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Blog Post

Agility Is Resilience

January 29, 2024
Resilience is the ability to turn hardship to experience. That is exactly what agility is about. We learn from our failures. We rise to the occasion. We swarm problems.
Blog Post

Coaching Secret: Stop Being So "Helpful"

January 8, 2024
We all want to help. Unfortunately, acting on the desire to help is usually where many Scrum Masters, Coaches, and Managers can make a mistake. In this article, we explore 3 ways this desire to "help" goes wrong and offer tips on how to shift to an approach that is actually going to be more helpful in the long run.
Blog Post

How to Choose the Right Sprint Length in Scrum

May 2, 2023
The Scrum Guide gives us a maximum one-month timebox for the Sprint. That means while it can’t be longer than a month, it can — and likely needs to be — shorter. So, how do we choose the right Sprint length for our product? In this article, I share three questions to determine the right Sprint length and offer some additional tips.
Blog Post

Maximizing Scrum with the Scrum Values

April 4, 2023
The Scrum values help create a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement, guiding the team toward better results and a more satisfying work experience. I’ve written and talked a lot about the Scrum values over my consulting and coaching career because I’ve seen how they can galvanize teams to achieve their best work. I’ve also seen how they are often misunderstood. I hope this article will provide an easy way for readers to learn about the importance of the Scrum values and find helpful links to other Agile Socks posts for those who want to dive deeper.
Blog Post

Answer These 3 Questions to Determine If You're Getting Value from Scrum

April 1, 2023
With the widespread adoption of Scrum, variation in how teams practice Scrum has inevitably evolved. At the same time, some organizations that have turned to Scrum wonder if they are getting its full benefits. So, how do you know if Scrum is working? In this article, I outline 3 questions that can help determine if you're getting value from Scrum. Your answers might point to adjustments you can make to your practice to improve outcomes. 
Blog Post

5 Ways Empiricism Can Make You a Better Scrum Master

March 14, 2023
Successful Scrum Masters continuously find ways to improve their practice to have greater influence and impact on their teams and organizations. Scrum’s foundational concept, empiricism, which advances learning through experience and observation, can support this kind of growth. In this blog post, we’ll explore five ways that a Scrum Master can use empiricism to improve their own practice and become a more effective leader. 
Blog Post

How to Get Scrum Teams Comfortable Asking for Help

February 15, 2023
Many of us find it difficult to ask for help at work, which is a problem if you are part of a Scrum Team. Interdependence and collaboration are central to Scrum, but these practices don’t always come naturally to those new to the framework. In this post, we explore the incorrect assumptions tied up in asking for help and actions a Scrum Master can take to create the best conditions for a strong interdependent and collaborative team.
Blog Post

7 Tips for Setting More Effective Goals

January 12, 2023
Goal setting is an essential tool supporting agility in complex environments. Various A-B-C formulas lead us to believe it’s a straightforward process, but setting and using goals effectively is challenging. Common pitfalls include not going deep enough with what we aim to achieve and bringing a success-or-failure perspective to the process rather than an empirical mindset. If it feels like your team is missing the mark, consider my top seven tips for setting more effective goals.
Blog Post

How to Facilitate Difficult Scrum Team Conversations

January 2, 2023
Being an effective Scrum Master or team member inevitably involves difficult conversations. How we approach challenging discussions can mean the difference between a transformative moment and one that goes sideways. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to prepare for those times when we need to wade through a thorny issue. Let’s look at some strategies for facilitating difficult Scrum Team conversations.
Blog Post

Showing up: Why your Scrum Master Mindset is Everything

December 29, 2022
What is one of the most important aspects of holding the Scrum Master accountability? If you immediately thought about something like removing impediments and helping the team get to Done, I want you to think of the bigger picture. How you show up as a leader has the biggest impact. Not sure what that means? Read on to see why your mindset and what you bring of yourself to your Scrum practice are critical to success.
Blog Post

What to do when your team is not living the Scrum values

September 5, 2022
The values set out in the Scrum framework are essential because they help us to navigate complex work environments as a team. At first glance, they appear straightforward but living the Scrum Values each day is challenging whether this is your first or fiftieth Sprint together. If you’re a Scrum Master struggling with this issue, you are definitely not alone. In this discussion, I’ll outline why the Scrum values matter, how to determine if they are at risk on your team, why this happens, and how to get things back on track.
Blog Post

Taking Back the Word "Commitment"

August 2, 2022
I hear the word “commitment” used in problematic and misleading ways all the time. This is true when I am teaching Professional Scrum classes and even when I am coaching good Scrum Masters. It often sounds like one of these statements: How do we know how much work to commit to? How do we make sure we will finish all of the scope we committed to for this release? What happens if we don’t meet our commitment date? The problem is that the word commitment has been MISUNDERSTOOD in organizations to mean a guarantee or promise related to delivery. And that is NEVER what the word meant in the context of Scrum.
Blog Post

4 Misunderstandings About "Carryover"

May 31, 2022
In my last article, I explained why we need to stop talking about "carryover" and how it's not actually a thing in Scrum. "Carryover" is really just partially done work at the end of a Sprint. Now I will take you deeper and share the 4 common misunderstandings often associated with this concept, and how we can make the shift to creating better conversations about what really matters.
Blog Post

4 Ways Organizations Use Goals Poorly (and How EBM Can Help)

July 22, 2021
I am often asked how to create better goals. This comes up at the team level, and it also comes up for the wider organization. When we are dealing with complexity, there is no one right way, no perfect template, and no best practice. And I find it helpful to look at the goals people are using today, explore the benefits those goals are giving them, and identify if there are unintended consequences of how they are using goals. In this post, I will share some common patterns I have noticed that lead to using goals poorly.
Blog Post

3 Tips for Tools in Scrum

April 14, 2021
In my Professional Scrum Training and coaching sessions with teams, I am often asked about Product Backlog management tools. In this post, I'll share my thoughts on tools and 3 tips for using tools effectively in Scrum.
Blog Post

How Often Do you Have to Escalate?

February 14, 2021
Over the years of working in both traditional and agile environments, I have noticed a pattern. It is something I now call a culture of escalation.  In this post, I will share the common causes of a culture of escalation and some tips for breaking out of the pattern.
Blog Post

Is the Outcome of Your Meeting to Schedule Another Meeting?

August 31, 2020
When I ask this rhetorical question in a training class or a coaching call, I often get knowing smiles and uncomfortable laughs. This problem shows up in Scrum Teams, and it shows up well beyond Scrum Teams.  In this post, we will explore the 3 common challenges that lead us to end a meeting with the action item to schedule another meeting.
Blog Post

Emotional Agility

April 29, 2020
Emotions are part of the human experience. Emotions are essentially energy in motion (e-motion).  When our emotions are flowing freely, they can bring us energy and provide the fuel for us to transform and grow.
Blog Post

Can People Be on Multiple Scrum Teams?

November 6, 2019
This is a common question in my Professional Scrum classes.  It often comes up early when we are still learning the basics of the Scrum Framework.  And it comes up because people are already splitting their time between multiple Scrum Teams or are being told by their organizations that they will be.
Blog Post

Best Practices and Scrum

October 15, 2019
In my Professional Scrum classes, I always get asked about best practices.  It may be about facilitating events, Product Backlog refinement, defining value, forming Scrum Teams, or creating good Sprint Goals.
Blog Post

Can a Developer Be the Scrum Master?

August 13, 2019
This is a common question in my Professional Scrum classes. It often comes up early when we are still learning the basics of the Scrum framework. And it comes up because people are already wearing two hats or are being told by their organizations that they will be.
Blog Post

Can the Scrum Master also be the Product Owner?

July 8, 2019
This is a common question in my Professional Scrum classes. The topic of combining Scrum roles often comes up early when we are still learning the basics of the Scrum framework.  It comes up because people are already wearing two hats or are being told that they will be.
Blog Post

4 Paradoxes in Agile (and Life)

May 6, 2019
A paradox is something that is seemlingly absurd but really true. When I experience complexity and uncertainty, I find comfort and power in paradox. It opens up creativity, possibility, and collaboration. Let's take a look at 4 paradoxes we need to navigate in the agile world and beyond.
Blog Post

The Agile Values in Practice

April 1, 2019
One of the most important things we can do to help individuals and teams improve is coach them to embrace the agile mindset. The Manifesto for Agile Software Development provides values and principles to help guide teams in navigating the complexities of product delivery.
Blog Post

Servant Leadership 101: The 4 V’s to Create a Strong Foundation

December 7, 2018
Servant-leaders must create a strong foundation that helps people feel empowered to take action, enables them to move forward in a common direction despite uncertainty, and to feel inspired and resourceful during challenging times.  The 4 V’s can help you establish this strong foundation:  Vision, Values, Value, Validation.