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The Liberators Network

Author: The Liberators

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If you're excited about unleashing organisational superpowers, then this is the podcast for you. We talk about Scrum, Liberating Structures and creating better workplaces. This podcast is created by Christiaan Verwijs and Barry Overeem. Both are Professional Scrum Trainers for and stewards for the Professional Scrum Master II class they created. Aside from their extensive background and experience with Scrum, they are very excited about Liberating Structures and are active members of this worldwide community. We aim to release a new episode every Friday.
75 Episodes
Last year, we brought together 30 Scrum Masters to talk about what made their success possible. We used a string of Liberating Structures to include everyone's voice. In this episode we share the 5 most important contributors that the group identified. How are you investing in those contributors yourself?We offer many strings to explore similar questions with your team, your meetup or your community of Scrum Masters.This episode is based on this blog-post: a patron to support and participate in our work: the show (
How does "team cognition" make some Scrum teams more effective than others? In this podcast, we explore scientific research into team cognition and mental models. And we translate it into actionable improvements you can make to make your Scrum teams more effective.By the end of the episode, you will have learned:How team cognition is essentially the "mind of a team", with its own memory and perception of the world.What team cognition is and how substantial its influence is on the effectiveness of teams according to large-scale research effortsHow team cognition helps us understand what cross-functionality should look like for Scrum teams.What team cognition looks like for Scrum teams, and what signs tell you whether it's there or not. And if it isn't, what you can do about that.What research in this area tells us about how you can design, support, and encourage teams to develop team cognition and become high-performing.Why frequent changes to team composition are not a good idea if you want to maintain effectiveness, no matter how they are initiated.More resourcesSupport this podcast by becoming a patronRead the transcript here (a medium account is, unfortunately, necessary until it is published)Try the Scrum Team SurveyBarry Overeem and I created three do-it-yourself workshops (#1, #2, and #3) to help your team create shared goals.ReferencesButler, A. C., Chapman, J. E., Forman, E. M., & Beck, A. T. (2006). The empirical status of cognitive-behavioral therapy: a review of meta-analyses. Clinical psychology review, 26(1), 17–31.Cannon‐Bowers, J. A., & Salas, E. (2001). Reflections on shared cognition. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 22(2), 195–202.DeChurch, L. A., & Mesmer-Magnus, J. R. (2010). The cognitive underpinnings of effective teamwork: a meta-analysis. Journal of applied psychology, 95(1), 32.Kearney, E., Gebert, D., & Voelpel, S. C. (2009). When and how diversity benefits teams: The importance of team members’ need for cognition. Academy of Management journal, 52(3), 581–598.Kozlowski, S. W., & Ilgen, D. R. (2006). Enhancing the effectiveness of work groups and teams. Psychological science in the public interest, 7(3), 77–124.Mathieu, J. E., Heffner, T. S., Goodwin, G. F., Salas, E., & Cannon-Bowers, J. A. (2000). The influence of shared mental models on team process and performance. Journal of applied psychology, 85(2), 273.Stout, R. J., Cannon-Bowers, J. A., & Salas, E. (2017). The role of shared mental models in developing team situational awareness: Implications for training. Naval Air Warfare Center Training SysSupport the show (
When we started as #ScrumMaster, the thing that scared us the most was how to translate those lofty ideals into actual down-to-earth behavior. While it sounded great that #Scrum is about #empiricism”, we had no idea what that should look like with our teams, how we should behave to support that and how flexible we could be with the framework of Scrum.In this episode of our #podcast, we collected five practical insights that we think every starting Scrum Master should know, and that are inspired by mistakes I made over the years. If anything, we wish we would’ve realized these when we started. For this episode, we also asked our growing community of experienced Scrum practitioners on Discord for help.A transcript for this episode is available here (Medium account required, unfortunately):Here are some helpful exercise materials for starting Scrum TeamsWe designed a bunch of do-it-yourself workshops to start Scrum Master communities in your own area or organizationEnjoy!Support the show (
Even when we don't want to admit it, the Covid-19 pandemic changed how we work. Even after the pandemic ends, it is likely that many Scrum Teams will continue to work from home. Or at least, more often than before the pandemic hit.What is the impact of working from home on productivity and personal well-being? How can organizations support it well? And what can Scrum Masters do? We invited Daniel Russo, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science from the University of Aalborg to talk about his research that was funded by the Carlsberg foundation. During the pandemic, he and three colleagues had a unique opportunity to follow a group of developers during the early months of the pandemic. Their research gives us compelling insights into how working from home impacts productivity and well-being - often in surprising ways. It also gives us a handle on what we can do to support developers that work from home during pandemics, and hopefully also outside of pandemics.Read the entire study online here: the show (
This episode is all about what is impossible when you work with Scrum. Deliver a new and working version of the product every Sprint? Impossible! Give a Product Owner mandate over how to spend the product budget? Impossible! Have only one Product Owner for several Scrum Teams? Impossible!But is it really impossible? In this episode we look at how self-limiting beliefs can impede potential improvements. And how those beliefs tend to spread in organizations. At the same time, we offer you an alternative approach to investigate with your team where these beliefs came from. Or which decisions were made somewhere in the past that makes it seem impossible today.Enjoy!A transcript of this episode is available here.Support the show (
This episode is all about that dreaded question: "When is it done and what will it cost?". Its also one of the most natural questions for customers and managers to ask. After all, they're either investing their own money or they will be held accountable when the product fails to return on its investment.So what can you do? In this episode, we draw from personal experience and what - after many experiments - worked for us. Will you play along in "risk management theater"? Or will you offer your customers and other stakeholders an approach that has unique benefits that they don't otherwise have? The blogpost this episode is based on can be found here (a Medium account is required): older - and admittedly rougher - version of the post is also available here: can also support at the show (
We often talk about how "Zombie Scrum" lacks frequently releases. Teams are not shipping fast. And while people often easily recognize this in their own team, what does it actually look like on the other side?In this episode, we take a close look at shipping fast. Why is it important? And how can it be turned into the competitive advantage - or asset - that it really is? We also offer some of the strategies that healthy Scrum Teams use to make releases as effortless as possible, and reduce the stress and pressure that often accompanies "big bang releases".This episode draws from material in the Zombie Scrum Survival Guide. Get your copy here:https://zombiescrum.orgYou can also find a whole bunch of do-it-yourself workshops (some free, some for a small price) to improve your Scrum here: the show (
Five Types Of Value

Five Types Of Value


The Scrum framework exists to deliver value to stakeholders sooner. Sounds good, right? But when is something “valuable”? For something that seems so central to Scrum, it is remarkably hard for many Scrum Teams to determine what the value of the work on their Product Backlog actually us.In this episode, we offer a more fine-grained approach to understand what “value” means to your product and the items on your Product Backlog, and to start a conversation around that with your team and its stakeholders.You can read a transcript for this episode here.Or download a (free) poster of the five types here (PDF).Or get a fully-prepared string of Liberating Structures to start a conversation around value, and the five types of value, with your team and stakeholders.Support the show (
How do you know that you're actually delivering value to your stakeholders? That you're responsive to their needs? And that the quality of your work is what they expect?This episode is all about value and stakeholders. We introduce a new feature for the Scrum Team Survey that allows team invite their stakeholders for their perspective. And we share a great way to involve your stakeholders in the creation of product strategies.Support the show (
In today's episode, we make the connection between the Scrum Framework and continuous improvement. Few Scrum Teams start from a position where everything works smoothly. Often, you initially don't know very well who your stakeholders are, you don't have access to them or you can't release as frequently as you'd want to. So there's a lot to improve and to learn. And if that doesn't happen, you're bound to get stuck in deep Zombie Scrum.At the same time we see many organizations engage in "Agile Transitions" that promise to change from one state (e.g. waterfall-based development) to another (e.g. Agile) in a short amount of time. But an exploration of organizations that have undergone such transitions shows that stakeholders are still not involved, releases still happen very infrequently and little value is delivered to stakeholders.So we draw from two helpful perspectives - organizational learning by Chris Argyris and the force field model by Kurt Lewin - to understand how continuous improvement is vitally important to effective Scrum - and change in general - and unlikely to be rushed on by "Agile Transitions" and "mindset changes".We apologize for the sound quality here and there. The gain of our microphone was a bit too high, which means that there are a few cracks here and there. The good news is that we've learned to reduce the gain now for the next recording :)Support the show (
Paul Klipp and Justyna Pindel recently reviewed our new book "The Zombie Scrum Survival Guide". They also graciously invited us to talk about our book with them. The ensuing conversation was so nice, that we asked them if we could also publish it as part of our podcast.So here it is :) In it, we talk about how we've seen Zombie Scrum happen around us, how we wrote the book to help Scrum Teams and how our industry sometimes contributes to Zombie Scrum because it is so strongly focused on certificates.Follow the Agile Book Club here: your copy of the book here:https://zombiescrum.orgOr diagnose your team for free here:https://survey.zombiescrum.orgSupport the show (
We often talk about "resistance", and how to overcome it in others. But ironically, we often create resistance ourselves.In this episode of our podcast, Christiaan shares one of his biggest lessons about change and resistance. With this in mind, we also explore how group dynamics helps us explain how we can easily create and amplify resistance through our own behavior.If you like this podcast, and our content, please consider supporting us: the show (
In today's episode, we talk about self-management and self-organization. How are those concepts related. And why are incredibly both valuable and important, even now that the Scrum Guide changed its language to emphasize "self-managing Scrum Teams" instead of "self-organizing Scrum Teams"?Coincidentally, we dedicated a chapter in our book - the Zombie Scrum Survival Guide - to self-organization and self-management. In it, we make the case that the Scrum Guide always meant "self-managing" in the first place, and how those self-managing Scrum Teams enable self-organization on a larger level (the department, the organization).In this episode, we give examples of what self-management and self-organization looks like. And more importantly, how self-managing Scrum Teams act as a crowbar to increase agility and responsiveness by driving self-organization on the level of the organization.This episode features a part of one of the chapters from our book. You can get it at your favorite bookstore, or directly from us.Support the show (
"Without good developers, Scrum is lipstick on a pig". Yet, a quick look on blogs, LinkedIn and popular podcasts makes it obvious that more attention goes to Scrum Masters, Product Owners and coaches than to developers. Why is that?In this episode, we share a personal story about a what contributes to a "Developer Culture". This is a culture where software craftmanship is celebrated, and developers work hard to increase quality and their skills. Without this, it will be very hard to work empirically and overcome tough technical challenges that you're likely to face.We explore eight factors that seem to contribute to a successful developer culture, at least based on our experience. If anything, it may inspire you with ideas for things to try or ways to create a similar culture in your organization.This episode is based on this blogpost (which also contains the pictures): can support the show on Patreon: the show (
Are you excited about the new Scrum Guide? We certainly are, if only because every version makes it more clear what Scrum is really about — which is also our mission.In this episode, we take a look at the four most significant changes and why they were made. While it is tempting to talk about all the nitty-gritty linguistic changes, we believe it is more helpful to understand the underlying patterns and how they reinforce what Scrum has always been about.You can find a transcript of this episode here: new Scrum Guide is available (as always) at:https://scrumguides.orgYou can download our updated Scrum Framework poster here: the show (
It is easy to start new initiatives. And much harder to make them endure. Whether or it is a new team, a new community, or a new product, how do you create a foundation to build on?Thankfully, the Liberating Structure "Purpose to Practice" is of great help here as it gives groups five essential elements to focus on: purpose, principles, participants, structure, and practices.We've frequently used Purpose to Practice (P2P) to start new teams, communities of Scrum Masters, change initiatives, and even entire organizations. In this episode, we share how we've used P2P in our work, specifically for our growing community of patrons, and how you can use it in your own work.Read a blog post we wrote about Purpose to Practice here: try this prepared string for a Purpose-to-Practice with your team.Or download a free PDF canvas for Purpose to Practice.And we happily invite you to join our growing community of patrons and work with us to refine our Purpose to Practice together: the show (
"How is it a good idea to mirror this complexity in the product with complexity in the group of people that develop this product?"Scaling Scrum is seriously hard, right? How do you work with many teams on one product? How many Product Owners should you have for one large product? How can many teams deliver a "Done" Increment every Sprint? How do you manage the increasing number of dependencies between teams? Honestly, we believe that -  in most cases -  scaling Scrum is tantamount to solving the wrong problem. And we say that irrespective of the framework you use, Nexus, LeSS, or SAFe: Scaling Scrum is a contradiction.In this episode of our podcast, we explain why. And we offer you five strategies to avoid scaling.Support the show (
Few teams start from a position where the Scrum Framework works like a charm from the start. Scrum is radically different from the way that teams have built products and worked with stakeholders in the past. Scrum Teams usually need to improve in many different areas, and overcome many barriers, in order to reach their goals of higher customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, we’ve found that many Scrum Teams struggle to improve at all. And that easily leads to Zombie Scrum: something that may look like Scrum from a distance but lacks the beating heart. In this episode, we address one common reason for this: a lack of tangible improvements.Read a transcript of this episode here: about 15% Solutions can be found here: can pre-order the Zombie Scrum Survival Guide here:https://zombiescrum.orgSupport the show (
How do you sell Agile to your customer?"One of our biggest customers preferred the traditional way of doing projects. This boiled down to writing a massive requirement document, estimating the hours the work, and translating that to a fixed budget. We would then set a deadline and get to work."And this is understandable. From the perspective of the customer, this gives them the guarantees on budget, date, and scope they need to sell the work internally and to their own management, who in turn demand similar guarantees.The irony of course is that, despite these guarantees, the scope inevitably changed during the work anyways. After all, those new ideas emerged if we wanted to or not. And in many cases, we simply made incorrect assumptions in the requirement document that we based our estimates on. So we had to move deadlines, request additional budget, and frequently covered overly optimistic hour estimates on our part with our own money.As a wise person once told me after a feverish attempt to sell Scrum to them: “don’t sell me the hammer, sell me its benefits”. This was an important learning moment for me as I realized that I was explaining how it benefitted us, but not necessarily the customer. So what benefits does Agile offer to the customer?A transcript is available here: a patron to support and participate in our work: the show (
What if Scrum doesn't fit? If you work as a Scrum Master or Agile Coach, you have probably run into teams where Scrum just doesn’t take off. The various Scrum Events feel like a chore, motivation is low and people complain about Scrum.One of the downsides of the popularity of the Scrum Framework is that organizations, teams, consultants, and coaches sometimes try to force Scrum onto problems it isn’t designed for. And the resulting tension is often experienced by the teams, making their perceived “resistance” very understandable.In this episode of our podcast, we explore indicators of "bad fit". We also explore how "coherence" is central to the Scrum Framework. Without it, Scrum can easily feel artificial and forced. Even when that coherence isn't there now, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be there. In fact, you may find that creating more coherence makes your team many times more effective. Or you may conclude that it isn't feasible, and Scrum isn't going to fit.This episode is based on this blog-post: a patron to support and participate in our work: us on Medium: the show (
Comments (1)

Sarah Gruneisen

Loved this! Thanks :-)

Jan 2nd
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