Salvatore Rinaldo: When helping a Scrum team is unable to stick to a Sprint plan, look outside the team

Salvatore was working in a startup with a team that, on paper, was a star team. However, when he started to observe how they worked, he noticed that the team was rarely sticking to what they had planned for the Sprint, and even the PO was at a loss on how to help the team stay on track and focus on what they had planned. In this segment, we refer to Cost of Delay, one of the topics discussed in The Principles of Product Development Flow, and share some tips on how to help a team that is stuck in this situation.

Featured Book of the Week: The Goal by Elyahu Goldratt

In The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt, Salvatore found the principles behind lean thinking as well as a model that helped him in his work as a Scrum Master. The Goal is a book where Theory Of Constraints is introduced to a business focused audience concerned with improving the performance of their businesses. In this segment, we also refer to The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Don Reinertsen, which helped Salvatore understand how the flow of work can be investigated and improved in organizations.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Salvatore Rinaldo

Salvatore is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master based in London. His background is in telecommunications and software engineering. For the past 7 years, Salvatore has been helping organizations leverage Lean, agile, Flow principles and system thinking to achieve better business agility.

You can link with Salvatore Rinaldo on LinkedIn.

Luís Santos Silva: ​​Helping teams succeed, a key task for the Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Helping teams succeed, a key task for the PO

As Luís puts it: “We underestimate how hard it is to be a PO”, which is one more reason to be happy when we get to work with an example Product Owner. We should be highlighting, and talking a lot more about how to become a great PO, because it is so difficult! Luís shares how this PO worked with the team to tackle their biggest challenge: long time to release. The PO understood that, and helped the team remove work from each release for the team to be able to release in time. 

In this segment, we talk about the Opportunity Solution tree by Teresa Torres (check this podcast episode with Teresa), which borrows from a Theory Of Constraints tool: the current reality tree.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that was afraid to own the problems to be solved

When we look at Product Owner related anti-patterns, we should be aware that many of those are usually “systemic”, in other words, they usually originate from other areas of the company. In this segment, we talk about the PO’s that are afraid to own the problems the product is supposed to solve. They stick only to the backlog of stories, and miss the big picture. The second, critical, anti-pattern we discuss is forgetting about “outcomes”, and instead focusing on functionality. Luís suggests that we should help PO’s focus on goals first, so that outcomes are not forgotten.

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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.

About Luís Santos Silva

Luís is not your typical Agile Coach as he doesn’t have an IT background. He worked his way from a contact center up to Lean and Agile Coach and is now a Agile Coach team lead at OutSystems.

You can link with Luís Santos Silva on LinkedIn

BONUS: What is TameFlow? Steven Tendon explains TameFlow, an hyper performance approach for software development organizations

Steve has been interested in the performance of IT teams and organizations for many years. His work goes back to the 90’s when he experienced, first-hand, what a hyper performing team feels like during his stint at Borland International.

Borland famously fought off Microsoft in one of the most competitive markets in the 90’s: the code editor and compiler market.

During his experience at Borland, Steve got inspired to go beyond the basics of the definiton of performance and started to look for references and inspiration which later led to the definition of his TameFlow system which he describes in this TameFlow introductory book: The Essence of TameFlow.

Among some of the original sources of inspiration for his work, Steve mentions The New New Product Development Game by Takeuchi and Nonaka; David Anderson’s Agile Management for Software Engineering: Applying the Theory of Constraints for Business Results; Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience; and many others.

Why do we talk about Hyperperformance and not Hyperproductivity?

Steve explains why he struggled with the use of the word “productivity” and ultimately decided against it. The use of the productivity word develops a focus on the wrong kind of metrics, as well as the fact that it drives a single-dimension focus. In contrast, with the word performance, Steve tries to elicit the different aspects that we need to take into account if we want to improve our teams and organizations. Among the different focus aspects Steve mentions what he calls the 4 flows in the TameFlow system:

  • Operational Flow: How well are you delivering? The operational flow is the conventional “work flow” that determines how work moves through an organization.
  • Financial Flow: How much wealth are you creating? Financial flow is measured in financial throughput. It represents the rate at which an organization turns its products or services into profit or to other units of value.
  • Informational Flow: How well are you communicating? Informa- tion is the lifeblood of an organization; even more so in modern knowledge-based organizations.
  • Psychological Flow: How happy are your people? The highest levels of individual or group performance are achieved when people reach mental states of flow, which is generally associated with a state of happiness.

The take-aways for Scrum Masters

Finally, we review the concrete take-aways Scrum Masters can apply based on the work that Steve has published under the TameFlow banner.

If you want to know more about TameFlow you can visit Steve’s site on the topic: In this community you will find others that are applying these insights to their work.

If you are looking for a book where the TameFlow system is described you can check the TameFlow book or the set of shorter books that recently published.



About Steve Tendon

Steve Tendon popularised the Theory of constraints in some of the agile community and he is also the Creator of the TameFlow systems thinking approach which nurtures breakthrough performance innovation.

This system is described in the book with the same name: Tame the Flow.

You can link with Steve Tendon on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Tendon on Twitter.



Amitai Schlair on the importance of understanding our environment

When we start working with a team, we don’t actually work with that team. That team is part of a larger system, and we must understand the system before we can help the team. Amitai uses ideas from Theory of Constraints, and mentions The Goal, by Goldratt as a foundational book in his own journey as a Scrum Master. He also shares with us Schmoz’s theory, a critical insight when we work with and within human systems.
Today we play one more Agile in 3 Minutes episode which describes how we can reach freedom in our work. Today’s Agile in 3 minutes episode is episode #12, titled “Free”.

About Amitai Schlair

Amitai is a Software development coach, and legacy code wrestler, non-award-winning musician, award-winning bad poet, and creator of Agile in 3 Minutes, which is a great podcast about what Agile really is about. A must listen for anyone interested in Agile Software Development.
You can link with Amitai Schlair on LinkedIn and connect with Amitai Schlair on Twitter.

Neil Killick has specific system metrics he uses to evaluate how a system affects team’s performance

Informed by his knowledge on Theory Of Constraints, Neil looks at specific metrics to identify how the system affects team’s performance. He also explores what is necessary to create agility in an organization, and finally he explores the first value in the Agile Manifesto: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

In this episode Neil recommends a book that everyone should read to understand system metrics: The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt.

About Neil Killick

scrum_master_toolbox_podcast_Andy_Deighton Neil has been a software professional for over 18 years, mostly as a developer, before moving to management. He spent the last 5 years being a passionate Agile, Lean and Scrum coach, trainer and practitioner. Neil cares deeply about creating enjoyable, authentic workplaces in which human potential can thrive.
You can connect with Neil Killick on twitter. Neil Killick’s blog.

Get The Booklet!
How to deliver on time and eliminate scope creep By scoping projects around outcomes and impacts, not requirements!
Get the Product Owner Booklet!
Avoid scope creep! And learn to scope projects around impacts and outcomes, not requirements!
Get These Valuable Lessons Today!
Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
Internal Conference
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works