Aria Omidvar: The Many Layers to Scrum Master Success

Aria explores the layers of success for Scrum Masters, highlighting the transformation of team culture. He assesses success through the lens of team self-reliance, self-organization, and ownership of work. Aria’s metric for success involves equipping teams with tools and practices that enable them to effectively carry out their responsibilities. This episode offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of success in the role of a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Making Retrospectives Clearly Different From Other Meetings and Work

Aria shares his preferred retrospective format, emphasizing the importance of a distinct mindset for this higher-order team work. He advocates for creativity and mindfulness, aiming to set retrospectives apart from regular team activities with a specific format he shares in this episode. Aria offers practical tips such as note-taking, root cause analysis, and solution brainstorming during discussions. He underscores the value of critical thinking, focusing on root causes, and showing the path to solutions. Aria’s approach promotes effective retrospectives as a catalyst for meaningful team improvement.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Aria Omidvar

Aria has 4+ years of experience serving as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Agile Coach (CSM, A-CSM, CSPO) from single teams to multiple teams and the whole software organization. He’s a Software Engineer turned Software Developer turned Peopleware Developer and Agilist.

You can link with Aria Omidvar on LinkedIn and connect with Aria Omidvar on Twitter.

Zach Stone: Evolving Our Perspective On Scrum Master Success With Experience

In this episode, Zach discusses his evolving perspective on success as a Scrum Master. Initially valuing predictability, he now prioritizes the impact of Scrum events over strict adherence. He acknowledges the risk of losing sight of purpose when fixating on predictability and velocity. Shifting from an adherence mindset to a goal-oriented, customer-centric approach, Zach emphasizes the importance of clear product goals in boosting team motivation. Success, for him, is now defined by the meaningful impact achieved through Scrum events, aligning teams with overarching objectives and driving tangible results.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Rosebud and Thorn Retrospective Format

In this episode, Zach shares his preferred retrospective format, the “Rosebud and Thorn.” He appreciates its simplicity and authenticity, as it prompts participants to share both positive and challenging aspects. The retrospective serves as a communication gauge for the team, revealing their dynamics and communication quality. Zach emphasizes the format’s value in assessing team functioning throughout the sprint. Additionally, he advises adapting facilitation strategies for remote sessions, especially those lacking camera visibility, ensuring effective retrospectives regardless of the setting. The “Rosebud and Thorn” emerges as a powerful tool for insightful and meaningful reflections.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Zach Stone

Zach has worked as a process facilitator for over 17 years, as a specialist in behavioral science. He co-founded a firm that uses techniques to rebuild war zones  for organizational dynamics. He has been an agilist for the past 7 years and was recently a speaker at the Global Scrum Conference. He lives in Santa Fe with his Wife and spends his time exploring canyons and trails.

You can link with Zach Stone on LinkedIn.

Scrum Masters are the future CEO’s, and a podcast by the Lean Enterprise Institute

I’ve been working on a collection of great blog posts about the Scrum Master role. If you have a favorite article on the Scrum Master role, or it’s goals and responsibilities, let me know by submitting it here: https://bit.ly/TheBestScrumMasterBlogPosts2020

I believe that one of the most well-kept secrets of the Agile community is that the Scrum Master role is the role where the future CEO’s are born.

I know, I know. This sounds like an exaggeration. True. But I do have some good arguments for this below, so read on!

Scrum Masters are about building organizations that work together

I was listening to this podcast by the Lean Enterprise Insititute (a non-profit that tries to advance Lean practice) with heard Alan Mulally, the ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford.

In that podcast, Alan explains how he implemented the “people first” model he learned about at Boeing (being involved in all of the plane projects at Boeing) and later implemented also at Ford.

His perspective is refreshing. But especially it is very much in line with what we think the Scrum Master role is. Take this quote for example: “Pull everyone together around the Vision for the Product, and around the Strategy for achieving that Vision”

“Pull everyone together around the Vision for the Product, and around the Strategy for achieving that Vision”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

For me, that’s a great description of what the role of the Scrum Master is about: pulling people together around the Vision for the product that the Product team has put together with their stakeholders, and pulling people together around the strategy to achieve that Vision!

Scrum Masters are about building organizations that put “people first”

The podcast goes on and talks about something that is incredibly important: how do we build high-performance teams. The lessons Alan shares are also crucial, and we’ve talked about this here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast: when a team member does not want to play by the rules the team has setup (low “working together skills, as Alan puts it), that’s poison for the team.

(On Working together and peer accountability) “Everyone who does not operate this way is poison”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

As Scrum Masters, one of our greatest responsibilities is to make sure that the team comes together and agrees on how to work together, and keep themselves accountable! Just like a CEO as Alan explains!

Alan shares his approach to bringing people together on the execution aspect of the work: be clear about the rules (work with the team to define those), and define a method for self and peer accountability!

“Most of the time, when you are clear about the process, and the rules of working together, people will come together and become great team contributors”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

As Scrum Masters, we are responsible for making sure everyone on the team understands (and contributes) to the rules of the work! Just like a CEO as Alan explains!

This was a great podcast with Jim Morgan (Lean Enterprise Institute) and Alan Mulally (ex-CEO at Boeing and Ford), and is filled with insights for Scrum Masters, who are the future of the CEO role!

One more quote to finish (from the podcast, at around minute 29)

“My biggest contribution, was holding myself and the team accountable for following the process and acceptable behaviours”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

That’s a quote from a CEO, not a #ScrumMaster. But it could be from a Scrum Master!

Help us grow as a Scrum Master community, share your best 2020 articles below.

Developing Teams the Scrum (and Lean) way! by Lean.Org’s The Lean Post

I’ve been working on a collection of great blog posts about the Scrum Master role. If you have a favorite article on the Scrum Master role, or it’s goals and responsibilities, let me know by submitting it here: https://bit.ly/TheBestScrumMasterBlogPosts2020

Scrum Masters are key participants in the teams, and key contributors to the improvement of productivity in the organizations they work in. Even if the Scrum approach and Agile, in general, are very new (from late1990’s, early 2000s), there are other approaches that have been with us for nearly more than a century now.

One such approach is “Taylorism”. In that approach, the main premise is that “some people” know “what needs to be done and how” (the planner/thinker), and other people “do it” (the doers).

“Take it to the team”: a Scrum Master Mantra

Unfortunately, that Tayloristic approach has become prevalent thanks to the work of some early consultancies.

In Scrum, one of the most important changes to the world of work is that the “doers” are also the “thinkers”. This is one of the reasons why here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we often say: “take it to the team”. In other words, anyone can raise an idea of improvement, but only the team knows what can/should be done to achieve the goal. Sometimes that team is the development team, sometimes it is the development team + stakeholders, but it’s “the team” that owns and develops the process of work.

This perspective is revolutionary for many, including many consultancies that still push “process improvement” à lá Taylor (you know which ones).

What’s better than Taylorism for developing our teams and organizations? 

That’s why I want to highlight this post in Lean.Org’s Lean Post blog: “Develop Your People Patiently Rather Than Rely on Super Taylorism”

As the article puts it: while the “west” was focused on separating the thinking from the doing, and using “Super Taylorism”,  “in Japan, Toyota was developing a different approach to strategy, one based on technical learning on the gemba through trial and error–a process that aimed to serve all customers with a broad product line of high quality and at the right price.”

Does that sound familiar? Scrum is exactly that kind of approach: “based on technical learning on the Gemba through trial and error”

Check out the post, and learn about the roots of Scrum and Agile. Don’t get stuck in a Tayloristic approach that leads to frustration, dis-enfranchising the team, and long term problems.

Help us grow as a Scrum Master community, share your best 2020 articles below.

BONUS: What is TameFlow? Steven Tendon explains TameFlow, an hyper performance approach for software development organizations

Steve has been interested in the performance of IT teams and organizations for many years. His work goes back to the 90’s when he experienced, first-hand, what a hyper performing team feels like during his stint at Borland International.

Borland famously fought off Microsoft in one of the most competitive markets in the 90’s: the code editor and compiler market.

During his experience at Borland, Steve got inspired to go beyond the basics of the definiton of performance and started to look for references and inspiration which later led to the definition of his TameFlow system which he describes in this TameFlow introductory book: The Essence of TameFlow.

Among some of the original sources of inspiration for his work, Steve mentions The New New Product Development Game by Takeuchi and Nonaka; David Anderson’s Agile Management for Software Engineering: Applying the Theory of Constraints for Business Results; Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; and many others.

Why do we talk about Hyperperformance and not Hyperproductivity?

Steve explains why he struggled with the use of the word “productivity” and ultimately decided against it. The use of the productivity word develops a focus on the wrong kind of metrics, as well as the fact that it drives a single-dimension focus. In contrast, with the word performance, Steve tries to elicit the different aspects that we need to take into account if we want to improve our teams and organizations. Among the different focus aspects Steve mentions what he calls the 4 flows in the TameFlow system:

  • Operational Flow: How well are you delivering? The operational flow is the conventional “work flow” that determines how work moves through an organization.
  • Financial Flow: How much wealth are you creating? Financial flow is measured in financial throughput. It represents the rate at which an organization turns its products or services into profit or to other units of value.
  • Informational Flow: How well are you communicating? Informa- tion is the lifeblood of an organization; even more so in modern knowledge-based organizations.
  • Psychological Flow: How happy are your people? The highest levels of individual or group performance are achieved when people reach mental states of flow, which is generally associated with a state of happiness.

The take-aways for Scrum Masters

Finally, we review the concrete take-aways Scrum Masters can apply based on the work that Steve has published under the TameFlow banner.

If you want to know more about TameFlow you can visit Steve’s site on the topic: https://community.tameflow.com. In this community you will find others that are applying these insights to their work.

If you are looking for a book where the TameFlow system is described you can check the TameFlow book or the set of shorter books that recently published.

 

 

About Steve Tendon

Steve Tendon popularised the Theory of constraints in some of the agile community and he is also the Creator of the TameFlow systems thinking approach which nurtures breakthrough performance innovation.

This system is described in the book with the same name: Tame the Flow.

You can link with Steve Tendon on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Tendon on Twitter.

 

 

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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
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Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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