive role that Scrum Masters play

Scrum Masters are there to help teams progress. But sometimes teams are the reason, and the reasons why everything must remain the same. However, we as Scrum Masters are there to bring a different perspective. A new way of looking at things. In this episode we discuss one such story, and learn about Joanna’s approach when she was being told: “we can’t change it because that’s how it has always been”…

Featured Book of the Week: Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet

The book Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet has been the focus of a BONUS episode here on the podcast. For Joanna, this was a book that helped her understand a new kind of leadership, and what are the factors that remove independent action, and motivation from the people in organizations that are managed with traditional leadership approaches.

About Joanna Koprowicz

Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.

You can link with Joanna Koprowicz on LinkedIn and connect with Joanna Koprowicz on Twitter.

Maximilian Fritzsche on why teams stop improving, and resist change

The biggest enemy of a team is stagnation. Lack of change or progress in a way a team works is a sure symptom of larger problems, but it is also an indication that the team does not feel secure enough to take risks, fail, learn and eventually progress in their abilities.

In this episode we talk about what might be the reasons for teams to seek security in the lack of change and progress.

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

The loyal Scrum Master Toolbox podcast listener will have seen this book be mentioned often. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is a seminal work on the team dynamics that can cause a team to fail or thrive, and therefore it is mandatory reading for all Scrum Masters out there. For Max this is the book we must read to understand Trust and how to start our work on that key ingredient for successful teams.

About Maximilian Fritzsche

Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: “Keep moving forward” – his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”

You can link with Maximilian Fritzsche on LinkedIn.

Abbas Ghahremani on the impact of the Architect role in Scrum teams

As Scrum Masters we must constantly be aware of the different personalities and their impact on how the team performs. In this episode we discuss how the Architect role can, easily, have a major impact on the team dynamics.

We also discuss the often forgotten role of the Scrum Master as a facilitator for changes at the team level, together with management.

Featured Book for the Week: Scrum: A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines and boosting productivity by Jeff Sutherland

In Scrum: A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines and boosting productivity, Jeff Sutherland explains precisely and step by step how it operates – and how it can be made to work for anyone. In this book we learn about Scrum as applied to multiple industries, not only in the software industry.

About Abbas Ghahremani

Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!

He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.

You can link with Abbas Ghahremani on LinkedIn or follow Abbas Ghahremanni on Instagram.

Andrew Hudson on the importance of surfacing and tackling conflict before it is too late

Andrew introduces the Scrum Values and how many team-related anti-patterns come from not following those values. We also discuss the importance of enabling and helping surface difficult conversations before it is too late, and things turn sour.

In this episode, we refer to the interview with Karin Tenelius on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

Featured Book of the Week: Drive by Daniel Pink

The book Drive by Daniel Pink reminds us that what drives human behavior is not exactly what we expect. Rewarding has an impact, but that impact is limited, and the rewards matter. Daniel Pink explores the sources of motivation and engagement in this book. Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery come out as the most important aspects we must attend to as Scrum Masters.

About Andrew Hudson

Andy is a Scrum Master within the Media industry. He’s passionate about making work a motivating, enjoyable and empowering place to be. He wants to help teams and individuals reach their full potential and believes developing the right vision and mindset is more valuable to effective teams than any process or framework.

You can link with Andrew Hudson on LinkedIn and connect with Andrew Hudson on Twitter.

Gilberto Urueta and the case of the teammate that was always late

In this episode we tackle the problem of the teammate that was always late, and how trying to talk about the problem made the situation even worse. We often tend to talk about problems, but sometimes that’s the worst possible solution. Listen in to learn about one of those stories, and hear how Gilberto and the team turned the situation around, avoiding losing a team member that needed their support.

Featured Book of the Week: Por Un Scrum Popular by Tobias Mayer and Alan Cyment

In “Por Un Scrum Popular” (a translated adaptation of Tobias Mayer’s The People’s Scrum), Gilberto found a description of Scrum that he could get excited about. A more approachable version of Scrum that fit well his view of how Scrum could help teams.

About Gilberto Urueta

Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.

You can link with Gilberto Urueta on LinkedIn and connect with Gilberto Urueta on Twitter.

Zeshan Ilyas on the move from hard estimates to Story Points in Release Planning

Planning is not the ultimate solution to problems we face. Agilists know this to be true, and it is even one of the values in the Agile Manifesto: Responding to Change Over Following A Plan.

But planning is still necessary, and a critical part of how teams and organisations work. As Scrum Masters, the planning discipline is one of the key aspects we should focus on. In this episode we talk about one possible evolution of planning for our teams. From hard estimates, to Story Points.

Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins

The coaching stance and the ability to help team members progress in their own learning journey is critical for us, Scrum Masters. In Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins describes and teaches us about Coaching as an approach to help teams, and how that affects our Scrum Master role.

About Zeshan Ilyas

With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.

Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.

You can link with Zeshan Ilyas on LinkedIn and connect with Zeshan Ilyas on Twitter.