Gonçalo Valverde: How (not) to deliver bad news as a Scrum Master!

Sometimes things go wrong. And it is at that time that we need our senses to be sharp, and our communication to be on point. In this episode, we learn the story of a project that was about to go bad, but no one was willing to deliver the bad news. When should the Scrum Master be the messenger? Listen in to learn how Gonçalo handled this situation and what he learned for the future. 

In this episode, we refer to Monte Carlo simulation and Troy Magennis’ work

About Gonçalo Valverde

Gonçalo is an Agile Coach from Portugal working with teams and organizations in their continuous improvement journey. As a keen amateur photographer, he learned that less is more and how constraints help one focus on the outcomes. He’s also a co-organizer of Agile Coach Camp Portugal. 

You can link with Gonçalo Valverde on LinkedIn and connect with Gonçalo Valverde on Twitter.

Kim Hinsch: How to help a PO step down from the “clouds”, and help the Scrum team make decisions

The Great Product Owner: Trust your Scrum team

Great Product Owners are able to trust the teams they work with. They help the team establish, and gain self-confidence in their actions and decisions. This does not mean the PO resigns, but rather that they first trust the team, and pull rank only rarely – even if they are very experienced in the product. Great PO’s often say “go ahead, I trust you”, even if they have another idea of what the solution could be. 

The Bad Product Owner: The “in the clouds” PO 

There are several PO anti-patterns that detract from the PO’s performance. One such anti-pattern is when the PO is constantly in “the clouds”, and is unable to bring their vision to the reality of everyday decision making. The PO isn’t invested in the “now”, but the team can only make immediate decisions, and they need the PO to help them make those decisions. 

Are you having trouble helping the teamwork 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 Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn.

Kim Hinsch: Measure all the things, to assess team and Scrum Master success

Kim likes to use metrics to assess her work and the evolution of the team. This helps the team reflect about their performance, but also about their motivation and engagement (when using team morale metrics, for example). Kim also mentions that your metrics should include a measure of value delivered to the customer.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simple formats to get started with

As Kim puts it, the best format for the Retrospective is “one that works”. Of course, that means the Scrum Master must pay special attention to what is going on with the team at the time, and learn to read the signs on which method is the most appropriate for the team. 

Kim shares with us her process to define what is the format “that works” for every sprint and every team. She also shares a few formats to get you started with a new team: The Agile Battleships (online version of Battleships retrospective) and Name Game Agile Retrospective formats.

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 Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn.

Kim Hinsch: How to recover from an Epic fail during a workshop you had prepared for!

When working with this team, Kim heard a predictable and unsettling question: “what does the Scrum Master do?” Many of us have faced this question from all kinds of directions. However, when Kim started digging into the question, she found that what the team needed was not to know what the Scrum Master did, but rather something else that is critical for any team. They had projected their lack of clarity on the role of the Scrum Master, even if what they needed as something else.

About Kim Hinsch

Kim is an agile enthusiast, that has been stung by the power of games, communication, and psychology. Kim practices every day the fine art of making magic happen the agile way. And what makes her heart beat faster is supporting teams and organizations on their magical journey across the hills of excellence and effectiveness.

You can link with Kim Hinsch on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Agile Leadership Fitness, get your HR leader to listen to this episode! with Nick Horney

As he helped leaders, Dr. Nick Horney worked hard to understand what was going on in the business world in a way that could be explained to others, and to form a curriculum for leaders in worldwide organizations. He came up with the acronym VUCA, which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. 

Nick wrote a book titled VUCA Masters: Developing Leadership Agility Fitness for the New World of Work, and created a curriculum to help leaders deal with complexity in a VUCA world, this curriculum is part of the VUCA Masters Academy

In this episode, we dive into what VUCA means in practice and share insights that Scrum Masters can take and help the leaders in their organization.

About Nick Horney

Dr. Horney has written four books. The most recent is VUCA Masters: Developing Leadership Agility Fitness for the world of work, the topic of this episode. 

Nick retired from the U.S. Navy (Special Operations) at the rank of Captain and has applied that experience to his work with high performance team agility. He serves as a coach for The Honor Foundation focusing on the successful transition of Navy SEALs to the business world.

Dr. Horney founded Agility Consulting in 2001 and has been coaching leadership agility and organizational agility for over 30 years.

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

Priyanka Keswani: Helping busy PO’s collaborate better with their Scrum teams

The Great Product Owner: Communication and negotiation as key skills for great PO’s

Great Product Owners focus on communicating their Vision, and helping the team understand where they want to take the product. But that’s only one perspective on communication. We discuss how the ability to communicate and negotiate with the team and stakeholders become a key contributor to a great PO.

In this segment, we refer to WSJF prioritization or Weighted Shortest Job First

The Bad Product Owner: Helping busy PO’s collaborate better with their Scrum teams

When PO’s have several hats, it becomes difficult to give teams the time they need to clarify questions and receive feedback. This lack of availability can quickly become a blocker for the team if we – as Scrum Masters – don’t help the team and PO define clearly how they will collaborate. We explore how to help busy PO’s collaborate better (and in many cases more!) with the team. 

In this segment, we refer to the PO’s Sprint Checklist, a tool we created at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help Scrum Masters guide and support their PO’s. 

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 Priyanka Keswani

Priyanka is a seasoned Agile Coach with a firm belief in innovation, continuous improvement, and a focus on Agile transformation in the organization. With 14+ years of experience, she has worked across various domains- Content Delivery Network, Travel, CRM, and Storage. She started as a QA Manager, then became Scrum Master and Agile Coach. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to music, dancing, traveling, and networking with people.

You can link with Priyanka Keswani on LinkedIn and connect with Priyanka Keswani on Twitter.

Priyanka Keswani: Helping teams go from “doing” to “being” Agile

Success for a Scrum Master can mean many things and is also directly affected by the context of the team. In this segment, we talk about one aspect of that success: how good are the team at thinking about their performance outside the simple execution of a process. As Priyanka defines it: helping the team going from “doing” Agile to “being” Agile. 

In this segment, we refer to the tool “mood board”

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat retro and why it works so well

We start this segment by discussing when, and why, the basic retro formats are useful for teams. Then we move on to discuss why the retrospective is about much more than just process, or how we work and discuss how the Sailboat format helps the teams think outside their usual context of process and tools. 

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 Priyanka Keswani

Priyanka is a seasoned Agile Coach with a firm belief in innovation, continuous improvement, and a focus on Agile transformation in the organization. With 14+ years of experience, she has worked across various domains- Content Delivery Network, Travel, CRM, and Storage. She started as a QA Manager, then became Scrum Master and Agile Coach. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to music, dancing, traveling, and networking with people.

You can link with Priyanka Keswani on LinkedIn and connect with Priyanka Keswani on Twitter

Priyanka Keswani: How to recover from the siloed-expert anti-pattern in a Scrum team

When the organization started moving to Agile, Priyanka was a lead for a QA team. As the transformation progressed, Priyanka took on the role of Scrum Master and started to face “resistance” in the team she was helping. The anti-pattern she was observing was a common one: some team members overworked, while others didn’t have enough to do. Listen in to learn how Priyanka helped the team recover from the first pain of transition, as well as the siloed-expert anti-pattern. 

About Priyanka Keswani

Priyanka is a seasoned Agile Coach with a firm belief in innovation, continuous improvement, and a focus on Agile transformation in the organization. With 14+ years of experience, she has worked across various domains- Content Delivery Network, Travel, CRM, and Storage. She started as a QA Manager, then became Scrum Master and Agile Coach. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to music, dancing, traveling, and networking with people.

You can link with Priyanka Keswani on LinkedIn and connect with Priyanka Keswani on Twitter.

Lena Löfdahl: How pressure destroys the trust between PO and Scrum team

The Great Product Owner: How to simply explain a very complex functionality

This Product Owner worked with an Offshore team that had the mission to completely overhaul the search function in a major company’s website. The PO could have worked in detail, and written down many ideas of how that search function could work, however, the PO simply conveyed what was needed with a high-level vision, and the team worked through a clickable wireframe to collect feedback and deliver a great experience!

The Bad Product Owner: How pressure destroys the trust between PO and Scrum team

This PO was new to the team, and the organization had already put lots of pressure on the team and PO. The PO, unable to cope with the pressure pushed the team, and made them nervous. This ended up disrupting the relationship between PO and team, created a lot of interruptions and conflict. Lena understood that, before working on the methods/processes, the key was to start working on the relationship between PO and team.

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 Lena Löfdahl

Lena is a senior agile coach with a specialty in learning and psychological safety. Successfully coached over 200+ teams and taught courses for 8000+ hours, mostly in agile but also project management. She gets a lot of energy from building teams and colleagues, watching people grow is rewarding work. 

You can link with Lena Löfdahl on LinkedIn.

Lena Löfdahl: The 6 faces of Jack Sparrow, a fun Agile Retrospective

As Scrum Masters, we must define our own success. That definition will depend on what organizations we are at, and their place in the Agile adoption journey. Lena also shares how important it is for us to learn and move on from what might have been great practices in the past, but end up being inadequate in certain situations.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 6 faces of Jack Sparrow, a fun retrospective

The Pirates of the Caribbean retrospective is a metaphor retro that helps the team reflect on their progress through the different phases of Jack Sparrow in the movie “The Pirates of the Caribbean”. As the team discusses the 6 different emotions/faces of the main character. Those create insights about their own work, and what to improve. Find and print 6 different faces of Jack Sparrow from the movie The Pirates of the Caribean, and then ask the team to share their insights according to the emotion in the face. The 6 faces of Jack Sparrow are: 

  1. Happy 
  2. What the Fudge
  3. Thoughtful 
  4. Auch 
  5. Mad 
  6. Mexican standoff 
  7. Makes people laugh and relax 

 

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 Lena Löfdahl

Lena is a senior agile coach with a specialty in learning and psychological safety. Successfully coached over 200+ teams and taught courses for 8000+ hours, mostly in agile but also project management. She gets a lot of energy from building teams and colleagues, watching people grow is rewarding work. 

You can link with Lena Löfdahl on LinkedIn