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
Teams need to take ownership of their own work, so that they can effectively focus on delivering running, working software every Sprint. However, sometimes there are strong personalities in the team. We may want to ignore that anti-pattern, but it won’t ignore us. In this episode we talk about one such story, where the Architect in the team wanted to overrule the team members, and even escalated the issue to the team’s manager. Listen in to learn about Mark’s role in that story, and how we, as Scrum Masters, can handle similar situations.
Featured Book of the Week: 10% happier by Dan Harris
The book 10% happier by Dan Harris is a true story of how Dan found a way to keep focused, but lose the stress and self-doubt. For Mark however, this was a book about learning to focus on the events in front of him. The “now” that must be our focus as Scrum Masters.
About Mark Cruth
Mark has been playing in the Agile space since 2009, helping multiple organizations move towards a more Agile perspective on work across several industries, including manufacturing, eCommerce, and FinTech. Today Mark works as an Agile Coach for Quicken Loans, as well as operates his own Consulting company called Teal Mavericks.
Email is a very helpful tool. It has a lot of things going for it. Email gives us a quick way to jot down some thoughts and ask a colleague (or many) for help. It helps keep track of conversations. It even enables remote teams (with limited overlap in working hours) to communicate without loss of memory. However, it also has some bad sides when misused. In this story we explore how certain uses of email can be destructive for a team, and some tips on how to detect and avoid that anti-pattern.
Featured book of the week: Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block
Scrum Masters act as consultants. They help, but are not responsible for the outcome of the team. They answer, and most importantly, ask questions to help the team learn, reflect and advance. So, we must understand how to be a good consultant. Flawless Consulting, by Peter Block is a book about how to be a better “helper” (read consultant) for the teams and organizations we work with.
About Chad Beier
Chad’s first experience with Scrum was in 2005 on a global team responsible for consolidating financial software. After some dark days of death march projects, he left his traditional business analyst and project manager roles behind. He is now consulting organizations as an external change agent and organizational agility advisor.
Sometimes it is hard to keep the team focused on the ceremonies that we facilitate. That’s ok and predictable. However, as Scrum Masters, we must be ready for it. We must be ready to regain the attention of the team on the issue at hand. Remember, the ceremonies are there for a reason. If they feel boring, or long, then they are probably not being used to tackle the important topics in the team’s mind.
Christiaan is passionate about building awesome products and creating motivating workplaces. He has extensive experience in both software engineering (b.Ec) and organizational psychology (M.Sc). He does this through his company Agilistic, where he helps, train and coach organizations.
It’s hard enough to deliver a small increment of a product, yet we often find ourselves and our teams in positions where they need to deliver a whole product, project or release in 1 go. No change for mistake. And you know what happens: when failure is not an option, failure is the only option!
About Ruben Betancourt
Ruben Betancourt is a computer systems engineer with experience in project management. Currently in love with agile software development methodologies.
You can link with Ruben Betancourt on LinkedIn and connect with Ruben Betancourt on Twitter.