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.

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: Creating an Agile Partnership with your Product Owner, so you can help your Scrum team

As Kevin worked with a team whose client was the Product Owner, he found himself with very little to do. The team was working well, except… As he dug deeper, he realized that the PO was not taking full ownership of the role. However, at that time Kevin thought of himself as the Scrum Master, and only that. Because of that, the team started suffering. At that time Kevin realized that being a Scrum Master is – sometimes – about stepping in and helping the Product Owner hands-on! Learn how he pulled it off by listening to this episode. 

In this episode, we refer to the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast’s Coach Your Product Owner e-course, which is designed to help you work together with your PO, and create a productive partnership that helps the team!

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.

Mariana Trigo: Helping an Agile team, even when the Scrum Master is out of ideas!

In this team, the team members had already been complaining for a while about the requirements not being specified enough. As this complaint repeated even after some effort to answer their questions, Mariana stepped back. However, she quickly realized that it was a mistake, as the team felt abandoned. It was critical to find an alternative solution, so Mariana took it to the team, and together with a senior developer came up with a solution. Listen in to learn how that team helped solve a problem that not even the Scrum Master had found a solution for.

About Mariana Trigo

Mariana’s path from Biology to Retail to IT, is a unique path in the search for purpose and the feeling of belonging. Helping development teams to reach their full potential by improving processes and people. Her favorite time is retrospective time, probably connected with her need to constantly get out of her comfort zone. 

You can link with Mariana Trigo on LinkedIn.

Tanzil Choudhury: The Agile Anti-patterns Scrum Masters should be on the lookout for

Tanzil was working with one team, when the second team lost its Scrum Master. However, that second team, was really 3 teams put together. Filled with too many people, and different strong cultures, this second team proved to be a real challenge for Tanzil. And the problems did not stop there. The PO wasn’t a full-time PO, and that hurt the second team even more. Listen in to learn about the anti-patterns to look out for when starting off with a new team.

About Tanzil Choudhury

Tanzil is a passionate Agilist focused on coaching individuals, teams and organizations towards the Agile transformation journey. Specialized in working with teams and organizations to help them overcome cultural hangovers. 

You can link with Tanzil Choudhury on LinkedIn.

Alex Gbaguidi: When preparing for the Scrum daily goes overboard

Getting a good, collaborative conversation in the daily standup is key to help teams deliver. However, when we put too much emphasis on preparing for the daily standup we may be creating more problems for the team. In this episode, we hear the story of a super well prepared daily standup that was actually worse for the team. 

About Alex Gbaguidi

Alex is an experienced agile practitioner, coach and trainer with twenty years of experience in IT consulting. He is passionate about helping teams discover the best ways of working adapted to their context. He’s worked in many different types of industries (Telecoms, Energy, Finance or Aeronautics) and provides training on many agile frameworks and practices all around the world in French & English.

You can link with Alex Gbaguidi on LinkedIn and connect with Alex Gbaguidi on Twitter. 

You can join Alex Gbaguidi’s Agile Africa community. 

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 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.

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: Hiring for culture fit is even more important than you thought, in a Scrum team

In a growing team, hiring a super qualified person is often a great achievement. A senior person can help the team grow, bring in the knowledge that would otherwise take a long time to acquire, and more! However, it does not always happen like that. In this story, we hear about a senior team member that created conflict and demoralized the team. Listen in to learn about the critical lessons Lena learned about onboarding and integrating senior team members in an existing team.

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.