BONUS: Busting the “tech genius” myth with Shawn Livermore

Shawn Livermore is the author of Average Joe: Be the Silicon Valley Tech Genius (Amazon direct link). In that book, Shawn describes how a few software developers and startup founders created breakthrough tech products like Gmail, Dropbox, Ring, Snapchat, Bitcoin, Groupon, and more. 

However, the way those products were created, was not as you expect it. Shawn shares what he learned about how the people behind acclaimed products work. Based on that he created the “Slow Create Framework”, a method that can help anyone apply what the “Silicon Valley Tech Geniuses” apply to create the products you love and use. 

What science says about creativity

Unlike many expect, what we learn when we research creativity is that a few recipes actually help greatly with the creative output. Many of these recipes are so simple that anyone can apply them. However, we are regularly bombarded with the wrong impression. Shawn describes how creating slack time, and “slowing down” are creativity boosters. 

Instead of letting their calendars take over their time, the Silicon Valley “tech geniuses”, block out time to think and develop their ideas. 

Listen in to learn more about the Slow Create Framework and Shawn’s book, where he describes the recipes that can help anyone perform like a tech genius!

About Shawn Livermore

Shawn Livermore is a tech startup founder, entrepreneur, and technology consultant for over 20 years. After raising investment capital for his startups 6 times, Shawn began to look beyond the code to see the bigger picture: The systems, patterns, and models of thinking that most deserve our attention. Instead of hype and hustle, Shawn focuses on tangible, factual, and replicable bits to help people think, speak, and create like a tech genius.

You can link with Shawn Livermore on LinkedIn and connect with Shawn Livermore on Twitter. 

You can learn more about Shawn Livermore’s work at his website.



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:

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.

Woody Zuill on the TINO pattern (Team In Name Only)

The word team is often abused. Many teams do not meet the basic requirements of what it means to be a team, yet they are called a team, and expected to behave like a team. Woody discusses such a team and explains what are the key aspects that make a team a real team.

About Woody Zuill

Woody Zuill, an independent Agile Consultant, Trainer, Coach, and Guide and has been programming computers for 30+ years. As a pioneer of the Mob Programming approach of teamwork for software development he has been sharing presentations and workshops on Mob Programming for conferences, user groups, and companies all over the world. He is considered one of the founders of the “#NoEstimates” discussion on Twitter.
You can connect with Woody Zuill on LinkedIn or contact Woody Zuill on Twitter.
If you are interested, check the MobProgramming conference.

Natalie Warnert explains how to help a team focus and get things done

In the fast paced space there’s always many things happening at the same time. Team can get carried away be stuck in the eternal context switching problem. In this episode Natalie explains how she helped a team recover from constant change of focus, how she was able to bring in focus and value thinking to the team.

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, and visit her project page Women in Agile.

Alexandre Cuva on Multitasking and other serious problems that affect teams

We all know how multitasking can be the killer of effectiveness. Teams can easily lose their focus and be unable to deliver. What to do about that? And what are the consequences of that lack of focus? We discuss the article by Johanna Rothman about why managers like overwork, and the importance of continuous and short term feedback for the teams.

About Alexandre Cuva

Former International Agile Coach, now CEO in charge of SmartDev an outsourcing company in Vietnam. In SmartDev Alexandre applies XP Programming practices within Agile/Lean Management. He has been worked with pragmatic, agile, lean, big, organic and team oriented organizations. Based upon his experiences, he understands that agile is a big experiment and in some peoples mind still is an unproven hypothesis.
He co-founded diverse agile communities in Switzerland like ScrumBeer, Stoos Satellite and now he is the co-founder of the Agile Community in Da Nang.
You can link up with Alexandre Cuva on LinkedIn, and find Alexandre Cuva on Twitter.

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

Karol SĂłjko on how one hour of self-development can take you very far

One single hour of self-development can transform your game. How? This is what Karol explains in this episode as he explains the process he uses with his teams.

About Karol SĂłjko

Developer, software architect and a team leader. Karol is a big fan of Behavior Driven Development and open source software. In his everyday work he tries to share his experience and actively participate in development and spreading a good word about open source projects like Symfony, Behat or PhpSpec. He is also fascinated by the process of making teams work better and tweak their productivity. After hours he is one of PHPers meetups organizers in Poland.
Karol is the author of To-Do: Team!: Simple productivity techniques for improving your team & making software that matters
You can connect with Karol SĂłjko on twitter, and subscribe to his helpful tips on how to get your team to the next level.

Ben Linders asks you to answer: is the team working “as a team”?

Is the team working as a team? Or are they working in isolation, and come together only occasionally to “report their work”? And how can you build an environment where teams can come together and work as teams?
In this episode we also mention the book Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen.

About About Ben Linders

Ben Linders is an Independent Consultant in Agile, Lean, Quality and Continuous Improvement, based in The Netherlands. Author of Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives, Waardevolle Agile Retrospectives & What Drives Quality.
You can follow Ben Linders on Twitter, and connect with Ben Linders on LinkedIn.

You can find Ben’s Agile self-assessment in his web-site, and find more about his work and upcoming workshops.

In case you are interested in Agile Retrospectives we are at the moment preparing a 10 DAYS FREE AGILE RETROSPECTIVES PROGRAM. This is a complete self-study program where you will learn anything that you need to become a great Agile Retrospectives facilitator.

Wayde Stallmann on the touchy feely system conditions that affect your team

Wayde has worked with many teams, and in this episode he describes the aspects of the system conditions that affect team’s performance. Those system conditions are not the ones you would expect to hear about. The fact is that we work with people, and people make up the system we are part of, in the end it is all much more touchy feely than we would like to accept.

About Wayde Stallmann

Wayde is an Agile coach with 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

Mario Lucero explains how taking ownership can make the difference for agile teams

Scrum masters help teams when they create an environment where teams can, and are willing to take ownership and responsibility for what they deliver. Teams that take ownership are then ready to start solving their problems.

About Mario Lucero

Mario Lucero is an Agile evangelist who wants to help people adopting agile (Kanban or Scrum). He’s worked with Agile since 2010 in a distributed software development environment.You can find Mario Lucero on Twitter. Mario Lucero in LinkedIn. Mario also writes a blog at: