Willem-Jan Ageling: Getting Scrum teams off the “velocity” addiction

Willem-Jan has a background in Project Management, and in his company, the leadership asked the teams to move away from Project Management and embrace Agile. That led Willem-Jan on a learning journey, to understand and apply Agile ideas in his work. In the process, as it usually happens, a team got fixated on the “velocity” metric. In this episode, we explore what can happen when teams get fixated on “velocity”, and what Willem-Jan learned to avoid that anti-pattern in the future.

In this episode, we refer to W. Edwards Deming, a precursor to Lean, and later Agile through his work. 

Featured Book for the Week: The Scrum Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen

In The Scrum Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen, Willem-Jan found an explanation for Scrum that made things click. This led him to explore the ideas behind “complexity” and to start to understand why “the plan” wasn’t always the thing to follow. 

The Scrum Pocket Guide is authored by Gunther Verheyen who’s been on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast before.

About Willem-Jan Ageling

As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum.

You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.

Justin Chapman: Work only on what you and the Scrum team can influence

Once in a while, we work with a team that is down in the doldrums of morale. That’s never an easy challenge to take on as a Scrum Master because the reasons for the lack of morale can be deep-seated and completely outside the team’s control. On the other hand, as we discuss in this episode, that realization can transform our perspective and help thet eam find ways to jump out of the hole they found themselves in. We talk about morale, and how simple tricks can totally transform the morale of a team, and we do that by realizing and implementing something all Scrum Masters should focus on work on what you can directly affect.

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Retrospectives

In Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby, Justin found great inspiration for how to facilitate retrospectives with the teams he works with and also learned how important it is to prepare and crush the facilitation challenges we face as Scrum Masters.

About Justin Chapman

A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master. 

Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog: http://www.ponolabs.com/labs/

You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.

Dimitri Favre: Helping Scrum teams collaborate better with the Product Owner

In this team, the developers only wanted to focus on their own tasks and did not care to help the Product Owner. This was, as it turned out, a recipe for disaster. We discuss with Dimitri, what drives teams to be task-focused, instead of impact-focused, and discuss techniques we might be able to use to bring the team’s attention to the overall goals and the collaboration with the Product Owner.

Featured Book for the Week: Creating Great Teams by Mamoli and Mole

In Creating Great Teams: How Self-Selection Lets People Excel by Sandy Mamoli and David Mole, Dimitri discovered an approach that helps create teams who are motivated from the start. In this segment, we also refer to the books by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. Bas was a previous guest on the podcast. We also refer to Anton Zotin, who has also been on the podcast before.

About Dimitri Favre

Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers. 

Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book.

You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.

Saritha Rai: Fixing communication problems with a Mega Standup for Scrum organizations

Communication is a common “failure” domain for teams. We often hear that communication wasn’t “good enough”, or that it failed. In this episode, we explore some of the possible reasons for those failures, and Saritha shares her story of improving communication in a scaled Agile environment by using the “Mega Standup” tool, which she defines in this episode. 

In this episode, we refer to the concept of the “Obeya Room”, borrowed from the book Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker.

Featured Book of the Week: Mindset by Carol Dweck

In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, Saritha found the inspiration for focusing on mindset. The book also helped Saritha with designing her retrospectives to help teams focus on their success. In this segment, Saritha also shares a few tips on how to help your teams change their attitude towards the challenges they face. 

About Saritha Rai

Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables.

You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.

George Mathews: The Myth of the multi-project team member

Team members in many organizations share their time across multiple projects. That brings a lot of problems that are often ignored because “on paper”, the team members can easily share their time between projects. However, as Scrum Masters, we know the reality is very often much harder for those same team members. For example, team members start missing important ceremonies, like planning meetings or are unable to help each other (because they are working part-time in different projects). The multi-project productivity myth is a serious problem, and in this episode, we talk about the consequences and what we can do as Scrum Masters to help our teams survive those difficult situations.

In this episode, we also mention an article about the importance of having one-team, one-goal.

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

In Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet, George Mathews discovered an inspirational book about leadership.
David Marquet has been a guest on the #AgileOnlineMeetup, and you can watch his interview here.

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Mandy Sunner: 3 books to understand Agile beyond Scrum

When multiple teams work on high-impact or high-visibility programs or projects, it is critical that they align how they work, and that certain processes are in place to support the teams. In this episode, we talk about what problems arise when teams are working separately, not aligned, and the supporting processes are missing. A key realization for Scrum Masters: the supporting processes can have a big impact on the performance of the team

Featured Book for the Week: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, Kahneman et. al

Mandy mentions several books: Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, by Kahneman et. al; The Bottleneck Rules, by Clarke Ching; Making Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis

These books helped Mandy understand many different aspects of Agile beyond the work with the team. 

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Tony Richards: Metrics for Agile teams, and how to avoid the velocity metric trap

Stop me if you have heard this before. There was once upon a time a company that was working well, and leadership, wanting to make it even better started following up team velocity… Already? Well, that’s expected, this is a very common anti-pattern (the velocity tunnel vision). But this episode goes into a deeper discussion of what anti-pattern, and most importantly, what Scrum Masters can do to get out of that. We discuss metrics, their impact, and which to use when working with Agile teams.

Featured Book for the Week: An Everyone Culture by Kegan et al.

In An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization by Kegan et al., Tony found an insightful description of a leadership model that focuses on the potential of an organization, on how to improve the chances for success in any organization.

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

BONUS: How to setup Agile and DevOps teams, Team Topologies interview with Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais

Setting up teams to work collaboratively is one of the challenges that organizations go through when adopting Agile. The functional team setup (all DBAs, all testers, all windows devs together, etc.) is not acceptable for teams that want to quickly develop and deliver products and services to the market. But neither is it possible to have all possible skills (sometimes 10’s of skills) in one team because organizations simply don’t have that many people with certain skills. 

In this episode, we talk about the possible team topologies, and how each of those affects our ability to deliver in different organizations. 

How we set up teams directly affects the quality of the software teams deliver

Continue reading BONUS: How to setup Agile and DevOps teams, Team Topologies interview with Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais

Olsen Turan: Healing the Product Owner – Team relationship

In this episode, we explore the dynamics that may happen between the Product Owner and the team. And how, sometimes, those dynamics can spiral and affect the team’s ability to perform. We also discuss how to approach the topic with the team and the Product Owner. How we choose to tackle the situation, and our communication approach may help or destroy that relationship.

The relationship between Product Owner and Team is critical for our success as Scrum Masters. Learn how to coach your product owner in our Coach Your Product Owner course. The Coach Your PO e-course includes 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

Featured Book for the Week: Crucial Conversations, Patterson et al. 

In Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Patterson et al., Olsen learned about the key conversation skills we need to help teams build trust and improve communication among team members.

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Sami Prentice: When consensus destroys Scrum teams

Sometimes teams need to focus on consensus building, but at other points in their journey, their need to seek consensus is a sign that the team is avoiding conflict. In this episode, we talk about the case of a team that was undermining itself by trying to always establish consensus before taking action.

In this segment, we refer to the book: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

Featured Book for the Week: Radical Candor, Kim Scott

In Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Sami learned about the importance of building relationships and being in compassionate mode with fellow co-workers. She also found invaluable tips on how to get and give feedback to her co-workers. 

In this segment, we also refer to The Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey, which includes a lot of ideas on how to handle the challenges that Scrum Masters typically face.

About Sami Prentice

Sami is a Scrum Master in Denver, Colorado. She used to work in the beer industry before making the switch to Scrum Master and she is passionate about facilitating awesome meetings that don’t suck. 

You can link with Sami Prentice on LinkedIn.