Jeff Bubolz on how deeply held beliefs shape the system of work

One of the least spoken about system conditions is the deep belief that “more is better”. Many organisations make decisions and organize their work based on that model: more features = more success for the product. But is it really like that?

Looking at the system conditions also means understanding what are the deeply held beliefs that the organisation acts on, and shape its ways working.

About Jeff Bubolz

Jeff is a speaker, trainer, and agile coach. He has been a Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member. Jeff has worked with enterprise companies to small start-ups. His goal is to end human suffering in organizations, by nudging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

You can link with Jeff Bubolz on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Bubolz on Twitter.


Petr Holodňák on applying Scrum in an old-world industrial company

Scrum was “born” in the IT world, and it is still mostly applied in that environment. But the lessons that Scrum can teach us go over industrial borders. In this episode we learn how the ideas in Scrum can apply to an old-world industrial company. At the same time we explore what kind of systemic conditions Petr uncovered in that assignment and how he tackled them.

About Petr Holodňák

Petr has a small consulting company where he helps businesses overcome obstacles of ever-faster changing environment, growth problems, stale processes, poor performance, lacking company culture etc. Petr helps companies be more adaptable through empowering their people. Petr also does some pro-bono consulting. Recently for example for a Liberal/democratic school in Prague. His passion is introducing modern management (we can call that “Agile”) to “old school” businesses like heavy industry, manufacturing and so on. Petr wants to help build a brighter future! You can find Petr’s business at: www.cerebra.czYou can link with Petr Holodňák on LinkedIn.

Daniel Hooman: tools are not what drives Agile adoption!

In many organizations, especially late majority companies, the Agile adoption is often overwhelmed with a tool change. Instead of adoption Agile, we adopt JIRA or SAFe, or Scrum, or Kanban. All of those are forms of tools (entities we use to achieve something else).

When we work with organizations, we need to keep an eye out for this anti-pattern, as it detracts from the real adoption of Agile as a way of working, a mindset and a set of orienting values and principles.

In this episode we talk about how to overcome the tool-fetish anti-pattern that many organizations enter when they start their Agile adoption.

About Daniel Hooman

Agile coach from Scrum Data since 2010. Daniel comes from a strong Business intelligence background. He is passionate about large scale product development, organisational structure and culture, being idealistic pragmatist, framework agnostic.

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

Chad Beier: understanding the system requires system thinking

No surprise in that title, hein? I guess not. But this is an aspect very often ignored by manager, team members and, unfortunately, also by us, the Scrum Masters. In this episode we discuss anti-patterns (estimation as an anti-pattern, with references to #NoEstimates hashtag on twitter and the #NoEstimates book), but also dive deeper into what Systems Thinking is, and how it can help us navigate the complex organizational anti-patterns we need to be aware of, and deal with.

In this episode we discuss Systems Thinking (a good book to get started is: Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline), and Craig Larman’s Laws of Organizational Behavior. Finally we also talk about Laloux’s Re-inventing organizations.

About Chad Beier

Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.

You can link with Chad Beier on LinkedIn and connect with Chad Beier on Twitter.

Chad’s company is: Whiteboard Consulting.

Heidi Araya on what happens when only part of the company is on board with Agile

Systems, the collection of all the stakeholders and actors, that we work within are not always aligned. A common anti-pattern is when only part of the company is on board with Agile. What happens then? We need to be aware of our supporters, our detractors and the “on-the-fence” stakeholders we need to work with.

In this episode we discuss such a story, and how we – Scrum Masters – can understand and react to those challenges.

About Heidi Araya

Heidi is an Agile coach who has been working with remote teams since 1999. She aims to show teams and enterprises the value of a cohesive vision and mission, systems thinking, and self-organizing teams. An active member of the Agile community, she trains and speaks at events and conferences worldwide.

You can link with Heidi Araya on LinkedIn and connect with Heidi Araya on Twitter.

You can join Heidi and other coaches every month for a virtual meetup at

Felix Handler: when shared responsibility does not work

When teams, and organizations grow in size they suffer from totally different problems from when they were smaller. That’s to be expected. However, we often react by “doubling down” on what worked before, even if that is not the best approach. Felix shares a story of a growing organization, and the struggles they went through to be able to cope with that growth.

In this episode we refer to the book “Team of Teams”, by General McChystal, which explains how you can work with extremely large teams.

About Felix Handler

Felix likes to bring out the best in as many people as possible by providing an environment in which people can sustainably thrive. After his Bachelor in Computer Science he wanted to develop people rather than software. He also is part of, a movement for inspiring people.

You can link with Felix Handler on XING and connect with Felix Handler on Twitter.

Leonardo Bittencourt on the command-and-control systemic problem

Where does the need to micro-manage and control come from? In a system there may be many causes for that pattern. In this episode Leonardo shares a story with us, where the system was stuck in this command-and-control anti-pattern. We discuss the reasons for that, as well as how that may look like in some companies.

About Leonardo Bittencourt

Currently Leonardo is a Scrum Master at Equifax Ireland. Focused on building high performance teams through Agile and/or Lean adoption, he is an enthusiastic about Lean and Agile mindset in the Software Development industry as the transformation agent to create great working environment as well as products that matters.

You can link with Leonardo Bittencourt on LinkedIn and connect with Leonardo Bittencourt on Twitter.


Ryan McCann on using the team setup to understand the system we work within

The system around us (policies, rules, culture, etc.) influences the teams we work with. But how can we detect those influences so as to be able to react to them? Ryan suggests we start by looking at the team setup and shares examples how a simple change in team setup (from module/component to cross-functional teams), can lead to major changes. Team setup is one of the first system conditions we should analyse and act on!

About Ryan McCann

Ryan is a former waiter, car detailer, line worker, cemetery worker, intern, financial analyst, tech support rep, team lead, QA manager, Scrum Master and Product Owner. Current husband, father, school board member, community volunteer and agile coach. He believes in building trust and social capital, which is not easy for any of us (himself included)…Ryan does his best everyday to help teams make this happen.

You can link with Ryan McCann on LinkedIn and vist Ryan McCann’s website at:

Natalie Cervantes on how to work with an absent Product Owner

The role of the Product Owner is critical for the success of a Scrum team. However, that’s also one of the roles that is the most affected by company policies and culture. Product Owners are not usually shielded from management, and in fact sometimes they are management. In this episode we talk about a Product Owner that was also the CEO of the company. What can we do when the Product Owner is so hard to reach? Listen to what Natalie has learned about engaging absent Product Owners.

About Natalie Cervantes

Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Tanner Wortham on the importance of cross-functional teams

Tanner’s military background has taught him that team members need to help cover for each other. And they can’t do that by seating on their own silos and working only on one type of tasks. Tanner explains how he got trained in multiple skills in his military career and how that can help us as Scrum Masters.

In this episode we discuss the LeSS framework for large-scale Scrum and how to use the Causal Loop Diagram to understand the system we work within.

About Tanner Wortham He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.