Empowering teams to take initiative, react to the changes that come their way, and quickly adapt is (in principle) a good thing. Or is it? In this episode we explore a story of a team that took their empowerment and turned it into an obstacle. A set of behaviors that caused more problems than solutions. Because sometimes, empowerment is not a good thing. Listen in to learn about this story, and what Darryl learned about empowerment that can help you avoid the same problems.
Featured Book of the Week: The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim et al.
In the Phoenix Project, Gene Kim and his co-authors tell a story based on their real-life experience about how IT needs to change to adapt to the fast paced digital world we live in. For Darryl this book is the best written story that showcases the trials and issues faced on an agile/devops transformation, and the often forgotten direct link to the business struggles and goals.
About Darryl Sherborne
Darryl is an IT professional specialising in Kaizen (continuous improvement), Agile delivery and coaching, Lean Thinking implementations and more recently applications of DevOps and Data Science. Darryl can also be found singing in rock/pop choirs, and watching or reading anything in the realm of Sci-Fi / Marvel.
Scrum Masters are there to help teams progress. But sometimes teams are the reason, and the reasons why everything must remain the same. However, we as Scrum Masters are there to bring a different perspective. A new way of looking at things. In this episode we discuss one such story, and learn about Joanna’s approach when she was being told: “we can’t change it because that’s how it has always been”…
Featured Book of the Week: Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet
The book Turn the Ship Around! By David Marquet has been the focus of a BONUS episode here on the podcast. For Joanna, this was a book that helped her understand a new kind of leadership, and what are the factors that remove independent action, and motivation from the people in organizations that are managed with traditional leadership approaches.
About Joanna Koprowicz
Joanna is an Agile Enthusiast with a burning passion to help organizations work smart not hard. She is one of the co-organizers of Agile-Lean Ireland Community. Currently she works as a ScrumMaster in Dublin.
The biggest enemy of a team is stagnation. Lack of change or progress in a way a team works is a sure symptom of larger problems, but it is also an indication that the team does not feel secure enough to take risks, fail, learn and eventually progress in their abilities.
In this episode we talk about what might be the reasons for teams to seek security in the lack of change and progress.
Featured Book for the Week: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
The loyal Scrum Master Toolbox podcast listener will have seen this book be mentioned often. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is a seminal work on the team dynamics that can cause a team to fail or thrive, and therefore it is mandatory reading for all Scrum Masters out there. For Max this is the book we must read to understand Trust and how to start our work on that key ingredient for successful teams.
About Maximilian Fritzsche
Maximilian worked as a Scrum Master for several years and believes that the way to look at the role is to always have in mind the following quote: “Keep moving forward” – his favorite quote, and what he tries to do every day. “One step at a time!”
As Scrum Masters we must constantly be aware of the different personalities and their impact on how the team performs. In this episode we discuss how the Architect role can, easily, have a major impact on the team dynamics.
We also discuss the often forgotten role of the Scrum Master as a facilitator for changes at the team level, together with management.
Featured Book for the Week: Scrum: A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines and boosting productivity by Jeff Sutherland
Abbas is a Scrum Master who enjoys coaching individuals and teams who are on a journey of developing an agile mindset, focusing on values and principles which will make them work lean, collaborate and generally enjoy work more!
He calls himself an agile and product person focusing on delivering value early and often to customers.
Andrew introduces the Scrum Values and how many team-related anti-patterns come from not following those values. We also discuss the importance of enabling and helping surface difficult conversations before it is too late, and things turn sour.
The book Drive by Daniel Pink reminds us that what drives human behavior is not exactly what we expect. Rewarding has an impact, but that impact is limited, and the rewards matter. Daniel Pink explores the sources of motivation and engagement in this book. Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery come out as the most important aspects we must attend to as Scrum Masters.
About Andrew Hudson
Andy is a Scrum Master within the Media industry. He’s passionate about making work a motivating, enjoyable and empowering place to be. He wants to help teams and individuals reach their full potential and believes developing the right vision and mindset is more valuable to effective teams than any process or framework.
In this episode we tackle the problem of the teammate that was always late, and how trying to talk about the problem made the situation even worse. We often tend to talk about problems, but sometimes that’s the worst possible solution. Listen in to learn about one of those stories, and hear how Gilberto and the team turned the situation around, avoiding losing a team member that needed their support.
Featured Book of the Week: Por Un Scrum Popular by Tobias Mayer and Alan Cyment
Gilberto is a Berlin-based Scrum Master. He is passionate about Agile, Lean, Scrum and most of all complexity. He is currently working at Takeaway, a leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe.
Planning is not the ultimate solution to problems we face. Agilists know this to be true, and it is even one of the values in the Agile Manifesto: Responding to Change Over Following A Plan.
But planning is still necessary, and a critical part of how teams and organisations work. As Scrum Masters, the planning discipline is one of the key aspects we should focus on. In this episode we talk about one possible evolution of planning for our teams. From hard estimates, to Story Points.
Featured Book of the Week: Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins
The coaching stance and the ability to help team members progress in their own learning journey is critical for us, Scrum Masters. In Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa Adkins describes and teaches us about Coaching as an approach to help teams, and how that affects our Scrum Master role.
About Zeshan Ilyas
With a firm focus on Agile and Scrum methodologies, Zeshan has worked within high profile organisations, including the HSBC, Capgemini Financial Services, Talk, Talk, and many more.
Having worked with Agile companies for many years, Zeshan identified a need for a community of Agilists in Pakistan, which would bring together professionals adopting an Agile or Scrum approach, help increase awareness of Agile.
When teams are stuck in their Agile adoption, it is tempting to bring in more training, do more teaching and expect that to solve the problem. In reality, however, the situation is much more complicated. We need to understand the real reasons for the team’s lack of progress, and adapt our approach to the reality we face. Training may be a good option, but it certainly isn’t the only one. In this episode we talk about a team that was stuck, not completing sprints, no tester in the team, etc. And we cover some practical tips on how to deal with similar situations.
Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey
In the Scrum Field Guide, Mitch Lacey lays out advice for the Scrum practitioner’s first year. It is a practical advice-filled book that will help you face, and overcome the most common problems that Scrum Masters face in their first few months on the job.
About David Spinks
David has over 15 years experience in the IT industry. He began his career as a software developer before becoming a Scrum Master in 2012. He calls himself an ‘agile adventurer’ and believes in continuous learning in himself and others. His passion is getting the best out of teams and seeing people reach their full potential. He has worked in a variety of industries, including eCommerce, social housing and education.
When strong personalities are in positions of power, their ideas become “law”. But sometimes the leaders are themselves prisoners of their own approach to work. In this episode we discuss how we, as Scrum Masters, can help those leaders recognize the anti-patterns they create and overcome those obstacles to the performance of the team.
Featured Book for the Week: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho tells the story of a pilgrimage and journey where the hero of the story goes through many challenges and is pushed to learn more about himself, and face the world without fear. This book was an inspiration for Jem when he was introducing the Scrum Master role to a new organization, and he was himself a new Scrum Master. Fear is part of the journey, and this book helped Jem accept and overcome that fact.
About Jem D’jelal
Jem trained to be a social worker, but ended up dropping out & joining the dark side instead : investment banking 🙂 In a funny way, Jem was led back to his passion – helping people. This happened when he was introduced to Scrum in 2006, and has been a career Scrum Master since. He calls himself “nomadic”, having had almost 30 roles in 10 + years. He does say that he will be searching for a home at some point. Some of Jem’s other passions involve running, a part time mentoring charity for repeating youth offenders in North London & callisthenics.
When working with multiple teams, in a multi-team Scrum project, we may face what Andreas faced: the finger pointing anti-pattern. This is especially common in environments where no one wants to “be wrong” or take risks.
Even if learning and growing requires taking risks and sometimes “being wrong”, the fact is that no one wants to be that team that delays the project, so the finger pointing starts.
But how can a Scrum Master overcome that problem? How can the Scrum Master help the teams collaborate? That’s the topic of this episode.
Featured Book of the Week: Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn