Elly Griffith-Ward: How to help an overwhelmed team deliver! Flow lessons for Scrum teams

The team Elly was working with had a very large number of items in progress (high WIP). This was also a result of the team being under a lot of pressure to deliver. The team was motivated to deliver, but was also feeling down because of the inability to deliver all they wanted, when they wanted. Elly started to help the team by understanding their context, and then trying to understand where the work was being held up. She started learning Value-Stream-Mapping, a technique that helped identify the bottlenecks, something she had learned about in the book The Goal by Goldratt. Through that research work, Elly found out some options to improve the flow of work for that team. Listen in to learn what those were, and what technique she used to help the team! In this segment, we talk about the concept of Shifting Left, and Extreme Programming.

Featured Book of the Week: Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberger

In Nonviolent Communication by Rosenberger, Elly found a book that helped her as a Scrum Master, but also in other aspects of her life. The book offers a model of communication that tries to focus on resolving conflicts, and helps us become more self-aware of how we communicate with others. In this segment, we also talk about the hand-brain model, and the two thinking/acting systems (System 1 and System 2) that Kahneman describes in the book Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow.

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 Elly Griffith-Ward

Elly is an Agile Coach at a major e-commerce company. Previously in user research (and a royal food historian). She aims to 1) improve the experience of work through reducing mental load, improving communication and forming strong teams 2) shift the focus from managing the worker to managing the work by focusing on flow and waste.

You can link with Elly Griffith-Ward on LinkedIn and connect with Elly Griffith-Ward on Twitter.

Caterina Reinker: The technical debt trap, when a Scrum team can no longer talk about value for the customer!

Caterina was working with a team who was really burdened by technical debt. The team talked about technical debt all the time. However, when the Product Owner started to be part of the conversation, the team realized that many of the things they worried about were not really that relevant for the customer. In this episode, we explore how some teams focus on certain aspects so much (like technical debt), that they end up forgetting other, eventually more important, aspects of their work.

Featured Book for the Week: User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product by Jeff Patton

In this episode, we explore the book User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton, who has been a guest on the podcast. Caterina shares the key lessons from the book, and describes how she uses this book almost every day because of the powerful, yet simple methods that it shares.

In this segment, we also talk about Distinction by Pierre Bourdieu, a book that helped Caterina understand the importance and impact of people’s backgrounds can have on how they relate to each other and communicate.

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 Caterina Reinker

Caterina is a social anthropologist and passionate Scrum Master. She regards organizations like villages – or cities – with their own language, institutions, and explicit and many implicit rules. Caterina works and lives in Germany and helps groups of people, big and small, in their agile journey.

You can link with Caterina Reinker on LinkedIn.

Matthias Kostwein: How a Product Owner can help the Scrum team negotiate better with the client

Matthias shares the story of a team that was in trouble with their estimations. Matthias had just joined this team, and noticed that the team was not able to communicate the uncertainty of their estimates. On top of that, this team was working with a very demanding customer, who had pushed the team to “minimize” their estimates! As a Product Owner, Matthias had to help the team get back their confidence, and build trust between team and customer. Listen in to learn how Matthias (as a Product Owner) helped this team work better with this challenging client.

Featured Book of the Week: Lean from the Trenches (Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban) by Kniberg

Matthias recommends Lean from the Trenches (Managing Large-Scale Projects with Kanban) by Kniberg, and Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Sutherland. However, as he puts it, he’s learned the most about the Product Owner role from interacting with his peers, and trying to foster a more collaborative environment. He describes empathy as an essential skill for Product Owners.

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 Matthias Kostwein

Matthias is a Project Manager, turned Programmer, turned PO, turned Client Service Director with a varied background in different industries from Mechanical Engineering to IT Agencies. Throughout all of his journey, Agile has been part of his work life, even before he knew what Scrum was.

You can link with Matthias Kostwein on LinkedIn.

Ali Asl: How to recover a Scrum team after a “hero” leaves the team

In this company, there was one developer who was considered the “hero” by everyone. Junior developers felt intimidated, and the management further promoted the view that this person was a “hero”. Even the Product Owner no longer acted as the Product Owner. Ali noticed that the team was deferring too much to the “hero”, who had become arrogant in their ways of communicating. Ali had to help move the “hero” to another team, and started a process of rebuilding the team again. Listen in to learn what you can do, to help recover a team after an “hero” anti-pattern.

Featured Book of the Week: The Four Agreements, by Ruiz

In The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, Ali found a book that helped him shape his way of thinking and acting as a Scrum Master. Even if this is not an Agile book, it shares important lessons for personal growth.

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 Ali Asl

Ali is an experienced and accomplished Independent Agile Coach, Trainer and Scrum Master focused on supporting organizations and teams in the application of Agile values and principles to deliver quality and value.

You can link with Ali Asl on LinkedIn.

Bert Heymans: What to do when one Scrum team member is “uncoachable”?

Bert was working in a team where one of the team members behaved like a bully. They evaded taking responsibility for work and were always pointing to other people’s mistakes. As Scrum Masters, we must be ready for meeting certain people that are, as Bert describes, “uncoachable”. We also learn about what happened to that team, and how to avoid having our teams “dominated” by the behavior of a bully.

In this section, we refer to the “Peter principle”.

Featured Book of the Week: Antifragile by Taleb

In Antifragile by Taleb, Bert learned concepts that he is able to apply at work, like for example: “via negativa”, the idea that taking away things and not doing what is not necessary is often better than “naïve intervention”. This becomes a key concept for Scrum Masters, as it helps us meet teams where they are, understanding their context, and looking for simpler solutions than introducing more rules and processes.

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 Bert Heymans

Bert is a long time Lean Management aficionado and project management tool specialist, along the way he fell in love with business analysis and teaching business analysis techniques. In 2016 he founded Lean Coffee Ghent and has been at it since.

You can link with Bert Heymans on LinkedIn and connect with Bert Heymans on Twitter.

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