Chris Foley: How can we develop a really good, functioning Scrum team?

We start by assessing that “a really good, functioning team” is what success looks like for a Scrum Master. But we continue by developing that idea, and discussing some of the characteristics of great teams. In this segment, we also address the critical subject of “language” in teams, and how the lack of that common language can negatively impact a team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Future-spective, traveling to the future

In this segment, we talk about the forward-looking retrospective (the future-spective), which allows the team to imagine, and define what success would look like, including the behaviors and the conditions need to setup “now” to be successful in the future. 

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experiences: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome! 

About Chris Foley

Chris is a Principal Systems Design Engineer at Red Hat working in the area of Engineering Improvement. He has over 20 years of experience in software and has filled PO and ScrumMaster roles. The team, to Chris, is the essence of the whole process and the Scrum Masters role is to help optimize that. He uses his experience from the sporting world to draw parallels around how successful teams function.

You can link with Chris Foley on LinkedIn and connect with Chris Foley on Twitter.

Joe Auslander: How to build trust in Scrum teams, a Scrum Master guide

How do we build trust in a team? Trust between team members is one of the ingredients for success, but it requires deliberate work from Scrum Master and team members. In this episode, we talk about the signs that trust has developed in the team, and how Scrum Masters can help build trust with concrete steps. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Agile Retrospective format innovation challenge

Joe gave himself the challenge of not repeating an Agile Retrospective format with a team, and that led to a lot of innovation and many new formats learned. Joe shares some of the insights he got from that experience as well as some tips on how to prepare for that challenge.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome! 

About Joe Auslander

Joe is into game/experience design and enjoys working with teams to solve unique problems. In the past this has been in areas of ship repair, crew coordination, television production and software delivery. Joe enjoys learning and sharing what he has learned and he particularly loves seeing people succeed. 

You can link with Joe Auslander on LinkedIn and connect with Joe Auslander on Twitter.

BONUS: Scrum Guide 2020 featured as Vasco and Ed discuss how we can facilitate the Scrum events

In this episode, Ed and Vasco talk about the recently released Scrum Guide 2020, and discuss the role of the Scrum Master in facilitating the Scrum events. 

They deep dive into the roles, events and the aspects of the Scrum Guide they agree with, and the ones they don’t agree with. 

Don’t miss this in-depth discussion about the Scrum events, and the role of the Scrum Master.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experiences: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About 

Ed Evan Rich is the author of “Express Yourself Fearlessly”, and co-author of “The 48hr Book Method” a Product Manager by day, podcast host by night and I am homeschooling my child with my wife in between.

You can read more from Ed at https://EdEvanRich.com

Vasco Duarte is a managing partner at Oikosofy where he wants to change the world, one company at a time. He’s also the regular host on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

Product Manager, Scrum Master, Project Manager, Director, Agile Coach are only some of the roles that he’s taken in software development organizations. Having worked in the software industry since 1997, and Agile practitioner since 2004. He as worked in small, medium and large software organizations as an Agile Coach or leader in agile adoption at those organizations.

Vasco was one of the leaders and catalysts of Agile methods and Agile culture adoption at Avira, Nokia and F-Secure.

Jakub Jurkiewicz: How to nudge a Scrum team towards self-organization, an Agile retrospective format

Jakub’s focus as a Scrum Master is to help teams be effective. However, “effective” is not necessarily easy to define. So Jakub helps his teams work on their own definition of effective, so that they reflect on, and start working towards being effective. 

In this episode, we refer to the Scrum Guide, where the Scrum framework is defined.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Nudging a team towards self-organization

In this segment, we talk about the importance of tailoring the retrospective format to the needs of the team. Jakub describes how this simple format around a discussion about topics the team already wanted to discuss, created the energy and motivation for the team to start their journey to self-organization.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experiences: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome! 

About Jakub Jurkiewicz

Jakub is a kaizen practice lead who participated in his first standup in 2005 and facilitated his first retrospective in 2007. Previously a software developer, team leader, Scrum Master and Agile consultant, Jakub is also, a podcaster and trainer at Agile Coaching Lab. Loves wine, bicycles and his wife (in the reverse order).

You can link with Jakub Jurkiewicz on LinkedIn and connect with Jakub Jurkiewicz on Twitter.

Announcing the Scrum Master Summit by the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

Update: The call for sessions is over, but you can still participate in the many live sessions and attend all the talks at the Scrum Master Summit. Register for FREE here.

Every year, we travel to a conference and make new friends. As Scrum Masters, talking to our peers and learning from their experience is something we must constantly do because there’s no Scrum Master University (yet…). So talking to, and learning from our peers is a critical aspect of our personal and professional growth.

We can join communities online, but nothing beats meeting other professionals face-to-face. Here at the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we strive to bring the Scrum Master community to you, every week. But that’s not the same as meeting and talking with people “live”!

That’s why we’ve decided to organize and promote the Scrum Master Summit, an event thought and designed for you, the Scrum Master! And we will be focusing on featuring your experience in the talks and presentations that we will record. However, the key aspect of this Summit is that we will be hosting live events throughout the week of the conference (May 17th, save the date!). 

Submit your session, and share your experience with your peers. You will get immense feedback from the community, and develop your ideas. Ultimately our goal is to create a thriving community around the Scrum Master role because we believe that the Scrum Master role is critical for a world that needs a new culture of work, a culture of collaboration and achieving together.

Submit your session proposal now, and be an active part of the community. You will learn so much!

John Albrecht: Scrum Builders, an effective Agile Retrospective format

When we discuss success with John, he brings up the idea that Scrum Masters that are successful have the ability to go off and do something else (outside the team) while the team focuses on their own goals and Sprint. In this episode, we also describe 7 characteristics of great Scrum teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Scrum Builders

The Scrum Builders game that John Albrecht developed, is about helping teams reflect on their actions during the Sprint. John was working with a team at the time that was constantly overcommitting and needed to reflect on what was pushing them towards that anti-pattern.

Listen in to learn how to use the game to help your teams reflect on their behavior during the Sprint.

 Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experiences: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome! 

About John Albrecht

Agile Person, for the team by the team, used to be a developer. Got into Agile via Extreme Programming (XP), then Kanban, then Scrum. Some of his key ideas are Principles over Practices, #noestimates, love working with teams and organizations, the softer side, finding what they and customers need and what works for them.

You can link with John Albrecht on LinkedIn and connect with John Albrecht on Twitter. 

You can learn more about John Albrecht’s work at Scrum Lake, and All Agile websites.

Laurens Bonnema: Growing high-performing teams as a Scrum Master

As Scrum Masters, we try to grow high-performance teams. In this episode, we talk about what might help teams become high-performing. We discuss the Team Vision, and how that can help teams progress and have fun on their way to high-performance.

In this episode, we refer to the Retrospective’sPrime Directive, which was crafted by Norm Kerth, author of the Project Retrospectives book. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Timeline

When helping teams reflect, one of the most important things is to help them “see” the same events, and causes, so they can then analyze them and come up with possible solutions to try. But how do we help teams visualize what happened? In this episode, we talk about the Timeline Retrospective, a way to help the team visualize and come to a common agreement on what happened, so they may define improvement actions based on a shared understanding of the past.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experiences: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Laurens Bonnema

Laurens helps leaders create high-performance organizations by guiding them to embrace who they are. As Laurens puts it: “when leaders ignite their inner strength and capability—and lead from love—they soar beyond their expectations. That is how we create a world of work that we would want our kids to live in.” 

You can link with Laurens Bonnema on LinkedIn and connect with Laurens Bonnema on Twitter. 

Nikoletta Tatár: Kudo cards and appreciation as Scrum team success techniques

Do you have a culture of appreciation in the Scrum team? That’s one of the signs of a team that is jelling and on its way to success. We also discuss tips on how to help the team spend more time and effort highlighting the best things that happen, with the goal of building energy and achieving a more positive work atmosphere. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Mad/Sad/Glad, with a Kudos card section

We’ve discussed the Mad/Sad/Glad Agile Retrospective format before, but in this episode, we talk about adding a Kudos card section to that format. The Kudo card section adds higher energy to the retrospective and helps motivate the team.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experiences: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome! 

About Nikoletta Tatár

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tatár on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tatár on Twitter. 

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.