Pratik Dahule: Learning to think in questions, a critical skill for Scrum Masters

When Pratik started, he tried to help the teams by giving direct feedback during the standups. When questions would come up, he’d offer an answer. But this eagerness to help, actually created a problem for the team, and for Pratik himself. Pratik asked for help from a coach who helped him understand that the team needs to have the space to struggle, and find their own answers. Only then can the team “own” their process, and way of working. We discuss how important it is for Scrum Masters to learn to think in questions, not answers! 

In this segment, we discuss active listening, a skill all Scrum Masters must learn. We also discuss “powerful questions”, a recurring topic on the podcast. 

About Pratik Dahule

Pratik is an Agile Project Manager and Agile enthusiast working in the USA. He leads teams and creates a culture of lifelong learning, constant collaboration and continuous improvement. Pratik has 12 years of experience and is passionate about helping teams in their agile transformation. Outside of work, he has a blogging site ClassactLifestyle.com where he shares insights on books and exotic places to travel.

You can link with Pratik Dahule on LinkedIn.

Dennis Wagner defines success for Scrum Masters with the help of 2 key tools

To define success for us as Scrum Masters we need to define also what it means not to succeed. Dennis defines what is failure, and uses 2 concrete tools to check the situation all the time. The tools are 5 Why’s and a simple powerful question: “how are we succeeding?”
Each of these tools tackles a different purpose that Dennis explains in this episode.

About Dennis Wagner

Dennis is an Agile Coach with a lot of experience in the technical side of software development. Dennis has worked with teams in different industries, is thinking of writing a book about continuous delivery (bug him if you want to know more), and he loves, really loves his work.
You can connect with Dennis Wagner on LinkedIn and XING, and you can connect with Dennis Wagner on Twitter.

Natalie Warnert on how observation can help you uncover the system

Natalie explains her approach to understanding and visualizing the system conditions that affect the teams she works with:

  1. Start by asking “how are the tools, practices and policies affecting the team’s I work with?”
  2. Then take a pen and draw the links between the different observations, do this with the whole team. Expect to hear many different perspectives, and help the team make sense of those different views.
  3. Use also metrics, but not just one. Look at several metrics and ask people to look beyond a single metric, and beyond the metrics. What do these metrics tell us?
  4. Identify possible underlying conditions that affect the team.

Always keep in mind, that this process will be different for every team you work with, each team is different.

About Natalie Warnert

As a developer turned Agile coach, Natalie Warnert understands and embraces what it takes to build great products. Natalie focuses teams on embracing Agile values to build the right product and build the product right. Natalie is currently coaching the Cart/Checkout teams for Best Buy Dotcom and recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.
You can link with Natalie Warnert on LinkedIn, connect with Natalie Warnert on Twitter, read her blog at nataliewarnert.com, and visit her project page Women in Agile.

Natalie Warnert: the questions the team ask are your Success Metric

There are many ways to measure success, and it’s not easy to choose just one of them. Natalie chooses to focus on the questions that the team asks. Are they asking questions that challenge you? Are they asking questions that make you feel uncomfortable? Natalie also suggests you focus on how your own questions make you feel. The job of the Scrum Master is not easy, and the questions we ask are supposed to be a critical part of our job. HOw many uncomfortable conversations did you have last week?

About Natalie Warnert

As a developer turned Agile coach, Natalie Warnert understands and embraces what it takes to build great products. Natalie focuses teams on embracing Agile values to build the right product and build the product right. Natalie is currently coaching the Cart/Checkout teams for Best Buy Dotcom and recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management.
You can link with Natalie Warnert on LinkedIn, connect with Natalie Warnert on Twitter, read her blog at nataliewarnert.com, and visit her project page Women in Agile.

Gil Zilberfeld on the importance of collecting information to understand the systems conditions

Understanding the system we work within is a detailed and painstaking process of collecting and processing information. There are many questions we must ask as we collect that information. Gil shares with us the questions he asks to collect the right information about the system, and map the system conditions that affect the team.
In this episode we discuss Theory of Constraints, a body of knowledge that every Scrum Master should be aware of.

About Gil Zilberfeld

For over 20 years, Gil has developed, tested, managed and designed software products. He’s gone through failures and successes, in different types of projects and companies.
He has trained and coached developers how to write tests for their untestable code. He has worked with testers on complex applications and with very tight deadlines. He’s helped release products that fit customer needs, by testing the waters, and getting their feedback integrated. He has implemented agile, kanban and lean principles and adapted them to fit teams better.
You can link up with Gil Zilberfeld on LinkedIn, or find Gil Zilberfeld on Twitter.
Gil is writing a book on Unit Testing. Check it out.

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