Yousef T. Fahoum: The missing ingredient for a Scrum team to succeed

Yousef was working with a team that others call “trouble team”. But, as he observed the team, it looked like they were trying hard to do a good job. So he started working through 1-on-1’s to try to get a better, more detailed picture of what was going on. In that process, he realized that something critical was missing for that team to work well.

Featured Book of the Week: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Lencioni

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Lencioni, Yousef learned how to diagnose a team by looking at their dynamics. He also learned a model that helps him work with teams and grow the people in it.

In this segment, we also refer to Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General McChrystal, and MobProgramming, a topic we’ve covered before here on the podcast.

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 Yousef T. Fahoum

When starting out as a ScrumMaster and BA years ago Yousef passionately followed the ScrumMaster Podcast. Yousef is a SAFe Enterprise Coach at Elabor8 with experience implementing Agile and SAFe at some of the largest and most recognized brand leaders across industry domains in the U.S. and Australia.

You can link with Yousef T. Fahoum on LinkedIn and connect with Yousef T. Fahoum on Twitter.

Jeroen de Jong: The Project Manager disguised as a Product Owner, and the impact on the Scrum team

This story starts with a team that is doing detailed tasking and planning during a refinement session. The Product Owner for that team behaved like a project manager, dictating what each of the team members should do, and in what order. This was not helped by the fact that the team was heavily silo-ed around skills. 

In this segment, we discuss the importance of understanding the “flow” in the team, and Jeroen refers to the talk by Henrik Kniberg on the impact of not limiting the work in progress.

Featured Book of the Week: Getting Things Done by David Allen

In Getting Things Done by David Allen, Jeroen found a method that helps him manage the stress that comes from being deliberate and structured about managing our own work. In this segment, we talk about some of the main aspects of the GTD (Getting Things Done) method, and the lessons we can take from that method and apply with the teams we work with.

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 Jeroen de Jong

Jeroen started his career as a self-employed jack-of-all-trades in IT and is passionate about Agile. He is determined to keep learning and to share his knowledge with others.

You can link with Jeroen de Jong on LinkedIn and connect with Jeroen de Jong on Twitter.

Luís Santos Silva: Focusing on flow, a must for Scrum Masters and teams

Sometimes teams want to have too many stories in progress. This detracts from their ability to deliver. Luís suggests that, instead, teams should be focusing on “flow”, and instead highlight and solve the possible priority conflicts that sometimes lead to this anti-pattern of having too much in progress. 

Featured Book of the Week: Inspired by Marty Cagan 

The book Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan, helped Luís understand that he needed to get out of the Scrum Master comfort zone, and work on the “upstream” activities as well. The book broadened Luís’ sision on what product development is. Luís leaves us a call-to-action as Scrum Masters, to stop focusing only on the “downstream” activities and learn how to help the organizations we work with focus on “the right things”.

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 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

Raluca Mitan on distributed Scrum team anti-patterns

Distributed teams are notoriously hard for Scrum Masters. But why? In this episode, we talk about some of the anti-patterns we can expect in distributed teams and what Scrum Masters can do to help distributed teams jell and overcome those anti-patterns.

Featured Book for the Week: Radical Candor by Kim Scott

In Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Raluca found a book that helped her develop her leadership approach. Kim shares many stories from different leaders and helps the reader understand what makes a good leader with concrete tools and methods.

About Raluca Mitan

Raluca calls herself a recovering Project Manager that discovered Agile and somehow the “good, the bad and the ugly” received distinctive names.

She loves her job and practices Accelerated Learning to achieve her Goals (to become a Scrum Master Trainer for Scrum Alliance, to write a book, acknowledged as an Inventor, share her ideas to the world and with her daughters).

And maybe someday to be a Bonus Podcast guest on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast :).

You can link with Raluca Mitan on LinkedIn and read Raluca Mitan’s blog.

Doug Knesek on how to help Scrum teams evolve their process

When teams come together, even if they have Scrum experience, they don’t always agree on the process. That can paralyze teams. In this episode, we explore a story about a team that was stuck with their definition of the process. All team members had different versions of Scrum in their mind. But still, they needed to progress. Listen in to learn how Doug tackled that problem and helped the team start to deliver.

In this episode, we talk about the concept of Semantic Diffusion as defined by Fowler, and we discuss the importance of changing the team setup often (something Heidi Helfand discusses on the podcast in a previous episode).

Featured Book of the Week: Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

In Toyota Kata by Mike Rother, Doug found an approach that helps him deal with the natural uncertainty that comes with the Scrum Master role. We want to help teams reach a target condition, but we don’t know all the steps we need to take, so using the approaches in Toyota Kata helped Doug prepare for that uncertainty, and help teams progress even when only the next few steps are visible.

About Doug Knesek

Doug has been an agilist since before it was cool, as his first agility client can attest. He is currently the Director of Agile Development & Coaching at Wisconsin-based Flexion inc., leading agile teams that serve both private and public sector clients. His current hobby is thinking beyond agility, to antifragility.

You can link with Doug Knesek on LinkedIn and connect with Doug Knesek on Twitter.

Anja Bonatto-Minella: doing Scrum without feedback leads to failure!

When teams start working with Scrum they try to follow the process. They organize the process, they keep their meetings, but sometimes forget critical things that are not in the process. In this team, Anja felt frustrated. Something was missing.

Anja started looking for symptoms. At first only frustration, but later the symptoms started to become clearer. The team was missing the feedback! They held the ceremonies, but the concrete actionable feedback was missing. Check out this episode and compare with your team. Are you seeing the same symptoms?

Featured Book of the Week: Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only)

In Geschichten vom Scrum by Holger Koschek (in German only), Anja found stories that she could relate to. The book is a Scrum fable. Where people in a village need to build a Dragon trap, but they don’t know how. All they have is their ingenuity and ability to collaborate. The book walks you through a full experience of what it looks like to build a Scrum team.

About Anja Bonatto-Minella

Working with agile and scrum only since for a year Anja still considers herself a scrum-beginner. Before starting at her currrent job which brought her into the world of agile, she studied physics and then worked in research for several years.

You can link with Anja Bonatto-Minella on LinkedIn.

Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole on how to handle teams that can’t stop complaining

There are many behaviors and dynamics that can lead to problems in a team. Jen and Jamie talk about a team that was feeling defeated and had a negative/complaining attitude towards everything around them. What can cause that? We discuss possible causes and also what we can do as Scrum Masters, when our teams are feeling down and out.

In this episode we refer to the “circles and soup” activity, a game used to efficiently form high-quality plans through retrospective analysis by recognizing factors that are within the team’s control.

Featured Book of the Week: Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

In the Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, Jen and Jamie found a good follow-up on another Lencioni book: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. This is a book that can help you grow as a Scrum Master, and think about those personal characteristics that make certain people great team players.

About Jennifer Emery and Jamie Cole

Jen and Jamie (sweet and salty as they call themselves) are passionate about people, relationships, leadership, accountability, common sense, and getting sh*t done! Ultimate dream job would be to coach individuals, teams, and organizations in discovering and cultivating potential and doing things better by identifying people’s strengths, passions, and skill sets, along with effective processes and strategy to build a strong, healthy culture.

You can link with Jennifer Emery on LinkedIn.

You can link with Jamie Cole on LinkedIn.

Find out more about Jen and Jamie at their website.

Nisha Balwatkar on how to overcome the endless debate anti-pattern in Scrum teams

Teams want to excel at their work. So much so, that sometimes they forget that in order to succeed they need to act. In this episode, we talk about the anti-pattern of endless debate and what Scrum Masters can do to help teams overcome that anti-pattern and move on.

Featured Book of the Week: Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn

In Succeeding with Agile by Mike Cohn, Nisha found practical advice and concrete examples that helped her in her journey as a Scrum Master. She calls it a good point to start your Scrum Master journey.

About Nisha Balwatkar

Nisha started her career as a programmer for the love of logical reasoning and technology and soon found herself trapped in the mismanagement of software teams affecting the work and efforts put in by the teams. She always had a feeling she could fix it and eventually moved to be a scrum master. She enjoys helping out teams and see the joy of success by identifying and fixing small things.

You can link with Nisha Balwatkar on LinkedIn and connect with Nisha Balwatkar on Twitter.

Eddie Kenny: the dangers of long-lived Scrum teams

In Agile we often talk about the importance of having relatively stable teams. But is that always the right thing to do?

In this episode, we explore the possible consequences of keeping the teams stable for too long. We discuss possible anti-patterns and what to do about that.

In this episode, we mention the concept of groupthink and the book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni.

Featured Book of the Week: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

In Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Eddie learned about how people tend to think, especially in situations where quick decisions are necessary. And he considers that a key asset for change agents like Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we also mention:

About Eddie Kenny

Eddie is an agile coach who has been working with Agile since 2004 using XP, Scrum, Lean, Kanban & Scaled Agile. He coaches teams, scrum masters, product owners, leaders, coaches, organizations and little humans. He likes teaching agile with Lego & games and is also co-founder of the LeanAgileBrighton conference.

You can link with Eddie Kenny on LinkedIn and connect with Eddie Kenny on Twitter.

Ivo Peksens on Distributed software development challenges

Distributed software development is one of the challenges for Agile organizations. The element of globalization is impossible to avoid because of the nature of the business we work in. However, there are some things we should be aware to ensure that teams are able to deliver. In this episode, we discuss some of the anti-patterns that come when distributed teams fail to account for the different kind of communication that is needed when working with distributed organizations.

Featured Book of the Week: Finding your Element by Ken Robinson

In Finding your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Ken Robinson (book website), Ivo discovered something about himself that helps him be a better Scrum Master. He found and understood the importance of some of the personal strengths he has that help him in the role of Scrum Master.

In this segment, we also discuss Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins.

About Ivo Peksens

Ivo is an Agile Coach at heart. He tries to live that role every day. His view is that to be somebody like an Agile Coach is a lifestyle, attitude across everything you do. Ivo has been in IT industry about 20 years and has been a Scrum Master and Agile Coach for the last 5 years.

You can link with Ivo Peksens on LinkedIn and connect with Ivo Peksens on Twitter.