Isaac Garcia: Why Scrum Masters must learn to accept what you can’t influence

When Isaac joined this team, he encountered a team that had failed to deliver and was low on motivation. Isaac focused on helping the team find their motivation, organized a kick-off to get the team to come together around a goal, and a common vision, only to see management remove people from an already overwhelmed team… What should a Scrum Master do when that happens? We discuss that, and critical lessons learned about what we can influence (or not) as Scrum Masters. 

In this episode, we refer to the circles of influence, a tool to help Scrum Masters focus on what they can influence and accept what they can’t.

Featured Book for the Week: The Phoenix Project

In The Phoenix Project, Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford chronicle the story of a company that is on the brink. They walk the reader through the process of understanding what is holding the organization back, and what the hero of the story will learn to help turn the company around.

For Isaac, this is a book that teaches important techniques and helps Scrum Masters make a difference in their place of work.

About Isaac Garcia

Isaac is a passionate Agilist who builds teams with heart and walks their journey together. His driving goal in life is to invest in and impact world changers. He has a lot to learn but is enjoying the discovery in the journey.

You can link with Isaac Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Isaac Garcia on Twitter.

Gilson Souza: How Scrum Masters counter the “sub-team” anti-pattern

We often talk about cross-functional teams on the podcast. We talk about the advantages when it comes to flow, and getting things done quicker. However, there are pitfalls we should be aware of. One of the pitfalls is when the team members in a team start to “cluster” and become like sub-teams inside the team. As Scrum Master, we must be aware of this possible anti-pattern and ready to tackle it quickly. Listen in to learn how Gilson detected and countered the sub-team anti-pattern.

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

In Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, Gilson found an out-of-the-box explanation for the Scrum Master role that helped him get out of the traditional task-driven, project manager-like role that many Scrum Masters still take. 

In this segment, we also mention the book Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan

About Gilson Souza

Gilson has worked with Scrum for over ten years, first as a software engineer, then taking in both roles of Scrum Master and Developer and currently 100% dedicated as Scrum Master. As a Scrum Master, he truly believes in empowered and self-organizing teams and works inside and outside of the team to achieve it.

You can link with Gilson Souza on LinkedIn and connect with Gilson Souza on Twitter

David Gentry: How the lack of feedback can destroy a Scrum team’s work

When everything is going well, and there’s little to no feedback, the experiment Scrum Master should be a skeptic. Feedback is the fuel for great Agile teams. in this episode, we talk about the big problems that can emerge when the team forgets to collect feedback during development. 

Featured Book for the Week: The people’s Scrum 

In The People’s Scrum by Tobias Mayer, David found a book that helped him reflect on the role of the Scrum Master, and change some of these ideas. 

About David Gentry

David Gentry is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. He has served in a variety of other roles in his career including developer, data analyst, business analyst, quality analyst, and project manager. In his free time, he can be found playing bass guitar and interpreting how groove applies to life and agility. 

You can link with David Gentry on LinkedIn and connect with David Gentry on Twitter

Long Suciu: Applying Scrum in a Marketing team

Although Scrum was developed in a software environment, the fact is that Scrum can be applied to many different types of teams. In this episode, we learn about how Long applied Scrum in a marketing team, and the anti-patterns he had to face in that environment.

Featured Book for the Week: Lean Startup by Eric Ries

If you got started with Scrum and then discovered Lean Startup, you probably found it to be in line with what you had practiced before. However, Long discovered the Lean Startup book by Eric Ries before learning Scrum, and it reshaped his thinking about what is possible.

About Long Suciu

Long is driven by a passion to help people unlock their potential and discover their own capacities. He has spent the past 20 years helping teams and organizations find and put in place better ways of working.

You can link with Long Suciu on LinkedIn.

Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras: Helping teams work well with a demanding Product Owner

A common anti-pattern Scrum Masters encounter in their teams is the inability to say “No!” This becomes an especially impactful anti-pattern when the team is unable to say “No!” to the Product Owner. When that happens we run the risk of allowing the team to ver overwhelmed, and eventually decrease the quality of their work.

In this episode, we discuss that anti-pattern and how Scrum Masters can help Product Owners and teams to avoid that from becoming destructive for the team.

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.

Featured Book for the Week: Scrum: the art of doing twice the work, in half the time by Sutherland & Unmarketing, Scott Stratten

This week we have a tag team for guests and therefore we have two books to discuss. Katy recommends Scrum: the art of doing twice the work, in half the time by Jeff Sutherland.

That book helped Katy understand better her role as a Scrum Master.

Joe takes a different approach and recommends a book that is not about Scrum or Agile: Unmarketing – stop marketing, start engaging by Scott Stratten. This book helped Joe understand better the team he is working with, which is a marketing team.

In this episode, we also refer to Who the Hell Wants to Work for You?: Mastering Employee Engagement by Tim Eisenhauer and Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators by Patrick Lencioni, a follow-up to a regular recommendation on the podcast: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

About Katy Cabral & Joseph Contreras

Katy has over 14 years of software delivery experience, serving in roles ranging from analyst to developer, project manager and for more than 6 years, also Scrum Master. Her Scrum experience has been mostly with distributed teams working across multiple time zones. She hopes to someday have the opportunity to travel to meet her colleagues in China, but for now, Katy enjoys reading about creative methods to keep her team engaged.

You can link with Katy Cabral on LinkedIn.

Joe is an experienced scrum master, who strives each day to help and coach his squad to continuously improve how they work so that they can be awesome.

Joe is also a scrum master chapter lead at Fidelity Investments.

You can link with Joseph Contreras on LinkedIn.

Nick Vitsinsky shares a common Scrum adoption Anti-pattern

When adopting Scrum, some organizations focus on the process, the meetings that come with Scrum. But, unfortunately, they also often forget about the meaning and the reason for those meetings, ending up just renaming the old meetings with new names.

This anti-pattern is common, and we should be able to detect it and counter it in our organizations. In this episode, we discuss how to detect and reverse the “same meetings with different names” Scrum adoption anti-pattern.

Featured Book of the Week: Management 3.0 by Jurgen Appelo

In Management 3.0 by Jurgen Appelo, Nick found a book filled with practical tips that help Scrum Masters (and managers) to work with the team every day, and make their work easier. In this episode, we also talk about the source for retrospective format ideas:; and about a book that inspires Nick every day: The Little Prince by Saint-Éxupery.

About Nick Vitsinsky

Nick as more than 10 years in IT started from QA Engineer/Waterfall after two years realized that there should be a different approach to how to develop and ship the software. His philosophy and mindset is: “find out Agile and make it own moto”. He focuses on that on a daily basis.

You can link with Nick Vitsinsky on LinkedIn and connect with Nick Vitsinsky on Twitter.

Mili Shrivastava: using Agile retrospectives to help Scrum teams get out of their anti-patterns

Inevitably, teams will bump into problems over time. It is how teams and their stakeholders react to those anti-patterns that matters. In this episode, we explore the importance of retrospectives in helping teams identify, understand, and ultimately resolve the anti-patterns they fall into.

Featured Book of the Week: Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

In Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, Mili found a good tutorial on how to give, and receive feedback. Handling feedback, whether it is giving or receiving, is one of the most common tasks Scrum Masters deal with, and help team members deal with. Therefore, this book should be part of the reading list of all Scrum Masters.

About Mili Shrivastava

Mili has more than 12 years of experience in the software industry. Loves to spend time with her family and is a big fan of outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

You can link with Mili Shrivastava on LinkedIn .

Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst): the downward spiral that starts when teams don’t “own” the product

In this episode, we talk about motivation and engagement. Jassy shares with us the most common anti-pattern he has seen in teams. It starts with a lack of identification or empathy with the product. Followed by the “we are doing this for someone else” dynamic, leading to further disengagement. Finally, we talk about some of the things that Scrum Masters can do to help their teams get out of that downward spiral.

Featured book of the week: Momo, by Michael Ende

In Momo by Michael Ende, Jassy found a story about time and effort that constantly inspires him in his role as Scrum Master. In the words of the then Norwegian Prime Minister Thorbjørn Jagland, in his New Year Address to the nation on January 1, 1997: “People are persuaded to save time by eliminating everything not useful. One of the people so influenced cuts out his girlfriend, sells his pet, stops singing, reading and visiting friends. In this way he will supposedly become an efficient man getting something out of life. What is strange is that he is in a greater hurry than ever. The saved-up time disappears – and he never sees it again.

About Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst)

Jassy moved from developer to being a Scrum Master and then a freelancer. He calls himself:  the person to contact for help in On-Boardings, as well as a friend of bottom-up, power to the people! No top-down, no micro-management. No despotism in agile software development.

You can link with Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst) on LinkedIn, or XING and connect with Jassy (Jan-Simon Wurst) on Twitter.

BONUS: Aino Corry on how to prepare for and facilitate for Distributed Retrospectives

Scrum Masters all over the world make a significant effort to get better at facilitating retrospectives… Until they have to host a Distributed Retrospective. At that point, we learn that all you learned about facilitating retrospectives is still useful, but not nearly enough!

Preparing, hosting, and facilitating a Distributed Retrospective is a completely different challenge.

The 4 things that you need to make Distributed Retrospectives work

Continue reading BONUS: Aino Corry on how to prepare for and facilitate for Distributed Retrospectives

Bradley Pohl: how to work with a team of outside contractors

Working with a team of contractors can be a savior for some organizations. However, there are specific challenges that come with using “outsiders” to do significant projects in any organization. In this episode, we discuss one of the anti-patterns that come with teams of contractors: the lack of future outlook. We also discuss some of the important lessons Bradley learned and how to prepare for when you need to work with a team of contractors.

Featured Book of the Week: Drive by Daniel Pink

In Drive by Daniel Pink, Bradley found the 3 aspects of motivation that later helped him work with the teams he facilitates. In this episode, we also refer to Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins and Mindset Growth by Carol Dweck.

About Bradley Pohl

Bradley is a young Scrum Master working for a mid-sized US bank that is currently undergoing an “Agile Transformation.” As a part of the Transformation, his training consisted of a 4 week Agile boot camp that was designed to build scrum masters from the ground-up. In his free time, he applies lean and agile principles to designing websites and providing social media advertising to local small business as Catch On, at

You can link with Bradley Pohl on LinkedIn.