Thomas van Zuijlen: How to help a Scrum team of experts that had started to work alone in their silos

This team was full of passionate people, and experts in their field. However, they had the sense that they were “busy”, and this led them to retreat to their own tasks, and forget about talking to each other. As they were “busy” with their own tasks, they didn’t dare ask for help either, which made the situation even worse, and pushed them further into their personal silos. How can a Scrum Master help a team in this situation? We discuss with Thomas the possible angles we can take to help such a team.

Featured Book of the Week: Good Talk: How to Design Conversations that Matter by Stillman

For Thomas, Good Talk: How to Design Conversations that Matter by Stillman, was a reminder that conversations don’t happen by chance, and that our job as Scrum Masters is to prepare and facilitate many conversations. The book gives some tools, and advice on how to prepare those conversations.

In this segment, we talk about Thomas’ newsletter, which you can follow at TheBacklog.cc

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

Wilson Govindji: How a new Scrum team struggled, and then learned what working as a team is about 

Wilson was working with a team that was new to Scrum. It was the first time that many different roles were working together. Then he noticed a pattern: people were no longer speaking up during the Scrum ceremonies. The testers would challenge the behavior of the software, but the developers would just ignore them. This was the start of a longer process of self-destruction for this team. Listen in to learn what happened, and how Wilson helped this team turn the situation around.

In this segment, we refer to the Tuckman’s stages of group dynamics.

Featured Book of the Week: Extreme Ownership, How the U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Willink and Babin

In Extreme Ownership, How the U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Willink and Babin, Wilson found a reminder of how important it is to accept ownership of everything that happens. This is a leadership book from which Wilson learned some key lessons for him as a Scrum Master.

In this segment, we also talk about the book The People’s Scrum by Meyer.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Wilson Govindji

Wilson is a pragmatic Scrum Master, he has over 15 years in Software development and has worked in different roles, from Support Analyst, Developer to tech lead. Wilson is from Portugal, with Indian origins and currently living and working in the UK with his wife and two daughters.

You can link with Wilson Govindji on LinkedIn and follow Wilson Govindji’s blog on Medium, and follow Wilson Govindji on Instagram.

Ilya Bibik on why Scrum Masters need to go beyond the cultural stereotypes

Ilya has lived in 3 different countries, and currently lives in Canada where the IT industry is a melting pot of many cultures. That has taught Ilya a lesson: cultures are stereotypes that don’t really apply to single individuals. Being aware of those stereotypes is useful, but Ilya suggests we go deeper.

Listen in to learn how to go beyond the cultural stereotype and learn about the individuals you work with.

In this episode we refer to Ilya Bibik’s book: How to Kill the Scrum Monster.

About Ilya Bibik

Ilya has about 16 years experience in software development and more than 7 years experience in the Scrum Master role. On top of Software engineering, Ilya has also a background as a school teacher and military service that helps him with his Scrum Master role. Recently Ilya published a book “How to Kill the scrum Monster” that he wished he had read 8 years ago.

You can link with Ilya Bibik on LinkedIn and connect with Ilya Bibik on Twitter.

Peter Zylka on the team vs. individual focus some national cultures have

Every country has a slightly different take on the important balance between team (group) and individual focus. Peter shares with us his own view of how different cultures find that continuum, and what that means in the country where he lives: Germany.

Listen in to learn about the relative importance between team and individual, and how to assess when to pull the focus to one or the other, so that you can help the team.

About Peter Zylka

Peter is a freelancing Scrum Master who really loves what he does.

Peter is passionate about Agility and loves supporting teams and organizations on their way into the agile world. As a Scrum Master his goal is to enable each individual in the team to perform the best possible way and to actually understand what a team really is all about.

He starts every day with the goal to make the people around him better.

You can link with Peter Zylka on LinkedIn.

Paulo Rodriguez on the impact of polite cultures on the crucial open communication Scrum teams need

People want to be polite, especially in some cultures like the Philippines. But too much politeness prevents the teams from talking about the tough issues that they must resolve. Paulo was struggling with such a team, and he had to solve that. He needed to help the team tackle the difficult issues. In this episode we talk about how you can help your team tackle the tough issues in a way that even the most polite cultures can deal with.

About Paulo Rodriguez

Paulo has worked in the IT industry for 15 years. He started as a web developer for a local bank. His Agile journey began in 2015 and he’s been a Scrum Master for 3 years. Paulo is also a Certified Professional Scrum Master from Scrum.org (PSM I).

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

Claudia Toscano on the individual vs collective cultural focus, and how Scrum Masters can act in the context of individual-success oriented cultures

In some cultures the team or collective is emphasised. However, in other cultures, the individual and it’s individual success is the focus. In this episode we talk about a culture that emphasises the “highlighting” of personal success over collective success and how we can help teams, and individuals to overcome that cultural expectation.

About Claudia Toscano

Claudia is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master since 2014, she in charge of the Agile Transformation at EPM with a team of 5 other people. Agile and being Mom are the things she enjoys the most.

You can link with Claudia Toscano on LinkedIn and connect with Claudia Toscano on Twitter.

Darryl Sherborne on how to celebrate success in cultures that don’t value that aspect

One way to help teams find their “groove” is to celebrate success. A simple, yet effective, reinforcement technique that helps teams identify, and seek success later on as well.

However, some cultures are better than others at expressing their celebration of success. In this episode we talk about a specific culture, the UK, where the celebration of success is not common. How can a Scrum Master help the team celebrate success, even if the culture does not support that?

About Darryl Sherborne

Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.

You can link with Darryl Sherborne on LinkedIn and connect with Darryl Sherborne on Twitter.

You can also find out more about Darryl’s work at his company website: https://www.kaizenjoy.co.uk/

Joanna Koprowicz on how direct and indirect communication styles can blow up in a team

Have you ever heard an “indirect” communicator say that they disagree? Would you even know the difference between a “No” and a “Yes” from an indirect communicator? If you are in a country where “indirect” is the communication approach, but you grew up in a “direct” country, you are likely to miss much of the conversation. In this episode we talk about such a situation, where Joanna had to learn about direct/indirect communication approaches the hard way: by failing.

About Joanna Koprowicz

Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.

You can link with Joanna Koprowicz on LinkedIn and connect with Joanna Koprowicz on Twitter.

Maximilian Fritzsche on the rule-driven culture and its impact on Scrum adoption

How would Scrum apply to a culture where the rule is to set more rules. To cover all angles, and to be prepared even for very unlikely scenarios?

In this episode we discuss how Scrum can survive in a culture like the German culture, where people want to have rules for many reasons, and want to prevent all possible mistakes with those rules.

We discuss what might be the impact, and how to adapt, and learn from that cultural perspective.

Rules are good, but how much should we focus on rule-setting vs adapting to the unknown?

About Maximilian Fritzsche

Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: “Keep moving forward” – his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”

You can link with Maximilian Fritzsche on LinkedIn.

Abbas Ghahremani on the value of respect and the goals for hierarchy in Scrum teams and Agile organizations

From respect (a Scrum value) to hierarchy there’s often a very short route. But what is the role of hierarchy in our organizations? Why is it there, what is the benefit we get from it, what is the goal it tries to achieve?

Abbas invites us to think about the role of hierarchy in our organizations, and in our culture. From a multi-cultural background, Abbas explores what hierarchy and respect mean for him, and how it affects the teams and organizations we work with.

In this episode we refer to TEAL organizations, a term that is based on the book: Re-inventing organizations by Frederic Laloux.

About Abbas Ghahremani

Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!

He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.

You can link with Abbas Ghahremani on LinkedIn or follow Abbas Ghahremanni on Instagram.

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