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.

 

 

Zach Bonaker on how pressure to perform can destroy a team

We all want to be successful, to have an impact in the lives of the people around us. Teams have the same needs. However, when we increase the pressure on a team that is in trouble we create the conditions that may lead to that team’s implosion.

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.

Matthias Seul on why metrics and the questions we ask are our best friends

When trying to understand the system that affects our performance we can’t stay at the surface level. We need to dig deeper to find the real causes for performance problems. Matthias suggest that we measure our system to find what questions we should ask, and then ask “Why?” to help us understand that system.

About Matthias Seul

Matthias worked 10+ years as software developer and gravitated towards coaching in recent years. He is a tech enthusiast, board gamer, inventor and wild duck. Matthias believes in intrinsic motivation – thus he believes in Agile. He says that “together we can make projects a more fulfilling and successful work environment for all involved”.
You can link up with Matthias Seul on LinkedIn, and reach Matthias Seul on twitter. Matthias is interested in your questions and feedback, and you can reach him via email as well.

Daniel Nielsen explains how to track Job Satisfaction for your team

There are many measures that a Scrum Master can track, but Job Satisfaction is Daniel’s choice. In this episode Daniel explains how to track Job Satisfaction as well as other metrics that you can track as a Scrum Master to measure your success.
In this Episode we also mention a very important book in the HR circles, that helps Scrum Masters understand what some of the best managers do to enable their best performers: First, Break all the Rules, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Special call to all Dubai agilists: Daniel is relocating to Dubai and is looking to connect to local agilists. If you fit the bill, then reach out to him on twitter: Daniel Nielsen on Twitter.

About Daniel Nielsen

Daniel is a developer turned Scrum Master turned Agile Coach, with an increasing focus on the coach part. Over the last 10+ years, his interest in how teams work and how we interact as individuals has only grown. He has worked in both small and large companies and tried to cope with the complexities in both worlds.
You can reach out to Daniel Nielsen on Twitter, and link with Daniel Nielsen on LinkedIn.
You can also read his blog in Danish at QED.dk

Wayde Stallmann explains how lack of trust destroys your team

Lack of trust destroys your team. That we all know, but Wayde shares how that phenomenon affected one team he worked with, and some antidotes to that process. In this episode we also mention a book dedicated to highly functioning teams: Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage, and share 2 games you can play with your team to grow trust

About Wayde Stallmann

Wayde is an Agile coach with TeamFirstDevelopment.com. He is interested in helping teams improve using the same techniques that Improv theater teams use to develop Great Team Players.
You can connect with Wayde Stallmann on twitter, or link with Wayde Stallmann on LinkedIn. Or email Wayde Stallmann at wayde@wayde.com.

Wayde Stallmann explains the 3 minute games that can jump start your team’s day

Using these 3 minute games you can jump start your team’s day, and get everybody in the mood to perform. These games are publised at Wayde’s website TeamFirstDevelopment.com, and  are based on Improv Theater and helps the team get the “yes, and…” mindset.

About Wayde Stallmann

Wayde is an Agile coach with TeamFirstDevelopment.com. He is interested in helping teams improve using the same techniques that Improv theater teams use to develop Great Team Players.
You can connect with Wayde Stallmann on twitter, or link with Wayde Stallmann on LinkedIn. Or email Wayde Stallmann at wayde@wayde.com.

Antti Tevanlinna explains why how you hire affects people’s performance over the long term

How you hire affects how people perform, and think of their role in your organization. Antti explains how that phenomenon can influence an organization for the long term, and tells us how important it is to carefully craft your role descriptions to avoid the same problem.

About Antti Tevanlinna

scrum_master_toolbox_podcast_Andy_Deighton Antti is an agile practitioner, who got started with agile in my own very first Agile project way back in 2004. He’s been through all kinds of roles, from team member, to management, to customer-facing roles.
You can connect with Antti Tevanlinna on twitter, and check Antti Tevanlinna’s blog.

Henrik MĂĄrtensson explores how to set effective goals for a project

Henrik shares his approach in setting goals for a project, and how those goals affect performance over time. He talks about how the goals change over time, and how important it is to have them in a written form.

About Henrik MĂĄrtensson

scrum_master_toolbox_podcast_Andy_Deighton If there is one word summing up Henrik MĂĄrtensson, it is “curious”. Henrik is a systems thinker, strategy methodologist, process improvement consultant, project manager, author, and trick photographer. In 2014 he built a network organisation for photography and media production from scratch, to more than 200 people. He is kind to strangers, but has made friends dive off cliffs.
You can follow Henrik Mårtensson on Twitter and read Henrik Måretensson’s blog where he shares his ideas and breakthroughs in the field of Agile, Theory of Constraints and management in general.