Maximilian Dazer: Applying Agile is not the same as following Scrum

When Max started as a Scrum Master, and tried to put in practice what he knew about the role, he faced some unexpected challenges. Having had industrial engineering training, he felt he should be busy all the time, and therefore started to “force” Scrum on the team. This story does not end well for Max, but the lesson he learned was fundamental for his growth as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn what was his lesson, and how it changed him for the future. 

In this episode, we refer to Taylorism, and the online publication Serious Scrum.

About Maximilian Dazer

Maximilian’s goal is to drive change from the bottom. For every team he creates a vision and tries to get them on board to pursue the change together. Maximilian wants to free people from the micromanagement-hell version of “scrum”.

You can link with Maximilian Dazer on LinkedIn

Lucia Alarcon: Great Product Owners consistently create conversations with stakeholders and Agile teams

The Great Product Owner: Consistently creating positive conversations with stakeholders and Agile teams

A great Product Owner is consistent in their approach. Lucia shares with us how this particular PO was able to be consistent in their communication and support for the team, but also in looking outside, getting ideas and inspiration from competitors and the market at large. As the PO consistently communicated with the team and stakeholders, they were creating regular and productive invitations for a conversation with stakeholders and team members. 

The Bad Product Owner: How to help your PO shine even when they are super-busy!

When the Product Owner is overloaded, they lose focus, and are unable to serve the teams at the right time, and in the right amount. In this segment, we hear the story of the PO that was so busy that they could only be a scatter-shot PO. Randomly giving ideas and demands to the team, who was lost with the lack of support from the PO. In this segment, we talk about how important it is to help the PO focus, and work within the limited time they might have to help the team. As Scrum Master, this is one of our major tasks: help the PO shine, even when they are super busy! 

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Lucia Alarcon

Lucia is a Delivery Lead and a coach working in Wellington NZ, leading an amazing development squad to achieve the delivery of multiple digital initiatives using Agile, creating a culture of empowerment, collaboration and communication. With 15+ years of experience, her professional (and personal!) journey has taken her through a variety of organizations and halfway around the world from Argentina. Lucia loves all things Agile, facilitation and coaching. 

You can link with Lucia Alarcon on LinkedIn and connect with Lucia Alarcon on Instagram

Lucia Alarcon: Lean Coffee, the swiss army knife of Agile Retrospectives

When it comes to assessing her own success as a Scrum Master, Lucia uses the “health” metaphor to identify and measure critical aspects of a healthy team. In this episode, we talk about The Squad Health Check. The Squad Health Check was also described in these episodes. We also mention Radical Candor, as a feedback framework as well as Clean Language.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Lean Coffee, the swiss army knife of Agile Retrospectives

Lucia likes to try many formats, but there’s one format she often comes back to thanks to its power to spark creative, and insightful conversations. That format is the Lean Coffee Retrospective format, which focuses the team’s conversations instead of trying to cover too many things in a retrospective. In this segment, we also refer to the game Cards Against Humanity, which you can learn more about (and download) by listening to this episode with Ellen Santamaria.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Lucia Alarcon

Lucia is a Delivery Lead and a coach working in Wellington NZ, leading an amazing development squad to achieve the delivery of multiple digital initiatives using Agile, creating a culture of empowerment, collaboration and communication. With 15+ years of experience, her professional (and personal!) journey has taken her through a variety of organizations and halfway around the world from Argentina. Lucia loves all things Agile, facilitation and coaching. 

You can link with Lucia Alarcon on LinkedIn and connect with Lucia Alarcon on Instagram

Lucia Alarcon: How to help a busy, and absent Product Owner, work better with their Agile team

Lucia started her career on the project management path, and she had success with it. However, unlike many project managers that find Scrum by chance, Lucia was on a deliberate quest to find a better way of delivering software projects. It was not by chance that she, after searching for a while, found Scrum, and the Scrum Master role. 

This newfound career took her into a new company that was starting a new project, with a Product Owner that did not have time for the team. In this episode, we explore how Scrum Masters can develop their relationship with the PO, to be able to help the team. 

In this episode, we also refer to the Coach Your PO course, a course by the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help Scrum Masters develop their PO skills, and be able to help the PO’s they work with. We also refer to the Product Owner Sprint Checklist, a tool we developed to help you have that important conversation about the PO’s availability to the team, because when they are not available, we know, the team suffers!

About Lucia Alarcon

Lucia is a Delivery Lead and a coach working in Wellington NZ, leading an amazing development squad to achieve the delivery of multiple digital initiatives using Agile, creating a culture of empowerment, collaboration and communication. With 15+ years of experience, her professional (and personal!) journey has taken her through a variety of organizations and halfway around the world from Argentina. Lucia loves all things Agile, facilitation and coaching. 

You can link with Lucia Alarcon on LinkedIn and connect with Lucia Alarcon on Instagram.

BONUS: Changing industries and breaking into the Scrum Master role with Ben Mills

In this episode, we cover how Ben found his vocation for the Scrum Master role, and the techniques he applied to break into the tech industry and the Scrum Master role. 

Changing industries is never easy, but changing from non-tech to tech and to a completely new role, like the Scrum Master role is even harder. 

For many of our guests, the Scrum Master role has been a calling, a sort of vocation that becomes obvious once you start. For our guest in this episode, Ben Mills, the vocation to be a servant leader and to help others overcome struggles was already there. And that vocation was what attracted him to the Scrum Master role.

People before anything else

When Ben started to learn more about the Scrum Master role, and eventually after taking the Scrum Master certification course, he understood that the role called for a mindset that put people before anything else. Their relationships, the collaboration, their ability to solve conflict, etc. 

At this point Ben, at the time a Pastor, started to apply what he had learned in his own team. Ben had been a project manager before, so organizing and following up was not new, but the role of the Scrum Master and the process of Scrum called for something else. 

In this segment, we refer to the episode with Alioscha Chaplits, Rachel Macasek and Daniel Lenhart about starting as a Scrum Master when you don’t have any tech industry experience.

Breaking into the tech industry and the Scrum Master role 

For aspiring Scrum Masters, it may not always be easy to first break into the tech industry, and later into the Scrum Master role. Ben shares with us some of the tips that helped him, and still help him to grow his network, and find the right people to ask questions. 

In the end, the perspective that people are the critical link in the success of teams can bring insights and prepare you for the role. 

In this segment, we talk about the book Shift From Product To People, published by Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast. 

Resources for aspiring Scrum Masters

Some of the books that inspired Ben Mills in his quest to understand the Scrum Master role: 

But perhaps, one of the stories that influenced Ben the most, was one story of his own. When he was starting out as a project manager, and learned an important lesson about transparency. Listen in to find out what that story was, and how it can transform your work as a Scrum Master.

About Ben Mills

Ben is a scrum master, a project manager and a Pastor. That’s a very unique journey that he is sharing with us. 

He’s starting his career as a scrum master and is sharing his journey with us on this BONUS episode.

You can link with Ben Mills on LinkedIn.

 

 

Madhuri Korapati: The PO as a manager anti-pattern and its impact on Agile teams

The Great Product Owner: PO as the great motivator, a simple approach to motivating Agile teams

Great PO’s are able to share the vision they have for the product. But how do they do it? In this segment, we talk about the approaches that help great Product Owners be clear about, and share the vision of the product in a way that motivates the team!

The Bad Product Owner: The PO as a manager anti-pattern and its impact on Agile teams

When PO’s take control and start acting like a manager, the team needs to stand back. This creates a series of anti-patterns that we explore in this segment. From the team being silent, to the PO starting to assign tasks to individual team members. Listen in to learn how Madhuri was able to help the PO and the team get out of this PO-as-a-manager anti-pattern.

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Madhuri Korapati: Team building exercises for Agile Retrospectives

Madhuri starts by sharing her vision for a great Agile team, and then lists some of the questions she asks herself, as well as the team to help gage her own success as a Scrum Master. We also talk about how “work in progress limits” can help teams move quickly towards self-organization.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Great team building retrospectives

Madhuri starts by sharing with us that she prefers to use a different format every time, however, she also shares some of the formats she uses when starting off with a new team. We talk about the “Two truths and a lie” exercise, that helps team members know more about each other, and the “Candy Love” Agile retrospective format which helps create a positive atmosphere in the team. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Madhuri Korapati: When visualization creates more problems in an Agile team, a Scrum Master warning

Madhuri had had great success with a team where she helped visualize their workflow, and the blockers they were struggling with. Moving into a new team, she tried to apply the same solution. However, things were not that simple, there were dynamics in the team that made the newfound visibility more of a problem than a solution. Listen in to learn how Madhuri worked around this problem, and the key lessons from this story.

About Madhuri Korapati

Madhuri a self-motivated servant leader with 14 years of software industry experience across Payments and Banking sectors. She is a Scrum Master at Mastercard, and enjoys helping teams in their agile transformation and showcasing their improvements. 

You can link with Madhuri Korapati on LinkedIn and connect with Madhuri Korapati on Twitter.

Kevin Pedersen: The PO that went beyond the call of duty to help the Scrum Master and the team!

The Great Product Owner: The PO that went beyond the call of duty to help the Scrum Master and the team!

This Product Owner came from the business side of the organization. But she had an intuitive understanding of the practices that a PO needs. She went through the PO training and learned quickly how to help the team break down work. However, there was a challenge for the team that she was able to help with that goes far beyond the default PO responsibilities. Listen in to learn how this PO stepped up and helped the team deal with a critical problem.

The Bad Product Owner: The Know-it-all PO, and how to handle that anti-pattern

When PO’s think they know everything there is to know, they are less likely to listen to the team and help them with concrete issues they face. When PO’s think they can tell the team how to do the work, things get complicated. In this segment, we explore the anti-patterns that emerge in a team that has to work with such a PO, and discuss how Scrum Masters can help those teams and the PO get to a more collaborative way of working. 

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile’s vision ‘to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work’.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter.

Kevin Pedersen: How to define Success metrics for Scrum Masters working with Agile teams

Success is not easy to measure for Scrum Masters. If you ask a manager, you will get a different set of metrics, than if you ask the team, or even other stakeholders. Kevin shares with us how to look for the right metrics with the people you work with: managers, team, product owner, and others. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Conversation focused formats to try in your team

Kevin is a fan of trying a new format for every retrospective he facilitates. However, there’s a common thread among all of those formats he shares: to help teams have great and insightful conversations. In this segment, we refer to Mad/Sad/Glad, The 4 L’s, Lean Coffee and how bringing the team outside the office can generate great conversations. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome! 

About Kevin Pedersen

Kevin is a Managing Director, agile coach and international trainer for Growing Agile in South Africa. He is passionate about helping people connect to their purpose. This is best described in Growing Agile’s vision ‘to grow people and inspire ideas so that they can be the best version of themselves and we do that by changing the way people think about work’.

You can link with Kevin Pedersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kevin Pedersen on Twitter