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.
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.
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 12min.me, a movement for inspiring people.
Teams can be their own worst enemies some times. In this story, Leonardo shares the story of a team that slowly entered a negative self-defeating pattern: they didn’t believe any of the positive feedback they got, but felt destroyed by any of the negative comments that were coming their way. The team did not believe in their own goodness. How do you get out of such an anti-pattern? Listen in to learn how the team entered this pattern, and what Leonardo tried to do to get the team out of that self-defeating loop.
Featured book for the week: Coaching Agile Teams, by Lyssa Adkins
Leonardo shares what he learned from Coaching Agile Teams, by Lyssa Adkins, a book that explains the different aspects of the Scrum Master role and Agile Coach. And helps us define our own coaching approach for the teams we work with. Every team is different, and this book helps us reflect on those differences.
About Leonardo Bittencourt
Currently Leonardo is a Scrum Master at Equifax Ireland. Focused on building high performance teams through Agile and/or Lean adoption, he is an enthusiastic about Lean and Agile mindset in the Software Development industry as the transformation agent to create great working environment as well as products that matters.
On Tuesdays we focus on the moments when the teams get into trouble. But Ryan breaks the pattern this week, and shares with us a moment when a team went from a problem, so a pattern of excellence. Listen in to learn how the team Ryan was working with took responsibility for a serious customer problem, and quickly rallied to a solution. So quickly, in fact, that the customer even emailed them to thank them for their work!
Featured Book of the week: Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business
“Kanban” is one of the movement’s most praised books. In this book David Anderson introduces his view on how Kanban can help with introducing change in an organization. Ryan particularly liked this quote: “we do kanban because we believe it provides a better way to introduce change”.
About Ryan McCann
Ryan is a former waiter, car detailer, line worker, cemetery worker, intern, financial analyst, tech support rep, team lead, QA manager, Scrum Master and Product Owner. Current husband, father, school board member, community volunteer and agile coach. He believes in building trust and social capital, which is not easy for any of us (himself included)…Ryan does his best everyday to help teams make this happen.
Silos are very useful if you want to store cereals for a long time. However, in knowledge work organizations, silos do more harm than good. In this episode we explore how the silo culture can infect a team and lead to serious problems. Including lack of collaboration, having some people overloaded, while others are kept waiting, etc. We also discuss the impact silos have on team performance. How many different silos do you have on your team? Listen in to learn about the many silos that can develop in a single team!
Featured book of the week: NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates
Natalie is a Certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach with over 12 years experience working with both veteran and new agile teams. Her experience spans everything from mobile and embedded systems to enterprise scale website projects with a client base that includes Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and many others.
In this story Tanner shares how a team he took over was struggling to improve. When looking at the situation he detected a pattern: the Product Owner was not delegating any work to the team. In this story we explore the idea that fixing Symptoms never solves real problems for the team, and that the Product Owner’s approach has a significant impact on how the team works. And we give out some important tips about what affects culture in the teams we work with.
Featured book of the week: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game is a Sci-Fi novel about a future encounter with an alien civilization. What does that have to do with being a Scrum Master you ask? Listen in to learn the lessons we can take from that story, and apply to our roles as Scrum Masters.
About Tanner Wortham
www.SpikesAndStories.com. He’s helped many organizations in their journey toward agility. He’s been accused that his military training would mold him into a rigid, unmoving Scrum Master, but nothing could be further from the truth. What civilians call agile, the Corps calls leading Marines, and it’s through his experiences as a Marine that he derives most of his insight as a Scrum Master.
When teams face problems they have a choice: avoid, or confront. Which of these patterns does your team adopt when faced with problems? This can make the difference for the teams that want to grow and improve. In this episode we review the story, and the consequences that teams face when they can’t face the problems they are going through.
Featured book of the week: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
This is a book that we’ve covered often here on the podcast. So often that we even included it in a bundle offer we had for our listeners: 4 books every Scrum Master should read! In this book Patrick Lencioni walks us through a process of building a team that is not able to collaborate, where trust isn’t present. The goal: a functioning high-performance team.
About Miguel Santos
Miguel is a Brazilian living in Germany and currently Scrum Master for two teams at NewStore. He believes that there is no single methodology (agile or not) to lead projects and teams to success. Because of that, he would like Scrum Masters to be less biased when working with their teams.
The 1-on-1 meetings are a staple of management practice today. But are they really a great idea when we develop software as teams? In this episode we discuss a case that illustrates why the 1-on-1 meetings are not really a good idea when you want to solve intra-team conflict.
Richard is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author focused on high-performance teams. Richard is the author of The Core Protocols: A Guide to Greatness. He leads clients in building great teams that get great results using the Core Protocols, Agile, and Open Space Technology. Richard created and teaches the class Agile Software Development at Harvard University. Learn more and subscribe to Richard’s newsletter at www.kasperowski.com.
Teams complain. I mean, who can blame them? Often they have to deal with corporate policies that would destroy the motivation of even the most excited Agile adopter. As Scrum Masters, we know this. But how do we get the teams out of the complaining negative spiral of death? Listen to this episode to learn how Krisztina was able to turn the meetings around, helping the team focusing on improving, rather than complaining. She also shares the concrete tips and tricks she used in her approach.
Krisztina is a Senior IT manager with experience of several aspects to IT management on different levels as well as methodologies used. Originally from Hungary she has worked in many countries. First as a tester, the a project manager, test manager and many other roles.