Umer Saeed on Artificial Scrum and other anti-patterns

Teams sometimes take “timeboxes” in Scrum as something of a “soft rule”. A rule that is ignored when necessary to avoid the hard-truth of failing to deliver in the Sprint. This is just one of the anti-patterns we discuss with Umer in this episode where we explore how we can help teams implement and benefit from Scrum.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum and XP from the trenches by Henrik Kniberg

Scrum and XP from the trenches by Henrik Kniberg is a down-to-earth account of how Scrum and XP were adopted at a Swedish company. It’s a book that focuses on the practices, and the daily insights that we collect when working hands-on with the adoption of Agile.

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 developing teams and team members

When we let the team grow their own silos, then we end up with teams that have many single points of failure. Is that really what is best for the team or the business? The famous bus-factor metric tells us how many people would have to be run over by a bus for us to hit a major problem.

Are you helping your team reflect on their bus-factor areas? Listen in to learn about the practices you can use to identify and resolve those bus-factor problems.

Featured book of the week: The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

A question that many managers ask themselves: who’s the best person to hire for my team? In The Ideal Team Player, Patrick Lencioni explores the characteristics and how to develop the idea team player for the team.


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: practicing Scrum is not enough, the other critical Scrum team ingredient

Getting a team to learn and practice Scrum is not enough. There’s a critical aspect to a team’s own success and further development: feeling ownership over the product they are developing.

In this episode we discuss how the lack of ownership in the team led to bigger and bigger problems.

We also discuss how to work with manager, who sometimes are the biggest blocker for the team to evolve.

Featured Book of the week: Every good endeavour by Timothy Keller

Every Good Endeavor is about the theology of work. Timothy Keller explores the importance of vacation in work, and asks: why do we do the work we do. An important reflection for Scrum Masters, who are there to serve.

In this episode we also mention Extreme Programming explained by Kent Beck and Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows

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: A real story about the negative consequences of too much autonomy

Autonomy is one of the key aspects in Daniel Pink’s motivation triggers: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose. However, there is such a thing as too much autonomy. In this episode we explore the story of a team that was too autonomous. Listen in to learn what problems that led to, and how you can help your team avoid those problems.

Featured book of the week: Humble Inquiry

Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein is a book about the gentle art of asking and not telling. One of the core skills for a Scrum Master: asking the right questions.


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 changing Retrospectives from complaining sessions to improvement sessions

Retrospectives can sometime be affected by an atmosphere of negativity. When the team is only complaining, but not looking forward we have a challenge. In this episode we explore such a situation. And how simple changes helped Jeff turn the atmosphere around, from complaining to figuring out what “we” can do to improve the situation.

Featured Book of the week: Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni

This week we discuss a book that talks about working with our clients (Scrum Masters serve coaching/service clients), and how we are often conflicted as to the right course of action.

Great Scrum Masters are able to deal with that conflict, showing vulnerability while not being afraid of it. Listen in to learn how this book influenced Jeff’s approach to being a Scrum Master.

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty.

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: Start with Scrum as a way to start the improvement journey

Scrum is a starting point. The goal of Scrum is to unlock the ability that the teams have to continuously improve and get better at satisfying the customer in a way that is sustainable for both the company and the business.

In this episode, we review a story of a team that was not yet on the Scrum and improvement journeys. There was no trust. No clear leader. How to start a team on the improvement journey? Listen in to learn how Scrum can help you get started.

Featured book of the week: Re-inventing organizations by Laloux

Petr shares with us several books, but starts with Re-inventing organizations by Frederic Laloux. Laloux shows that every time humanity has shifted to a new stage of consciousness in the past, it has invented a whole new way to structure and run organizations, each time bringing extraordinary breakthroughs in collaboration. We also refer to the work by Nils Pfläging about how to Organize for Complexity, and the oft-referred The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

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: how to strike a balance between specialists and collaboration

When companies or teams start to grow, the initial roles we play need to change. Some prefer to focus on one specialty, and growth enables (through hiring of more people) some people to hide from some of the work and focus on only one skill. But is that what we need in an Agile team?

In this episode we discuss the delicate balance between being a specialist and being able to collaborate with the whole team. Specialization leads to hand-offs, which makes work slower, and communication harder. How can we strike the balance between specialization (which we need) and collaboration?

In this episode we also refer to the book The Living Company by Arie de Geus, and the 5 stages of grief, a model that helps understand change at a personal level.

Featured book of the week: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a book by Ben Horowitz, who is a cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz a famous Venture Capitalist company. Horowitz is also on of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, and in this book he offers essential advice on building and running a startup as well as many other things they don’t teach you in business school.



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: How Agile adoption can be defeated by the use of Email

Email is a very helpful tool. It has a lot of things going for it. Email gives us a quick way to jot down some thoughts and ask a colleague (or many) for help. It helps keep track of conversations. It even enables remote teams (with limited overlap in working hours) to communicate without loss of memory. However, it also has some bad sides when misused. In this story we explore how certain uses of email can be destructive for a team, and some tips on how to detect and avoid that anti-pattern.

Featured book of the week: Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block

Scrum Masters act as consultants. They help, but are not responsible for the outcome of the team. They answer, and most importantly, ask questions to help the team learn, reflect and advance. So, we must understand how to be a good consultant. Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block is a book about how to be a better “helper” (read consultant) for the teams and organizations we work with.


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 the dangers of changing too much, too often

When things don’t go well we are tempted to act. “Just do it!” we hear often. But is that always the right approach? In this episode we explore some of the problems teams experience, but we also discuss the temptation to act too early, and too often. Understanding a problem deeply does not come quickly, and management is often rewarded for action, not understanding. So, how can we – as Scrum Masters – resist the temptation to act before we understand?

Featured book of the week: The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt

The Goal by Goldratt is a book that anyone interested in process improvement should read. A classic that established Theory of Constraints as a popular approach to continuous improvement in the manufacturing world, The Goal also has many lessons we can apply to creative work like Software Development.


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: The infinite loop of bug fixing

Teams want to do their best, and many want to deliver high-quality. It is only natural that they would focus on improving the quality of the software that they develop. However, without the understanding of why the quality is important, we may get stuck in an infinite loop of bug fixing. In this episode we review such a story, and how Felix was able to help the team understand better their true goal.

Featured book of the week: #NoEstimates, how measure project progress without estimates

This week we discuss the #NoEstimates book, and how it helped Felix adopt Agile ideas in any kind of project.

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.

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