Kristopher Stice-Hall: how to keep meeting-inflation in check for remote Scrum teams

When working with remote teams we must be aware that the number of meetings can easily balloon up because the team does not meet in the corridor. As Scrum Master, we must help remote teams find workarounds for the calendar-driven, meeting-inflated anti-pattern for remote teams.

In this episode, we discuss how a Scrum Master can help a team find the right balance between meetings and ad-hoc interaction even when remote.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

BONUS: Molood Noori discusses distributed Agile Software Development

Distributed teams are a fact of the multinational organizations we work with. Hiding from it is not going to remove that. And crying “distributed agile = bad agile” is only going to alienate people who genuinely need to learn to cope with the fact that distributed teams are the new normal.

There are good and bad ways to adapt to the reality of distributed software, and copying the methods and practices from co-located teams into the digital world is not enough. Molood shares some of the common anti-patterns that arise when we plainly try to copy the co-located team methods into the new distributed reality.

One such example is the communication channels: trying to copy daily meetings from the co-located team into a digital world will eventually bump against the frustratingly low quality sound of some conference room setups. Molood suggests a different route and shows how a team she helped took full advantage of Slack (or any other asynchronous communication channel) to make their daily meetings for effective, and efficient for everyone involved.

Read on for the detailed show notes….

Continue reading BONUS: Molood Noori discusses distributed Agile Software Development

Chad Beier: How Agile adoption can be defeated by the use of Email

Email is a very helpful tool. It has a lot of things going for it. Email gives us a quick way to jot down some thoughts and ask a colleague (or many) for help. It helps keep track of conversations. It even enables remote teams (with limited overlap in working hours) to communicate without loss of memory. However, it also has some bad sides when misused. In this story we explore how certain uses of email can be destructive for a team, and some tips on how to detect and avoid that anti-pattern.

Featured book of the week: Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block

Scrum Masters act as consultants. They help, but are not responsible for the outcome of the team. They answer, and most importantly, ask questions to help the team learn, reflect and advance. So, we must understand how to be a good consultant. Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block is a book about how to be a better “helper” (read consultant) for the teams and organizations we work with.

 

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.

Heidi Araya on what happens when only part of the company is on board with Agile

Systems, the collection of all the stakeholders and actors, that we work within are not always aligned. A common anti-pattern is when only part of the company is on board with Agile. What happens then? We need to be aware of our supporters, our detractors and the “on-the-fence” stakeholders we need to work with.

In this episode we discuss such a story, and how we – Scrum Masters – can understand and react to those challenges.

About Heidi Araya

Heidi is an Agile coach who has been working with remote teams since 1999. She aims to show teams and enterprises the value of a cohesive vision and mission, systems thinking, and self-organizing teams. An active member of the Agile community, she trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide.

You can link with Heidi Araya on LinkedIn and connect with Heidi Araya on Twitter.

You can join Heidi and other coaches every month for a virtual meetup at https://www.coachingagilejourneys.com.

Heidi Araya on 4 characteristics of successful teams

Heidi shares with us 4 characteristics she has identified in successful teams, the ultimate measure of our Scrum Master success.

We also talk about how retrospectives can be used to assess our own impact as Scrum Masters.

In this episode we mention a tool you can use to keep a finger on the happiness pulse of your team: BlogYourMood.com Do you have experience with that tool? Please share that below!

Retrospective format of the week: The Futurspective

In Futurspectives (for example: success criteria futurspective) we look at the future. We understand what it would look like to “succeed” and we backtrack, asking what got us there. Heidi suggest you use this format if you want the team to “step out” of the complaining cycle. We also discuss how to turn those Futurspectives into actionable output.

About Heidi Araya

Heidi is an Agile coach who has been working with remote teams since 1999. She aims to show teams and enterprises the value of a cohesive vision and mission, systems thinking, and self-organizing teams. An active member of the Agile community, she trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide.

You can link with Heidi Araya on LinkedIn and connect with Heidi Araya on Twitter.

You can join Heidi and other coaches every month for a virtual meetup at https://www.coachingagilejourneys.com.

Heidi Araya on learning what is possible to change, step-by-step

We don’t always work with teams that are ready, or even able to change as much as we know they need to. What do we do then? In this episode we discuss some of the reasons why we may want to step back, and not change too much. We also discuss what we might want to study and learn before we try to change anything.

About Heidi Araya

Heidi is an Agile coach who has been working with remote teams since 1999. She aims to show teams and enterprises the value of a cohesive vision and mission, systems thinking, and self-organizing teams. An active member of the Agile community, she trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide.

You can link with Heidi Araya on LinkedIn and connect with Heidi Araya on Twitter.

You can join Heidi and other coaches every month for a virtual meetup at https://www.coachingagilejourneys.com.

Heidi Araya on the dangers of changing too much, too often

When things don’t go well we are tempted to act. “Just do it!” we hear often. But is that always the right approach? In this episode we explore some of the problems teams experience, but we also discuss the temptation to act too early, and too often. Understanding a problem deeply does not come quickly, and management is often rewarded for action, not understanding. So, how can we – as Scrum Masters – resist the temptation to act before we understand?

Featured book of the week: The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt

The Goal by Goldratt is a book that anyone interested in process improvement should read. A classic that established Theory of Constraints as a popular approach to continuous improvement in the manufacturing world, The Goal also has many lessons we can apply to creative work like Software Development.

 

About Heidi Araya

Heidi is an Agile coach who has been working with remote teams since 1999. She aims to show teams and enterprises the value of a cohesive vision and mission, systems thinking, and self-organizing teams. An active member of the Agile community, she trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide.

You can link with Heidi Araya on LinkedIn and connect with Heidi Araya on Twitter.

You can join Heidi and other coaches every month for a virtual meetup at https://www.coachingagilejourneys.com.

Heidi Araya on working at NASA and with widely distributed teams

From NASA to Scrum consultant, Heidi has collected a lot of experience of how to apply Agile in diverse environments. From all of those experiences she collected many lessons about working in large organizations, distributed teams and other environments where even finding the root of a problem is difficult at best! In this episode Heidi shares some of the tools that she uses to make those problems visible, and quickly find the causes to tackle.

About Heidi Araya

Heidi is an Agile coach who has been working with remote teams since 1999. She aims to show teams and enterprises the value of a cohesive vision and mission, systems thinking, and self-organizing teams. An active member of the Agile community, she trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide.

You can link with Heidi Araya on LinkedIn and connect with Heidi Araya on Twitter.

You can join Heidi and other coaches every month for a virtual meetup at https://www.coachingagilejourneys.com.

 

Felix Handler: Agile adoption in remote / distributed teams

Adopting Agile in a co-located organization is hard enough, but when you need to adopt Agile in distributed team, things get even more complicated. In this episode we discuss how Agile adoption in a distributed / remote team can create problems that are hard to solve, unless you are ready for it. We also discuss many different tips on how to tackle agile adoption in a distributed organization.



About Felix Handler

Felix likes to bring out the best in as many people as possible by providing an environment in which people can sustainably thrive. After his Bachelor in Computer Science he wanted to develop people rather than software. He also is part of 12min.me, a movement for inspiring people.

You can link with Felix Handler on XING and connect with Felix Handler on Twitter.

 

 

Learning on the job is the new Certification!

TL;DR: The Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast sponsors the Remote Forever Summit to help you learn on the job! It’s FREE, grab the opportunity!

When the big Agile adoption wave started in the early 2000’s, certification was all the craze. These days it looks like you can’t have a coffee meeting without getting a certificate. But here’s the thing: a certificate only states that you know the basics! I have (infamously) said, “Please do share that you have a Scrum Master certificate so that I can eliminate you from the hiring process!”

Why did I do that?

Certification does not say you want to learn. Certification does not say you are an insightful Scrum Master or coach. Certification only says: “I know the basics”. And if that’s all people can quote as their achievements it further says: “I don’t want to know more than the basics”.

Go beyond the basics

At the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we believe that learning on the job, learning every day is how we get better. How we improve our craft and our profession. Agile coaching or Scrum Mastering is not something that you can learn in a university, you learn it on the job!

As part of our efforts to help you learn on the job we decided to sponsor 2 online summits, which are FREE (no excuses!) for you to learn from amazing speakers.

This week we are sponsoring the Remote Forever Summit which has amazing speakers that share their insights on how to work (specifically) with remote teams.

We hope you like it, and we will continue to support more online summits and even conferences in the future that help Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches learn from people who’ve been applying these ideas and sharing their experiences for many years.

Go learn! Be better, every day!

PS: are you thinking of organizing an online summit? Get in touch, we’d love to help!