David Sabine on how corporate culture affects Agile adoption

As we explore the impact of culture in the adoption of Agile and Scrum, we must also reflect on the impact of the corporate culture. Despite the influence of national cultures, international corporations also bring their own culture which may, or may not align with the national culture.

In this episode, we look at how individuals quickly adapt to the prevailing culture, and how corporate cultures can influence disproportionately the Agile adoption process.

In this episode, we refer to the book The Corporate Culture Survival Guide by Edgar Schein.

About David Sabine

David is a Scrum trainer and an advisor to software development organizations. He is in demand among Canada’s largest enterprises including Scotiabank, Sun Life Financial, and Canada’s Federal Government. He formerly worked with DigitalOcean and Myplanet.com, among others. He’s been helping people with the ways they use Scrum since 2007.

You can link with David Sabine on LinkedIn and connect with David Sabine on Twitter.

Silvana Wasitova on The Impact of Hierarchy on Scrum Teams, and Team Members

National cultures affect the level of deference to hierarchy that is acceptable or expected in the organization. As Scrum Masters, we must be aware of that, as it will directly affect the behavior of team members. In this episode, we discuss the effect that the hierarchy-level in the organization can have, and how to slowly help team members find their way in that kind of cultures.

About Silvana Wasitova

Silvana Wasitova, Enterprise Agile Coach, helps teams and companies achieve better results through applying and living Agile values and principles. Scrum practitioner since 2005. Silvana lives and breathes the agile value of “People over Process”, and brings that to the forefront of her coaching work with teams and companies, while focused on the client’s audacious goals and desired results. Silvana has aided multinational enterprise Agile transformations in United States, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Indonesia and Switzerland with clients including Yahoo, Nestle, Skype, Microsoft, financial enterprises as well as startups.

You can link with Silvana Wasitova on LinkedIn and connect with Silvana Wasitova on Twitter.

Paulo Rebelo on How the Perceived Status of the Scrum Master Role Affects Scrum Masters

The role of Scrum Master is not yet a fully developed and recognized role in the Software industry. This has an impact on how people find (or not) their motivation to excel in that role.

In this episode, we talk about cultures that place a lot of value on the status of a Job Title, and how that affects the motivation of people that take up the Scrum Master role.

About Paulo Rebelo

Paulo Rebelo helps companies to improve using agile and lean principles like Scrum, XP, and Kanban. He currently works at Blackhawk Network in the U.S., helping teams succeed by building great products. His background is a developer, Scrum Master, product owner, project manager, and coach. Paulo is a CSP, CSPO and a CSM from the Scrum Alliance and PMP from the PMI.

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

Elizabeth Christensen on Being Polite as a Way to Create a Safety Zone for the Team

In this episode we explore a very specific culture within North America, and how it affects the adoption of Scrum. Listen in to learn how a Nebraska Scrum Master takes advantage of their specific local culture to help her team.

About Elizabeth Christensen

Elizabeth Christensen shares tales from the not-so-cutting-edge, bringing Scrum to Marketing. She is currently developing scrum practices for a marketing team. With a background in business management & team leadership this self-proclaimed scrappy new Scrum Master finds her way in a never-before-experienced opportunity.

You can link with Elizabeth Christensen on LinkedIn.

Kyle Aretae: Is Agile compatible with the North American culture?

In this episode, we reflect on the fit between North American culture and Agile culture. We discuss some of the characteristics that define North American culture, and how that contrasts with other cultures. Specifically, we discuss why Lean, something that came from Japan, might be completely different in the way the individual is part of the approach to work.

In this episode, we refer to Ceremony: A Profound New Method for Achieving Successful and Sustainable Change by Kyle Aretae and Thomas Meloche, and The Scrum Princess by Kyle and Demi Aretae, which explains Scrum to children.

About Kyle Aretae

Kyle has been programming since ’81. Teaching since ’91. Practicing Agile (Extreme Programming – XP) since 2000. Kyle is always interested first in better ways to understand things and systems. Especially interested in Complex (CAS/VUCA) Systems like building software or the economy at large.

You can find Kyle Areate at DiamondAgile.com, or link with Kyle Areate on LinkedIn.

Faye Thompson Reminds us: People are NOT Resources!

There’s the temptation that people are as easily replaceable as parts in a machine. But is that the case? And if you answer “no”, what does that mean for you as a Scrum Master? In this episode we explore the many reasons why treating people as “resources” causes problems in the long run.

In this episode, we refer to the book Age of Agile by Steve Denning.

About Faye Thompson

Faye calls herself a Scrum Master and agile coach, and she enjoys working with teams to solve cool business problems while not being jerks to one another.

You can link with Faye Thompson on LinkedIn and connect with Faye Thompson on Twitter.

BONUS: Marcus Hammarberg talks about simple techniques that can transform your leadership

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, a book we here at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast are helping to publish. This book is inspiring, and will definitely move you to action.

In this episode, we discuss some of the many techniques Marcus used in Indonesia while he was helping the team at The Bungsu Hospital literally save the hospital from bankruptcy. And that’s not an over-statement!

Click to liste to the interview and read more about the topics of this episode.

Continue reading BONUS: Marcus Hammarberg talks about simple techniques that can transform your leadership

BONUS: Karin Tenelius on how Self-organization can have a major positive business impact

Karin has a long experience helping teams and businesses to use self-organization as a way to drive business success. She’s worked as an interim-CEO in several companies where she helped drive major changes and positive business results using the principles and ideas behind self-organization.

Self-organization is not only for small teams. Karin shares with us the stories of the businesses where she worked, and how some fundamental changes enabled not only self-organization but also major business changes.

Read on for the detailed insights from this episode.

Continue reading BONUS: Karin Tenelius on how Self-organization can have a major positive business impact

BONUS: David Marquet on the book Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Building Leaders

Captain L. David Marquet, author of Turn the Ship Around!, joins us in the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to discuss the lessons learned from his stint at the Santa Fe, a US Navy submarine that, when he took over, ranked last in retention and operational standing.

How do you turn around a ship that is going south? When people leave quickly, you don’t even keep the little knowledge gathered in the team. Just like in our organizations today, the Santa Fe was losing key people and suffered from very low morale. This was the moment when Retired Captain David Marquet entered the ship. The Santa Fe was about to change, and Captain Marquet shares with us the key moments in that story as well as very practical tools you can use as a Scrum Master to help your team go from follower to leader.

Acknowledging what you don’t know and still being a leader

Leaders are expected to know a lot. In fact, in the US Navy submarine captains are put into school for 1 year before taking office in the ship. Captain Marquet shares with us the moment when he gave his first order and was made aware that his order was impossible to carry out.

Many leaders do this, but are never told by their subordinates that the order is impossible to execute. This moment of understanding led Retired Captain David Marquet to start a new practice aboard the Santa Fe: being silent to allow people to express their intent. Later on the Captain and his crew developed the “I Intend to” method that is described in his Turn the Ship Around book, and enabled the major transformation in the ship: from 1 leader and 134 followers to 135 leaders on board. This simple technique can dramatically unlock the capabilities of your organization and your team.

Captain Marquet also shares the simple techniques that allowed him to make the “I intend to” approach work. Listen in for the details.

Giving up control, the key to self-organization and a major challenge for leaders today  

Leaders are leaders because they are able and willing to take control of difficult situations. And they add value by helping their teams face and resolve difficult situations. However, the challenge is that when we do take control, we immediately send the message to the team that they are not supposed to. How do we get out of that pattern? Captain Marquet shares with us his approach, an approach that he uses today with leaders all over the world. Practicing giving up control is one way we can learn to unlock the power of the organizations and teams we work with.

Listen in to learn about this simple, but effective practice and how it can help you – as a Scrum Master – let the team raise up to the challenge. To take ownership on their own. This simple technique alone can trigger the process of self-organization

Audience question: how to deal with bad apples?

As a Captain in the Navy, Captain Marquet had to deal with all kinds of people and in situations where there was no other choice. You can’t fire a person while you are at sea for 6 months. That person can be a key to a future critical situation, so we need to make sure everyone can contribute to the challenges we face. How do you do that when there’s a “bad apple” in the team? Captain Marquet reviews with us his approach to tackling that kind of issue that we will have to face, sooner or later, in our Scrum Master career.

The audience question was submitted by Alexandre Thibault, a previous guest on the podcast.

The real role for leaders in organizations

George W. Bush famously proclaimed “I’m the decider!” But is that really the role of a leader? How about the role of the leader as the one responsible for the structure, the system where the teams and individuals perform their work?

Captain Marquet challenges us with the idea that we, as leaders, are responsible for the system of work. The structure and methods of interaction and collaboration. While the people in the team or organization are responsible for the real work. The content of the work. If we don’t follow this simple approach we end up micromanaging outcomes as Captain Marquet says.

Be authoritarian in the system of work, but decentralize decisions about the work content.

Act your way into a new way of thinking

How can we bring this kind of change to our organization? No change can happen without the attention and focus of the leaders in the organization. And in this aspect lies one of the key insights of the book by Captain Marquet: “Instead of trying to change mind-sets and then change the way we acted, we would start acting differently and the new thinking would follow.”

The story that Captain Marquet conveys in his book is a striking example of how you can change culture in an organization, and radically improve results with simple, and sometimes counter-intuitive, lessons on leadership.

About Captain L. David Marquet

Captain David Marquet (pronounced: MAR-KAY) was assigned to command the nuclear powered submarine USS Santa Fe. The Santa Fe ranked last in retention and operational standing. He literally “turned his ship around” by treating the crew as leaders, not followers, and giving control, not taking control. This revolutionary approach not only took the Santa Fe from “worst to first” in the rankings, but also created more subsequent leaders than any other submarine. Stephen R. Covey called the Santa Fe “the most empowering organization [he’d] ever seen” and wrote about Captain Marquet’s leadership practices in his book, The 8th Habit.

Captain Marquet is the author of Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders.

This was Fortune magazine named it the #1 must-read business book of the year, and USA

Today listed it as one of the top 12 business books of all time.

David Marquet is here to share with us the powerful message that in highly effective organizations, leadership is not for the select few at the top; he will share with us how he and the crew of Santa Fe developed a way to create leaders at every level.

To find out more, visit Captain Marquet’s site, buy Turn the Ship Around!

You can link with Captain L. David Marquette on LinkedIn and connect with Captain L. David Marquet on Twitter.


EXTRA BONUS! 🙂 Captain David Marquet’s Leadership Nudges available for you, right now and for free!

You can go to youtube and subscribe to Captain Marquet’s leadership nudges. Short videos about key aspects of leadership that the shares with you every week. You can subscribe to Captain Marquet’s leadership nudges on his website, or follow the channel on youtube!


Here’s one of my favourites for you to watch: 1 minute to make you a better leader!


Vasco Duarte discusses successful Scrum in any organization

What does it mean to be a successful Scrum Master? That’s a question we ask every week on the podcast. But how about asking: what does it mean to have a successful Scrum adoption? Vasco and Gunther discuss the value of Scrum for organizations and what we need to reach successful Scrum in any organization.

About Gunther Verheyen

Gunther left consulting in 2013 to partner with Ken Schwaber, Scrum co-creator, at Scrum.org. He represented Ken and Scrum.org in Europe. Gunther left Scrum.org in 2016 to continue his journey of Scrum as an independent Scrum Caretaker. Gunther believes that Scrum – the most applied software development framework – will not only increase the value that software delivers to organizations but is also a way to re-humanise the workplace for people.

Gunther is co-creator to Agility Path and the Nexus framework for Scaled Professional Scrum.

You can link with Gunther Verheyen on LinkedIn and connect with Gunther Verheyen on Twitter.