BONUS: The critical steps to become a Scrum Master, inspiration and tips for you to apply and become a more impactful Scrum Master

When Ben moved to another team he faced some pretty challenging situations. A fully distributed team with a Scrum Master in another country trying to juggle the time zone differences. 

It was only fitting that Ben would then take over the Scrum Master role shortly after. The journey from developer to Scrum Master is hard enough, but in this story, we talk about how to take on the Scrum Master role for a distributed team as well. Not an easy first assignment as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn about that journey and the lessons that you can apply in your own work. 

The major obstacles Ben faced in his Scrum Master journey

Continue reading BONUS: The critical steps to become a Scrum Master, inspiration and tips for you to apply and become a more impactful Scrum Master

How metrics, used right, can drive learning in your organization: Measure to learn – The Bungsu metrics code

This is a guest post by Marcus Hammarberg, author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story, How Lean and Kanban saved a small hospital in Indonesia. Twice. And can help you reshape work in your company. (available on Amazon)

This is the fourth and last post on a series by Marcus Hammarberg about how metrics can help engage, motivate and ultimately push a team towards success! (See other blog posts in this series here)

When we first started to work with the Bungsu hospital they were in a devasting situation.

Fast forward 1,5 years and you would see a hospital that was making money every day.

In the end, we turned the hospital from a situation where only the director and her closest staff cared, to a situation where 100 people in the hospital were actively engaged in everyday improvements.

How is this possible? What kind of magic was applied?

Visualizing the right metric

Each morning we showed the result and it was good we had loud cheering among the staff. But for bad days it was mostly silence, head hung low.

I also noticed that the lady that was in charge of gathering the numbers, Ibu Elly (Mrs Elly) the directory secretary, behaved a bit different for days with bad numbers. She was almost reluctant to present them and quickly went over the whole thing.

We had talked about what we wanted to learn about the numbers and I had written “KENAPA” (WHY) beneath the graph. Because I wanted us to learn from the metric we were collecting and visualizing every day.

For example on this graph – can you see something that stands out?

 

See those regular dips? If you asked “KENAPA” and counted the dates, you could probably figure out that those dips are Sundays… People don’t go to a hospital, as much, on Sundays.

“KENAPA” – what can we learn? Well, we could (and did) try to be more open on Sundays, but pretty soon realized that it would be very costly to keep more staff around and that it was a cultural thing keeping people back.

Until that point, most of the management team understood the KENAPA-question, but it made Ibu Elly feel ashamed for bad days. That troubled me, until one day when she was bustling with joy. We had made an excellent result yesterday: 138 patients served in one day. The first time, above our goal of 134 patients.

As she entered the numbers and headed back to her seat I asked… “Kenapa, Ibu?”

She stopped in her step and turned around with a puzzled look. “No, you don’t understand. It was a good result, sir.”

I did understand that it was a good result but I pressed on. “I know, but why was it good”.

Poor Ibu Elly looked around for support and then back to me with an even more puzzled look. “Well… in the polyclinic, we had 32 patients, and then for the ER we had 12 patients and …” I interrupted her gently.

“I understand all of that. You are showing me the math. But why was it good yesterday?”. At this point, she gave up and just said “I don’t understand” and took her seat.

I felt bad for her but we had an important learning point here, so I pressed the others. “Anyone else knows why it was good yesterday? Kenapa?”.

After a few moments of hesitation, someone offered “Well, yesterday we had three doctors in the polyclinic, rather than our usual two. Dr Paula did an extra day for us.”

“AHA!” I exclaimed, a bit too loud if I’m honest… “So what can we learn?”

We eventually concluded that more doctors probably means more patients. At least that was a hypothesis we could use to run an experiment.

More importantly, with the visualized data and by continuously focusing on learning we found that knowledge nugget. We now had understood the value of asking “WHY” the data behaves as it behaves. And from this point on we viewed the graph differently – it was now a source of learning, regardless of the result.

There’s a lot more to talk about metrics, and how simple practices can transform your organization. The book shares a lot about that, of course, but here’s a podcast episode where I talk with Vasco about the same practices.

Do you need the one metric that matters to engage your team? This booklet is for you!

In the Bungsu’s Pirate Code for Visualization downloadable booklet I will go into details on how we made this “one metric that matters” engaging, kept it relevant and ultimately saved the hospital by keeping our focus there – using what we referred to as the Bungsu Pirate Code. Click here to download your guide to using the “one metric that matters” in your own team.

This is a very actionable tool that you can you use today in your organization to make your visualizations matter to everyone all the time.

The Bungsu Story is a fascinating account of a real-life crisis, and how Agile, Lean and Kanban saved the Hospital from bankruptcy! Twice! Get ready for the journey, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About Marcus Hammarberg

Marcus is the author of Salvation: The Bungsu Story (available on Amazon), an inspiring and actionable story about how simple tools can help transform the productivity and impact of an organization. The real-life stories in The Bungsu can help you transform the productivity of your team. Marcus is also an renowned author and consultant in the Kanban community, he authored the book Kanban in Action with Joakim Sundén.
You can link with Marcus Hammarberg on LinkedIn, and connect with Marcus Hammarberg on twitter.

Learning on the job is the new Certification!

TL;DR: The Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast sponsors the Remote Forever Summit to help you learn on the job! It’s FREE, grab the opportunity!

When the big Agile adoption wave started in the early 2000’s, certification was all the craze. These days it looks like you can’t have a coffee meeting without getting a certificate. But here’s the thing: a certificate only states that you know the basics! I have (infamously) said, “Please do share that you have a Scrum Master certificate so that I can eliminate you from the hiring process!”

Why did I do that?

Certification does not say you want to learn. Certification does not say you are an insightful Scrum Master or coach. Certification only says: “I know the basics”. And if that’s all people can quote as their achievements it further says: “I don’t want to know more than the basics”.

Go beyond the basics

At the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we believe that learning on the job, learning every day is how we get better. How we improve our craft and our profession. Agile coaching or Scrum Mastering is not something that you can learn in a university, you learn it on the job!

As part of our efforts to help you learn on the job we decided to sponsor 2 online summits, which are FREE (no excuses!) for you to learn from amazing speakers.

This week we are sponsoring the Remote Forever Summit which has amazing speakers that share their insights on how to work (specifically) with remote teams.

We hope you like it, and we will continue to support more online summits and even conferences in the future that help Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches learn from people who’ve been applying these ideas and sharing their experiences for many years.

Go learn! Be better, every day!

PS: are you thinking of organizing an online summit? Get in touch, we’d love to help!

Oana Juncu on how dangerous success can be

Sometimes we forget that failure is always around the corner. We get too confident and stop looking at the failure signs. Oana shares just such a story, and what she did to get out of it.

About Oana Juncu

Oana likes to present herself as a Business DJ, mixing whatever practices, from Agile and Lean(Startup) to storytelling , User Experience and neuroscience. In her day to day Oana helps teams and organisations unfold creativity, become proud of their achievements, and delight their customers.
You can connect with Oana Juncu on LinkedIn, or follow Oana Juncu on Twitter.
Oana’s website can be seen at coemerge.com.

Woody Zuill: “The system is where it’s at”

Woody Zuill discusses systems, and tools to help us understand the system. We also discuss how important retrospectives are, and how to go about increasing the amount, and value of your retrospectives: Just-In-Time retrospectives.

About Woody Zuill

Woody Zuill, an independent Agile Consultant, Trainer, Coach, and Guide and has been programming computers for 30+ years. As a pioneer of the Mob Programming approach of teamwork for software development he has been sharing presentations and workshops on Mob Programming for conferences, user groups, and companies all over the world. He is considered one of the founders of the “#NoEstimates” discussion on Twitter.
You can connect with Woody Zuill on LinkedIn or contact Woody Zuill on Twitter.
If you are interested, check the MobProgramming conference.

Woody Zuill discusses failed Agile adoptions

Agile is an approach to software development that asks us to look at the whole process differently. It asks us to consider different values, principles and perspectives that differ significantly from previous approaches. And it is because of that that it causes many to feel like their previous successes no longer matter. In such an environment it is very easy to feel rejected and that our experience does not count. This leads to problems in agile adoption. Woody talks about one such experience and what he learned from it.

About Woody Zuill

Woody Zuill, an independent Agile Consultant, Trainer, Coach, and Guide and has been programming computers for 30+ years. As a pioneer of the Mob Programming approach of teamwork for software development he has been sharing presentations and workshops on Mob Programming for conferences, user groups, and companies all over the world. He is considered one of the founders of the “#NoEstimates” discussion on Twitter.
You can connect with Woody Zuill on LinkedIn or contact Woody Zuill on Twitter.
If you are interested, check the MobProgramming conference.

Angel Medinilla from Project Manager to Agile Coach

We all transition from different roles. Some of us start as developers or testers or other roles and end up working with teams as Scrum Masters. Angel shares his journey from Project Manager to Scrum Master.
We also mention how to tackle the presence of laggards, people who are not ready to adopt agile because of their fears and anxieties about the change.

About Angel Medinilla

Ángel Medinilla (Spain, 1973) has 18+ years working experience in the ICT market. In 2007 he started his own Agile Consulting firm. Today, Proyectalis is considered the leading Agile consulting and coaching company in Spain, and one of the most well-known in Europe and Latin America,
He is a regular speaker at Agile conferences all over the world
He is the author of Agile Management (Springer) and “Agile Kaizen: Continuous Improvement Far Beyond Retrospectives’ (Springer). He also contributed to Beyond Agile: Stories of Agile Transformations, (Modus Cooperandi).
In 2015 he co-founded Improvement21, whose goal is to bring the continuous improvement habit to all kind of organizations in order to create better cultures, teams, processes and products.
You can connect with Angel Medinilla on LinkedIn, and contact Angel Medinilla on Twitter.

Zach Bonaker on the 3 successful outcomes for Scrum Masters

In this episode, Zach Bonaker explains the three outcomes he thinks are critical for Scrum Masters.

About Zach Bonaker

Zach Bonaker is Benevolent Trouble-Maker from San Diego. He’s an agile coach who specializes in bringing lean thinking to organizations and teams over varying sizes across the country. Zach builds relationships to help transform people, systems, and structures towards safer and faster ways of delivering high quality software. When he isn’t thinking about next-generation agile ideas, Zach can be found enjoying the sunny west coast weather and connecting with people all around the world. Follow Zach Bonaker on Twitter, and connect with Zach Bonaker on Linkedin.

Zach Bonaker on Apprenticeship for Scrum Masters

Zach shares his journey as a Scrum Master and how important it is to get a pair in your own journey. Apprenticeship for Scrum Masters is not a new idea, but it is an important part in our toolbox for learning as Scrum Masters.

About Zach Bonaker

Zach Bonaker is Benevolent Trouble-Maker from San Diego. He’s an agile coach who specializes in bringing lean thinking to organizations and teams over varying sizes across the country. Zach builds relationships to help transform people, systems, and structures towards safer and faster ways of delivering high quality software. When he isn’t thinking about next-generation agile ideas, Zach can be found enjoying the sunny west coast weather and connecting with people all around the world. Follow Zach Bonaker on Twitter, and connect with Zach Bonaker on Linkedin.

Alberto Brandolini talks about how important it is to define how your assignment starts

As Scrum Masters we start working with teams and sometimes miss the context of the start for that relationship. Alberto shares with us a story of a failed “insertion point”, where he realized that we must actively understand and shape how our assignments start.

About Alberto Brandolini

Alberto looks at himself as sit at the intersection between the Agile/Lean community and the Domain-Driven Design community. Sometimes, he says, the solution is to write better software, sometimes the solution is to take a big modelling surface and see “the problem” in all its magnificence, sometimes the solution is to have a beer.
You can link up with Alberto Brandolini on LinkedIn, or connect with Alberto Brandolini on Twitter.