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.

Lucas Smith working harder as an Anti-Pattern and the importance of asking why

Nobody gets credit for solving problems that never happened is a paper that explores why the tools that are the reason for success in some companies are ineffective in other companies. And when that happens, people in those organizations have the tendency to work even harder. But is that enough?

In this episode we explore the idea that working harder may be an anti-pattern, and we explore the impact of a simple question: “why?” Go deeper, ask why.

About Lucas Smith

Lucas has been a developer, manager, and agile coach and trainer with Boeing. Currently works a Professional Scrum Trainer with and is the owner of LitheWorks. Lucas enjoys helping people and organizations improve the way they work to be more creative, effective, and efficient.

You can find Lucas Smith’s company at

You can link with Lucas Smith on LinkedIn.

Michael Küsters on how we can help a Scrum team quickly overcome certain system conditions

Some of the anti-patterns that cause problems in our organisations are: thinking only about efficiency, separating skills and having only specialists, and trying to maximise utilisation of people’s time.

In this episode we discuss how those anti-patterns become system conditions and what we can do as Scrum Masters to overcome them. Listen in to learn about Michael’s simple solution to get a team to quickly overcome these critical anti-patterns.


About Michael Küsters

Michael helps companies and people become more agile by providing coaching, training and consulting in agile frameworks, principles and mindset.

Michael has consulted for a wide range of companies from small start-up to international corporation, transforming teams, divisions and entire organizations. He is a seasoned veteran with Scrum, Kanban, XP, LeSS and SAFe, Lean and Six Sigma and harnesses this vast experience for his clients’ success.

Michael is a Thought Provoker helping organizations become more agile.

You can link with Michael Küsters on LinkedIn and connect with Michael Küsters on Twitter.

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.