Category Archives: tips & tricks

10 more things to drive your Scrum Master crazy

CrazyIt’s been a long time since I wrote “10 things to drive your Scrum Master crazy” and it’s about time to give you some new weapons. So, here they are:

  1. Hide the SM’s beloved moderation markers.
  2. Play on your smartphone during the (planning) meetings, as long as they are not talking about YOUR tasks.
  3. Always lament about the same things but don’t change anything.
  4. Keep blaming and finger pointing everyone else except yourself for all the problems, you are only a victim.
  5. Ignore all agile values as they don’t apply to you. Continue reading

6 Things You Might Try in 2012

Firework
http://www.flickr.com/photos/katieharbath/4764671272/

2011 draws to a close and it is time to set your goals for 2012. If you’re not sure what challenges to put on your plan for 2012, the following list could be a starting point.

1 retro 2011

Before jumping into 2012 it might be a good idea to do a retrospective for the past year. Sit together with your family, draw a timeline and collect all the good things that happened to you in 2011. But do me a favor and forget about the bad things to keep 2011 in good memory.

2 question your org structure

When was the last time you questioned the organizational structure of your company? Does it still fit with the way you’re working? Does it support you in your daily business? No? Then it is definitely time to openly question this structure. I saw a lot of companies trying to introduce agile frameworks like Scrum but without changing the current org structure. It never worked. Let’s try to avoid it! Invite for a kick off meeting to get the discussions rolling and start the change process. It is worth it.

3 ask why

Why did your company introduce Scrum? Why do they think that agile frameworks will help. Why is this process in place. Why do we need to fill out this excel spreadsheet? Why does it take so long to get new hardware? Why is Bob behaving like an idiot? Why are you doing your job? Why is this task so important.

Why questions are the most powerful questions. They are a great trigger to ignite change in your workplace or even in your private life. Why questions will help you in your quest for a life of continuously improvements.

4 offer uncalled help

When was the last time you actively offered help? Don’t wait to be asked. When you see somebody struggling, offer them your help. This shouldn’t be limited to your work life, but also to your private life. Unfortunately, the number of people who are offering uncalled help is decreasing year after year. It starts with so simple things, like opening the door for someone who is balancing a cup of coffee in one and a laptop in the other hand. Try it out, it will brighten up your day.

5 work on your listening skill

Have a look at this great TED talk by Julian Treasure. He talks about 5 ways to listen better. Definitely worth the time!

6 genba walk

If you’re a manager or team lead, this one is for you. Instead of sitting in your office and waiting till everyone comes to you, leave your office and visit your employees. Genba is a Japanese term meaning “the real place”. Go to the places in your company, where the real value is created. The idea of a genba walk is that problems are visible and the best improvement ideas will come from going to the genba. It is also a great opportunity to improve your communication with your team.

What else to you have on your agenda for the year 2012? Leave a comment! Thanks.

7 tricks to generate new blog post ideas

Light Bulb
http://www.flickr.com/photos/qisur/4351196974/

I’m currently sitting at my desk and thinking about what to write about in my next blog post. @breskeby was so kind to mention that if I don’t have anything to say I shouldn’t write a blog post. I think he is right, but on the other hand I don’t want to break my habit of writing a blog post every week. I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

But then @fjeisenberg came around the corner and proposed the topic “How to find ideas to blog about”. I liked the idea. And now that’s the topic of this blog post. Thanks Florian :)

1- Ask your followers on twitter

As this already worked for me, it will also work for you. Just ask your followers on twitter what they want you to blog about. If you’re lucky you’ll get one or more good idea you can use.

2 – Install the WordPress client on your mobile phone

In the past several of my articles came onto my mind, when I was outside with my kids. Or I had a great idea when sitting at my desk at work. Before I used WordPress on my mobile phone, I forgot about these ideas most of the time. But now, every time I have a good idea for an article I create a skeleton article on my blog using my mobile phone. That way you can create a pool of article ideas. Unfortunately, none of the articles in my pool inspired me today ;)

3 – Have a theme for your blog

It often helps to have a theme for your blog. In spring of this year I started a series called “Food for Thought“. It really helped me to generate a lot of articles based on this theme. A lot of other successful blogger did the same. A good example is @jurgenappelo’s blog about Management 3.0 which is now a successful book in the agile community. I’m still searching for the theme that works for me, but some day I’ll find it.

4 – Use your twitter timeline

If you follow enough people on twitter you may have the chance to observe an interesting conversation or a new idea. Use this as a starting point for your article. Refer to the tweet and write about your opinion about the topic, instead of writing a simple tweet or comment.

5 – Conversational writing

A few weeks ago @catoliv and @mfloryan started a conversation by writing blog posts. One was writing the initial blog post and the other one was answering with another blog post. This way you get inspired by the other person and get some feed for your own blog. Find someone on twitter (or elsewhere) and start doing the same.

6 – Write about your own experience

One of my most successful articles “10 things to drive your ScrumMaster crazy” was based on real life experience of a team at that time. One day they bugged me that much, that I decided to create a list of the things that drove me crazy. There are several other articles in my blog which are based on real life experience. IMHO that’s maybe the best approach.

7 – Ask your blog readers

Yes, that’s a good idea :) Dear blog readers, what do you want me to write about in the future? Did you like anything special in the past I should write a follow up? Do you think there is the one topic I have to write about? What do you wish to read on this blog? Please leave a comment. Thanks!