Jem D’jelal on creating the space for Transformation to happen

In this reference filled episode we talk about change, how to involve people in change, the different approaches to management and many other topics.

We also discuss one of the possible skills you can use as a Scrum Master: the energy level you put into the role. Finally, we discuss tips on how to engage with teams and team members so that your role as a Scrum Master is easier and pleasurable.

In this episode we refer to Non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg, Theory X and Theory Y of management and David Marquet’s book: Turn the Ship Around!. If you are interested in David Marquet’s work, please check also our interview with him here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

About Jem D’jelal

Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking 🙂 In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion – helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic”, having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.

You can link with Jem D’Jelal on LinkedIn and connect with Jem D’Jelal on Twitter.

Andreas Plattner and the lack of accountability as a systemic anti-pattern

In The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni describes an anti-pattern that often develops in teams: the lack of accountability. When we accept failure not as a part of the learning process, but rather as a tabu: something we can never talk about, and therefore not learn from.

In this episode we talk about what happens when that pattern develops at the organizational level, when entire departments stop holding themselves accountable.

In this episode we also talk about Skin In The Game by Nassim Taleb, as an antidote to a common anti-pattern: decoupling the people making decisions from the actual results.

About Andreas Plattner

Andreas is an Agile Coach @ Daimler. He is has been a passionate Agilist and Scrum Master for over 10 years. He works on and cares for organizational health.

You can link with Andreas Plattner on LinkedIn and connect with Andreas Plattner on XING.

Mark Cruth and the need for control as a root cause for many systemic anti-patterns

The need for control is something that affects many of our behaviors. In organizations that is translated into several anti-patterns that detract from the ability of the team to deliver value. Status reporting instead of delivering, wanting to know what will happen before it happens and wanting to be “sure” of the future are just some of the many anti-patterns we see in organizations that are in the jaws of the need for control.

What can Scrum Masters do to overcome the anti-patterns and help organizations succeed without controlling everything that is to happen? This is what we discuss in this episode.

About Mark Cruth

Mark has been playing in the Agile space since 2009, helping multiple organizations move towards a more Agile perspective on work across several industries, including manufacturing, eCommerce, and FinTech. Today Mark works as an Agile Coach for Quicken Loans, as well as operates his own Consulting company called Teal Mavericks.

You can link with Mark Cruth on LinkedIn and connect with Mark Cruth on Twitter.

Denis Salnikov on the transparency gap as a systemic problem

In organizations that burden teams with multiple projects, it is natural that some information is not available. Be it because the team is too busy to openly communicate with management, or because there are many stakeholders that are not aligned.

The lack of transparency is a symptom of a systemic problem. In this episode we explore what that might mean in companies that are growing too fast.

About Denis Salnikov

Agile Coach and Scrum Master passionate about creating and fostering happy workplaces and safe environments. Denis calls himself an Agile Mythbuster.

You can link with Denis Salnikov on LinkedIn and connect with Denis Salnikov on Twitter or follow his blog on Medium.


Shubhang Vishwamitra on the Agile Theatre that some teams play

Agile Software Development is a new entrant in the Software Development industry. Although it started in 2000, the fact is that many organizations are still in the first stages of adoption.

Inevitably we run into several Agile Theatre problems: missing PO, teams doing Scrum ceremonies to keep the Scrum Master happy, but not really understanding why they are needed. The list goes on.

In this episode we discuss some of those patterns and what we can do as Scrum Masters to understand and learn how to overcome those anti-patterns.

In this episode we refer to the Hands-On Agile Slack for agilists to share their experiences and learn from each other.

About Shubhang Vishwamitra

Shubhang is a passionate agile practitioner originally from Bangalore, India. Who’s worked in Japan and Finland and is currently based in London and working as scrum master.

Shubhang has an extensive background in software development and agile delivery model in smartphone, travel and finance industries. He believes that having a technical background helps to connect with teams and ease the flow of discussion in solving complex problems.

You can link with Shubhang Vishwamitra on LinkedIn.

Sarah O’Brien on the line manager anti-pattern in Scrum

Scrum teams are supposed to be fully responsible for their work, and autonomous in the way of working. However, in many organizations line managers are still the ones yielding the power over teams, and even assign work directly to team members. This is one of the system conditions we must face and struggle with as Scrum Masters. In this episode we discuss how to interact with line managers, so that the Scrum team can really be responsible and autonomous as Scrum suggests.

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Lynoure Braakman and the case of the destructive Bonus System

The casual reader of HR websites and journals may think that bonuses, and their methods/systems are a very important part of keeping a workforce motivated. They do have an impact, but it is not always as we expect it to happen. In this episode we discuss the type of bonus systems that can easily destroy the productivity of a software organization, and how important it is to pay attention to the “unexpected consequences” that some bonus systems bring with them.

About Lynoure Braakman

Lynoure has worked in many roles in the IT, from operations, scrum mastering and requirements analysis to programming, even a little as a tester. She’s worked in agile teams since 2000 and loves being an adapter type, bringing in a wider perspective into her projects and to help different types of personalities to work together.

You can link with Lynoure Braakman on LinkedIn and connect with Lynoure Braakman on Twitter. You can also follow Lynoure Braakman’s blog at:

Kathy Andersen on how to find the impactful system conditions

On Friday’s we usually discuss system conditions. This episode is no exception, however we also take a look at a method to identify those system conditions before they cause major problems for the teams. We discuss the Spotify Squad Health Check as a method to survey the teams and identify possible impacts that need to be further investigated and mapped to system conditions. This is especially important when companies are growing fast, and we need to keep an eye on what problems might emerge as a result.

About Kathy Andersen

Kathy works as a Scrum Master with a team implementing a billing management system for a company called Hudl. Hudl is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska and provides video review and performance analysis tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. Kathy took an uncommon route to the software world, and since then she has had the luck of working on a diverse set of projects and teams. You’ll find her speaking at conferences and participating in the agile community.

You can link with Kathy Andersen on LinkedIn and connect with Kathy Andersen on Twitter.

Umer Saeed: Bottlenecks are caused by system conditions

When working with teams, we often face bottlenecks. Points in the process that slow everything down. Those bottlenecks are where we should focus our attention if we want to help our team deliver more and faster. For that to happen we need to understand where those bottlenecks come from, and that’s why it is so important to understand the system conditions in play. Bottlenecks are caused by system conditions.

About Umer Saeed

Umer is a Scrum Master, joining us from London, UK, currently working for one of the largest TV broadcasters in the UK, ITV. He has 5 years experience working in Agile environments spanning across Sports, Broadcasting, Travel and Publishing.  

You can link with Umer Saeed on LinkedIn and connect with Umer Saeed on Twitter.

Jeff Maleski on DevOps, and the anti-patterns that prevent it from happening

Sometimes, with the best of intentions, we create policies that actively detract from the team’s ability to deliver. Jeff shares with us such a story, where the team was not able to deliver their product to production. They needed some other team in the loop. That created communication problems, delays and did not help the team deliver more, or better.

This happens when we solve symptoms, not problems. In this episode we explore this story, and how to avoid getting stuck in the symptoms. If we want to help teams we must focus on the real problem, the root causes!

About Jeff Maleski

Jeff is passionate about working with and building up both individuals and teams using ideas from Jurgen Appelo’s Management 3.0 and Dan Pink’s Drive. When leading project teams, Jeff strives for empirical based planning and forecasting, continuous learning, and delivering high quality software products that exceed expectations. Jeff believes in leading by actions and focusing on building relationships with others.

You can link with Jeff Maleski on LinkedIn.