Agile Answers

By Adam Weisbart: Certified Scrum Trainer & Agile Coach

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Get actionable answers to your questions about agile software development, the Scrum framework, and agile management. Adam tackles questions from callers to help them conquer their real-world challenges.

Episode Date
How do we make sure we have cross-functional teams and why does it matter?
Every once in a while I stumble upon a facilitation tool that works so well I’m a little shocked. Recently I was helping several teams work together to create a backlog for their large project and I had a sneaking suspicion that the teams they had formed were not truly cross-functional. The trouble was, as...
Jun 01, 2017
What agile practices can you recommend to our game development studio?
Whether you build video games for a living, or just like playing them for fun today’s episode will help you improve your Scrum implementation. I’m always looking for practical tips on how teams can improve their work together and my friend Clinton Keith (who wrote Agile Game Development with Scrum) just came out with a new book...
May 17, 2017
How do we remove silos when doing government contract work using Scrum?
Ed works for a government integrator and is finding it very difficult to deliver thin vertical slices of functionality every sprint. The difficulty is that, by law, his company cannot have access to the full system they’re working on. I’ve enlisted the help of my friend Patrick McConnell, who’s an Agilist with tons of government experience...
May 10, 2017
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,...
May 03, 2017
How can we have good retrospectives (about our Scrum Master)?
The podcast is BACK! Today’s question comes from Stig, who is wondering how to help his team give honest and constructive feedback to their Scrum Master during retrospectives. We’ll talk about an approach you can use to help your team to break through the power imbalance that might be keeping them from sharing useful information with your Scrum...
Apr 27, 2017
When’s the podcast coming back?
I’ve gotten the same question from several different people over the last several weeks”What happened to the podcast?” and “Is it ever coming back?”. << Spoiler Alert >> Yes it’s coming back. Soon Listen to this quick update to find out what the heck happened to it. Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take...
May 26, 2016
How do we self-organize if our boss is on our team?
Today’s question come from an anonymous source. “Stifled Scrummer” says that their boss is on their team, which makes self-organization difficult. Stifled is wondering what tips I have for helping them deal with this organizational impediment. Mentioned in this episode:  Free chapter of Agile Antipatterns  Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate...
Feb 16, 2016
How do we deal with constant interruptions to our Sprint?
We’ll take a look at why teams often use user stories to capture agile requirements and how the format often gets misused. If a user story isn’t a detailed requirement, then what is it? Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate it in iTunes. Do you have a question for the...
Jan 28, 2016
Can a User Story be too long? Ours seem insane!
We’ll take a look at why teams often use user stories to capture agile requirements and how the format often gets misused. If a user story isn’t a detailed requirement, then what is it? Mentioned in this episode:  User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate...
Jan 20, 2016
Can our Scrum Master and Product Owner be the same person?
Andrew’s organization is small. Since the company is small, they’ve decided that the Product Owner and Scrum Master need to be the same person. We’ll discuss the possible pitfalls of mixing these two roles and what can be done instead. Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate it in iTunes. Do...
Jan 13, 2016
What 1 simple thing can I do to improve my coaching & scrum mastering?
I’ve been meditating daily for around 3 years, which has hugely improved my skill as an agile coach due to the focus it helps promote. In this episode my friend Hala asks for tips on how to get started. Since I think every agile coach and scrum master can benefit from setting aside a few minutes...
Jan 07, 2016
How do I get hired as a ScrumMaster if I’ve never been one before?
Susan wants to get a new job as a Scrum Master. The problem? She’s never been a Scrum Master before and it seems that employers are only hiring people with experience. She has become a Certified Scrum Master, but that alone isn’t doing the trick. In this episode, we’ll explore how she can improve her...
Dec 01, 2015
Our team wants to be more agile. What agile process is best?
Alex’s team wants to be more agile, and he’s wondering what process they should try first. With so many approaches out there, how does one pick the right one? Even though I’m a Certified Scrum Trainer, my answer might surprise you. Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate it in iTunes....
Nov 03, 2015
How do we improve our giant, multi-team Sprint Review session (or Sprint Reviews in general)?
Dae-Ho’s organization has multiple Scrum teams, and one giant all-day Sprint Review. People come and go throughout the day, and stakeholders are not always present. He wonders if there’s a better way to do things. Even if your company only has one Scrum team, the tips in this episode will likely help improve your Sprint...
Oct 27, 2015
What are some creative & effective ways to make Retrospectives more engaging?
Anthony is looking for ways to make the Scrum meetings more engaging and useful. In this episode I’ll talk about how to get your team engaged in Retrospectives by making them FUN! If your team feels stuck, tools in this episode will help you break out of old patterns. If you’re already enjoying your retrospectives, this episode will...
Oct 13, 2015
Will this hurt my Daily Scrum? And how do we deal with “non-dev” work?
Jamie has two questions: the first is about the Daily Scrum, the second is about how to account for work a team needs to do that doesn’t directly affect the product they’re building. I’ll answer both questions this episode, and let you know how you can help shape the podcast moving forward. Help improve the...
Oct 05, 2015
How do I escaped the dreaded ‘Scrummerfall’ trap?
Duncan’s team has switched from waterfall to an iterative approach. Their iterations are 2 weeks in length, but it seems the team is just doing mini-waterfalls in the two-week timebox. I’ll share the 3 simple steps teams can take to extract themselves from this common agile antipattern. Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate...
Sep 29, 2015
How do you help PMs and Managers not fall back into their waterfall ways?
Switching from waterfall to an agile approach can be difficult. Managers, PMs, and others often cling to their old command-and-control ways in order to feel comfortable and, well, “in control”. Raj asks how he can help his organization move forward and improve their agile implementation despite this. Dave Prior, CST, PMP, and AAGG (All Around...
Sep 22, 2015
Our teams keep changing. How do I set guidelines that keep teams together?
illConstantly moving people from team to team hurts the teams in question, the individuals being moved around, and the organizations they serve. Amanda asks what guidelines can be put in place to help protect against this. You’ll learn a handy game you can use during coaching conversations with management and teams that helps illustrate how...
Sep 15, 2015
How do you make sure your team has time to make the improvements they identify in their Retros?
Does your team identify process improvements in your Retrospective then find it hard to make time during the next sprint to actually implement the improvements? You’re not alone. In this episode I’ll answer Cheryl’s question by suggesting 3 steps to help combat this issue. Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate...
Sep 05, 2015
When should the business stakeholders get help from the dev team to get items ready for work?
When’s the right time to get the development team and business stakeholders together to discuss requirements? Marcy is struggling with a few challenges around this topic, so my friend Luke Walter, CST stopped by and we tackled it together. We also ate tacos. Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate it...
Sep 05, 2015
How do I energize a demotivated Scrum team?
Angela recently joined an existing team as their new ScrumMaster. Unfortunately the team is a bit shell-shocked from their old ScrumMaster’s command-and-control ways. I’ll offer up several approaches to help her team get energized about Scrum again. Like the podcast? I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate it in iTunes. Mentioned in the show: Agile...
Sep 04, 2015
Mic Check! 1…2…3…
Introducing the Agile Answers Podcast! Every week I’ll answer a question submitted by a listener, and will give you no-nonsense real-world tips, tricks, and techniques to help you improve your agile kung-fu. At around 10 minutes per episode, you’ll get tons of value with no sleep inducing droning! Subscribe now and get notified when the next episode is...
Sep 04, 2015