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 https://www.coachingagilejourneys.com.

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 12min.me, a movement for inspiring people.

You can link with Felix Handler on XING and connect with Felix Handler on Twitter.

Leonardo Bittencourt on building self-confidence in the teams you work with

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.

You can link with Leonardo Bittencourt on LinkedIn and connect with Leonardo Bittencourt on Twitter.


Ryan McCann describes a pattern of team excellence

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.

You can link with Ryan McCann on LinkedIn and vist Ryan McCann’s website at: MaybeMyDesk.com.

Natalie Cervantes on the perils of the silo culture

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

This week we feature the book: NoEstimates, How to measure project progress without estimates. A book that describes how you can help forecast completion dates for Agile projects even if the team has not estimated the size of all the stories in the backlog.

About Natalie Cervantes

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.

You can link with Natalie Cervantes on LinkedIn.

Tanner Wortham: How the Product Owner influences the Scrum team

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.

You can link with Tanner Wortham on LinkedIn and connect with Tanner Wortham on Twitter.

Miguel Santos on how to help teams tackle their problems head-on

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.

In this episode we discuss the Retrospectives’ Prime Directive, a rule we can follow to ensure that Retrospectives stay focused on improvements, rather than blame.

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.

You can link with Miguel Santos on LinkedIn and connect with Miguel Santos on Twitter.

Richard Kasperowski on the anti-pattern of the 1-on-1 with the boss

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.

In this episode we talk about the Check-in Protocol, one of the Core Protocols to which we refer regularly in this series of interviews with Richard.

Featured book of the week

This week we explore Software for your Head, by Michele and Jim McCarthy, where they explore the aspects that contribute to successful software development teams. This is also the book that introduced the Core Protocols, which we refer to extensively in this series of interviews with Richard.

About Richard Kasperowski

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

You can link with Richard Kasperowski on LinkedIn and connect with Richard Kasperowski on Twitter.

Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on the complaining negative spiral of death

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.

In this episode, we refer to the book Kanban in Action by Joakim Sundén and Marcus Hammarberg. Shameless plug: Marcus Hammarberg is writing a book with Oikosofy on how he used Kanban to save a hospital from bankruptcy, twice! Check it out.

Featured book of the week: Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development








In Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development, Craig Larman and Bas Vodde describe their approach to leading large-scale Scrum implementations and suggest a number of practices that have worked in organizations around the world.

About Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo

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.

You can link with Krisztina Sajgo-Kalo on LinkedIn.

Viyoma Sachdeva on how measuring individuals can destroy teams

The team was being asked to measure individual velocity and compare that with each other’s velocity. Problems ensued! In this episode, we talk about the individual focus, and why that may be catastrophic for the teams. How do we get out of that anti-pattern? That’s the topic of today’s episode, where we share alternative metrics and other tools that can help the team focus again on collective success.

Featured Book: Start with Why, by Simon Sinek







Viyoma uses the lessons from this book in her own work. She found the inspiration and tools to find the “Why” in every situation. Read: Start with Why, by Simon Sinek.


About Viyoma Sachdeva

Viyoma has over 11 years of experience in Software and Product development across different domains and phases of software development cycle. She is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner and has worked in an Agile delivery model for the last 6 years. Her experience includes many different domains like Marketing, manufacturing, retail and Public sector and she has worked in a patent of Epidemic disease predictions.

Viyoma believes that the Agile mindset and practices are keys to solve complex problems.

You can link with Viyoma Sachdeva on LinkedIn and connect with Viyoma Sachdeva on Twitter.