Adrienne Rinaldi: Managers as Scrum team members, a cautionary tale

Adrienne was working with a small team, in a governmental organization, that had started their Agile adoption journey. A supervisor/manager was assigned to be a team member in that team. In this episode, we discuss how the relationships of power or hierarchical superiority can destroy a team, if we don’t pay special attention to the collaboration between team members.

Featured Book of the Week: Leadership is Language by L. David Marquet 

When reading Leadership is Language by L. David Marquet, Adrienne learned about some aspects of language, and the words we use that can directly affect the success of our work as Scrum Masters and leaders. We also talk about the importance of language in helping people accept they can make a change to their own lives, and at work.

In this segment, we refer to the special BONUS episode with L. David Marquet

About Adrienne Rinaldi

Adrienne Rinaldi is an Agile Transformation Coach and co-founder with PinnacleTek Consulting. She has a passion for topics such as emotional intelligence in agile leadership, cultural transformations and breaking the norms in hierarchical organizations. She has enabled value-based strategy and business agility at many levels of client organizations: teams, programs and portfolios. When not being an agilist, Adrienne’s activities a published book (about beer and yoga!), mountaineering, hiking (Colorado 14er finisher), kayaking and spending time with friends/family.

You can link with Adrienne Rinaldi on LinkedIn

Arjay Hinek: The critical Scrum Master task of helping Product Owners

When this story starts, we hear about a Product Owner that had the unfortunate habit of micro-managing the team and assignments. On top of that, the PO was also a yes-man, who wanted to say “yes” to everything the stakeholders came up with. We explore how these behaviors led to the team imploding, and discuss what we can do to help teams and PO’s who start showing the same symptoms.

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products that Customers Love

In Agile Product Management with Scrum by Roman Pichler, found a book that distills the concepts down to practical advice and helps the teams and the Scrum Masters focus on customer needs. He also found that the book allowed him to have great conversations with Product Owners, and coach the PO’s he worked with.

In this segment, we also refer to The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management by Stephen Denning.


Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Arjay Hinek

Arjay has been an Agilist for over a decade. In the last few years he’s focused on Agile and “product development” for non-software applications. A considers himself a teacher at heart, he uses metaphors and story-telling to help others see their challenges from a different perspective and overcome them. 

You can link with Arjay Hinek on LinkedIn and connect with Arjay Hinek on Twitter

You can follow Arjay’s blog at

Leland Newson: Skills Matrix, a tool to visualize the skill siloes in your Scrum team

In a new team, Leland noticed that the skill silo (everyone sticking only to their skill specialty) was affecting the team’s ability to deliver. The team was working as if they were doing several sequential waterfalls instead of acting like a unit. Every time one team member was absent, the team couldn’t make enough progress to deliver. 

In this episode, we talk about how to remove the skill silo, and avoid the mini-waterfalls anti-pattern.

In this episode, we also mention the Skills Matrix as a tool to visualize the skill silo. 

Featured Book of the Week: The Lean Software Agile Development Toolkit by Poppendieck

In The Lean Software Agile Development Toolkit by Poppendieck, Leland found a new perspective on what it means to improve an organization. This eye-opening book is a regular read for Leland, and reminds him of the importance of looking at the flow of work (Flow Efficiency), rather than trying to optimize activities that may ultimately be wasteful. 

About Leland Newson

Leland is a SAFe Release Train Engineer and servant leader who is passionate about helping improve the work environment and helping teams uncover better ways to development software. He focuses on collaboration, shortening feedback loops, improving the flow of work through the system and increasing the team’s adaptability so they can quickly respond to changes and satisfy customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

You can link with Leland Newson on LinkedIn and connect with Leland Newson on Twitter.

Ronny Deicke: What happens when we leave a Scrum team behind?

When working with a team, Ronny noticed that the team was making progress. He was satisfied with the progress, and when asked to move to help another team he readily accepted. However, there was a bad surprise about to happen. Listen in to learn about what happened to those teams and what was the lesson that Ronny learned from this experience.

Featured Book of the Week: Start with Why by Simon Sinek

In Start with Why by Simon Sinek, Ronny found an insightful explanation of why we should help discover their purpose or reason to deliver on those User Stories. When reading the book, Ronny also understood how to ask the questions that lead to the team and the stakeholders discovering the answer to the “why?” question.

About Ronny Deicke

Ronny is a Scrum Master and Agile coach with a developer and team lead background. Currently working as a part-time Scrum Master and in the rest of the time giving (agile) workshops, supporting people as a coach and Agile Coach. Video game enthusiast and Indie developer on the side.

You can link with Ronny Deicke on LinkedIn and connect with Ronny Deicke on Twitter.

Pieter Verbaarschott: What happens when Scrum teams work harder, but lose their improvement focus

When teams are pressured or pushed to work harder, or longer hours, the easy solution is to just say yes, and carry with it. However, the role of Scrum Masters is to help teams understand and prevent those cases when the “work harder” mantra is disconnected from the goals of the company. In this episode, we discuss one such example, where the team was not able to say “no” to the PO, and was, therefore, pushed to do more, and more work and forgetting to focus on improving as a team.

Featured Book of the Week: Leading Teams by Richard Hackman

In Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances by Richard Hackman, Pieter found the results of a long research process that lead to defining some of the conditions and patterns that exist in successful teams. One such aspect was the definition of goals for the team. We explore what that means in practice and how to apply it as a Scrum Master.

About Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter

Rachel Macasek: Detecting toxic cultural anti-patterns in Agile organizations

That there are projects where teams feel under pressure is no news. In fact, stress-related to pressure is a very common problem in software teams. However, sometimes the situation goes too far and turns into a toxic culture. In this episode, we explore what are the signs that the normal “pressure” teams feel is turning into a much more impactful and negative set of patterns.

Featured Book of the Week: Co-Active Coaching by Henry Kimsey-House et al.

As Rachel grew in the coaching role, she felt frustrated by the reactive mindset she saw in leadership. That led her to explore other approaches to help executives understand and benefit from Agile Values and principles.

In Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives, Rachel found a good guide to help her focus her work on helping the individual team members and executives she worked with. 

About Rachel Macasek

Rachel is passionate about individual and team growth. She has fostered an environment of collaboration and continuous improvement in the manufacturing, biotech, and software industries. Currently, Rachel is focused on the power of an individual and recently acquired her Leadership and Performance Coaching certification.

You can link with Rachel Macasek on LinkedIn and connect with Rachel Macasek on Twitter.

Simon Flossmann: Teams, the secret sauce of Scrum

Sometimes, the quickest way to get a product out the door is to create a team of contractors and focus on building a product quickly. Or is it? In this episode, we talk about the consequences that can come from building a team of contractors, focusing mostly on speed, but forgetting that a team is much more than a group of individuals. And teams, are really the secret sauce of Scrum

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum: A Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen

In Scrum: A Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen (who’s been a guest on the podcast), Simon found a good guide for his journey to improve and professionalize his role as a Scrum Master. In this segment, we also talk about Lean Startup by Eric Ries, a book that helped Simon improve his focus on empiricism as a tool to help teams. 

About Simon Flossmann

Simon helps teams effectively use Scrum and an agile mindset to deliver products and services that matter! As a Scrum Master and Professional Scrum Trainer, licensed by, he supports teams and organizations of varying sizes in a wide range of business domains, like automotive, home appliance, energy sector, federal government agency, and insurance.

You can link with Simon Flossmann on LinkedIn and connect with Simon Flossmann on Twitter.

You can follow Simon Flossmann’s writings on this home page.

Paddy Corry: Helping Scrum teams that are under schedule pressure

When teams feel they are under pressure, they tend to focus on “just doing it”. When that happens, they might want to skip refinement, and other ceremonies (e.g. retrospectives), which then leads to problems. In this episode, we talk about those pressures, where they come from, and what Scrum Masters can do to help those teams.

Featured Book of the Week: Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Paddy found the idea of psychological flow: when time melts away, and you can get a lot done. This helped him understand why it is important to block out time for deep work, and changed his approach to the role of the Scrum Master. 

In this segment, we also refer to a blog post by Paul Graham on the concept of “maker’s schedule”.

About Paddy Corry

Paddy was a developer for many years, after which he started his Scrum Master journey with special interest for coaching and developing the agile mindset. 

You can link with Paddy Corry on LinkedIn and connect with Paddy Corry on Twitter

Julio de Lima: “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature” – solving conflicts between testers and developers in Scrum teams

Sometimes the perspective of the tester can be different from the team’s perspective when it comes to a bug or defect. When that difference of perspective exists, a conflict might arise. In this episode, we talk about how to bring the testers and developers to a common understanding on how to improve quality and avoid conflicts that escalate and can destroy a team.

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Testing by Janet Gregory, Lisa Crispin

In Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams by Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, Julio found what he calls “the bible for Agile testing practitioners”. The book helped Julio understand how different the tester perspective needs to be when working in an Agile team. 

In this segment, we refer to the concept of exploratory testing, a critical concept for Agile testers. 

About Julio de Lima

Julio is a Principal QA Engineer working for Capco that believes in the Culture of QA. He has been sharing professional insights and experiences on a daily basis and has more than 4500 students in his 4 online courses. In 2020, he was elected the Brazilian Testing reference practitioner. 

You can link with Julio de Lima on LinkedIn and connect with Julio de Lima on Twitter.

Sjoerd Nijland: Removing the “bus factor” with a Scrum team

In this organization, each developer was assigned an application or component. The catch? Each of those applications was critical for the company’s business. Soon enough, this became a problem. Sjoerd shares with us how he tried to help this company eliminate their “bus factor”, and the important lessons he learned about how not to do it.

Featured Book of the Week: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

In The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle, Sjoerd learned how important non-work related aspects are for forming a great team. The book shares what are the aspects that are associated with great teams, and highlights how culture and team-culture are critical for the success of a team.

About Sjoerd Nijland

Sjoerd is a founder of Serious Scrum, and creator of the Road to Mastery co-creative online training. Previously E-commerce manager at Bugaboo, and then Manager of Operations at Digital Agency Triggerfish.

You can link with Sjoerd Nijland on LinkedIn and connect with Sjoerd Nijland on Twitter.