Olsen Turan: Healing the Product Owner – Team relationship

In this episode, we explore the dynamics that may happen between the Product Owner and the team. And how, sometimes, those dynamics can spiral and affect the team’s ability to perform. We also discuss how to approach the topic with the team and the Product Owner. How we choose to tackle the situation, and our communication approach may help or destroy that relationship.

The relationship between Product Owner and Team is critical for our success as Scrum Masters. Learn how to coach your product owner in our Coach Your Product Owner course. The Coach Your PO e-course includes 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

Featured Book for the Week: Crucial Conversations, Patterson et al. 

In Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Patterson et al., Olsen learned about the key conversation skills we need to help teams build trust and improve communication among team members.

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Sami Prentice: When consensus destroys Scrum teams

Sometimes teams need to focus on consensus building, but at other points in their journey, their need to seek consensus is a sign that the team is avoiding conflict. In this episode, we talk about the case of a team that was undermining itself by trying to always establish consensus before taking action.

In this segment, we refer to the book: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

Featured Book for the Week: Radical Candor, Kim Scott

In Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Sami learned about the importance of building relationships and being in compassionate mode with fellow co-workers. She also found invaluable tips on how to get and give feedback to her co-workers. 

In this segment, we also refer to The Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey, which includes a lot of ideas on how to handle the challenges that Scrum Masters typically face.

About Sami Prentice

Sami is a Scrum Master in Denver, Colorado. She used to work in the beer industry before making the switch to Scrum Master and she is passionate about facilitating awesome meetings that don’t suck. 

You can link with Sami Prentice on LinkedIn.

Tom Suter: Helping Scrum teams get out of a negative spiral

It’s impossible for us to go an entire career without having to face difficult anti-patterns by management. We need to be ready to tackle those. In this episode, we talk about a team that wasn’t ready, and how the bad decisions by management triggered a negative spiral for that team. 

In this segment, we refer to “external locus of control” as a way to explain the team’s resignation when they should react.

Featured Book for the Week: Scrum and XP from the Trenches

In Scrum and XP from the Trenches by Kniberg, Tom found a source of inspiration that gave him the energy and belief he needed at the start of his career. 

In this episode we also refer to Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, and Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan.

About Tom Suter

As our workforce changes rapidly, Tom suggests it is going to be more and more challenging to attract and keep talent and knowledge, and that’s why we need a healthy and sustainable working environment. Tom is passionate about improving the industry for his children and their generations. 

You can link with Tom Suter on LinkedIn and connect with Tom Suter on Twitter.

Thomas von Busse: Focusing Scrum teams on improving what they can influence

Retrospectives can be an engine of growth for the team, but they can also turn in complain fests, where teams drown in negative comments. However, this is not inevitable. In this episode, we talk about how Retrospectives can be turned in a positive tool for improvement when Scrum Masters help teams understand and focus on what they can influence, instead of complaining about what they have no power over. 

In this episode, we refer to the circles of influence, a tool we’ve also reviewed in past episodes.

Featured Book for the Week: Theory U by Otto Scharmer

In Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges by Otto Scharmer, Thomas learned about how to unlock the fixed mindset within people and teams by learning to ask different questions. 

In this segment, we also mention the “Food for Agile Thought” Newsletter at the Age of Product blog.

About Thomas von Busse

Thomas is a Scrum Master since 2013. After his Bachelors’s Degree in Software Engineering, he gained experience as a Programmer and uses this deep understanding of how to build software systems to help his Teams get better with each iteration. 

You can link with Thomas von Busse on LinkedIn and connect with Thomas von Busse on Twitter.

Bola Adesope: When lack of conflict in Scrum teams is a problem

When teams work well together, you won’t find much conflict. But when you don’t see any conflict in a team, that should make you wonder whether the work is so clear, or if the team is actively avoiding conflict. In this episode, we explore the story of a team that was actively avoiding conflict, and discuss why that is a problem for the team’s progress and performance. 

In this episode, we refer to The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni, and the book Crucial Conversations by Patterson et al.

Featured Book for the Week: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny

In The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma, Bola found an inspiring story about why he works, and what motivates him as a Scrum Master. In that book, Bola found many different lessons that inspire him as a Scrum Master.

About Bola Adesope

Bola is an experienced Business and Agile Transformation Consultant, Speaker and Coach with in-depth knowledge and experience working with businesses in implementing best practice frameworks, driving changes and solving complex business problems. Bola has worked on several transformation initiatives, coached teams and Scrum Masters. He’s an Agile Coach based in Toronto.

You can link with Bola Adesope on LinkedIn and connect with Bola Adesope on Twitter.

Leslie McCormack: Trying to be Agile in a Waterfall organization

Sometimes we work with teams that are in a context where Agile values and principles are not applied correctly. In this episode, we explore the story of a team that thought they were practicing Agile, but in fact, were still in the Waterfall mentality. We discuss how the mentality of the team directly affects their ability to understand and benefit from Agile ways of working.

Featured Book of the Week: The Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey

In The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year by Mitch Lacey, Leslie found inspirational ideas and practical advice that she could relate to, and therefore apply in her own practice. 

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

Darren Smith: Great Scrum teams excel under pressure!

You only know a good team when they are under pressure. It’s easy to “follow the process” if you have a lot of time and little pressure. However, as a Scrum Master, you know you’ve done good work when the team sticks to the process (and even improves it) when they are under pressure. I advocate using self-imposed pressure to get better, I’ve written and recorded a video about that based on my own experience as a runner. The same is true in your work as a Scrum Master! 

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti

In Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti, Darren found the inspiration to start using and learning from metrics. It also got Darren started on Probabilistic Forecasting, a method he uses regularly. 

In this segment, we also refer to Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, and to Scrum Mastery, but Geoff Watts. Both Diana Larsen and Geoff Watts have been guests here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast. 

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter

Addo de Visser: The leadership style required from Scrum Masters

It is tempting to make project managers the new Scrum Masters. They just need to be trained, right? In this segment, we discuss what can happen when people with the wrong mindset get assigned to the position of Scrum Master. We also talk about the different leadership styles that Scrum Masters need to embrace.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum a pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen 

Scrum a pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen (who’s been a guest on the podcast before) is a book that Addo describes as “concise and to the point”. In this segment, we also refer to Software in 30 days by Ken Schwaber and The Goal for Eliahy Goldratt, a book on Theory of Constraints

About Addo de Visser

Addo is a good team player, has a broad experience in different roles (Agile Coach, Scrum Master). Trainer in Agile. He communicates very well within all levels of an organization. He is motivated by structuring, getting people to work together towards a common goal, and bridge the gap between Business and IT. 

Addo is the author of a book on Agile. Addo’s book in English: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”. Addo’s book in Dutch: “Agile: the times they are a-changing”.

Remember: the profit of the book goes completely to program for children in developing countries!

You can link with Addo de Visser on LinkedIn and connect with Addo de Visser on Twitter.

You can also visit Addo’s page on Cap Gemini Academy

Rik Pennartz: Making remote, distributed team members feel part of the team

In this episode, we explore the story of a team that was scattered and working outside the office. We then explore the anti-patterns that made those team members feel like outsiders in their own team. Finally, we talk about the antidote, what to do to make the team feel like a team, no matter where they are.

In this episode, we also talk about Transformational Leadership.

Featured Book for the Week: The culture code, Daniel Coyle

In The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, Rik found a definition of the characteristics of successful groups. What makes them tick and got some inspiring stories that help him be a better coach for his teams.

About Rik Pennartz

Rik is an agile coach, who’s worked during the last years at the Volksbank, the Dutch Railways and ABN AMRO bank. Rik also teaches various agile courses such as Professional Scrum Master, DevOps fundamentals and Leading SAFe.

You can find Rik Pennartz at the Cap Gemini Academy.

You can link with Rik Pennartz on LinkedIn and connect with Rik Pennartz on Twitter

Moana Pledger: What happens when the Scrum Master leaves and the tech lead takes over

When all works well with a team, there’s the temptation for us as Scrum Masters to think that the “team gets it”, but even if that is the case, your role, and who you are is part of that system. When you leave things will be different. In this episode, we explore what happens when the Scrum Master leaves, and the previous technical lead takes over. In this story, we will hear the anti-patterns that can easily develop when the critical role of the Scrum Master is taken by someone else.

In this episode, we refer to Behavior Driven Development and “The New World Order” retrospective exercise, you can host a similar Agile Retrospective by using The Perfection Game exercise by Jim and Michele McCarthy, authors of the Core Protocols.

Featured Book for the Week: Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline

In Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline, Moana learned that it is critical to focus on improving our own performance so that we can help the teams we work with. In the book, she learned about the importance to focus on the quality of attention she gives to others when working with them.

About Moana Pledger

Mo started her career in education and program management before moving into digital delivery. She’s pretty sure she was a servant-leader before she had even heard the term. Her passion is to build healthy teams and foster the all-important relationship between business and team, which allows a safe space for the magic to happen.

You can link with Moana Pledger on LinkedIn and connect with Moana Pledger on Twitter