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Episode 19:

How should we form new Scrum teams?

In my courses and coaching, I’m often asked how a Scrum team should be formed. Since the Scrum Guide gives no guidance on this, organizations usually decide to have managers form these new teams. Sadly, this approach doesn’t work well in the long run for a myriad of reasons.

Thankfully, there’s a better way.

On today’s show, I’ll have a conversation with Adam Hsu, Gabe Abella, Jason Newberg, and Natalie Veilleux of JP Morgan Chase, whom I met while giving an opening keynote at their internal developer’s conference last year.  These four fantastic agile coaches use the approach I recommend to all my clients regarding forming teams. I think you’ll benefit from hearing their real-world experience forming teams.

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Disclaimer: Any opinions or personal views expressed by the guests of this episode are their own and not those of JP Morgan Chase

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Adam Weisbart: Welcome to Agile Answers. I’m Adam Weisbart, your Certified Scrum Trainer and Agile Coach. Each week, I get your questions about Scrum and agility and I answer them here, on Agile Answers.

A few months back, I was contacted by Gabe Abella. Gabe works at JPMorgan Chase and he got in touch with me because he was interested in having me do an opening keynote for their internal developers’ conference. We chatted a bit and decided it would be a good fit and I ended up giving an opening keynote on innovation, specifically around agility and using agility to help you innovate your process as an individual on a team or your process as a team.

And after the keynote, I had the good fortune of getting to hang around and go to the rest of the conference. And one of the things I attended while I was there was a panel discussion. Now, Gabe heads up, with several other folks, an agile transformation there at JPMorgan Chase, and several of the other coaches that work with him were on this panel. And they had a great conversation about how they’re, over the last couple of years, rolling out agility in their divisions.

And the coaches stuck me as just fantastic coaches, and I really loved what they were discussing. They were talking about self-organization and forming teams. And what really impressed was… I have to admit that going there and giving the keynote, I thought, “Well, you know, it’s a giant financial institution, while they’re probably doing some agile things, it’s probably not the most agile place I’ve run into, just by nature of being such a large organization.” I seem to find that smaller organizations are pretty naturally agile, and larger ones have a harder time of actually pulling off true agility.

But the stories that these folks told about their last several years of rolling out agile practices at their organization were phenomenal. So I wanted to have them on the podcast, so that if you work at a large organization and you think, “We can’t possibly do this agile stuff. It just seems like what crazy hippies do in Santa Cruz or some such,” I wanted to show you that, you know, it’s possible. And I want you to hear it from people who are currently doing it and doing it in the trenches. I think it’s useful for me to tell you about these things. But I think it’s even more useful to hear about it from people who are actually currently in the trenches every day, working on this stuff.

Before we jump in to the episode, I am legally required to play this for you.

Recording: Any opinions or personal views expressed on this episode of Agile Answers by the guests are their opinions or views, and in no way the opinions and views of JPMorgan Chase. Whatever comes out of Adam’s mouth, on the other hand, is totally his responsibility. He’s got to own that stuff.

Adam Weisbart: All right, so without further ado, let’s get into our conversation with Natalie, Gabe, Jason, and Adam. How you guys doing?

Gabe Abella: Good.

Natalie Veilleux: Doing great.

Adam Hsu: Outstanding.

Adam Weisbart: Excellent. So thank you for joining me on the podcast today. The reason, one of the many reasons I wanted to have you here on the podcast is often in my class, people ask me how we go about forming Scrum teams to begin with. They noticed that the Scrum guy doesn’t mention anything about this, and so  they’re curious, when they go back to work as a new certified Scrum Master, how they can help teams form, if don’t already have teams.

And I give them two different options. I give them the option that almost everybody does, and I don’t really recommend, and then I give them the option that I think is the best way to go, but most places do not take me up on this approach.

So the way that most everybody forms teams is that some manager or groups of managers get together and say, “We’re doing Scrum, so here are the Scrum teams that we will be using to build our features.” And then people start working on those teams and when find conflicts on the teams, maybe they shuffle from one team to another, and maybe eventually it settles out, but nevertheless, it’s begun from the beginning as a…not really a self-organizing sort of approach, it’s a top-down approach.

And then there’s the way that I actually recommend, which is that teams should be formed by the teams that are going to be working together. So get everybody in the room, get them a clear understanding of what each team will be working on and sort of the skills needed to do that work, and then have the team self-organize into teams that can get work done.

And when I mention this in class, almost everybody says, “That’s great, but it won’t work in the real world.” And so the reason I wanted to have you guys on the podcast is I can’t really think of many places that are more real world-y than JPMorgan Chase. You guys deal with billions of dollars every day. You guys are doing some serious work in an organization that many, probably from the outside, think of as very top-down and command-and-control, just because it’s financial instructions and banking and such. So I thought it’d be great to have you guys in the podcast to talk about how you go about forming teams and sort of the tips you have for people and some actionable stuff that people could take back to their work and try to form teams in a more agile way.

So before we get started, if you’d just quickly introduce yourselves, let people know who you are so they can recognize your  voice as all five of us chat here, that will be fantastic.

Natalie Veilleux: I’m Natalie Veilleux. I work as an agile coach in the corporate and investment bank. And I think my voice will probably be the easiest to recognize on this podcast.

Jason Newberg: I’m Jason Newberg. I am also an agile coach, more technical agile coach for JPMorgan Investment Bank.

Adam Hsu: Hey, Adam. This is Adam Hsu. I am also an agile coach here at JPMorgan Chase with the corporate and investment bank as well.

Gabe Abella: And I’m Gabe Abella, and I’m an agile coach and I work with these three.

Adam Weisbart: Awesome, thank you, guys. And if we’ve learned nothing else yet so far today, it’s that two out of five agile coaches are named Adam. All right, so let’s see. So you guys actually set up an environment in which teams can form themselves. You do some self-organization and self-forming, so I was hoping that you could walk us through how you go about doing that, sort of the background of where that came from, and tips and tricks you might have for people wanting to do the same thing.

Natalie Veilleux: Yes, I can start with the kind of why we do it. So one of the biggest reasons why we do it is to really empower teams. So instead of kind of maybe the traditional approach that you alluded to, which is typically how people do it, in which maybe a manager forms a team, it’s really allowing teams to be able to form themselves, so they have that accountability and empowerment that when things go awry, instead of saying, “Oh, so-and-so just put them on my team,” it’s you chose them, and they’re more accountable to really grow as a team, as well as just it being a huge show of trust from leadership to be able to create these full-feature teams that will deliver end-to-end.

Adam Weisbart: Yeah, and I think like a microcosm of this that probably everybody can relate to is when somebody tells you, like a manager tells you, “Here’s the work I need done by Tuesday. You can do this, right?” And you’re handed that thing, you do your best, probably to get it done, but you were never the one to do the estimate or say, “That’s when it’s reasonable to get this work done.” So if you don’t make it, it’s pretty easy, I think, at least internally, within yourself, to say, “Well, yeah, I did my best, but it wasn’t really my fault. That was somebody else’s responsibility. They made the wrong decision.”

And so it sounds like you’re saying we that sort of on the team level, with these self-organizing teams. People are actually more bought in, as opposed to being put on these teams.

Gabe Abella: And I think, Adam, one of the other reasons that we choose to do self-formation or at least offer it is that it’s proof to the organization or the culture that it’s something’s going to be different than it was before. Since we are a change hook program, many people are very skeptical of change. They’ve seen them come and go many times. They think this is just the next iteration of someone’s great idea that’s going to kind of blow away, go away after a few months or years. And actually, having our leaders do something such as this, which is to explicitly show trust into the people that are going to be doing the work, to allow them to choose the people that are going to work with them for a long time, hopefully, it actually is a huge proof to the rest of the organization that something is different, and that, additionally, it’s really showing that the leaders in the organizing have courage to also do something different.

Jason Newberg: I actually felt that as well, because I was on the other side. I was in a transformation, and you know, I’ve been through Scrum or Agile before, but when we did this team forming, I actually got to pick the people that, you know, that was on my team with, and that was just so powerful. I was like, this is for real, and the accountability and the empowerment that came with that was definitely different.

Adam Hsu: I was going to say there’s the…another aspect to this, which is because we are in…we have a lot of silo of roles and functions and teams, what this helps to do is it facilitates breaking down those silos. So it allows for the cross-functional teams to be created. So that formation is great.

Adam Weisbart: Right. So I think it’s probably worth pointing out, and hopefully, everybody listening already had this in mind, but when we talked about teams, we were talking about cross-functional teams that are feature teams that can get actual features built, not components. So we’re talking about end-to-end, actual working software delivered every sprint, which almost every agilist will tell you is the way to go.

Adam Hsu: Yup.

Natalie Veilleux: Yup.

Jason Newberg: Absolutely.

Adam Weisbart: Excellent. Great. So walk me through how you go about actually doing this practically. So I understand the idea of why one would want to do this. You get more accountability, you’re helping build trust, and you’re doing self-organization from the very beginning as opposed to just giving a lip service. But what are the actual steps you take? How do you do this with a group of people? Say you wanted to form three teams, how would you go about doing that?

Natalie Veilleux: Yeah, so I can kind of walk through the process. So typically, if we had that large group that was maybe going to do three teams, they gather all in a room. We kick off with the executive, the leader in charge of that organization, reiterating their support and their buy-in for this approach. And then they would leave the room, really leaving these team members to form without kind of that fear that someone’s in the room that’s watching, and we go through a couple of things.

So the first is going through some just kind of training content on self-forming teams and how that’s not a novel concept. We show a video called Into the Wind and it’s about crew selection in World War II, and really how they formed with pilots and mechanics and without knowing anyone and just getting to these bases and doing it, so really kind of giving the context outside of our industry.

Then from there, we do an ice-breaker, and then we launch into skills identification. So this is where everyone gets a Post-it pad, and writes down all of the skills that are required to deliver for that product. And I want to be clear, when I say skills, and not roles, because I think people have a tendency to maybe write, you know, “architect, tester, coder, business analyst,” and really, we want to focus on the skills, whether it’s Java, automated testing, analysis. And then from there, they get down to a level, you know, about 9 or 10 kind of skills to deliver for the product, including, maybe some things like collaboration, or some softer skills as well.

And then everyone evaluates each skill. Kind of they move with their feet, in the room, to show where they are from novice to expert, and love to hate, so you can see where everyone is. They mark it on a card, and they use those cards to form teams. And we’ll iterate several times to form teams. And at the end of each iteration, we’ll look at the groups that are formed and we’ll see, do they have all of those skills, someone that loves it, someone that’s great at it, and we’ll do an anonymous mood check as well. So is everyone happy with these teams or is someone, like, “This is the worst team, I can never live with this.” We’ll keep iterating if that may be the case.

Adam Weisbart: Awesome. And you mentioned that the exec will sort of introduce this and then leave the room, so there’s a space where people can actually self-organize. Have you ever had pushback on that from execs that want to be more involved in the process, maybe because they’ve been used to doing that in the past or because they’re really not totally on board with this self-organization thing yet.

Gabe Abella: So before we even get to that event, we do a lot of ground work. We lay a lot of ground work which is really coaching the executives on what to expect and why this might be a good thing. And I would say, for most leaders, this is sort of a scary thing, which is they’ve never actually given up this type of control before. But what we can say to them is that there are benefits to this, which is you’re going to get accountability. You’re going to get empowerment. You’re going to get engagement, and maybe some innovation as well, if you allow the team members to take this first huge significant step towards self-organization.

So we hear a lot of those fears when we first introduced leaders to this topic. And then we coached them continuously. We say, “Here’s what you should consider. You’re going to get some really…you can get body in teams. You can get cohesion right off the bat.” So those things we do ahead of time.

Jason Newberg: And to make it clear, we want to make sure that they understand what comes out of that room, they have to accept it. Because we’ve had that before too, where like, “Oh, well, they’re going to come out, they’re going to form teams and then, I’m just going to make them the way I want anyway.” We have to make sure that they’re on board, and they got to say that message to the teams as well, that “This is for real. You guys are picking the teams.”

Adam Weisbart: Yeah. And a great opportunity to help, you know, do some coaching with the execs about the people doing the work are really in the best position to figure out how to get that work done, and doing that from the beginning, before the team ever actually starts doing development work done. Awesome. So all right, so you go to those activities and then, like, that’s within a day… How much time does that take, to do that, if you were doing it with three teams, for example?

Adam Hsu: So it kind of depends on how much they want to really participate from the very beginning. So you heard Natalie say that there is several iterations that we go through. So the short one that I’ve seen actually took about three hours. I had the opportunity and privilege of helping to transform a team in Bangalore. The longest one that I personally have been involved with took about eight hours. And it is a very serious event. So it really depends on how quickly they themselves want to become a team.

So one thing we always tell them and we don’t even hide it, we say, the first iteration is going to be kind of the easiest, because people just tend to go to the people that they’re already on teams with. So we’re just going to go ahead and throw away that first iteration. Once they go into the second and third iteration, things become real for them. And then they begin thinking about the longer term of why they’re doing this. They’re trying to form into a team that has all the capability and skill  to be able to deliver a full end-to-end feature on a product. So they take that very seriously and there’s a lot of figuring things out. They’re now looking at other people in a very different way. They’re saying, “I have to be with this person now, for indefinite. I don’t know how long I’m going to work with this person.” So it depends on the team.

Adam Weisbart: Awesome. And Adam, you have, I think both you and Gabe have had the opportunity, since JPMorgan is so large, you’ve had the opportunity of doing this here in the States and doing it in India, other locations as well. Have you noticed anything in terms of cultural differences in doing this activity?

Gabe Abella: So I love this question because if you consider the cultural dimension of power distance between somewhere like United States and India, you could make a huge assumption which is “Oh, it’ll never work there because of these other implicit biases or hierarchical biases that they have.” And I will tell you, we’ve had, I think, the most success with…great success with the teams in India, and really, just goes back to leadership, which is, I think, I mean, leadership, really great leadership, you know, is really agnostic to culture. And so we’ve seen really courageous leaders take these big steps to make sure that they are educating themselves first on what it means to actually do this, and furthermore, treating the people that work for them, their team members with respect, and being absolutely transparent as to what’s going to happen and what’s going to be hard for them, personally, as a leader. It may be as hard for them as actual team members to be able to get through this.

But before writing an exercise on buy-in, I certainly had my…some apprehensions to whether it was going to be successful. But I would say I’m pleasantly surprised, actually blown away, at how successful it’s gone.

Adam Weisbart: Awesome. So along to do with the leaders, it seems like this is a huge opportunity for you guys to help them build up courage and understanding about this process. It seems like without them having some courage around this, why would they make this change. This is a big, scary change. So what are some things you have helped or you have done that have helped leaders adopt this stuff, when they might have been reticent to begin with?

Natalie Veilleux: So I think we do a couple of things. So one of them is we’re really big advocates for social proof. So the directors that we have been able to really kind of convince to have them become some of the biggest evangelists for this process. And “Hey, immediately, I got these engaged teams. You know, I haven’t had any voluntary attrition,” you know, just really speaking to the value of what kinds of payback that they’ve gone for taking this approach in terms of their collaboration and the end product being, you know, much higher quality. So we’ve had social proof on our side to really help leader’s buy-in a lot. And you know, we’re very fortunate to have such great examples of leaders who have taken this leap and you know, really listen to their colleagues to be able to do the same.

And I would say, from Jason and I’s perspective, we went through it as a team, kind of maybe on one of the earlier stages in our organization. So we also became kind of social proof for “Here’s what it looked like, to us, on a team. Here’s why it was different than being put on other teams. Here’s what it felt like to become multi-skilled, to have a team that was high performing,” all of those things that really helped executives understand from an employee-engagement perspective, just the world of good it does.

Gabe Abella: I think what’s kind of eye-opening too, to some leaders, to say, “Why is everyone want to go work for that team? What are they doing different?” I mean, we had so many people coming over to us, like “How do I get on this team? You have that autonomy, how did you get that kind of thing?” So to me, what we saw on the ground what that’s what was happening.

Natalie Veilleux: Very effective recruiting tool.

Gabe Abella: Yeah, we were getting the best, the master programmers are coming over, saying, “This is how I want to work.” And I think that sort of opened the eyes of some of the mid-managers, maybe some of the executives saying, “Ah, let’s do that.”

Adam Weisbart: So Adam, so when we talked at the conference, you had mentioned when taking people through this activity, before you actually have them form these groups, you go through a simulation, I think something to do with food. Can you fill us in on that? I think it’s a good way to sort of frame this and give people a good idea of how they could start.

Adam Hsu: Sure. Yeah, actually, after running the team formation exercise several times, we inspected and adapted, we learned that people’s anxiety going into this activity was, you know, pretty high.

They, first of all, if you think about it, people are coming in and saying, “I’m no longer going to be what I was.” So they were actually coming in and saying, “I’m going to do something completely different,” and they didn’t know where they belong, who they were going to be part of, so there was a lot of anxiety there. On top of which, we were taking them through something that is completely foreign to them, this self-formation exercise.

So if you think about that, there is a anxiety from a survivability, like what’s going to happen? Am I going to be on a team? And then there’s also the learning anxiety of how does this activity play out? So once we realized that, we said, “you know what, probably the best thing we should do is do a simulation that provides a little bit of a safe environment feeling, so that even if they mess up, it’s still a learning opportunity.” So that’s what we did.

We said, “All right, let’s take them through something that has something completely different context.” We said, “All right, we’re going to simulate the team formation exercise using an example of we’re going to run a restaurant. We’re going to run a nice Italian restaurant. And we want you to form into teams that have all the capabilities to be able to, you know, serve delicious food to your customers. So what are the skill sets that you need? You need to be able to cook. You have to have people who run the front of house, people who run back of house, dishwashers, servers, all that.”

So they go through the exercise. And everything that Natalie described earlier about, you know, what do you love to do, what do you hate, what are you an expert on, what are you…you know, just a beginner. And then they get the idea, going through that simulation.

Once they get that idea, when we take them to the actual team formation, they are more relaxed. They feel like they can, “Oh, I understand why we’re doing this now.” So then they can actually focus on actually focusing on becoming great teams. That’s the most important part. So they need to be able to be fully engaged and not have that high anxiety of how do I do this? So that’s been very useful.

Adam Weisbart: Fantastic. And so the role of the facilitator, it seems to me, in all this, would be super, super important. Without good facilitation, this could go horribly sideways, I suspect, and you’d never get to do it again at your organization. So can you talk a bit about that? What have you found that helps, what hurts, etc.?

Gabe Abella: Yeah, the role of the facilitator is actually highly misunderstood, until you get to address it with leaders. Because usually leaders just hear, “Well, I’m not going to let 21 people go into a room and just have them figure out what they’re going to do all on their own, and we set their minds, “No, no, no, it’s actually a very structured event, and one of the things that we do as facilitators is one, we have to create a safe environment,” which is why we bring the actual executive in at the very beginning to show that they have trust and courage, and then we excuse them, which is we don’t want judgements made during the actual event. So we actually ask the leader to leave.

But we also want to be able to ensure that commitment to our leader or our product owner that we’re doing things within the best interest of the product, or the best interest of the business, or the enterprise. And once the leaders get that, they feel more comfortable as well. But during the actual exercise, sometimes, if things are getting really, really tense or uncomfortable. Some of the actual participants may actually turn to us and say, “Can you have some people do this or can you tell this person about this, or can you help us resolve this conflict?” And what we tell them is, “You are now taking the first step towards self-organization, whereas previously, you might have had an issue with someone, you go and tell your manager, that manager tells that other person, then that person…then the manager resolves that issue. This is that first step towards actually now creating transparency between the things that are going on between you and the person next to you.”

And so our job is to now remind people that this is the start, it’s the very beginning of it, and now you have some interesting conversations as to why someone would or wouldn’t want to be paired with someone on the team, what personalities may or may not be, you know, that might not gel with the team. But our goal is to allow those actual discussions, those comments to emerge naturally with the light touch of facilitation and still maintain that safe environment.

Natalie Veilleux: And I think that also answers, you know, a common question is what about maybe people who, what if they aren’t going to be on a team, what if no one wants them on their team, which we commonly hear. And I think that kind of like light touch facilitation and encouraging people to have these conversations and understand that they’re going to be working in a different context and that have a little bit of empathy, because we’ve actually seen in some team formations that people have had to explain, like maybe you’ve seen me in this context of maybe waterfall where I was a manager, but I love to learn, I love to teach, I want to be on a team. I’d love for people to be on my team, so really, you have to kind of explain and take that first step towards self-organization by really getting some empathy and understanding each other.

Jason Newberg: And the other aspect of the facilitator role that helps out a little bit is again, this is something that’s very foreign to these people who are going through this. And again, human behavior is you tend to go with what you know. So people tend to stick with the cluster of people that they’re familiar with, so we kind of do a couple of activities to kind of break that up a little bit. So one activity we do as facilitators is we have them maybe line up by height, and then we say, “All right, now you talk to somebody standing next to you, that you may have not spoken to yet, and talk a little bit about your capabilities, your skills. What do you want to do, what do you don’t want to do.” And then that forces some more conversations to occur and then, we may have to do it again, and maybe we have them line up by, you know, birth month.

So we have different activities that actually help, at least, stimulate more conversations, and that’s been very helpful for the facilitation as well.

Adam Hsu: And it’s always different. Like everyone’s completely different. So it’s like you have to be on your toes. You can go in with a plan and everyone knows that that’s right out the window when you start. You know, the last one I think what happened is nobody was joining this one…a couple of people’s teams, and we’re like, we couldn’t understand why. We realized that they were the managers before, and now they’re on the feature team, and nobody wanted to be on their team because they sort of thought that they would have that command-and-control type thing again. But it was very interesting how it played out. They did some speech, and I don’t want to get too much into, but they did a speech, a plea, basically, to the rest of the group, and got things moving. But pretty much, everything’s differently.

Gabe Abella: Yeah, but we see that as a success story, which is again, building empathy amongst the group, that might have not have actually had that position understood why someone was behaving a certain way within a certain structure or a certain organizational design or framework, that it can be different moving forward.

Adam Weisbart: Excellent. So let’s see if I’ve got these steps roughly correct, so that people have some actionable idea of how to move forward here, and then we’ll cite the sources of where you got some of this, certainly.

So you get everybody on the same page about what it means to self-organize. You play In the Wind, which is a video about…or a documentary, I guess, about people in World War II deciding some life or death stuff, how to actually create teams that are going to…they’re really going to depend on for survival. So the stakes were quite a bit higher than probably creating a software team, I suspect.

Once everybody’s on the same page about self-organization, you get a clear understanding of the skills needed for each one of the features that the teams will be building, get a shared understanding of that, and then you do a self-assessment with everybody, using some constellations and such in the room to figure out where people’s strengths are via self-assessment, so you can make sure you have the right skill sets on the team. You probably have multiple iterations of this till you level out into a team that is comfortable working together.

And this whole thing takes five to eight hours, something like that. You can do it within a day, and you can do it anywhere in the world, apparently.

Jason Newberg: Yes, that’s right.

Natalie Veilleux: Yeah, you pretty much covered it. I just definitely add the anonymous checks, making sure people are comfortable with their team, I think, at the end of each round or iteration, is important.

Adam Weisbart: So the sources that you guys, you got a bunch of these ideas. I suspect a bunch of this is Craig Larman, is that correct?

Gabe Abella: Yes, he was with the bank. There’s also some great info, key articles which you can include in your notes as well, but there was some other team formation activities in the bank that we were able to leverage, experiencing [inaudible 00:28:41], of course, by Jason, living through it as well, really helped us to really improve it and make sure that it’s even better for the teams that we take on in the future.

Adam Weisbart: So if people listening are concerned the self-organization thing will only work in some tiny startup with a bunch of hippies, it turns out, it works with World War II bombers, saving each other’s lives and getting through the fight of their lives, and it works at JPMorgan Chase where they manage a gazillion dollars a day, I just made up that number, but it’s a very large number.

Gabe Abella: It’s close.

Adam Weisbart: So I suspect, it’ll probably work where you work too, provided you help your organization, the leaders in your organization and people doing the work on the ground build trust and understanding about self-organization and help surface these impediments that otherwise, if you don’t do this, will probably come back to bite you down the road anyway. You don’t get away from it for free.

Well, thank you all for being on the podcast. I really appreciate it. It was awesome meeting you at the conference, and great to have you on the podcast here.

Oh, man, I really enjoyed hanging out with those four. They were super smart folks doing awesome work, and I always love chatting with people that are in the trenches doing good work like that. I hope you found it useful as well. We’ll put links to everything we discussed in the episode in the show notes, of course, so you can go and learn more. There’ll also be a link to some excerpts from my talk there at JPMorgan Chase, if you’d like to check out what I had to say about innovation and agility. And if after you read through the materials on self-forming teams, if that feels overwhelming to you, but you want to try it with one of your teams, you can also get in touch with me because I’m available for on-site coaching and consulting. I can help you get your teams up and running, help you self-organize.

Well, until next time, stay agile. Never change.

Past Episodes

Episode 24:

What should we do instead of painful “Annual Planning”?

Episode 23:

Agile Virtual Summit Preview: Lyssa Adkins

Episode 22:

How do we make sure we have cross-functional teams and why does it matter?

Episode 21:

What agile practices can you recommend to our game development studio?

Episode 20:

How do we remove silos when doing government contract work using Scrum?

Episode 18:

How can we have good retrospectives (about our Scrum Master)?

Episode 17:

When’s the podcast coming back?

Episode 16:

How do we self-organize if our boss is on our team?

Episode 15:

How do we deal with constant interruptions to our Sprint?

Episode 14:

Can a User Story be too long? Ours seem insane!

Episode 13:

Can our Scrum Master and Product Owner be the same person?

Episode 12:

What 1 simple thing can I do to improve my coaching & scrum mastering?

Episode 11:

How do I get hired as a ScrumMaster if I’ve never been one before?

Episode 10:

Our team wants to be more agile. What agile process is best?

Episode 9:

How do we improve our giant, multi-team Sprint Review session (or Sprint Reviews in general)?

Episode 8:

What are some creative & effective ways to make Retrospectives more engaging?

Episode 7:

Will this hurt my Daily Scrum? And how do we deal with “non-dev” work?

Episode 6:

How do I escaped the dreaded ‘Scrummerfall’ trap?

Episode 5:

How do you help PMs and Managers not fall back into their waterfall ways?

Episode 4:

Our teams keep changing. How do I set guidelines that keep teams together?

Episode 3:

How do you make sure your team has time to make the improvements they identify in their Retros?

Episode 2:

When should the business stakeholders get help from the dev team to get items ready for work?

Episode 1:

How do I energize a demotivated Scrum team?

Mic Check! 1…2…3…