Varun Maheshwari: How to help teams move from reporting to collaboration

Sometimes teams enter the “reporting” anti-pattern. Teams exhibiting this anti-pattern are focused on just describing what they have done, but spend little time discussing the value or the reasons why that work is important. In the end, the daily meeting is the engine of collaboration, and as Scrum Masters we need to focus on collaboration more than status reporting. In this episode we discuss how we can help teams move from reporting to collaboration.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Product Ownership by Robert Galen

Scrum Product Ownership by Robert Galen is a book with practical advice, real-world tactics, and stories to help understand and shape the Product Owner role. The book is full of ideas that focus on helping the Team and the PO deliver on the promise of Scrum.

About Varun Maheshwari

Varun is a Scrum Master and agile practitioner in Australia. He believes in “being agile” rather than “doing agile”. For him, Agile frameworks are not the goal, but rather “Delighting customers, Zero Defects, Quick ROI, Better team work, Excellent Quality & Shortest ‘Time to Market’” are some of the possible goals.

You can link with Varun Maheshwari on LinkedIn.

Elena Astilleros on a step-by-step approach to help Scrum teams in crisis

Elena joined a team that was about to implode. We discuss the context, what was causing the problems, and then share a step-by-step approach to help teams that are in crisis.

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

Elena shares with us 3 books, from The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler, to Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown and Coaching Agile Teams by Lysa Adkins.

In Coaching Agile Teams, Elena found a good reminder of how Scrum Masters and team members should be aware of how they relate to each other and how that can have a huge impact on the team’s performance.

About Elena Astilleros

Elena coaches people who hate wasting their time with badly run agile ceremonies, meetings or projects. She gives them tools to get more out of their time while sprinkling in a little enthusiasm and cheerleading. You can find some of her tools in the forthcoming book Invisible Leader.

You can link with Elena Astilleros on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Astilleros on Twitter.

Eduardo Ribeiro: is the Scrum team really that good, or just not willing to improve?

Sometimes, Scrum teams are not facing any challenges. They might even be “good” at what they are doing. When that happens, it is a sign that Scrum Masters must pay extra attention to the team dynamics and the relationship with their stakeholders. Is the team really that good, or is it so that they are just getting comfortable with the status quo and not willing to improve anymore?

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Software Development by Schwaber and Beedle

The “black book of Scrum”, Agile Software Development by Schwaber and Beedle was the first book published on Scrum and it helped Eduardo understand Scrum and why it was created. It also helps Scrum Masters prepare their arguments for the adoption of Scrum when that is necessary.

About Eduardo Ribeiro

Eddy is passionate about helping people, teams, and organizations foster a culture of continuous improvement where experimentation and embracing change becomes part of their DNA.

He’s also the author of the Beyond Lean Agile Blog, a Co-Founder of the Lean Coffee Portugal Community, Founder of Agile Online Community and Co-Founder & Director of Startup Grind Porto.

You can link with Eduardo Ribeiro on LinkedIn and connect with Eduardo Ribeiro on Twitter.

Nedeljko Damnjanovic: how to help teams that are new to Scrum

As Scrum Masters, sometimes we work with teams that are at the start of their learning journey with Scrum. These teams might even be motivated, and committed teams. But there are many aspects of Scrum that can only be learned with experience. In this episode, we talk about the possible problems we face when working with “new” teams, and how we can help them survive their first Scrum implementation.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

In Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts, Nedeljko found a great list of examples on what differentiates good from great Scrum Masters. He found also many patterns that helped him solve the problems he was facing in his Scrum Master role.

You can find the Scrum Master Toolbox episode with Geoff Watts here.

About Nedeljko Damnjanovic

Nedeljko is a Scrum Master and a full-stack developer who has been in the IT industry for the better part of the decade. He spent the last 5 years actively working as a Scrum Master with many diverse teams and projects who has helped him understand his role better. One of the core developers of the first VivifyScrum release, he has participated in its development product-wise ever since.

You can link with Nedeljko Damnjanovic on LinkedIn.

You can find Nedeljko and the rest of the team at VivifyScrum on twitter.

Henrique Centieiro on what to do when Scrum Teams are missing feedback

Even when teams are motivated, and progressing at a rapid pace, there’s an ingredient that, if missing, can derail the whole project. That ingredient is feedback from customers and users. In this episode, we talk about what happens when feedback is missing and how Scrum Masters can help their teams focus on collecting and reacting to feedback.

Featured book of the Week: Scrum, the art of doing twice the work in half the time

A book that introduces Scrum to a wider audience, Scrum: the art of doing twice the work in half the time by Jeff Sutherland is a book explaining the ideas and principles of Scrum when applied to the wider world of work, not only software development.

In this segment of the episode, we also refer to Edx.Org, a website that focuses on education and includes Agile training as well.

About Henrique Centieiro

Henrique is a Blockchain Product Manager (i.e. dealing with the blockchain related features/user stories of the product). He is passionate about teams and agile, using scrum to manage even his personal tasks.

You can link with Henrique Centieiro on LinkedIn.

Ajeet Singh: 2 habits that can destroy Scrum teams

There are many possible habits or behaviors that lead to problems in Scrum teams. In this episode with Ajeet Singh, we discuss 2 of those habits and the related anti-patterns that emerged.

As Scrum Masters, we must pay attention to the behaviors, understand the possible consequences, and help teams recover before it is too late.

Featured Book for the Week: Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle

In Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle (aka the black book of Scrum), Ajeet found an holistic understanding of what is Scrum which helped him adopt the ideas and practices.

About Ajeet Singh

Ajeet is an IT professional with 17 years of delivery experience in application development, system integration and software testing. He’s served as a ScrumMaster for over 3.5 years for the clients of USA, UK and Australian geographies.

You can link with Ajeet Singh on LinkedIn and connect with Ajeet Singh on Twitter.

Tilman Rumland on how Scrum Masters can help new team members

When new team members join a strong team, they may suffer from too much or the wrong kind of humbleness. In this episode, Tilman shares the story of a team member that joined a strong team, but failed to establish himself, failed to speak up and that led to a serious misunderstanding. Listen in to learn how to help team members establish themselves in a new team, even when the process might be intimidating at first

Featured Book of the Week: Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

In Antifragile by Taleb, Tilman found a philosophy that helped him organize his life in a way as to be ready for the possible problems that might appear. He also discusses two other books in the featured book of the week segment: How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, and The way of the superior man by David Deida.

About Tilman Rumland

Tilman Rumland is an agile coach, expert speaker, and productivity enthusiast. He just released his new workshop series: “getting shit done that really matters to you”. As a scrum master, he implemented agile structures to agrilution, a small scale vertical farming startup, ranked on the Forbes TOP 100 innovative German Startups. (

You can link with Tilman Rumland on LinkedIn.

Raluca Mitan on distributed Scrum team anti-patterns

Distributed teams are notoriously hard for Scrum Masters. But why? In this episode, we talk about some of the anti-patterns we can expect in distributed teams and what Scrum Masters can do to help distributed teams jell and overcome those anti-patterns.

Featured Book for the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

In Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Raluca found a book that helped her develop her leadership approach. Kim shares many stories from different leaders and helps the reader understand what makes a good leader with concrete tools and methods.

About Raluca Mitan

Raluca calls herself a recovering Project Manager that discovered Agile and somehow the “good, the bad and the ugly” received distinctive names.

She loves her job and practices Accelerated Learning to achieve her Goals (to become a Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum Alliance, to write a book, acknowledged as an Inventor, share her ideas to the world and with her daughters).

And maybe someday to be a Bonus Podcast guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast :).

You can link with Raluca Mitan on LinkedIn and read Raluca Mitan’s blog.

Doug Knesek on how to help Scrum teams evolve their process

When teams come together, even if they have Scrum experience, they don’t always agree on the process. That can paralyze teams. In this episode, we explore a story about a team that was stuck with their definition of the process. All team members had different versions of Scrum in their mind. But still, they needed to progress. Listen in to learn how Doug tackled that problem and helped the team start to deliver.

In this episode, we talk about the concept of Semantic Diffusion as defined by Fowler, and we discuss the importance of changing the team setup often (something Heidi Helfand discusses on the podcast in a previous episode).

Featured Book of the Week: Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

In Toyota Kata by Mike Rother, Doug found an approach that helps him deal with the natural uncertainty that comes with the Scrum Master role. We want to help teams reach a target condition, but we don’t know all the steps we need to take, so using the approaches in Toyota Kata helped Doug prepare for that uncertainty, and help teams progress even when only the next few steps are visible.

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Anja Bonatto-Minella: doing Scrum without feedback leads to failure!

When teams start working with Scrum they try to follow the process. They organize the process, they keep their meetings, but sometimes forget critical things that are not in the process. In this team, Anja felt frustrated. Something was missing.

Anja started looking for symptoms. At first only frustration, but later the symptoms started to become clearer. The team was missing the feedback! They held the ceremonies, but the concrete actionable feedback was missing. Check out this episode and compare with your team. Are you seeing the same symptoms?

Featured Book of the Week: Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only)

In Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only), Anja found stories that she could relate to. The book is a Scrum fable. Where people in a village need to build a Dragon trap, but they don’t know how. All they have is their ingenuity and ability to collaborate. The book walks you through a full experience of what it looks like to build a Scrum team.

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.