Surviving Zombie Scrum with Christiaan Verwijs and Johannes Schartau

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Keeping Agile Non-Denominational, Episode 21

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Alex Kudinov   Welcome to another episode of Tandem Coaching Academy's Keeping Agile Coaching Non-Denominational podcast. We are your hosts today Cherie Silas and I, Alex Kudinov and today we have two guests instead of one Christiaan in Johannes. They are a part of the liberators and they wrote this fascinating Scrum book. The Zombies Scrum. Hey Christian. Hey Johannes. So can you introduce yourself to our guests first?

Johannes Schartau   Do you want to go first Christiaan?

Christiaan Verwijs   Yeah, sure. Well, Christiaan Verwijs, one of the two founders of The Liberators, together with Barry Overeem, also author of The Zombie Scrum Survival Guide, not present here today but I'm representing him too. I'm really excited about Scrum. I've been working with Scrum for 15 years. I've seen it work really well in a lot of teams but also not so well in some other teams. I have a background in Organizational Psychology, which was really weird when I made-- I have a background in Information Technology and Organizational Psychology, which seemed really weird at the time but it actually makes a lot of sense these days. I'm also a Professional Scrum Trainer for and I really love liberating structures, which we'll probably talk about more in detail later.

Johannes Schartau   Right, so I'm Johannes Schartau. I'm living just north of Hamburg in Germany. I work for the company Holisticon, here, and what I do is organizational consulting. So I help organizations, teams individuals, on the way towards more Agility, flexibility, adaptability in their minds, in structures, in all kinds of ways. Like Christiaan, I guess I also have kind of a weird background because I studied Ethnology with a focus on shamanism in the Amazon basin and I'm also the the child of two therapists but I was also really interested in Information Technology and everything and when I was introduced to Scrum more than a decade ago, then all of these things kind of came together and it was just this watershed moment for me where I thought, "Wow, I could--  all these different things that I thought would never connect, actually come together. So I'm the third author of The Zombie Scrum Survival Guide and I hope, I think, I am a friend of Christiaan's and Barry's.

Christiaan Verwijs   Absolutely.

Alex Kudinov   Alright, gentlemen, good to have you here and let's start from the beginning. So apparently, there's good Scrum, there's bad Scrum, and there's this Zombie Scrum. What is that?

Johannes Schartau   So, we like to introduce them in Scrum by talking about the beating heart of Scrum, which Christiaan always has this nice gesture on his shirt that shows that it is a beating heart. So this this rhythm in Scrum and it's all about actually delivering working software. This is something that is missing from Zombie Scrum teams. So what we found is that a lot of teams working with Scrum trying to be more Agile, what happens is that they actually operate in a kind of lifeless environment that makes them do things that don't make a lot of sense and also are not really effective. That's kind of our entry point for the book and for our work, essentially.

Christiaan Verwijs   Yeah, it's always nice to see that in some organizations, I've worked for as an Agile coach for quite a while, and I would enter different organizations, and I would have this checklist in my mind, like, "What are the things I'm looking for?" I know, Johannes had that too and Barry too. Sometimes you could check all the things on that list but it still didn't work and I think that that's what we're trying to capture with Zombie Scrum. So everything that you would expect from Scrum is there or at least it seems to be there until you look closer and you see it's not really there.

Alex Kudinov   Seriously, I just can't let it go. I wouldn't be doing my job if I would just let it slide. You guys have this, as you said, 'weird background'. Psychology and I cannot even say like... shamanism for Johannes?

Johannes Schartau   Right

Alex Kudinov   How did that help you in coming up with this ideas of Zombie Scrum?

Johannes Schartau   So for me, what was really important is that one of the things that I learned during my studies but also, I think, that was kind of imprinted in me from my childhood is that things are often constructed and things don't have to be the way that they are currently. So for example, if an organization operates in a certain way, then that's a choice. That's not a law that was passed down from nature or anything but it's a choice and those are choices that people make consistently and that kind of reinforced the whole system. I think that helped me see kind of outside of that whole paradigm of, "This is the way things are around here. There's nothing to be done." but really like, "Yeah but we're flexible; we can do something else." It might be difficult but there's always something you can do. I think that's at least for me, that's how my background definitely shaped the whole thing.

Christiaan Verwijs   That's interesting. We never talked about this Johannes but we should have talked about this more, because it's interesting. Actually very similar to what I had in mind is, when I came from this background of Information Technology. I looked at organizations from the perspective of structure or technology, like what are they using? I don't know if that makes sense. Blue, it's one of the-- you have different management models and blue is very much focused on structure and in Organizational Psychology, it's all about social perception. So how are you seeing the people around you? What concepts do you have to understand what's happening around you? That's exactly what you just said Johannes. It's about culture, like the aggregation of all those concepts make organizational culture and organizational psychologists are very occupied with, how can you understand that? How can you change those systems? Ultimately, it's all about people. Which, it's completely obvious but it's so clear to me now but when I started with Scrum, very few people were talking about the people aspects of it,. It was very much focused on the engineering practices and technical skills but it's about people and I think that that's really interesting. That's how our background seemed to have helped here.

Alex Kudinov   Yeah, it's surprising how great of a shift it was in the last several years from, "Oh we're doing this thing, we're delivering software" to "Actually, we're building the teams." Actually, the teams are something bigger than the collection of individuals and what Johannes is saying is absolutely kind of jiving really well with what we do in coaching. I hear a lot that, "Somebody makes me feel that" or "Somebody makes me do that" and I'm like, "Nobody can make you feel. it's a choice and it's the choice that we all are making, whether it's human beings, whether it's teams, human systems, and all that good stuff. Absolutely fascinating parallels.

Cherie Silas   Right, so we watch a lot of zombie movies in my family, whether by choice or not, for me, I'm there. What I've noticed is the way they get rid of zombies in the movies is they  shoot 'em in the head. So how are you getting rid of the zombies in the organizations you work in? I suspect that you're not shooting them in the head?

Christiaan Verwijs   No, and thank you for making that connection because that's actually one of the reasons why we were a bit hesitant about the metaphor initially because we picked a metaphor to emphasize the sluggishness, the lack of soul. It's "It looks like a human but it's not really a human" but we emphasize very strongly in the book, and also in our own work with Scrum teams is, Zombie Scrum is a condition. You cannot blame the team for it, that they have that condition, and it's not something that individuals have. It's more a characteristic of the system. I think that that helps to take away the idea of, "We have to punish the Scrum zombies." I don't think we actually call them Scrum zombies anywhere in the book specifically for that reason because we don't want to single out individuals. We assume that people are doing the best they can and sometimes the result is Zombie Scrum but that's not because of bad intentions in themselves. So no, don't go around shooting people, obviously not. But how else, right? So what would you say Johannes? What's your take on the 'What else?'

Johannes Schartau   Right. So our approach to this whole thing is that we, like in a book, outline these five categories and these really help people just to, first of all, understand what Scrum is for and what was kind of designed to do and whether that actually matches with what they're trying to achieve. Then there are four things in which we kind of characterize healthy Scrum and show how Zombie Scrum differs from that and a big part of our book is that for each of these sections, we give the reader several experiments to try. So something that we wanted to do was to get people active immediately; not just learn about the theory and the backgrounds but something they can do right away to make some kind of improvement. What we found with Zombie Scrum teams is that the people within those teams, they often feel powerless within the bigger system. So we didn't write the whole book about how to change the whole system, how to implement, or how to make a whole organization Agile, but really, for those people who feel that way, something that they can do to make some kind of impact that helps them in their daily life. From our perspective, that is something that was really needed. So the people we talked to, they usually-- it was interesting for them to listen to the bigger picture and why things happen in a certain way, and what might be needed but that didn't help them or that there wasn't much that they were able to do on a team level. That's kind of one of the bigger parts in the book, that there are experiments that people can try right away.

Cherie Silas   Very interesting. So if this infection is in the system, how does it actually get there?

Johannes Schartau   So I'll start and then Christiaan will take over. So, for us, it starts with the sentiment behind trying to use Scrum, right? Most organizations, when organizations start using Scrum, they have some reason for doing that. Then the question is, what are they trying to get out of it and is Scrum something that can actually deliver on that hope? We outline in the book that in our opinion, and it's definitely based on something, Scrum helps you be more flexible and adaptive. For example, that's not the same thing as just getting more output. That's something that a lot of organizations are hoping for that kind of everything is going to stay the same and then the teams do these fun iterations or whatever and we will just get more software, whatever that is, in the end. So that's usually how it gets started. There's a mismatch between what Scrum is able to offer and what the organization is hoping for, what it is designed to do, what the structures help to do. Then there's a tension that arises and if it's not dissolved, for example, by restructuring the organization, or making some changes for more flexibility, or creating more autonomy for the teams, for example, then we believe that's how Zombie Scrum gets started. But there's more!! Christiaan.

Christiaan Verwijs   There's more! Yeah. So what Johannes already captured nicely is that sort of the lack of understanding of why we're doing Scrum in the first place and how it's about managing the risk of complex work. Two things that we really see or, actually, four things that we really see that cause Zombie Scrum. The first two are when teams don't ship fast at all. We call it 'Ship it fast' in the book because it's a nice short sentence. We simply mean teams never release anything to production. They never release anything to their customers. Maybe they have some internal staging environment that they release to every spring but nothing actually goes to the stakeholders.  So that's one of the things that goes wrong. The second thing is that the stakeholders are never included in the process. In this case, I'm talking about actual stakeholders, like the people that actually have a stake in the product, either because they pay for it, or they are going to be significant users of that product, or maybe they already are. So I'm not talking about the employee from the marketing department, who also has an opinion about the product. That's an important person to include but that's not a stakeholder. Stakeholder actually has a stake in it and what we see in Zombie Scrum teams is that they often include the wrong stakeholders, or no stakeholders at all. We talk about the wrong stakeholders as sort of the audience in The Zombie Scrum Survival Guide, they have an opinion about it but they don't have a personal stake in it. So Building on Stakeholders and Ship it Fast, those are the two pillars. Those two pillars are made possible by two other areas, which is what Johannes already mentioned, autonomy, the degree to which teams are self managing and cross functional, which we collectively describe as self organize in the book or self manage and then there's also continuous improvement. So a process whereby teams continuously try to figure out what is happening, what can we do better, and are we actually doing things better. That's sort of the core model that we present in our book. So team autonomy, continuous improvement, stakeholder collaboration, and releasing frequently.

Alex Kudinov   So I was almost waiting for the third one, that it's a virus, and we all need to wear face masks. Apparently that is not the cure.

Christiaan Verwijs   I have a face mask with zombies on it. We were thinking about putting it in the webshop as a sort of a nice to have, but it felt kind of weird.

Johannes Schartau   We'd just like to point out again, that this all started before COVID. So when that happened, there was a moment when we were like, "Oh, no" and I know Cherie, for example, you were part of at least one workshop, right? We handed out these face masks to people in the workshops as a joke and then later was actually like, "These come in useful at the moment." We were looking at old pictures. "Hey, do you remember a year ago when this was just a joke and now everybody's actually wearing face masks?" but still seem to respond well to the metaphor and know that is kind of funny and nothing serious.

Cherie Silas   That's right, Alex, you didn't know that at a conference, I got to be a zombie.

Alex Kudinov   So you got a mask?

Cherie Silas   I got the whole-- I was this-- I had the makeup and everything. I was the whole zombie.

Alex Kudinov   Alright, so you're talking a lot about teams and what was the impact on the team this environment has. However, in the Agile community, we talk a lot about this Agile transformation, which I have my own kind of problems with, however, we need to admit that it's a fact of life that a lot of organizations are doing this Agile transformation for good or bad reason, right? We kind of probably all agree that bottom up approach in big organizations doesn't work or is not as effective as the leadership has to come from the top, and leadership has to have a mindset, and they have to have the right approach. So what's the role of leadership in introducing the zombie atmosphere or, maybe, eliminating it?

Johannes Schartau   So that might be a topic for the next book that we have to write. We still have to talk about it. So the thing is that it plays a huge role, in my opinion, -- Christiaan I would be really interested in hearing yours -- but so we talked about, for example, the organizational structures, and the processes, and the mindset are definitely shaped by the whole leadership thing. There are different ways of approaching this. So we discussed whether we should kind of focus on teams, with the book and our work, or if we should focus on leadership first, because it has, often, more of an impact. What we found was that the people we talked to most were actually based on the team level, and no one addressed that issue of, like we said, being helpless and feeling powerless within a system.  I believe that leadership could potentially play a huge role in this or play a huge role in mitigating those circumstances. Especially by educating themselves on what agility actually is not just maybe reading a book or reading some article online or in some some magazine but really understanding what the aim is and really getting clear on where in within the organization that actually helps or that is something that addresses some kind of need that they're facing in some part of an organization. I personally, don't think there's something like the fully Agile organization, because I believe you need stability in certain parts of an organization, and you always need to match your approach to what your environment actually requires. To me, that's one of the big leadership skills of making that distinction but also then going full in. If there's a part that needs more flexibility, then you need to know that that's a completely different approach. It's not the same, it's not slightly different. It's very different. Then the rules really change. For example, the whole autonomy thing that we just talked about, that is usually something that needs to come from leadership. In traditional organizations, that is not something that just emerges on its own or can just be taken but usually, the leadership role is to create environments in which that autonomy can be taken, and people also want to take it, and they can take it. Yeah, Christiaan just add anything to this point.

Christiaan Verwijs   That was already such a great answer. I'm thinking what to add. Maybe one thing is that, like Johannes already said, in the book we don't really talk about the role of leadership because the focus is really on the Scrum teams and what they can control. We do offer some experiments on how to actually involve leadership in the process, for example, by sharing an impediment newsletter, like what are the impediments that you're running into as a team. I used to do this with a colleague of mine in an organization where I worked for a while and that worked really well. Every sprint, we would send out a newsletter with some of the results of the sprint but also the biggest impediment that the team ran into that sprint. It was a great way for management to see what was going on and often did try to help out because people in management position also want to help. They often don't know how to help and where to help. So if you make that easy for them, that's also a good way to do it. To add to Johannes' point about the team autonomy, what we can really see already, also from the data that we're collecting with the survey, is that if teams have high degrees of autonomy, they are far less than dependent on management support, in general, to be effective. So if there's anything to start with, it's really create autonomous teams make sure they can self manage as much as possible, with regards to the work on the products, the rest will flow from there. So it will make it easier to continuously improve. It will make it easier to work with stakeholders. It will make it easier for them to release frequently. So team autonomy is where it starts.

Alex Kudinov   I cannot not follow up on the words that you said there, "We are experimenting" and we love our experiments. We love our hypothesis, right? We love the data, right, because you always need the data to see what works and what doesn't and then you appeal it to persevere. So what kind of data do you have right now to kind of prove or disprove your hypothesis that what you're promising and that what you're suggesting, is actually working?

Christiaan Verwijs   Which hypothesis are you referring specifically to?

Alex Kudinov   Like the whole Zombie Scrum. "We think that doing this will eliminate or  diminish Zombie Scrum?

Christiaan Verwijs   Mm hmm. Well, I think one part of this, but Johannes can maybe add his part to that is the first part of this is basically our own experience with the Scrum teams that we've worked with. We've seen that if you work, for example, on autonomy, then things are more likely to improve. Obviously, our experience is only is colored by our own glasses. So that's why it's so important for us to also have a more objective instrument like the survey that we already mentioned a couple of times. It's a way for us to gather data and see what's actually happening in Scrum teams without our glasses in front of them. With that data, we can actually validate some of these hypotheses and we're still writing out the publication for this but it seems to confirm quite nicely the picture that we have, the hypotheses that we have. Yes, team autonomy increases continuous improvement in teams. Yes, that in turn increases stakeholder collaboration and that in turn, makes it easier to release frequently. If you don't release frequently but if you involve your stakeholders all the time, it doesn't really matter, because they're not going to get anything, because you're not releasing frequently. So a lot of those hypotheses that we talked about in the book are actually in the process of being validated with not just our own experience but also with objective data or more objective data.

Johannes Schartau   Yeah, eventually we would also like to take it one step further that we can match. So we suggest certain experiments and then we would also like to collect data on those. So for example, measure before trying to experiment and then measure afterwards to see if that actually helped. We will try to create a community in which we can gather more data on what is actually effective in fighting this. So far, it's mostly our own experience and small tests with other people but we would also like to make this more data driven, and, like I said, create a community around that to really find out what helps and what is effective.

Cherie Silas   So, Christian, you mentioned a survey a few times. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that is, and what data you're collecting, and why.

Christiaan Verwijs   Why? Well, I think almost the idea for the survey, correct me if I'm wrong, is that we started collecting our own observations about what is typical for Zombie Scrum teams and what distinguishes them from healthy Scrum teams. When we created that list, we all of a sudden thought, "Wait, we can actually turn this into a survey and help teams diagnose themselves." So that's what we started with and if you go to, you can actually fill in that survey now. It's evolved over time, quite a bit, I have to say but the nice thing is that this was, for us, a way to not only gather data about what actually makes Scrum teams successful or not successful but also to help teams diagnose their own situation and to give them feedback on that data. So it is a survey, yes, but there's also a profile that you get at the end of filling in the survey and in that profile are a lot of the recommendations that can help. We refer to experiments from the book. We refer to do it yourself workshops that people can use within their own organization. The survey is free and most of that content is also free. So it's just a way for us to help a lot of teams that are stuck in zombie Scrum to find ways to improve and as you almost already said, hopefully, as data driven as possible, and we're moving in that direction quite nicely, I think so far.

Cherie Silas   So what would you say that, if I get your book, I read through it, at the end, what am I going to come out with, that I didn't have before, that's going to be really, really helpful for me.

Johannes Schartau   Hope. That's uh

Alex Kudinov   Hope is not a strategy.

Johannes Schartau   We sometimes joke about this a bit but there's a serious part of this, which is, what we found is actually, that so many people in these teams feel hopeless, and they feel powerless, and if they just feel like, "Maybe there's something I can do" or "Maybe there's something I can try tomorrow that is just going to improve it a bit." That's really what we're looking for that we break through this lifelessness and this resignation within people that that makes them stuck. So when we say hope, what we also mean is this drive for just trying one more time, or spreading a bit of joy, or seeing things in a different light, and I think that's really the basic message in the whole book.

Cherie Silas   When I work in different companies, I find that every one of them thinks, "It's just us. I'm all alone. No one else experiences this." So I agree that seeing what's actually happening outside of their own space in the world, and that this is repetitive. I think that can take away some of that all aloneness and let people know that others are surviving this, no organization is perfect. We've all got challenges.

Johannes Schartau   Right? So one of the first things that we noticed when we were using or when we're testing this metaphor, because like Christiaan said, we weren't really sure whether we could use it or people would find it offensive but what happened was that people were absolutely delighted and relieved, and people walked up to me and said, "It has a name! It's not just us that-- it has a name!" Then what we found was that once people can categorize it, or they have a language where they can start talking about it, and that really helps that they feel connected, they feel like it might be manageable. It's not just-- often we project onto certain people in a system, like this isn't working because of them or because of this structure but knowing that this is kind of a dynamic that we see very often and that there might be an antidote, that's something that helped a lot of people. To me, after releasing the book, a lot of people reached out sending messages, and those are the things that really make it worthwhile just hearing from someone. "Listen, this helped" or "I talked with my team about this. We took the survey, we read this blog post, and it made some kind of impact" and that really also gives me hope but it's really nice to hear that and see that.

Alex Kudinov   All right. So I get it guys. The world is broken. It's Zombie. So you are offering a cure to fix the Zombie Scrum. I know that Ryan Ripley and the company offers to fix your Scrum." So what if I am a leader and I've been living under a rock for the last, I don't know, 10 years. Now I'm emerging and I'm like, "Oh, there's this new thing Scrum. I want to be in the front on the front lines, right? I hear that I need to deliver often; I need to get things out. I need to involve stakeholders. Is that all that I need to be doing to avoid Zombie Scrum in my organization or is there anything else?

Christiaan Verwijs   Well, it's obviously also about having an autonomous team to be able to do that with as little dependencies as possible. So consistently, as a team, look at, "Where are we depending on others? What skills do we need that are not currently in our team?" and this continuous improvement loop that we also mentioned, that's really important that it's okay, if it's not working well, right now. Almost every Scrum team starts from a position where they cannot work closely with stakeholders and they cannot release frequently, at least many teams do. So that's okay but at least diagnose that situation, and start improving in small steps towards a situation where you can. I think our book helps with that but, for example, Fix your Scrum by Ryan and Todd is also a great book for that. There are many other great books that help you in that direction too. Maybe Johannes has more thoughts on this one?

Johannes Schartau   Well, in a way, it actually is that simple and what I find is that people often overcomplicate it. What I noticed is that most organizations don't really read the signs that are being given to them by Scrum. If you actually use Scrum, the way it was intended, it is highly disruptive, right? Maybe that's something that people should be aware of that, if you try this, it's not just this, like I said before, this nice thing that the developers do with funny iterations or something but it's really going to cause so many problems and that's a good thing. Maybe people are not aware enough that this is going to happen and then taking that seriously having the discussion of, "What is it that we need? How far do we want to go?" You don't have to go 100% all the time but if the situation demands it, maybe then that's a good idea, right? For that you really need to, I mean, if you get into that loop of trying to improve and shipping fast, then that should already show you so many ways of fixing what might not be working and what's in the way of Agility that I don't think you need much more. I mean, it's often about, "How exactly do I do this" or "Do I need a specific method for that?" That's okay but that's usually secondary and that's something you can find if you talk to someone in the community; that's something that you can discover.

Cherie Silas   So before we kind of wind down the program, I want to give you an opportunity to say what's the big thing that you haven't told the world yet that you really want them to understand about this whole Zombie Scrum, and how do we eliminate Zombie Scrum, and all those things? What's the main message you want to send?

Christiaan Verwijs   Would you like to take this one, Johannes?

Johannes Schartau   You can go first.

Christiaan Verwijs   My biggest hope is that after reading the book, people will understand very clearly why they're doing Scrum, not how they're doing Scrum. There are many books out there that talk about how to do Scrum but why are you doing it and 'why' with a lot of different examples, because we share a lot of cases in the book, but also some theory, if you will, to explain that. It's good for teams to know that but also for the people around them. So I hope that the people around the teams will also read this book or just a summary of the book. That's fine, too but really to understand why you're doing Scrum and how Scrum is a competitive advantage; how it's an asset that makes it easier for your organization to survive in a very dynamic and complex market. That's my personal hope with the book.

Johannes Schartau   Yeah, mine is very similar. It connects to something I said earlier that I feel like this distinction between what organizations used to optimize for and what Agility needs,  that's one of the crucial points. Making a decision whether that is actually helpful. I've worked with organizations where the outcome of my engagement was, "You don't need this. You need other things." That's fine and my hope or what I'm there for, I want to make people successful and that might mean, you need some kind of different method. When we use Scrum, and when we use Agile, people often don't realize that our definition of success changes fundamentally and the way that we, in our daily life, say, "This is good" and "This is desirable and this is something we want to achieve", compared to traditional organizations, that is something that that changes drastically. That knowledge and that awareness is something that is really going to help people if they can attain it, and if they understand that, like I said before, it's not just this tiny thing that you do but eventually it's going to turn into something much bigger.

Alex Kudinov   Yeah something definitely to be said there, focusing on outcomes versus outputs and how Scrum actually can bring that into focus, and how it can help you change the mindset and how you operate. So the book is in the rearview mirror and 2021, hopefully, will be a little bit different than 2020. What are you guys working on? What are you trying to bring to the world and give to the community in 2021?

Christiaan Verwijs   Well, that's a big question because, honestly, the year is already so chaotic that I don't know what it's gonna bring but what's happening right now is that, as I already mentioned, we're working on the scientific publication of the research data that we're collecting with the survey. I'm sure we'll continue with that this year, there are different papers that we want to write about this but that also depends on the scientist that we're collaborating with and their time. So that's definitely one thing. We're also continuing to work on this on the survey itself to add more features that are requested by stakeholders or users and hopefully, to make it even easier for teams to find help in that survey and the feedback that we give. As for different books, I don't know. I'd love to write more but we haven't picked a topic yet. Maybe-- Johannes  already mentioned leadership. So who knows?

Johannes Schartau   Well, it's an idea but my main focus is definitely on working more directly with people. So now that the metaphor is out there, and we hope we have created some awareness, what I would really like to do is have more organizations, be aware of this and then being able to work with them on creating people inside the organization who can deal with this. So that was something we always tried to establish it's kind of like the Zombie Scrum resistance within organizations, or just get people to act as kind of catalyst within that organization to fight that issue, and just be more hands on. That's something that I would really like to do.

Alex Kudinov   So basically, people as antidote to Zombie Scrum. Love that! You're creating more of those, right? It's like, I cannot not go back and it's like fighting the virus. It's like injecting the vaccine. 2020 gave us so many great metaphors. Alright! So Christiaan, Johannes,  really great to have you here. Wishing you a lot of luck and a lot of success in 2021 and beyond. This has been another episode of Tandem Coaching Academy's Keeping Agile Coaching Non-Denominational podcast and we will be talking to the authors of Zombie Scrum Johannes and Christiaan. We were your hosts, Cherie Silas and Alex Kudinov. Bye now.

About Episode Guest

Johannes Schartau

Johannes Schartau is a consultant, trainer and coach for Agile product development and organizational improvement. His interests in ethnology (with a focus on Amazonian shamanism), psychology, technology, integral thinking, complexity science and stand up comedy finally coalesced when he was introduced to Scrum in 2010. Since then he has dedicated himself to exploring organizations from all possible angles together with their members.

Christiaan Verwijs

"Christiaan Verwijs is one of the two founders of The Liberators. Somewhere in a dusty drawer, he has degrees in organizational psychology and business information technology. He has over twenty years of experience as a developer, Scrum Master and trainer and steward for, both in small and large organizations. In those years, he has seen his share of severe Zombie Scrum, as well as how many of those teams found the road to recovery. Christiaan loves to write (posts and code), read and play games. You can follow his writing online at"

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"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
"You really want to do something? Walk into a predominantly black university offered to do a free class for the business students or whatever students. Do a free CSM. Two days, it's time. It's not about, 'can you give me money?' Nobody wants a handout. Can you give me your time? Go mentor somebody.
Agile Leadership is not a title, it's a mindset. This and other aspects of Agile Leadership we cover with author, speaker, and agile coach Zuzi Sochova in this episode of the Keeping Agile Coaching non-Denominational podcast.
Agile Leadership is not a title, it's a mindset. This and other aspects of Agile Leadership we cover with author, speaker, and agile coach Zuzi Sochova in this episode of the Keeping Agile Coaching non-Denominational podcast.
Agile Leadership is not a title, it's a mindset. This and other aspects of Agile Leadership we cover with author, speaker, and agile coach Zuzi Sochova in this episode of the Keeping Agile Coaching non-Denominational podcast.
Melissa Boggs served as a Chief Scrum Master of Scrum Alliance and had a unique perspective on the role of a Scrum Master for the whole organization. In the world where a lot of us are struggling with defining the role of a Scrum Master at the organizational level, Melissa shares her unique experience with our readers and listeners in this podcast episode.
Coaching presence is one of the most complex and misunderstood professional coaching competencies. Cherie Silas and Alex Kudinov are chatting with Jo Fourtanier and discussing this competency in this podcast episode.
The middle management is often referred to as the Frozen Middle. The renowned expert in leadership and modern management Johanna Rothman joins Tandem Coaching podcast to discuss how to unfreeze that frozen middle.
In our VUCA world do we as coaches need to add more complexity and make our craft all that complex? Claire Pedrick says we work too hard and too much. Simplifying coaching is the key to mastery.
After writing her groundbreaking Coaching Agile Teams, Lyssa was put on pedestal by the Agile community and has been there since, casting a shadow (or shining a bright light) on the community as a whole and brining wisdom of Agile coaching to the growing pool of agile coaches. In this episode we are talking about what brought Lyssa to Agile coaching, what changes she notices in Agile coaching as of late, and what she is looking forward to in 2021.
In this episode Allison Pollard discusses the concept of "meeting where they are," and what it means for Agile Coaches. How do we support people on their agile journey? What changed over the last year? When might we pivot as agile coaches and what is significance of keeping agile non-denominational.
Are you running your business or working for it? What does it take to build a successful coaching business? What obstacles should you expect and how Cornelia, a successful entrepreneur, overcame those? All of this and more.
Miscarriage is a loss-why should it be treated like any other loss? Right now it’s not - in most organizations. What kind of support and conversations that can be had in organizations to clear the taboo about infertility? How can a manager have a conversation or support someone in their team going through infertility? As a colleague or friend, how can you support someone with infertility? When you meet someone new in your organization, here is a question you don’t ask.
Coaching is an awesome instrument to engage in a co-creative process allowing to make strategic shifts in business-turmoil. In this episode we touch upon how coaching and co-creation can - even in deep crisis - be more effective and sustainable than typical "crisis" management; how coaching brings more innovation to strategic thinking and what is needed to stand open for an entire new business model.
Coaching is a word with so many misunderstood meanings and implementations. Unfortunately and fortunately, there is no single way to coach. What is now abundantly obvious is that coaching is a valuable skill for more professionals beyond Agile coaches. Turns out there is an answer to how leaders can create, enable and maintain high-performing teams, they leverage professional coaching in their leadership delivery. We are discussing and examining the link between quality leaders and professional coaching.
With Coronavirus taking over the world and people are forced into a remote work situation, Jim Sammons, Erica Henson, and Alex Kudinov are discussing how Scrum is affected by this.
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