Nikoletta Tatár: Holding the Space and growing a Scrum team

This particular team acted more like a set of independent individuals. While trying to figure out why Nikoletta found out that they were missing a common goal and purpose. On top of that, their individual goals were set up in a way that led to conflict. Nikoletta set about working with the team to understand why that was the case and to help them overcome the lack of shared goals with the aim of helping them collaborate better. 

In this episode, we refer to the concept of “holding the space” and the “Personal Maps” tool that helped Nikoletta understand better the team members and their motivation.

Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams, by Lyssa Adkins

Nikoletta was recommended Coaching Agile Teams by her mentor, and the book helped her understand the role of the coach and how Scrum Masters must evolve towards a coaching role as they help the teams.

About Nikoletta Tatár

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tatár on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tatár on Twitter.

Lakshmi Ramaseshan: Helping Scrum teams go from an individual contributor mindset to a collaboration mindset

When Lakshmi started to work with this team, she noticed that the team did not see the value of the Scrum ceremonies, and started to silently sabotage those by being late or not participating actively. As Lakshmi investigated the situation further, she understood that at the root, the team did not see themselves as a team, but rather as individual contributors. In this episode, we discuss how we can help teams get out of the individual contributor mindset and into a team-effort and collaboration mindset.

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

In Turn The Ship Around! By David Marquet, Lakshmi found a story that shaped her understanding of the Scrum Master role. The book is about how to go beyond building high-performing teams and focus on the organization and how it impacts the teams. We discuss Intent-Based Leadership, which David Marquet introduced when he visited the podcast in a previous episode.

About Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

You can link with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on LinkedIn and connect with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on Twitter.

Daniel Lenhart: Helping a Scrum team recover from disappointment and resignation

A team that Daniel was working with was at the start of their Agile adoption journey, but everything around them was not Agile. In a retrospective, Daniel helped verbalize the problems and impediments they were facing. In this situation it is very easy for a team to resign and feel demoralized, but then Daniel took a different approach, and helped the team recover from that frustrating situation. Listen in to learn how. 

Featured Book of the Week: School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

In School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, Daniel found a book that impacted him personally and influenced his personal development. The lessons from that book helped Daniel change aspects of his personal life and focus on making an impact. 

In this segment, we also refer to Elon Musk’s biography by Ashlee Vance. 

About Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Steve Silbert: Doing Agile Retrospectives in teams that “don’t have time for retros”

Sometimes, teams decide that they are so busy, they don’t even have time for Retrospectives. This is the story Steve shares with us. However, as Scrum Masters, it is our duty to ensure that the team does not stop reflecting and improving. How can we combine the team’s perceived lack of time, with the need for reflection and improvement? In this episode, we talk about the “stealth retrospective” and other techniques we can use that help the team while respecting their own management of time.

Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins

Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins is about leveling up coaching and coaching into the team, as Steve puts it. 

In this segment, we also refer to The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, where Steve found inspiration on how to look at team setups, and how different types of work are handled.

Finally, Steve refers to Winnie the Pooh, a book that taught him some important lessons he also applies as a Scrum Master. Listen in, to learn more about why these books are important for Steve.

About Steve Silbert

Steve is an Agile Coach living in Jacksonville, Florida. He is co-curator of SketchnoteArmy, sits on the board of directors for a spiritual innovation incubator, and designs agile games in his spare time.

You can link with Steve Silbert on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Silbert on Twitter. 

Jesse Houwing: Scaled Scrum done wrong, and how to make it right!

Jesse was working on a large Scrum project. As he started observing the structure, he noticed something was off. This project had 17 teams, 17 backlogs, and 17 Product Owners. It was as if every team was in a little island. As he looked further, Jesse found that teams were optimizing the work for their own context and needs, at the same time destroying the ability of other teams to succeed. An example of how NOT to scale Scrum. 

We discuss what we can do when facing similar situations.

Featured Book of the Week: Code Complete by Steve McConnel

From Code Complete by Steve McConnel, Jesse learned some important lessons that helped him later on as a developer and as a Scrum Master. The aspects that Jesse highlights are the collaboration between developers, and how to work as a team when developing larger systems. 

In this segment, we also refer to Scrum, A Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen, who’s also been a guest on the podcast. 

About Jesse Houwing

Father of 2, husband of 1, Professional Scrum Trainer with, Steward of the Scaled Scrum curriculum there, gadgeteer and techy at heart. Lives in the middle of The Netherlands.

You can link with Jesse Houwing on LinkedIn and connect with Jesse Houwing on Twitter. 

Ludmila Reyter: Dealing with disappointment and frustration in Scrum teams

Ludmila has experienced how unhappiness and frustration with the environment can do to a team. We talk about the team member that was trapped in a cynical state of mind and discuss the consequences that can have for the individual and the team. We discuss how to prepare for those situations in which the team is in a less than perfect environment, and starts to react negatively.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

Ludmila found important guidance in Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts and recommends the book for Scrum Masters getting started in their journey. In this segment, we also refer to The Coach’s Casebook by Geoff Watts and Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins.

About Ludmila Reyter

Ludmila started as a project manager and became a scrum master early on, and has been working with teams in the software development sector for 7 years now – but with other teams in general (basketball, studies) much longer. 

She loves to see people working together successfully, which of course means going through some tough times, too. Ludmila realized that the things she once learned somehow rearrange, and has a thought for us: never be sure that what you think you know will always be true!

You can link with Ludmila Reyter on LinkedIn and connect with Ludmila Reyter on Twitter.

Mahesh Jade: Dealing the critical team members in an Agile adoption at the team level

Mahesh started to work with a new organization, and there were several people and teams that were not familiar with Agile. When focusing on continuous improvement, one of the people in the team constantly pointed out mistakes in others, which caused resentment in the team. This helped Mahesh learn a very important lesson about the difference between being kind and being right.

Featured Book of the Week: Evolvagility by Hamman and Cooney

In Evolvagility: Growing an Agile Leadership Culture from the Inside Out, Mahesh found guidance on how to look at the agile adoption process. 

About Mahesh Jade

Mahesh is an Agile evangelist dedicated to championing the cause of building winning teams and winning products. A facilitator by passion, a coach, and an agilist at heart, he works to bring agility to the organization and humanizing the workplace. 

You can link with Mahesh Jade on LinkedIn and connect with Mahesh Jade on Twitter.

Leigh Griffin: The Scrum team that would not improve because they wanted to be “perfect”

“Not all things that matter can be measured, and not all the things that can be measured are important” is a phrase that summarises this conversation with Leigh. He shares the story of a team that was stuck in the perfection self-defeating loop. Focusing on seemingly important metrics that, in the end, did not allow them to improve as a team.

Featured Book of the Week: The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey

In The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by Timothy Gallwey, Leigh found a book that inspired his own approach as a Scrum Master and coach. He reflects on the similarities between the mental aspects in sports and product development. 

About Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter.

Ben Maynard: When the “best” team is a world of trouble for the Scrum Master

It seems like a “no brainer” to choose the best people available and form a team with them. However, as Ben reminds us, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the “best” people available don’t have compatible personalities, and the Scrum Master must be able to understand and tackle that together with leadership. In this episode, Ben shares the story of a team of “stars” that just couldn’t work together and describes the things he tried (and which worked… or not) to help that team grow.

In this episode, we refer to LeSS and to an episode with Bas Vodde, one of the creators of the LeSS framework.

In this segment, we refer to Deming and the concept of Gemba walks. 

Featured Book of the Week: Practices For Scaling Lean & Agile Development, by Vodde and Larman

Thanks to Bas Vodde’s and Craig Larman’s Practices For Scaling Lean & Agile Development, Ben changed his career. First, he started by applying many of the ideas in the book, and started to like the approach that the authors take in the book: suggesting experiments for readers to try. While reading the book, ben found many ideas that he could try at work, which ultimately led him to become a large scale Scrum trainer. 

About Ben Maynard

Ben is an experienced coach, trainer, and mentor assisting senior leaders in medium to large organizations with organizational design and the cultural repercussions. 

You can link with Ben Maynard on LinkedIn and connect with Ben Maynard on Twitter. 

Jacy Ong: Dealing with deadline-pressure in Scrum teams

A team member told Jacy: “we pushed to production without testing”. That was only one of the anti-patterns that developed in the team because of deadline pressure, but there are more! In this episode, we explore the deadline-pressure anti-patterns, and we share some tips on how to help teams that are under the schedule “gun”.

Featured Book for the Week: Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins 

Jacy heard about Coaching Agile teams by Lyssa Adkins from a colleague, and while reading it, she learned a lot of important lessons about coaching, and being a coach. And from those lessons, one of the most important for Scrum Masters: believe in the team you are working with.

About Jacy Ong

Jacy is a big anime fan! And she has found a strong connection between sports anime and her work as a scrum master. As she puts it: “nothing feels more rewarding than to watch your teams grow and achieve goals they never thought they could possibly achieve. :)”

You can link with Jacy Ong on LinkedIn.