Amitai Schlair on leading change as a scrum master

Today’s episode is the first where we tackle a new question: how to lead change in our role as a Scrum Master. Change management or change leadership is one of the core skills for us as Scrum Masters, and Amitai shares with us some of the tools he uses to help teams and organizations go through the change process. He also shares with us one approach he uses to develop trust between him and the teams he works with.
Today we play one more Agile in 3 Minutes episode that talks about what it means to be wrong and why that matters. Today’s Agile in 3 minutes episode is episode #5, titled “Wrong”.

About Amitai Schlair

Amitai is a Software development coach, and legacy code wrestler, non-award-winning musician, award-winning bad poet, and creator of Agile in 3 Minutes, which is a great podcast about what Agile really is about. A must listen for anyone interested in Agile Software Development.
You can link with Amitai Schlair on LinkedIn and connect with Amitai Schlair on Twitter.

Sean Dunn talks about the “structures that are in place”

Sean describes talks about models, structural and organizational models that help us understand the system that affects our organizations.
Sean talks about his own model:

  1. Transformational Leadership
  2. Lean Product Development
  3. Technical Excellence (PDF)

It is critical that we build a model that allows us to think about the whole organization. And use questions to investigate the system. As Sean put it “questions communicate value”.

About About Sean Dunn

Sean is an Enterprise Agile Coach with IHS Global. He has been involved with agile development for 8 years as a developer, product owner, and agile coach. Prior to his exposure to agile development Sean spent 13 years in the Canadian Army. In fact, Sean is known to point out that the Army is far more agile than most people think.
That background in the Canadian Army influenced his view of Leadership and the role of Leadership in creating and developing great teams.
You can connect with Sean Dunn on LinkedIn, check out Sean Dunn on the Scrum Alliance or email him at sean.dunn@ihs.com.
Check out Sean Dunn’s blog on leadership.

Sean Dunn shares 3 anti-patterns of dysfunctional teams

There are many reasons why teams fail. Sean shares with us 3 anti-patterns he has seen that indicate the team is on a downward spiral. The anti-patterns are:

  1. Lack of accountability (as a team)
  2. No shared objectives, everyone has a different agenda
  3. Individual’s names are the primary “reference” to ownership instead of the team itself.

For more information on these and other anti-patterns here are some books to help you:

About About Sean Dunn

Sean is an Enterprise Agile Coach with IHS Global. He has been involved with agile development for 8 years as a developer, product owner, and agile coach. Prior to his exposure to agile development Sean spent 13 years in the Canadian Army. In fact, Sean is known to point out that the Army is far more agile than most people think.
That background in the Canadian Army influenced his view of Leadership and the role of Leadership in creating and developing great teams.
You can connect with Sean Dunn on LinkedIn, check out Sean Dunn on the Scrum Alliance or email him at sean.dunn@ihs.com.
Check out Sean Dunn’s blog on leadership.

BONUS EPISODE: Critical lessons on Leadership with Sean Dunn

In this Episode we explore Leadership, what it means, and why it is such an important discipline for Scrum Masters.
Sean is an officer in the Canadian army reserves, turned Agile Coach. He shares with us what he learned about leading teams in his military career. How those lessons apply to knowledge work, and how to develop our Leadership skills.
In the armed forces, we look at leaders as someone who will be with us in harms way. To be able to function effectively as teams, leaders need to learn to work with teams in a manner that builds trust and empathy. Scrum Masters can learn a lot from how that is achieved in high-pressure situations.
The book mentioned on the topic of Trust: The 5 Dysfunctions of a team by Lencioni, includes many examples and practices on how we can help build trust within our teams. We also refer to Turn the Ship Around by Marquette, a book dedicated to explore the topic of leadership filled with lessons for Scrum Masters.
We also discuss what it means to be a successful leader, and review some of the Agile Manifesto principles that bear directly on leadership, and the practice of that discipline.

We are temporary stewards of our profession
Sean helps us to challenge our personal visions of leadership, what it means for our profession, and how it should influence our actions. “What type of organization do you want to build?”, Sean asks.
To help us develop our own understanding and vision of leadership Sean recommends 3 books:

About Sean Dunn

Sean is an Enterprise Agile Coach with IHS Global. He has been involved with agile development for 8 years as a developer, product owner, and agile coach. Prior to his exposure to agile development Sean spent 13 years in the Canadian Army. In fact, Sean is known to point out that the Army is far more agile than most people think.
That background in the Canadian Army influenced his view of Leadership and the role of Leadership in creating and developing great teams.
You can connect with Sean Dunn on LinkedIn, check out Sean Dunn on the Scrum Alliance or email him at sean.dunn@ihs.com.

Natalie Warnert explains why Scrum Masters must have partners in the organization

When we start working in a new organization we must face a new environment, new people, and must therefore start building our support network. Natalie suggests you seek out a partner in the new organization that can support your work. We also discuss why the role of leadership is so critical for the success of the team.

About Natalie Warnert

As a developer turned Agile coach, Natalie Warnert understands and embraces what it takes to build great products. Natalie focuses teams on embracing Agile values to build the right product and build the product right. Natalie is currently coaching the Cart/Checkout teams for Best Buy Dotcom and recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.
You can link with Natalie Warnert on LinkedIn, connect with Natalie Warnert on Twitter, read her blog at nataliewarnert.com, and visit her project page Women in Agile.

Anton Zotin on why it is critical to understand everyone has their own journey to Agile

As Scrum Masters we are often very passionate about what is the “right way”, we see a lot of problems immediately, and we know how to fix them. Anton shares the story of such a moment in his career and how he started to accept that “everyone has their own journey”. His recipe is:

  1. Gradually lead the time in the right direction. Don’t try to change everything at the same time.
  2. Whatever you think is going wrong, reflect that back to the team and help them find their own solution. Be an Agile Mirror!

In this Episode we mention 2 important books:
The Human Side of the Enterprise by McGregor, the classic that introduced the Theory X and Theory Y model, which we discuss in this episode.
Turn the Ship Around by Marquee, a book on leadership that presents a model that is very useful for Scrum Masters.

About Anton Zotin

Anton is an Agile guy born in cold Siberia but with hot and passionate heart. He has worked in all sorts of companies and environments, and has been an agile fan since 2004. Nowadays works and lives in Berlin. And he deeply believes in people.
You can connect with Anton Zotin on LinkedIn, or find Anton Zotin on twitter. You can also ask him questions over email.

Ebenezer Ikonne on the dangers of hiring those that know all the answers

This a tale of caution when recruiting. Ebenezer tells us the story of a person that was hired after a flawless interview process. He knew everything, all the answers. But in practice things did not work as well as in the interview. We discuss questions to ask that might help detect when people’s knowledge is not in line with their practice, and other recruiting techniques.

About Ebenezer Ikonne

Technology enthusiast. Change artist. Culture hacker. People focused. Helping organizations provide their employees with the most meaningful and fulfilling experience they could have while delivering solutions that change the world. Ebenezer is also a Tech Director at Mannheim.
You can link with Ebenezer Ikonne on LinkedIn, and contact Ebenezer Ikonne on Twitter. You can also read his thoughts on Agile on his blog.

Ebenezer Ikonne on the 5 conditions for great teams

What are the conditions for great teams to emerge? And what are the obstacles? These are some of the questions we cover in this episode. We mention also two very important books about teams, and how to build great teams: Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances by Richard Hackman and The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization by Katzenbach and Smith.

About Ebenezer Ikonne

Technology enthusiast. Change artist. Culture hacker. People focused. Helping organizations provide their employees with the most meaningful and fulfilling experience they could have while delivering solutions that change the world. Ebenezer is also a Tech Director at Mannheim.
You can link with Ebenezer Ikonne on LinkedIn, and contact Ebenezer Ikonne on Twitter. You can also read his thoughts on Agile on his blog.

Juha Heimonen explains how to fail at self-organization

Self-organization is not a simple “tool” you can just spring on teams by saying: “Self-organize! Now you don’t have any managers.” Juha explains such a process, why it failed and what he learned from it that can help you on the path to team self-organization.

About Juha Heimonen

Juha is a entrepreneur, programmer, kanbanista and a unicorn. He calls Software a garden, and says that he tries to be a gardener tending the soil as well as the specific plants.
He is active in the local agile community in Jyväskylä, Finland and also quite active on twitter.
You can link up with Juha Heimonen on LinkedIn and connect with Juha Heimonen on twitter.
You can find out more about his thoughts on Fellowship and how he applies that in his own business at Flowa’s website and blog.

Karol Sójko on the life of a startup and what Scrum Masters should know about it

The life of a startup is very different from working on a large corporate environment. This influences your work as a Scrum Master. In this episode Karol shares what he learned from that experience, and a technique he learned then that he now applies everywhere.

About Karol Sójko


Developer, software architect and a team leader. Karol is a big fan of Behavior Driven Development and open source software. In his everyday work he tries to share his experience and actively participate in development and spreading a good word about open source projects like Symfony, Behat or PhpSpec. He is also fascinated by the process of making teams work better and tweak their productivity. After hours he is one of PHPers meetups organizers in Poland.
Karol is the author of To-Do: Team!: Simple productivity techniques for improving your team & making software that matters
You can connect with Karol Sójko on twitter, and subscribe to his helpful tips on how to get your team to the next level.