BONUS: Troubleshooting your Agile adoption (and conversations) with Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick

We start this episode with a warning for Scrum Masters. The question Squirrel asks is: “what is the value the Scrum Master role brings?” If you want to hear my answer, you can listen to another podcast episode we recorded on the Troubleshooting Agile podcast with Jeffrey and Squirrel (make sure to check out part 2 of that conversation on the Troubleshooting Agile podcast). 

In this conversation, we mention an article on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast blog, where we talk about the Scrum Master as an apprentice role for future CEO’s.

Hacking culture through conversations: Agile Conversations book

One of the interesting points the authors make is that the conversations that happen (or not) in an organization are what defines the culture of that organization. In this segment, we talk about why we must pay special attention to the quality of the conversations, and why talking about culture, without talking about the conversations in an organization, is a dangerous pattern. 

Finding and entering the right conversations in your organization

Why don’t Scrum Masters take a more active role in the conversations ongoing in their organization? We discuss the fear that drives the inaction of Scrum Masters and suggests some techniques we can use to get ourselves, and others to take an active part in shaping the organizational culture and conversations. 

We talk about how “frustration” can be a resource for Scrum Masters to find and unlock important conflicts and related conversations. Scrum Masters must take an active part in finding that frustration, and using it to move the team, and the organization forward. 

In this segment, we refer to Chris Argyris and his work on organizational development.

Tools for high-quality conversations that drive the right culture

Squirrel and Jeffrey present two of the tools in the Agile Conversations book and share how they help Scrum Masters improve their interaction skills, and learn to trigger better conversations. 

We discuss the Four RRRR’s tool as well as the TDD for people tool. You can learn more about these tools in the book Agile Conversations.

In this segment, we discuss the Ladder of Inference (avoiding jumping to conclusions), and the TDD for people tool (audio). 

A call to action: mine for conflict to help your team and organization grow!

We end this episode with a call to action. We discuss how mining for conflict (seeking conflict and using it to generate energy that drives conversations) can help you pave the way for a transformation in your team and in your organization. 

We refer to The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, to describe how to create a safe environment where conflict is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.

About Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick

Squirrel has been coding for forty years and has led software teams for twenty. He uses the power of conversations to create dramatic productivity gains in technology organizations of all sizes. Squirrel’s experience includes growing software teams as a CTO in startups from fintech to biotech to music, and everything in between. He lives in Frogholt, England, in a timber-framed cottage built in the year 1450.

You can link with Douglas Squirrel on LinkedIn and connect with Douglas Squirrel on Twitter

Jeffrey Fredrick is an internationally recognized expert in software development and has over twenty-five years’ experience covering both sides of the business/technology divide. An early adopter of XP and Agile practices, Jeffrey has been a conference speaker in the US, Europe, India, and Japan. Through his work on the pioneering open-source project CruiseControl, and through his role as co-organizer of the Continuous Integration and Testing Conference (CITCON), he has had a global impact on software development. 

You can link with Jeffrey Fredrick on LinkedIn and connect with Jeffrey Fredrick on Twitter

 

Angel Medinilla on the repeating dynamics of change

Change happens in repeating patterns, by recognizing those patterns and learning to live with them we will be able to manage and lead change effectively. Angel shares his experience with change management and shares some of the tools and approaches that he uses to help drive 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.

Amitai Schlair’s view on succes as a Scrum Master

What makes us successful as Scrum Masters? This question has many possible answers. Amitai’s answer is about people and what we can do to help those people be happier at work (or elsewhere). Amitai’s personal approach to success is a little counter-intuitive, but focuses on the sustainability of organizational well-being.
We also mention the book Getting to Yes by Fischer, where they introduce techniques that have helped negotiate some of the most difficult agreements in our recent history.
Today we play one more Agile in 3 Minutes episode that focuses on why we do the work we do as Scrum Masters. Today’s Agile in 3 minutes episode is episode #8, titled “Care”.

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.

Juha Heimonen’s recipe to measure Scrum Master success: Happiness

Happiness is the metric for Scrum Masters to measure their success, according to Juha. We talk about the role of the process in making people happy, as well as the reasons why happiness is so important for Scrum teams.
We also discuss the book by Marshall Rosenberg: Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life.

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.

Emilia Breton-Lake on the importance of retrospectives when trying to understand the system

Emilia uses retrospectives and specific questions to help the team discover the system conditions that affect their performance. She also shares how she knows, and has learned to ask the right questions at the right time.

About Emilia Breton-Lake

Emilia is a natural-born Agile thinker who managed to swim out of the PMI waterfall almost a decade ago. As the head of the PMO at a major non profit she is constantly looking for new ways to build better software and make the world a better place.
She has also been working on 2 major innovations, On going retrospectives, and #NoNumbers where they have eliminated sizing of stories. They still groom and plan, but don’t assign sizes to stories.
Emilia has worked hard to introduce Scrum and Agile to a non-profit that is very resistant to change.
You can link up with Emilia Breton-Lake on LinkedIn. Or follow Emilia Breton-Lake’s articles at the Scrum Alliance website.

Steve Holyer gives you 5 tools that you can use to assess the System

The 5 tools that you can use to assess the system are:

  1. Agile Fluency model: a model to assess the development of the teams you work with. To know more, check out AgileFluencyImmersion.com, a workshop that helps you and your teams learn how to achieve better results.
  2. Strategy Maps: A diagram that creates clarity on what are the defined, but also real goals for an organization.
  3. Design your coaching alliance: A method to help you, as a Scrum Master, understand what are the goals for your work with the teams, and to anchor your work on a clear vision and outcome.
  4. Impact Mapping: a method to help you discover and understand what are the high-value work items (User Stories or Features) for your teams to work on. This tool alone will have a great impact on your work with Product Owners.
  5. Value Stream Mapping: A way to analyse how the work is completed in an organization. Following the work from start to completion and creating a Value Stream Map of that work will give you insights into what are the impediments to value creation in your organization.

About Steve Hoyler

Steve Holyer serves as advocate, trainer and mentor for companies looking for a better ways of working, using Agile practices in a productive, fulfilling, and fun way.
He learned his craft serving as a Scrum Master with multiple teams and organisations, so he knows how to change an organisation from the inside. Steve now serves as an indie-label Agile Coach-for-Hire. He’s passion lies with coaching managers and teams to find ways to do software better.
You can contact Steve Hoyler on twitter, and find Steve Hoyler on LinkedIn. For more, check his Lift Off workshop.

Stefano Porro explains his view of Complexity in software development

Software development is not the same as building a road, or building a house. There’s a key concept called Complexity that explains why many of our assumptions of how software development happens are false. Stefano explains his views of how we can understand the performance of the team in the context of the performance of the whole organization and what to do about it.

In this episode, Stefano refers to Polarity Management, a way of looking at the role of management that can significantly increase the performance of the organization. For more, read this page on Polarity Management.

About Stefano Porro

Stefano Porro Scrum Master toolbox podcastStefano is from Turin, Italy. He has worked since 2001 in IT projects and he feels lucky because he does what he loves. He learned about Scrum in 2007 when the company where he was working decided to adopt Scrum. For the first two years he was part of a Scrum team, and he was fascinated from the role of the Scrum Master because he always loved to help team’s members. For him, becoming a Scrum Master, was a natural evolution.

You can find Stefano Porro on Twitter, and connect with Stefano Porro on Linkedin.

Stefano would also like you to be in touch with him through gmail (stefano.porro81@gmail.com) or skype (stefano.bowen). mail: stefano.porro81@gmail.com

You can follow Stefano’s blog to know more about his work and his ideas.