Dimitri Favre: Helping Scrum teams collaborate better with the Product Owner

In this team, the developers only wanted to focus on their own tasks and did not care to help the Product Owner. This was, as it turned out, a recipe for disaster. We discuss with Dimitri, what drives teams to be task-focused, instead of impact-focused, and discuss techniques we might be able to use to bring the team’s attention to the overall goals and the collaboration with the Product Owner.

Featured Book for the Week: Creating Great Teams by Mamoli and Mole

In Creating Great Teams: How Self-Selection Lets People Excel by Sandy Mamoli and David Mole, Dimitri discovered an approach that helps create teams who are motivated from the start. In this segment, we also refer to the books by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. Bas was a previous guest on the podcast. We also refer to Anton Zotin, who has also been on the podcast before.

About Dimitri Favre

Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers. 

Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book.

You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.

Saritha Rai: Fixing communication problems with a Mega Standup for Scrum organizations

Communication is a common “failure” domain for teams. We often hear that communication wasn’t “good enough”, or that it failed. In this episode, we explore some of the possible reasons for those failures, and Saritha shares her story of improving communication in a scaled Agile environment by using the “Mega Standup” tool, which she defines in this episode. 

In this episode, we refer to the concept of the “Obeya Room”, borrowed from the book Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker.

Featured Book of the Week: Mindset by Carol Dweck

In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, Saritha found the inspiration for focusing on mindset. The book also helped Saritha with designing her retrospectives to help teams focus on their success. In this segment, Saritha also shares a few tips on how to help your teams change their attitude towards the challenges they face. 

About Saritha Rai

Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables.

You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.

George Mathews: The Myth of the multi-project team member

Team members in many organizations share their time across multiple projects. That brings a lot of problems that are often ignored because “on paper”, the team members can easily share their time between projects. However, as Scrum Masters, we know the reality is very often much harder for those same team members. For example, team members start missing important ceremonies, like planning meetings or are unable to help each other (because they are working part-time in different projects). The multi-project productivity myth is a serious problem, and in this episode, we talk about the consequences and what we can do as Scrum Masters to help our teams survive those difficult situations.

In this episode, we also mention an article about the importance of having one-team, one-goal.

Featured Book of the Week: Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet

In Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet, George Mathews discovered an inspirational book about leadership.
David Marquet has been a guest on the #AgileOnlineMeetup, and you can watch his interview here.

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Mandy Sunner: 3 books to understand Agile beyond Scrum

When multiple teams work on high-impact or high-visibility programs or projects, it is critical that they align how they work, and that certain processes are in place to support the teams. In this episode, we talk about what problems arise when teams are working separately, not aligned, and the supporting processes are missing. A key realization for Scrum Masters: the supporting processes can have a big impact on the performance of the team

Featured Book for the Week: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, Kahneman et. al

Mandy mentions several books: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, by Kahneman et. al; The Bottleneck Rules, by Clarke Ching; Making Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis

These books helped Mandy understand many different aspects of Agile beyond the work with the team. 

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Tony Richards: Metrics for Agile teams, and how to avoid the velocity metric trap

Stop me if you have heard this before. There was once upon a time a company that was working well, and leadership, wanting to make it even better started following up team velocity… Already? Well, that’s expected, this is a very common anti-pattern (the velocity tunnel vision). But this episode goes into a deeper discussion of what anti-pattern, and most importantly, what Scrum Masters can do to get out of that. We discuss metrics, their impact, and which to use when working with Agile teams.

Featured Book for the Week: An Everyone Culture by Kegan et al.

In An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization by Kegan et al., Tony found an insightful description of a leadership model that focuses on the potential of an organization, on how to improve the chances for success in any organization.

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

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.