BONUS: Geoff Watts on what makes a great Scrum Master, the key challenges to Scrum adoption and much more about Agile

There are quite a few books out there about the Scrum Master job. However, the classic that many refer to over and over again here on the podcast is Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts.

In the description of the publisher writes: “Scrum coach Geoff Watts has identified patterns that separate a good Scrum Master from a great one”.

As a podcast for Scrum Masters, we wanted to have Geoff on, to share the key insights in the book, but also what he learned since the book was first published in 2013.

But, before we go into those new lessons learned, let’s quickly review some of the key insights from the book

The key insights from Scrum Mastery, the book

Read on for the detailed show notes and all the links…

Continue reading BONUS: Geoff Watts on what makes a great Scrum Master, the key challenges to Scrum adoption and much more about Agile

Massimiliano Fattorusso shares 3 aspects to help you create your Scrum Master success definition

When it comes to being a successful Scrum Master, we need to have a clear definition that helps us make regular decisions about where to put our focus. In this episode, Max shares with us 3 aspects that he has in mind and reflects on when it comes to assessing his progress as a Scrum Master. We also talk about concrete practices that Max has found help reach his own definition of success.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Pre-mortem

Retrospectives are usually about what has happened. How the Sprint went. How the release went. However, sometimes it is useful for the team to reflect on their near future. The Pre-Mortem Retrospective format focuses on that near future. In this episode, Max explains how you can use that format to help improve cross-team collaboration in a multi-team environment

About Massimiliano Fattorusso

Massimiliano has a strong interest in agile methodologies and lean principles. He is keen on sharing lessons learned as a speaker at international and local conferences. Empathy, creativity and drive to innovate is part of his identity. Massimiliano is not afraid of addressing the uncomfortable truth, that’s how he helps bring teams forward.

You can link with Massimiliano Fattorusso on LinkedIn and connect with Massimiliano Fattorusso on Twitter.

Donna Marie Lee: Is the team facilitating their Scrum ceremonies when the Scrum Master is away?

A quick way to check if our work as Scrum Masters is having the needed impact is to check if the team is still hosting the Scrum Retrospectives when we are away. If that’s the case, then it is likely that the Scrum Master has done a fairly good work. In this episode, we discuss this and other approaches Scrum Masters can use to assess their contribution to the team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retro Beers

When we think of retrospectives we typically think of a meeting room, people sitting down (or standing) and executing some prepared exercises over the course of the meeting. But that’s not what a retrospective is about. It’s simply a possible format. In this episode, we discuss the 5 stages of retrospectives and how those can be implemented in many different ways.

In this episode, we refer to Retromat, a useful resource to help you plan your retrospective.

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

You can link with Donna Marie Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Donna Marie Lee on Twitter.

Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

As part of our upcoming “Coach Your Product Owner” course, we’ve been hard at work creating simple and actionable tools you can use to help your Product Owner progress. But that coaching cannot happen unless we tackle the biggest problems we have when coaching Product Owners. So, last week I asked people who receive my Newsletter to help me answer this question:

When it comes to Coaching and Supporting your Product Owner(s), what is the single Biggest Challenge that you are facing right now?

The reason for this question is my belief that, as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches, we must help the Product Owners as part of our duties. Sometimes those duties may be just about helping them manage/facilitate a particular session, but often we need to help the Product Owner grow their skills, knowledge, and experience with Agile product development. All aspects of it.

So what are the key challenges we face, when coaching and supporting our Product Owners?

Read on to find out…

Continue reading Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

Daniel Heinen: a simple Success definition for us as Scrum Masters

There are many possible answers to the question: “what does Success mean for you as a Scrum Master”. And some of those answers can be very detailed and in-depth. But that’s not the only way to look at our success as Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we discuss a simple definition of success. Listen in to learn more about that simple definition, and see how that can help you improve your own work as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Weather Report check-in

The Weather Report retrospective format is a metaphor-based format that helps the team highlight the “clouds” or “storms” they faced in the previous sprints.

You  use this exercise as a check-in (with a short phrase or two from each team member), or as a starter for a deeper conversation about what we might want to do differently in the next Sprint.

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

David Denham on how Scrum Masters can overcome the Impostor Syndrome

Scrum Masters can easily feel the Impostor Syndrome. After all, we are there to help a team, that usually works with a technology we don’t fully understand, and develops a product for a business we might not be familiar with. How can we them overcome the Impostor Syndrome? David suggests that we should focus on a set of simple questions that guide our actions. These questions help us focus on the core role of the Scrum Master, and help us acknowledge our strong points and main responsibilities as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Using metaphors to help generate creative ideas

There are many metaphor formats for retrospectives. The Speed Boat Retrospective, the Amazon Product retrospective, the Sailboat Retro, the Hot-air Baloon Retro, etc. All of these formats help the team be creative about finding the impediments they want to focus on. It helps the team get out of their day-to-day scenarios and think deeper about the issues they want to tackle. Metaphors also help the teams discuss problems that they would otherwise hesitate addressing.

About David Denham

David Denham works as a Scrum Master in Workday in Dublin and is one of the leaders of the Agile-Lean Ireland community and co-organiser of the ALI conference. He previously worked as a UX lead and believes in the power of Product delivery teams being involved in Product Discovery, through practicing Design Sprints. He practices failure every single day by attempting to use his agile coaching skills with his 2 small daughters!

You can link with David Denham on LinkedIn and connect with David Denham on Twitter.

The (surprising) 9 most common challenges that Product Owners face, and affect their Scrum Teams

Product Owner anti-patterns, round 2Would you want to have a simple, collected, set of solutions (techniques and strategies) to solve the most common challenges Product Owners face? So would I! But before we can collect the solutions, we must understand the problem!

That’s what I did in 2018.

I asked the listeners of the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast and the readers of the blog what were their most common challenges when working with Product Owners. So, if you are a Scrum Master, an Agile Coach or a team member who wants to help the Product Owner, the list below is for you! (NOTE: there are links to solutions as well! ?) Continue reading The (surprising) 9 most common challenges that Product Owners face, and affect their Scrum Teams

David Sabine on the core job of the Scrum Master

When thinking about what success means for Scrum Masters, David follows the ideas in the Scrum Guide. We reflect on the Scrum Artifacts, and how the Scrum Master’s job can be summarized as increasing transparency of the Scrum Artifacts.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Lean Coffee

In The Lean Coffee, a group of people select a set of topics they want to discuss, then prioritize those topics and discuss them one-by-one, ending with an action or conclusion for each item. For David, this is a technique that helps the team be fully focused on the discussion at hand. It can be a fast-paced conversation (set a shorter time-box) or a leisure-pace conversation (longer time-box) depending on how much time you have available.

About David Sabine

David is a Scrum trainer and an advisor to software development organizations. He is in demand among Canada’s largest enterprises including Scotiabank, Sun Life Financial, and Canada’s Federal Government. He formerly worked with DigitalOcean and Myplanet.com, among others. He’s been helping people with the ways they use Scrum since 2007.

You can link with David Sabine on LinkedIn and connect with David Sabine on Twitter.

Silvana Wasitova on How Scrum Masters can Observe Team Members Over Time to Assess Success

As Scrum Masters, we must regularly reflect on the impact of our work. For that, Silvana suggests a few lagging indicators that can help us find out about our impact, and success as Scrum Masters. Looking and reflecting on team members change over time can help us assess and improve our work as Scrum Masters.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Starfish

Silvana finds that many different possible formats can fit the teams we work with. She shares a resource (Retromat.Org) that helps us find ideas for new formats/exercises, and suggests a format that you can use this week: The Starfish Retrospective format.

About Silvana Wasitova

Silvana Wasitova, Enterprise Agile Coach, helps teams and companies achieve better results through applying and living Agile values and principles. Scrum practitioner since 2005. Silvana lives and breathes the agile value of “People over Process”, and brings that to the forefront of her coaching work with teams and companies, while focused on the client’s audacious goals and desired results. Silvana has aided multinational enterprise Agile transformations in United States, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Indonesia and Switzerland with clients including Yahoo, Nestle, Skype, Microsoft, financial enterprises as well as startups.

You can link with Silvana Wasitova on LinkedIn and connect with Silvana Wasitova on Twitter.

Paulo Rebelo Shares 2 Critical Aspects for our Success as Scrum Masters

In this episode, we explore 2 aspects of our success as Scrum Masters that Paulo developed in his career. These are simple aspects of success that, if we pay attention, can directly improve how we reflect on our work, and help us find better ways to help our teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Happiness Radar

Sometimes we need to help the team find the improvements that are not obvious. In this episode, Paulo shares a retrospective format that focuses on helping the team find the problems that affect their well-being, and how that can help find improvement ideas. This week The Happiness Radar is our featured retrospective format.

About Paulo Rebelo

Paulo Rebelo helps companies to improve using agile and lean principles like Scrum, XP, and Kanban. He currently works at Blackhawk Network in the U.S., helping teams succeed by building great products. His background is a developer, Scrum Master, product owner, project manager, and coach. Paulo is a CSP, CSPO and a CSM from the Scrum Alliance and PMP from the PMI.

You can link with Paulo Rebelo on LinkedIn and connect with Paulo Rebelo on Twitter.