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Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast

Author: Vasco Duarte, Agile Coach, Certified Scrum Master, Certified Product Owner

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Every week day, Certified Scrum Master, Agile Coach and business consultant Vasco Duarte interviews Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches from all over the world to get you actionable advice, new tips and tricks, improve your craft as a Scrum Master with daily doses of inspiring conversations with Scrum Masters from the all over the world. Stay tuned for BONUS episodes when we interview Agile gurus and other thought leaders in the business space to bring you the Agile Business perspective you need to succeed as a Scrum Master.
Some of the topics we discuss include: Agile Business, Agile Strategy, Retrospectives, Team motivation, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Backlog Refinement, Scaling Scrum, Lean Startup, Test Driven Development (TDD), Behavior Driven Development (BDD), Paper Prototyping, QA in Scrum, the role of agile managers, servant leadership, agile coaching, and more!
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Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   Steve shares a critical part of his Scrum Master journey in this episode. We discuss how he went from a Scrum Master focused on the ceremonies, and process details, to a Scrum Master that focused on the needs of the team and constantly helped them adapt the process to the challenges they were facing. A great story, that shows how a simple perspective change for the Scrum Master can have a very large impact on their success with the team.   About Steve Jaccaud Steve is an Enterprise Agile Coach, Volunteer, Speaker, and Musician in Boston, Massachusetts. When he's not leading workshops with creative software organizations, he's probably working on an album or deep in meditation! You can link with Steve Jaccaud on LinkedIn and connect with Steve Jaccaud on Twitter. 
Learn more about Better Retrospectives with David Horowitz by accessing the FREE Retrospective’s Academy by Retrium.    About David Horowitz David Horowitz is the CEO of Retrium, a platform for agile retrospectives that has powered over 100,000 retrospectives from thousands of companies across the world. Prior to co-founding Retrium, David spent a decade at The World Bank as an engineer turned Agile coach. He has degrees in Computer Science and Economics from The University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Technology Management from The Wharton School of Business. Learn more about Better Retrospectives with David Horowitz by accessing the FREE Retrospective’s Academy by Retrium.  You can link with David Horowitz on LinkedIn and connect with David Horowitz on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website. The amount of time a Product Owner spends thinking and working on the details is one of the aspects that has the biggest impact on the team. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting PO approaches: from the high-level focus of the Sprint Goal to the task-centric, command-and-control PO. The Great Product Owner: Crystalizing the Sprint Goal When we help teams, and Product Owners focus on the User Stories, we are helping them understand, and follow-up on the items they should work on. However, when we help the Product Owner and the team focus on the Sprint Goal, we are helping them focus on impact and outcomes over the tasks and stories they need to work on. This enables many positive behaviors, and when you find a PO that is able to crystalize a Sprint in a Sprint Goal, you know you’ve got gold in your hands, you’ve got a great Product Owner! The Bad Product Owner: The task-centric, command-and-control PO Sometimes, Product Owners behave as if they were Project Managers. When that happens, there’s many patterns that emerge in the team, and int he PO-team collaboration which Scrum Masters must actively manage, or mitigate. In this episode, we talk about the task-centric, command-and-control PO, and what you can do to help the PO and team find a better way to collaborate.   Are you having trouble helping the team working 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: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.   About Willem-Jan Ageling As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum. You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   There are many aspects in the team’s behavior that point to a successful outcome of the Scrum Master’s work. However, there’s something that goes beyond process that will tell you the team is able to drive the work forward, and achieve a successful outcome. We discuss that specific topic: focus on progress.  Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Liberating Structures In this episode, we discuss several Liberating Structures for retrospectives, and how Willem-Jan adapts them to his retrospectives. We focus on the benefits of using those approaches and focusing on solutions with the whole team. We refer to the 1-2-4-all structure and the episodes with two top proponents of Liberating Structures for Scrum Masters: Christiaan Verwijs and Barry Overeem.   About Willem-Jan Ageling As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum. You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   This story starts with a goal. The company wanted teams to “build and run” their own applications. How could they put that change into practice? Willem-Jan started by suggesting a full, cross-functional Scrum team for a product. That got accepted, but what came next was bold, unexpected, and kick-started the cultural change needed to bring the company to the next step in their transformation.  In this episode, we discuss the success conditions for a culture of “you build it, you run it”. For those interested in Continuous Delivery and DevOps, we have a 7-part series on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast podcast.    About Willem-Jan Ageling As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum. You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   Willem-Jan has a background in Project Management, and in his company, the leadership asked the teams to move away from Project Management and embrace Agile. That led Willem-Jan on a learning journey, to understand and apply Agile ideas in his work. In the process, as it usually happens, a team got fixated on the “velocity” metric. In this episode, we explore what can happen when teams get fixated on “velocity”, and what Willem-Jan learned to avoid that anti-pattern in the future. In this episode, we refer to W. Edwards Deming, a precursor to Lean, and later Agile through his work.  Featured Book for the Week: The Scrum Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen In The Scrum Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen, Willem-Jan found an explanation for Scrum that made things click. This led him to explore the ideas behind “complexity” and to start to understand why “the plan” wasn’t always the thing to follow.  The Scrum Pocket Guide is authored by Gunther Verheyen who’s been on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast before.   About Willem-Jan Ageling As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum. You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   In the middle of a big change, Willem-Jan was faced with the fact that the project plan wasn’t going to hold anymore. What should a Scrum Master do? In this episode, we discuss how we can tackle surprises to the plan the Agile way. We discuss how to get stakeholders involved and on board with the Agile value of “responding to change”.    About Willem-Jan Ageling As a Scrum Master and writer for Serious Scrum, Willem-Jan is passionate about helping people understand what it means to work in a complex Product Environment. Which is how he likes to talk about Scrum. You can link with Willem-Jan Ageling on LinkedIn and connect with Willem-Jan Ageling on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website. Market focus by PO’s is always a great start, however, when they take that focus to mean “ignoring the team’s needs”, the PO role rapidly turns into an anti-pattern. In this episode, we discuss the two sides from that “market focus” coin, when it comes to the PO role.   The Great Product Owner: Deliberate assumption validation Great Product Owners are deliberate about how and what do when trying to validate their assumptions about the product they own. If we add to this the ability to learn from and listen to the Scrum Master’s perspective on the role, we might be close to the perfect PO. The Bad Product Owner: Lack of collaboration with the team Often, Product Owners have a Product Manager background, and therefore bring in that perspective. One of the biggest problems with those PO’s is that they don’t carve out the time to work with, and understand what the teams need. This presents a big challenge for Scrum Masters. In this episode, we talk about how to work with PO’s that come from the PM background, and how to use “powerful questions” to help the PO understand their role when it comes to collaborating with the team Are you having trouble helping the team working 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: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.   About Justin Chapman A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master.  Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog: http://www.ponolabs.com/labs/ You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   Justin’s definition of success revolves around the success of the team and the product itself. We discuss how Scrum Masters can find out what is success for the product, and help their teams focus on product success. In this episode, we also talk about the need to involve the executives in the definition of success for the product. Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: How to find what retrospective works for your team In this segment, Justin asks the question: “do you really know what kind of retrospective would work for your team?” We explore this question and how Justin works with the team to define what would be the best approach for them, and for their context.   About Justin Chapman A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master.  Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog: http://www.ponolabs.com/labs/ You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   When this project started, there were multiple teams involved that had not yet collaborated effectively. On top of that, the project was very challenging for everyone involved. Justin worked with the teams to help them realize that their shared challenge could be resolved if they were able to change their approach to collaboration. In this episode, we share a great story of transformation at the team level that yields many insights for changes across the whole organization. In this episode, we refer to the book Getting Things Done by David Allen.   About Justin Chapman A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master.  Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog: http://www.ponolabs.com/labs/ You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   Once in a while, we work with a team that is down in the doldrums of morale. That’s never an easy challenge to take on as a Scrum Master because the reasons for the lack of morale can be deep-seated and completely outside the team’s control. On the other hand, as we discuss in this episode, that realization can transform our perspective and help thet eam find ways to jump out of the hole they found themselves in. We talk about morale, and how simple tricks can totally transform the morale of a team, and we do that by realizing and implementing something all Scrum Masters should focus on work on what you can directly affect. Featured Book of the Week: Agile Retrospectives In Agile Retrospectives by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby, Justin found great inspiration for how to facilitate retrospectives with the teams he works with and also learned how important it is to prepare and crush the facilitation challenges we face as Scrum Masters.   About Justin Chapman A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master.  Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog: http://www.ponolabs.com/labs/ You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   When we start working as a Scrum Master or Agile Coach in an organization, we very often face “resistance” to the adoption of the ideas we are already on board with. Without noticing, we start talking the “lingo” of Scrum Master and Agile Coach, and in the process, we lose our most important allies: the people who will ultimately benefit from Agile adoption. In this episode, we talk about how to talk to executives to get their understanding and cooperation. We need to learn to address their fears.   About Justin Chapman A Product and Agile Coach with product management experience ranging from payments to enterprise custom build. Justin has hosted a small series on Product Management and another series on Being a Scrum Master.  Justin has also pioneered a new form of Canvas to help bring teams together. All of this information can be found on his blog: http://www.ponolabs.com/labs/ You can link with Justin Chapman on LinkedIn.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website. About Andre Schweighofer, Aleksandar Ikonomov, Fabian Pöschl Andre works at Runtastic in a double role as Product owner and software engineer. Over the last 8 years, he collected experience in agile teams as an engineer, Scrum Master, and product owner. He writes about topics like collaborative product ownership on Andre’s personal blog. You can link with Andre Schweighofer on LinkedIn.  Aleksandar switched to software development after pursuing a football career for about 10 years. After graduating from a software Bootcamp named Telerik Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and finishing his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the New Bulgarian University, he joined  Runtastic as an intern and then as a full-time Software Developer. If you would like to know more about me or get in touch you can find Aleksandar Ikonomov on LinkedIn  or Aleksandar’s personal website.  Fabian, works as a backend developer for  Runtastic since 4 years. Fabian has 9+ years of work experience in embedded software and backend development. You can link with Fabian Pöschl on LinkedIn. 
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website. An often missed aspect of Product Ownership is the fact that it is mostly teamwork. That a team can bring a lot of input to the solution definition if they are able to interact with the Product Owner. But there is a dark side to this realization: when the PO is absent, or unable to justify the requirements… We discuss these anti-patterns, and why teamwork is so important when it comes to Product Ownership. The Great Product Owner: Product Ownership is teamwork In this segment, we talk about how the Product Owner role is not really only the Product Owner’s responsibility, but that the nest Product Owners are able to work together with the team to answer the question: “What is the minimum solution that fulfills this need?” The Bad Product Owner: The Pass-through Product Owner Sometimes, Product Owners act as mere channels for requirements. These “pass-through PO’s” convey the information they collect elsewhere but are often unable to share the reasoning for their ideas with the team, which leads to poor quality requirements, poor quality implementations, and a lack of collaboration with the teams. In this segment we also refer to the “ghost PO”, a Product Owner that is present only in planning and in the review but is mostly absent, not being able to interact with the team to clarify questions and help the team fine-tune the implementation with early feedback. Are you having trouble helping the team working 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: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.   About Dimitri Favre Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers.  Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book. You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   How can the Scrum Master step out of the “leader” role, and let the team learn to lead itself? We discuss simple techniques that Dimitri experimented with to make sure that the team does not lean on the Scrum Master, but rather takes the initiative. Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Circles of Influence Circles of Influence is a tool we’ve referenced often here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, and Dimitri’s favorite retrospective format uses that tool. Through this format, Dimitri helps the teams he works with a focus on what they can influence, rather than despair over what they can’t.   About Dimitri Favre Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers.  Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book. You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   Sometimes, we can succeed so well with the teams, that the teams start feeling that the organization as a whole is not ready for them. In this episode, we talk about a team that was pushing the boundaries and getting push back from the organization. We discuss the different approaches Dimitri took to help the organization and the team find a common agreement and a new way of working.  In this episode, we refer to the Jobs To Be Done framework, and Dimitri’s book: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book.   About Dimitri Favre Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers.  Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book. You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   In this team, the developers only wanted to focus on their own tasks and did not care to help the Product Owner. This was, as it turned out, a recipe for disaster. We discuss with Dimitri, what drives teams to be task-focused, instead of impact-focused, and discuss techniques we might be able to use to bring the team’s attention to the overall goals and the collaboration with the Product Owner. Featured Book for the Week: Creating Great Teams In Creating Great Teams: How Self-Selection Lets People Excel by Sandy Mamoli and David Mole, Dimitri discovered an approach that helps create teams who are motivated from the start. In this segment, we also refer to the books by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. Bas was a previous guest on the podcast. We also refer to Anton Zotin, who has also been on the podcast before.   About Dimitri Favre Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers.  Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book. You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website.   Dimitri is a Scrum Master, Agile Coach, but Dimitri Favre is also the author of a book about #NoProjects, an approach that removes many of the problems that projects bring to software projects. In this first episode with Dimitri, we talk about one of the possible consequences of having a project mindset: wanting to follow the plan no matter the consequences. We discuss why it is problematic for teams and Product Owners to focus on the Features in the Backlog, and how to get out of the “solution space” to better understand the impact the product should have in the market and our customer’s lives. We also have an interview with Allan Kelly on #NoProjects, check that for more details on the #NoProjects approach.   About Dimitri Favre Dimitri is a business, transformation, and agile coach and a repented project manager. Dimitri works side by side with executives, managers, and teams to uncover better ways of developing software and delighting customers.  Dimitri is the author of a recent book, on the topic of #NoProjects: Live Happily Ever After Without Projects: A #NoProjects book. You can link with Dimitri Favre on LinkedIn and connect with Dimitri Favre on Twitter.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website. This episode is all about making decisions or getting decisions made. Decisions are the fuel for the team’s ability to deliver. Great Product Owners work to get those decisions made. The Great Product Owner: The PO that got decisions taken quickly In this segment, we talk about a Product Owner that had been a Project Manager previously, and learn about what traits transfer well from the Project Manager role to the Product Owner role. We hear about how removing blockers, and getting decisions taken become a critical asset for Product Owners that want to help their teams. The Bad Product Owner: The PO that couldn’t answer the team’s questions Sometimes, PO’s are busy with several teams, and even several products. When that happens, there’s a natural anti-pattern that emerges. The team does not get their questions answered, and many decisions are left unmade. In this segment, we also discuss the PO that wants to design the solutions for the team and the PO that doesn’t trust the team. Finally, we discuss a team anti-pattern: the team that wants to please the PO. In this episode, we refer to the Product Owner Sprint Checklist (LINK to slide-in), a how-to by the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help Scrum Masters agree on the right level of engagement with the PO and the team. [IMAGE HERE]Are you having trouble helping the team working 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: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.   About Saritha Rai Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables. You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.
Read the full Show Notes and search through the world’s largest audio library on Scrum directly on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast website. A motivated and happy team is a symptom of the Scrum Master’s work. In this episode, we look at what makes teams happy and helps them find their motivation. We also discuss metrics and discuss how to assess the team’s adaptability. Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: personal activities to activate participants Many Scrum Masters experience a lack of engagement from their team members. It is as if team members are not “into” the retrospective. Saritha also faced that situation, and she came up with a recipe that helps her create a space where team members feel motivated and engaged with the retrospective.    About Saritha Rai Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables. You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.
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Comments (13)

Remi Ige

Awesome Bola!

Apr 22nd
Reply

Remi Ige

Awesome!

Apr 22nd
Reply

baba ojer

I can relate to the way the issue was solved

Mar 18th
Reply

Estella Bryan

Brilliant! If this sprint were a GIF. Love it, very creative!

Jan 16th
Reply

Samuel Lopes

Very good.

Sep 26th
Reply

Dominique lin

Very good poadcast !

Apr 30th
Reply

Patricia Ayuso

Hi Vasco, Ajeet. Thank you for your story. I have a question for you. Shouldn't the dev team include everyone involved in the success of the development of the project like designer, copywriter, UX expert...?

Mar 13th
Reply (3)

Mya Z

Great podcast!

Aug 3rd
Reply

Sergei Davidov

Hi Vasco, I really enjoy the podcast 😉. Thank you. I was wondering if you could share the link to Scrum games that kristina mentioned in the episode around measuring?

Jan 14th
Reply

PH TrooperX

That's an insight.

Nov 7th
Reply
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