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Toby Rao: How To Get A Team From Mini-Waterfall Sprints To True Scrum

In this episode, Toby talks about a team whose burndown chart resembled a cliff, indicating possible problems in the way they managed their sprints. The team was essentially following a mini-waterfall approach, with stories remaining open until the last two days of the sprint. Toby realized the need for change and emphasized the importance of observing what’s happening beyond the team’s actions. He acknowledged that change couldn’t happen overnight and worked with the team to break down stories for better progress transparency. But that wasn’t an easy process! Toby shares how he got the team from “you are criticizing us” to having the team take ownership of their process and make the necessary changes.

Want to Improve Your Change Management Results? Discover the Lean Change Management Approach Today!

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

About Toby Rao

Toby is an ICF-credentialed Coach and accredited IC Agile trainer, and practices as a certified Executive coach. With a dynamic Agile journey beginning in 2007, he’s an active contributor to the global Agile community. He is based in Washington DC Metro, and speaks at Agile events worldwide and co-founded the A20 Agile conference. Toby also co-founded two thriving Agile meetups in the Washington DC area, with a combined 1300 members.

You can link with Toby Rao on LinkedIn and connect with Toby Rao on Twitter.

Meena Venkataraman: Building Psychological Safety, lessons from helping an Agile team to share interpersonal feedback

In this segment, Meena shares her experience coaching a team that struggled to take off and was stuck in a cycle. Despite being nice to each other during scrum events, team members were not sharing feedback with each other, and psychological safety was not present in the team. Meena stresses the importance of having hard conversations and discussing the interpersonal topics in the team, and she suggests that teams should have the necessary tools to talk about difficult topics.

By highlighting the value that a team coach can bring to a team, Meena emphasizes the importance of psychological safety and how it plays a crucial role in team dynamics. She suggests that teams should be aware of the small things that can become big things and make sure that they are having hard conversations to address interpersonal issues. Ultimately, Meena’s experience coaching this team shows that building a successful team is not just about being nice to each other but also about creating a culture of openness, trust, and psychological safety.

We also discuss how using approaches such as non-violent communication can help the Scrum Master create an open environment that is also psychologically safe.

Featured Book of the Week: Sooner Safer Happier, by Jonathan Smart

In this segment, Meena Venkataraman recommends the book “Sooner Safer Happier: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility” by Jonathan Smart as a valuable resource for scrum masters. She notes that as a scrum master, it’s important to have a holistic view of agile and to be “T-Shaped” – understanding the various facets of product development. Meena highlights that the book brings the 12 principles of agile to life and is a resource she refers to often.

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 experience: 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 Meena Venkataraman

Meena is an Agile & Lean coach who helps organizations and teams transition to Agile ways of working. She is passionate about the neuroscience behind team dynamics and is interested in organizational design and the application of Agile principles across different business domains. Meena enjoys speaking at conferences and is an avid learner.

You can link with Meena Venkataraman on LinkedIn.

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