Sarah O’Brien on the tough Scrum Master job of listening

Listening is not the easiest part of the Scrum Master job. However, that’s one of the most important and powerful tools we have in our toolbox. In this episode we explore the case of a team that was entering a spiral of conflict and what was needed to avoid that from going out of control.

Featured Book of the Week: The Human Side of Agile by Gil Broza

The Human Side of Agile by Gil Broza is a book that helped Sarah understand the personal transformation we need to go through when we adopt Agile.

In this episode we also refer to Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

About Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is passionate about helping teams work together to bring value to their work lives. She has worked in the Scrum Master role for the past 6 years after transitioning out of waterfall as a senior software engineer. Her (not so) secret goal is to help people bring agile practices home.

You can link with Sarah O’Brien on LinkedIn.

Christiaan Verwijs on facilitation as the critical art for Scrum Masters

Sometimes it is hard to keep the team focused on the ceremonies that we facilitate. That’s ok and predictable. However, as Scrum Masters, we must be ready for it. We must be ready to regain the attention of the team on the issue at hand. Remember, the ceremonies are there for a reason. If they feel boring, or long, then they are probably not being used to tackle the important topics in the team’s mind.

In this episode we also talk about a facilitation book: Liberating Structures by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless, and discuss one of the facilitation techniques that Christiaan learned from that and still applies today.

Featured book of the week

 

 

 

 

 

In this week we discuss the lessons Christiaan learned from two inspiring books. The first is about Agile and Scrum: Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber. The second, a completely different book that helps Scrum Masters understand how to work with complexity and ambiguity: Black Swan by Nassim Taleb.

About Christiaan Verwijs

Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organizational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.

You can link with Christiaan Verwijs on LinkedIn and connect with Christiaan Verwijs on Twitter.

You can also follow Christiaan’s blog at Blog.agilistic.nl.

Venetia Foo on how one team member can destroy a whole team

Many of us have been in teams where there’s a “dominant” team  member. But have we thought about the possible consequences that it may bring to the team? In this episode we explore the possible consequences that dominant team members can trigger. We also discuss a very unusual way to address such situations, one that takes into account the whole team, not just the dominant team member.

About Venetia Foo

Venetia has been on her agile journey since 2007 and has been a witness to the best and to the worst of it. She is passionate about learning and continuous improvement. She uses a variety of skills to empower and enable teams to perform at their best.

You can link with Venetia Foo on LinkedIn and connect with Venetia Foo on Twitter.

Ruben Betancourt on how slicing Epics into smaller deliverables can increase your chance of success

It’s hard enough to deliver a small increment of a product, yet we often find ourselves and our teams in positions where they need to deliver a whole product, project or release in 1 go. No change for mistake. And you know what happens: when failure is not an option, failure is the only option!

About Ruben Betancourt
Ruben Betancourt is a computer systems engineer with experience in project management. Currently in love with agile software development methodologies.
You can link with Ruben Betancourt on LinkedIn and connect with Ruben Betancourt on Twitter.

Tony Richards on one of the most common failure modes in Scrum

There are many ways to fail, but there are some ways that are just way too common. Tony shares what is probably the most common way to fail at Scrum. In this episode we also share 7 other tools and tips for Scrum Masters.

In the episode we also mention Samantha and Karen and their work in the Scrum community. We refer to the Moving Motivators game in Management 3.0 and quote Lyssa Adkins: “you need to be one half step ahead of your team!”

About Tony Richards

Tony is an Agile coach working with a global insurer wanting to become more Agile. Starting his career as a software developer working with Toyota he has a background in Lean and came across Agile in 2010 as part of a test and learn initiative. He is keen to help leaders understand their role in creating an environment where Agile can flourish. To support this he has been working on a game inspired by the research of Michael Spayd and Lyssa Adkins to support this journey.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn, and see Tony Richards’ posts on Front Row Agile.

Sean Dunn: develop teams and you will be successful

Many will say that helping team meeting commitments is how Scrum Masters best do their work. Seann shows us another side of the job: developing teams. Helping them develop their skills, their collaboration, and focus on outcomes, not outputs.
We discuss that knowing “why” is often more important than focusing on the work at hand, and we mention the book by Simon Sinek: Start with Why.

About About Sean Dunn

Sean is an Enterprise Agile Coach with IHS Global. He has been involved with agile development for 8 years as a developer, product owner, and agile coach. Prior to his exposure to agile development Sean spent 13 years in the Canadian Army. In fact, Sean is known to point out that the Army is far more agile than most people think.
That background in the Canadian Army influenced his view of Leadership and the role of Leadership in creating and developing great teams.
You can connect with Sean Dunn on LinkedIn, check out Sean Dunn on the Scrum Alliance or email him at sean.dunn@ihs.com.
Check out Sean Dunn’s blog on leadership.

Ebenezer Ikonne on the 5 conditions for great teams

What are the conditions for great teams to emerge? And what are the obstacles? These are some of the questions we cover in this episode. We mention also two very important books about teams, and how to build great teams: Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances by Richard Hackman and The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization by Katzenbach and Smith.

About Ebenezer Ikonne

Technology enthusiast. Change artist. Culture hacker. People focused. Helping organizations provide their employees with the most meaningful and fulfilling experience they could have while delivering solutions that change the world. Ebenezer is also a Tech Director at Mannheim.
You can link with Ebenezer Ikonne on LinkedIn, and contact Ebenezer Ikonne on Twitter. You can also read his thoughts on Agile on his blog.

Sebastian Schürmann stays away from judgment and discusses sabotage techniques

Talking about self-destructive behaviours may make people feel they are being judged, and Sebastian prefers to stay away from judgements. Instead, he wants to focus on behaviours that affect the team and must be addressed. Sebastian also shares with us a sabotage technique that is sometimes used by team members and teams in their work.
The sabotage technique is also available in the Simple Sabotage Field Manual a document used by a precursor to the CIA to explain how individuals could sabotage countries, factories and other potential targets. Are you aware of all the sabotage behaviors your team can perform on itself?

About Sebastian Schürmann

Sebastian has an extremely strong work ethic, a great passion to his work, unwavering desire for excellence, and unabated willingness to share his rich knowledge.
Driven by his strong work ethic, he takes several key roles: as scrum master, agile coach, mentor, as protector of the young development teams, after all, a humble leader who takes risks and responsibilities at extremely critical moments, creates a vision which the other follow by heart – with excellent outcome.
You can find Sebastian Schürmann on twitter, and link with Sebastian Schürmann on LinkedIn.
You can find Sebastian Schürmann’s website, and his blog.

Stephen Thomas explains how he helps a scrum teams get out of the negativity pattern

What can you do, as a Scrum Master when the team is stuck in a pattern of negativity and self-destruction? Stephen explains the situation of a team that was in that situation, and what were the symptoms that characterized the problems the teams were facing. He discusses how communication suffers, how the us versus them dynamic emerged and how hard it was to help the team in that situation. We also discuss the techniques you can use to help the team get out of that pattern of self-destruction.

About Stephen Thomas

Stephen Thomas Scrum Master toolbox podcast Stephen has been managing digital projects since 2004. Initially specialising in e-learning, he now looks after multiple projects that range from rapidly produced native apps to large-scale social networks. Based in Oxford, he is also one of the founders of the DOPM meetup.
You can connect with Stephen Thomas in LinkedIn, and follow Stephen Thomas on Twitter.

Peter Hilton describes one of the self-destructive habits of Scrum teams

The team’s self-destructive habit

Being a slave to the backlog, and just going through the motions without interacting with the other team members or stakeholders. This is further amplified in Death-march like projects.

About Peter Hilton

Peter_Hilton_Scrum_Master_Toolbox_podcastPeter is a software developer and technical project manager who has experienced every point on the agility spectrum, in the course of 18 years of development projects. Peter has performed several variations of the Scrum Master role, and learned what the books dont tell you: whats easy and whats hard.
You can reach Peter Hilton on twitter and read his blog at Hilton.org.uk.

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