We start this episode with a warning for Scrum Masters. The question Squirrel asks is: “what is the value the Scrum Master role brings?” If you want to hear my answer, you can listen to another podcast episode we recorded on the Troubleshooting Agile podcast with Jeffrey and Squirrel (make sure to check out part 2 of that conversation on the Troubleshooting Agile podcast).
In this conversation, we mention an article on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast blog, where we talk about the Scrum Master as an apprentice role for future CEO’s.
Hacking culture through conversations: Agile Conversations book
One of the interesting points the authors make is that the conversations that happen (or not) in an organization are what defines the culture of that organization. In this segment, we talk about why we must pay special attention to the quality of the conversations, and why talking about culture, without talking about the conversations in an organization, is a dangerous pattern.
Finding and entering the right conversations in your organization
Why don’t Scrum Masters take a more active role in the conversations ongoing in their organization? We discuss the fear that drives the inaction of Scrum Masters and suggests some techniques we can use to get ourselves, and others to take an active part in shaping the organizational culture and conversations.
We talk about how “frustration” can be a resource for Scrum Masters to find and unlock important conflicts and related conversations. Scrum Masters must take an active part in finding that frustration, and using it to move the team, and the organization forward.
In this segment, we refer to Chris Argyris and his work on organizational development.
Tools for high-quality conversations that drive the right culture
Squirrel and Jeffrey present two of the tools in the Agile Conversations book and share how they help Scrum Masters improve their interaction skills, and learn to trigger better conversations.
We discuss the Four RRRR’s tool as well as the TDD for people tool. You can learn more about these tools in the book Agile Conversations.
In this segment, we discuss the Ladder of Inference (avoiding jumping to conclusions), and the TDD for people tool (audio).
A call to action: mine for conflict to help your team and organization grow!
We end this episode with a call to action. We discuss how mining for conflict (seeking conflict and using it to generate energy that drives conversations) can help you pave the way for a transformation in your team and in your organization.
We refer to The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, to describe how to create a safe environment where conflict is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.
About Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick
Squirrel has been coding for forty years and has led software teams for twenty. He uses the power of conversations to create dramatic productivity gains in technology organizations of all sizes. Squirrel’s experience includes growing software teams as a CTO in startups from fintech to biotech to music, and everything in between. He lives in Frogholt, England, in a timber-framed cottage built in the year 1450.
Jeffrey Fredrick is an internationally recognized expert in software development and has over twenty-five years’ experience covering both sides of the business/technology divide. An early adopter of XP and Agile practices, Jeffrey has been a conference speaker in the US, Europe, India, and Japan. Through his work on the pioneering open-source project CruiseControl, and through his role as co-organizer of the Continuous Integration and Testing Conference (CITCON), he has had a global impact on software development.