Laurens Bonnema: Making a Big Bang Agile transformation work

A “big bang” approach to Agile adoption isn’t easy to pull off, and it may not even be a good idea in some cases. That was also Laurens’ thinking until he saw it happen in front of his eyes. From one day to another, 900 people were trained, and moved willingly to an Agile way of working. If you are a skeptic of “big bang” agile transformations, listen in. You might be surprised! 

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: Tips on how make change thrive and overcome change resistance

Change management is primarily an exercise in managing expectations among all stakeholders. In this episode, we talk about the role that “small changes” have in that process. We also discuss how to find the motivation / needed changes by working with the teams we support. Nikoletta shares many tips on how make change thrive and overcome change resistance.

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.

Lakshmi Ramaseshan: Agile adoption through linking day-to-day tasks to a higher purpose

In this story, Lakshmi shares the story of an organization that was trying to move from “work as usual” to a more collaborative approach and improve their Agile practice. However, the teams were not clear on what success looked like. We discuss how we can help organizations move from focusing on the day-to-day only to linking everything they do to a higher purpose.

About Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

You can link with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on LinkedIn and connect with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on Twitter

Daniel Lenhart: Helping an Agile organization change despite lack of leadership action

Daniel and the team started working on a change effort to help the organization improve how they communicated. However, leadership did nothing even after listening to the ideas and recommendations from the group. This is a very common situation, but Daniel and the team did not stop there. They took ownership of the change and made concrete changes. Listen in to learn how they were able to help the organization change and improve despite the lack of support from leadership.

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EPISODE: Ryan Ripley and Chris Williams join Vasco Duarte in reflecting on Agile and the future 

In this special Christmas episode, Ryan Ripley (host of the Agile for Humans podcast) and Chris Williams (host of the Badass Agile podcast) join our host Vasco Duarte to reflect on what Agile has become and what the future holds for us! 

Don’t’ miss this special, funny, and insightful podcast episode! 

Merry Christmas Scrum nation!

About Ryan Ripley, Chris Williams, and Vasco Duarte

Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.

You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.

Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans.

Chris Williams is one of Canada’s most recognized agile and business performance coaches. Chris has his own proprietary philosophy, built on years of research and practice; participating in elite programs with in team and Human Performance coaching.

You can link up with Chris Williams on LinkedIn.

Chris also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Badass Agile.

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 at 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.

You can read more from Vasco at his blog: http://SoftwareDevelopmentToday.com

 

SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Yogini Moodley on learning to speak freely as an engine of improvement for Agile teams

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020.

 

When Yogini took on her Scrum Master journey, she noticed that there was more friction in the team. Curious, she looked into the reasons for that friction. After all, they had just left Waterfall-like ways of working behind. What was causing that friction? Was it Agile? As she looked more into it, she found that Agile had something to do with it, but the real reason for the friction between team members was that they were, for the first time, honestly discussing the problems they were facing. They were no longer apathetic, and that was visible in the level of friction between them. 

Another side effect of Agile adoption, Yogini noticed, was that the team was much more productive, “they did more in a month, than I thought was possible in six!” Yogini shares. 

A key lesson for Agile teams: speak freely 

This story led to a key lesson for Yogini. Agile teams improve and transform their ways of working when they speak freely and aren’t afraid to tackle tough conversations. 

When teams finally take on the difficult topics that are impeding their progress, they often fail to reach consensus. However, as Yogini reminds us, that’s no reason not to act. “Buy-in does not imply consensus!” She reminds us.

Retrospectives as the engine of growth and learning

Retrospectives are the aspect of Agile methodologies that Yogini wants to highlight as key for teams and individuals working in an Agile environment.

And in that spirit, Yogini recommends Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby as the book for all agilists to read and learn from.

In the spirit of self-improvement, Yogini mentions and recommends the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. She reminds us that part of the Scrum Master’s responsibility is to improve herself, otherwise, improvements elsewhere are less likely to happen.

The Christmas Agile Message from Yogini Moodley

Yogini asks us, in this festive season, to take time to reflect, and practice being mindful of what we do, say, and feel. The challenge she leaves us with: “think about the habits you have at the moment, and what you’d like to leave behind, in 2020”

Merry Christmas friends!

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 Yogini Moodley

Yogini is a certified Scrum Master and agile practitioner, with extensive experience in the financial services industry, in roles that encompass both business and technology. She is passionate about enriching the lives of people and nurturing and growing teams to deliver value to their customers, and an active member of the agile community locally and globally. 

You can link with Yogini Moodley on LinkedIn and connect with Yogini Moodley on Twitter

You can also find out more about Yogini Moodley’s company at their website.

SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Marton ‘Meza’ Meszaros on the essence of Agile

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020. 

Meza started as a programmer, but not with Agile. During one of his projects, he had to work with a custom language in an embedded system, and that led him to discover Extreme Programming and Unit Testing, but that was not yet the start of his Agile journey. That came later and for totally different reasons.

Leading Teams, and the need for Agile

As Meza took on more responsibilities, he understood that supporting teams in their work is a different problem than solving a technical challenge. He started reading more, and learning more about Agile to make sense of it, and finally had that “trigger” moment that helped him understand why Agile is so important. 

As a team leader, he recognized that he needed to focus on enabling the team’s success, instead of telling the team what to work on. That led to Meza starting to learn even more, and applying Agile in his work.

The problem with Agile adoption: shaping the people to the process, instead of the other way around

As Meza worked with more teams, he understood that his approach needed to change. Early on, he focused on the process, and helping teams adopt the process. But later, and after many challenges, he understood that the focus on helping teams (and using the process as a tool), requires a significantly different perspective: the process and the tools need to be shaped to fit the people, not the other way around. 

After all, Agile (and the Agile processes) are supposed to be there to enable better communication, collaboration, and a trustful environment. 

The books that Meza still reads even today

Combining his knowledge, and experience has been a thread in his career, and Meza shares a book that helps with exactly that: take advantage of multiple processes he learn3ed during his career: Scrum and Kanban, making the best of both by Henri Kniberg is the first book he mentions. But there’s a second book. 

As a programmer, Meza understood early on that the technical conditions set up for the team are critical for their success, so he mentions a book that helped him as a programmer: Release It! By Michael Nygard, a book that explores how to create systems that run longer, with fewer failures, and recover better when bad things happen.

The essence of Agile by Marton Meza Meszaros

In this final words on this episode, Meza shares what he considers the essence of Agile: to build trust, and how the trust-building processes are at the core of everything Agile.

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 Marton ‘Meza’ Meszaros

CTO and architect with over 19 years of experience in web development focusing on code maintainable software delivery.

Currently working with incubators and startups, guiding them through the early stages. Hiring, building team structures from the ground up, assembling project management procedures, and best practices, providing technological options and insight with a hint of pragmatism is all part of my daily activities.

You can link with Marton ‘Meza’ Meszaros on LinkedIn and connect with Marton ‘Meza’ Meszaros on Twitter.

SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: Rashina Hoda on using Scrum, Kanban and Agile in academic research 

For Christmas week 2020, we have a special treat for you. Yves Hanoulle and I interview great Agilists and Scrum Masters that you will probably not hear from in your local Agile conference. 

These are people that are really pushing the state of the practice, and we want to bring their forward-looking, and hopeful ideas to you in our Christmas Special Week for 2020. 

When Rashina first got introduced to Agile, she was mesmerized. It was a way of looking at software that focused on people instead of only on the technical aspects of the work to be done. 

The key lesson for Agilists, Rashina’s view

When we asked Rashina about the most important lesson learned while learning Agile, she shared that it was the ability to deal with, and thrive in uncertainty. The year of 2020 is a great backdrop to illustrate this lesson, and we discuss some of those aspects. 

Rashina then explains what she has learned from Agile that she now applies in her work as a researcher. 

In this segment, we refer to Rashina’s work, and her website.

The reference book for agilists

Agile Retrospectives by Diana and Esther is the reference book that Rashina refers to. As she puts it: “of all the different practices, Retrospective reflection is the one that brings it back home.”

And I totally agree, however, she also refers to the New New Product Development Game. A foundational paper that illustrated the power of self-organization in product development. We discuss what aspects from that paper we can learn from and apply to our work as Scrum Masters. 

Inspiring others

If you want to know more about Rashina and her work you can visit her website, and listen to her TED Talk on Agile Nations. This is the last message, the inspiring message that Rashina leaves for us: “thing big. Agile is already widespread, but we can learn from it and apply it to more and more challenges.”

What an inspiring interview!

Merry Christmas everybody!

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 Rashina Hoda

Rashina is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (Academic Workforce) in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, Australia.

She’s been studying people and how they become agile for over a decade. My PhD research explained how agile teams self-organize through the informal roles they play. Rashina has written and spoken extensively on agile transformations, agile project management, customer collaboration, team practices, reflective practices, and culture, with over 70 publications on these topics.

In 2017, Rashina’s Theory of Becoming Agile received the distinguished paper award at the prestigious International Conference on Software Engineering. But she has also applied the theory to a wider societal context and coined the idea of “Agile Nations” captured as a TEDxAuckland talk.

You can link with Rashina Hoda on LinkedIn and connect with Rashina Hoda on Twitter