Tom Siebeneicher: A Deep Dive into Agile Dysfunction, And The Journey Back To Healthy Scrum

Tom shares the story of a team that slowly drifted away from Scrum, and it’s values, but without noticing it themselves! The team followed the rituals, but their retrospectives pushed them aways from Agile and Scrum principles. The team inadvertently, and over time, adopted a waterfall approach. To avoid this in your teams, Tom advocates for digging into root causes instead of symptom-fixing. Eventually, Tom helped the team do a “scrum reset” which realigned the team, prompting a valuable tip: conduct resets every six months. Tom emphasizes double-loop learning, urging a focus on long-term improvement amidst day-to-day challenges.

Featured Book of the Week: The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

Tom delves into the transformative impact of Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup.” The book revolutionized his perspective on Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), emphasizing radical experimentation and learning over rigid planning. It liberated him from the constraints of plan-driven approaches, emphasizing the dynamic nature of execution. Tom underscores the criticality of continuous measurement and learning, a principle he now prioritizes in his approach. He shares valuable advice: never underestimate the power of measuring and learning in the pursuit of agile success.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

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 Tom Siebeneicher

Tom is an engaging speaker, who has delivered presentations at conferences like the Atos DREAM Conference, the Agile Leadership Day, and TED XKE by Xebia. Their enthusiasm for discussing Agile is evident in those talks.

You can link with Tom Siebeneicher on LinkedIn.

Gregory Miller: From High Performers to Demoralization, And How The Product Owner Role Can Destroy A Scrum Team

In this episode, Greg reflects on a team that self-destructed, causing him significant pain. The team, previously considered an exemplary high-performing unit, faced external factors and decisions that disrupted their dynamics. Leadership discussions about replacing their product, the removal of their Product Owner (PO), and a lack of support left the team directionless and demoralized. Greg recognizes the detrimental impact of removing the PO, highlighting it as an anti-pattern that ultimately led to the team’s disbandment. This episode serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of providing support, direction, and maintaining team cohesion to foster a thriving and motivated workforce.

Featured Book of the Week: “The Scrum Pocket Guide” by Gunther Verheyen

In this segment, Greg talks about his most influential book for Scrum Masters, which is “The Scrum Pocket Guide” by Gunther Verheyen, a previous guest on the podcast. He highly recommends this book, as it has been invaluable to him in his role. Greg frequently refers to it and even keeps it on his nightstand for easy access.

One aspect that stands out to Greg is Gunther’s emphasis on the values side of Agile. The book delves into why the Scrum values are significant and explores their importance in the context of Scrum. Greg appreciates this focus on values as a fundamental aspect of Agile practices.

For further exploration of the Scrum values, Greg suggests referring to the values section in the Scrum Guide. Overall, “The Scrum Pocket Guide” has had a profound impact on Greg’s understanding of Scrum and serves as a go-to resource for him as a Scrum Master.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

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 Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter.

Johannes Lindman: Lessons in Communication and Trust for Scrum Masters, helping teams overcome adversity

In this episode, Johannes Lindman shares a story about a small team he worked with for a few months leading up to a major release. The team was focused on delivery and even had checklists to ensure that they were well-prepared. However, they encountered a problem that they had not anticipated and had to stop and acknowledge their failure. The team was surprised because they believed they had prepared well and were not sure how they missed the issue.

The team started to point fingers and look at one person who did not talk much. They realized that they were not talking about the problems they were afraid of and needed to be super honest with each other. Johannes notes that the team trusted each other as individuals, but they did not pick up on each other’s signs. In the end, the team learned the importance of communication, honesty, and trust. They realized that they needed to work on their communication skills and ensure that everyone felt comfortable speaking up when there was an issue.

Featured Book of the Week: Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck

In this segment, Johannes shares the impact that the book “Extreme Programming Explained” by Kent Beck had on his career. Johannes explains that the book helped him in many ways, and he found so many valuable ideas in it. He recalls the mantra  “make it work, make it right, make it fast,” which he believes summarizes the essence of the book’s philosophy.

He credits the book with helping him to become a better developer and to embrace a growth mindset.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

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 Johannes Lindman

Despite many years of experience Johannes still learns new things every day in order to stay relevant. This aligns with his curiosity on life and people.

You can link with Johannes Lindman on LinkedIn.

Gemma Murray: Maximizing Impact of Agile Coaching at Moo, Feedback and Measurement Strategies

In this episode, Gemma discusses her work as an agile coach at Moo and how they measure the impact they have on the organization. She emphasizes that feedback is important but measurement helps us reflect and grow. When it comes to defining success, she shares that to measure the impact of their coaching, the coaches at Moo use engagement surveys that touch on Scrum values and use one or two of the survey questions to build their agile coach OKR’s. These metrics provide a lagging indicator but at the same time, they help the coaches define shorter term actions, and metrics, and eventually the OKR’s help measure their impact on a longer time scale.

In addition to using engagement surveys, they also use collaboration questions for which they ask an evaluation on a 1-5 scale to measure the level of collaboration among teams towards a shared goal. The collaboration questions align with their OKR’s as Agile Coaches and help them to see the impact they are having on the organization.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simplifying Agile Retrospectives to amplify their impact on Scrum teams

In this segment, Gemma shares her favorite approach to conducting agile retrospectives. She emphasizes the importance of keeping the format simple, especially for new teams or teams that are adapting to retrospectives. Gemma shares one example, where she uses a smiley face column, a sad face column, and a question mark column to initiate a wide-ranging conversation and to capture various types of feedback and perspectives. To complement the conversation, she captures the action items that the team wants to put into practice, using frameworks such as CAT (Concrete, Attainable, Timely) and SMART. Gemma views retrospectives as a conversational format and emphasizes the importance of asking “what’s the next immediate step?” and making small changes that have a big impact. Additionally, she mentions the 15% solutions from liberating structures and Toyota Kata as helpful tools in facilitating agile retrospectives.

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide ‘Great design for everyone’. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Maximilian Dazer: Agile team morale as an indicator of Scrum Master success

Team morale is Max’s focus when it comes to measuring his success as a Scrum Master. He asks a few specific questions which he describes in this episode, and then evaluates the team’s answer to a survey he sends the team members during the Sprint. Max also likes to use some flow metrics (e.g. Cycle time) to reflect on how the team is evolving, as well as help the team select the improvements to put in practice. 

In this episode, we refer to Cycle time, and Cycle time scatter plot.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Scrum Values Retrospective

Max prefers to prepare his retrospectives based on the events of the preceding Sprint. However, he has a format he likes to run with all of his teams, and even at regular intervals. The Scrum Values retrospective is about helping the team reflect on how they grow, and evolve as Agile teams by creating a conversation on how they want to apply the Scrum values as defined in the Scrum Guide.

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 Maximilian Dazer

Maximilian’s goal is to drive change from the bottom. For every team he creates a vision and tries to get them on board to pursue the change together. Maximilian wants to free people from the micromanagement-hell version of “scrum”.

You can link with Maximilian Dazer on LinkedIn.

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This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
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This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
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Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
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Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.