Blog

PMI EMEA Conference 2018 – Summary

I’ve just come back from the PMI EMEA Conference in Berlin, Germany where I was presenting the topic: Transitioning from a Project Manager to Scrum Master.

I was also asked by PMI to bring the conference to those who couldn’t attend via social media so I was blogging and tweeting throughout the event. Here’s a summary of the posts that I’ve written already:

Being able to bring the conference to those who could not attend really made me approach the conference differently and with a different sense of perspective. I was more focused on trying to get the ‘feel’ of not just the sessions but also the breaks and networking sessions. One of the best parts of the PMI conferences is that you are able to network with all levels of an organisation and all types of Project Managers in a friendly, relaxed environment.

volunteer

My talk was held on Tuesday afternoon and the premise of the presentation was to provide an overview of the things that Project Managers go through when they are transitioning to becoming a Scrum Master. The talk went really well and I’ve received a lot of great feedback and made sure that I made time for the large number of questions that I received both during the presentation and afterwards. I’ve also been requested by the participants to do a follow up of the presentation giving more practical advice on the different stages of transition. I’ll be trying to organise this and will communicate this if I can arrange it.

PMIEMEA
Photo courtesy of Priya Patra

The most interesting aspect of the presentation for me was understanding just how widespread the issues experienced in agile are in the projects running today. Throughout the presentation, I asked for a show of hands at regular intervals to understand if others had experienced this and there were a surprising amount of nods of heads to a lot of the items. There are a lot of ‘commonalities’ that exist and it doesn’t seem to matter which industry, which company, which phase you’re in; the issues experienced have a few key characteristics:

  • Support from the organisation
    • Whether this is training, coaching, supportive management
  • Lack of Agile mentality
  • Insufficient training
presentation
Courtesy of Rosaria

Through the session, I discussed what you can do to resolve each of the issues discussed and what each item means in reality for Scrum Masters today. After the presentation, I spent time not only answering questions that people had but also talking through some of the issues that people have. This is one of my favourite parts of any talk and in this talk, it was especially good because we all spoke together and others shared their experiences and ideas.

What’s next?

I’m doing a lot of follow up with people that have asked questions and advice and I’ll be trying to organise the follow-up session in the upcoming weeks/month if I can.

If you’ve got questions about the conference or about the transition to Scrum Master in general, please feel free to contact me!

 

We want Lasagne and all we’ve got is Spaghetti – the case for greater transparency and simplicity in our working lives

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with a few different groups of peers and we’ve all been looking at the complexity that we’re currently facing in our daily lives, both in a professional and private capacity.

It’s quite extraordinary when you think about your daily routine, your complex projects, demands on your working life that sometimes we can really struggle to maintain any sort of balance or simplicity.

This article isn’t simply about maintaining a better work /life balance, it’s also about how we can also reduce complexity in our projects and working lives. I’ve recently been working with projects with exceptional complexity. Lots of stakeholders with their own passions and commitments, complex infrastructure and requirements and differing levels of project management maturity.

The question then becomes, as Project Managers how can we reduce the complexity in our projects? My answer is that it’s pretty simple; do not make everything so complicated. Make sure that everyone is clear on the requirements, being transparent with what you need to achieve and then furthermore, ensuring that you’re constantly maintaining a high-level overview and vision for the project and where it is going and what you’re trying to achieve. It sounds very ‘idealistic’ but how does it work in reality? It could come about in several ways:

  • Setting baselines and rules at the start of the project encouraging an open environment
  • Not making your project management processes overcomplicated or by producing the same information in different formats. Keep it simple! 1 Status Report, 1 plan and 1 communication level.
  • Keeping your stakeholder management and engagement with those stakeholders as a key priority.

Looking back at the title of this post and what we’re doing in our projects at the moment, it can sometimes feel like spaghetti. We’re sharing information in different ways, our projects are complex due to the requirements and conflicting priorities or there are no clear processes and plans and everything around managing projects is a bit of mess. It’s spaghetti and spaghetti is messy to eat! Instead, we could try to imagine and visage our projects like lasagne; layers of different elements that all compliment each other and come together to make one simple, beautiful product.

pexels-photo-131979

If we look at our personal life and how complex that can be, one thing that I try to do to reduce the complexity is to use some of my project management skills! I prioritise my free time, I plan it and I make sure that I leave time for the important things and those important things can also be doing nothing! A few years ago when I was less strict with myself about my personal time, my free time was like spaghetti. I was flitting around between personal engagements, the gym, spending time with family and there wasn’t any sort of harmony. I was running around like a bee on a spring day and it was just making me more tired! So, what can you do to bring your life into a more lasagne like way?

  • Prioritise your activities and what really needs to happen (and that includes rest periods!)
  • Take time to look at how much time you ‘realistically’ have available. You may only need 1 hour to do some shopping but if it takes 30 minutes to drive there, you’ve lost an hour just getting there.
  • Iteratively look at what you’re doing and seeing where improvements could be made. Could you order your shopping online and get it delivered instead of going to the supermarket?

None of this is a simple activity or a simple thing to achieve. If it was, all of us would be excelling and projects would have a higher success rate than they currently do. It takes practice, discipline and an alignment of different elements to be a full success.

 

 

Fail fast, learn quicker!

It’s a part of the agile mindset that can be difficult for people to understand or really embrace as Failure has been traditionally seen as a negative thing. Not being able to do something or failing to be a success has long been something that everyone tries to avoid. What if that wasn’t the case? What if you tried to embrace failing and looking at is as an opportunity to develop? Or as an opportunity to learn quicker?

There’s a really interesting TED talk on the subject of failure that I’d thoroughly recommend if you haven’t seen it yet.

The fear of failing can make it difficult to try anything new or attempting to transition. I’ve seen extremely good colleagues who could have been excellent Scrum Masters failing at the opportunity because they didn’t like failure or trying new things. In the current project management market, this attitude and not wanting to diversify or expand your knowledge could lead to you becoming stagnated in the profession and in your career.

How can we learn quicker?

Whilst going through the transition to becoming a Scrum Master there are a few things that helped me:

  • Reiterating that it’s not failure, it’s learning. Yes, I made a mistake during today’s retrospective by taking notes and not giving the team the empowerment to do it themselves. Next sprint, I’ll do better and give them that space to learn.
  • Giving myself a break! I’m one of my harshest critics when it comes to where I could improve and what I need to do better/differently. I don’t like myself failing so when I did fail, I tended to look upon this as a negative. Instead, I became lenient with myself and saw the opportunity to learn for what it was; an opportunity to develop.
  • Make it a team activity! This is one of the biggest aspects of my success. I encouraged the team to share their ‘learning experiences’ and what we’ve all done better. At the start I did use the words: “where did we fail this sprint?”(said in a laughing tone) but I changed that to “What did we learn this sprint?”. Having the team see that we’re in this together and learning together helped us all develop and grow as a team. This also helped our bonding and going through the team formation phases.
  • Be active! Be an active failure! 😀 Give yourself the chance to fail. Take the initiative to try more, try different things and don’t just stand still. Be active in searching out different ways to do things in an agile environment, join your peers through a meet-up group. You need to be able to try things to be able to know if it’ll work or if it’ll fail.
  • Try. When we first transition we can sometimes be looking for a list of things to do or how we need to be scrum masters, why not TRY and trust your instinct for how it should be done? Why not TRY a new way of managing that retrospective? Why not TRY to address your team in a different way/tone/manner. What have you got to lose?

In my personal life, I love running and marathon running is my favourite distance. When you’re training for a marathon you need to try a lot of different things to know what works for you. Whether that’s: which shoe/clothing choice in the best? What’s the best gel? what’s the best energy/food to use? It’s all learning. Even during a marathon, you fail a lot because you need to try it out and see what works for you and find that ‘magic combination’. I have run over 120 marathons and I still learn something new in each race. Whether that’s about which clothing choice is the best during a specific weather, or what gel isn’t great at Mile 20 when it’s a hot day and I haven’t drunk enough! When you’re learning a sport or trying to get better, failure isn’t seen as a negative. It’s seen as a necessary part of the process that we need to go through. Why can’t we look at our professional careers in a similar view?

Why is failure vital to my success?

Success is a difficult road and it’s not as straight it might appear. It takes time, trying and opportunities presenting themselves. To be able to be a success without trying is impossible and success is also impossible without the risk of failure.

success-sketch_opt

What are you doing this week to be a success? Turn the possibility of failure into a playground and discover more about yourself. Let’s start looking at failing as an opportunity to learn quicker!

Gimme 5

Gimme 5 what?

  • 5 types of Fruit and vegetables a day?
  • 5 minutes and I’ll be with you?
  • 5 things that you need?

When you think about the term: Gimme 5, what do you think of? 5 different types of fruit and vegetables that you’re recommended to eat? or maybe Give me 5 minutes and i’ll be with you?

I’ve been working on a new concentration technique that I’ve been using with a few colleagues and friends to help not only with their mindfulness during the working day but also with their concentration.

What does this mean?

The aim of this could be whatever you need at that point in time but some ideas that have been used so far:

  • 5 things that you want to achieve in the next 30 minutes [define short time period]
  • 5 positive things that have happened today
  • 5 areas for improvement this week/sprint/month [define short time period]

I tend to encourage people to use this as an emphasis upon improvement and reflection. It’s important for each person to define what they’re looking for and what time period to use.

Why is this important?

Taking some time to concentrate and look at one specific area can really help you focus and help with mindfulness. Some people use it to “focus” on what’s important in their day or alternatively to look through what’s important in their working day.

What are the results?

I’ve only started working on this recently, so the results that I’ve got are relatively few but it’s been quite useful for me how people take the term: Gimme 5 and switch it to their personal circumstances and need. The people that have used this have reported the following results:

  • Getting more done in their working day by focusing on the 5 most important activities
  • Improved communication with their team after looking at the 5 improvements that they could make to team empowerment during the sprint
  • Happier in their job and working day by taking 5 minutes to relax and refocus

Do you think that you could use “Gimme 5” in your working day? Let me know what you’ll be doing and how it works for you.

Summary: Passion for Projects – Gothenburg. March 2018

I’ve recently come back from Gothenburg and speaking at the ‘Passion for Projects’ conference. I presented the topic: ‘The questions you should be asking your team’ and it was great to get some feedback from the attendees about what questions they will ask and how they’ll change their questions moving forward.

Passion for Projects‘ is Scandinavia’s largest Project Management conference and brings some of the most passionate minds together to discuss and share knowledge. This year’s conference focused on organisational agility.

The conference itself was held in a great location in central Gothenburg and the set up was perfect for the size of the conference with great spacious rooms and excellent organisation.

 

One thing that really impressed me with this conference was the response and questions from the attendees. The quality and detailed nature of the questions really made me appreciate the knowledge and expertise in the room.

The presentation focused not only on the ‘Questions that you should ask your team’ but also about how you can change your behaviour as a Project Manager to better serve your team and foster a good team spirit. I go through a few questions that can be adjusted from our ‘current way of asking’ to a newer slightly different way to encourage a more open dialogue but also to look at how our questions can be interpreted by different cultures.

This presentation is one of my favourites to present as I really love seeing the reactions as people start to understand what small changes it can be and why it’s important. One attendee came up to me afterwards and told me that they really appreciated me telling the ‘human side’ of Project Management and why we need to look at that in our projects and not just our baselines.

Constant improvement – what we’ve learnt

The past month I’ve been working with some colleagues on what we can improve in our daily lives and every week discussing what we’ve been able to achieve and whether it was good/ bad etc. It’s been really interesting to see the improvements that we’ve been able to make to improve our lives not only as Project Managers but also as colleagues and individuals. Here’s a collection of some of them:

  • Improving e-mail communication with stakeholders
    1. They decided to have a brief chat with their stakeholders about what improvements could be made and if there was anything different that they could do
  • Different questions to their team
    1. After watching my webinar they decided to look at the questions that they were asking their team and if it could be adjusted.
  • Time Management
    1. They decided to timebox the activities that they were doing to see if they could manage their time better. They said “I started with 10minute timeboxes for common activities like E-mail checks, ‘breaks’ for getting coffee and started to look at where I could improve my efficiency during my day. It was astounding to see how much ‘wasted’ time I had! After a week of timeboxing, I really started becoming stricter with myself and I’ve really improved how much work I can do in one day”.
  • Team communication/building
    1. They had a few issues with team building and working with some difficult personalities so they decided to try and see what they could improve in their team communication and helping build a team. They decided to use a ‘trick’ that they learnt from their child and using a “Peace Table”. A Peace table is where you can talk through disagreements. There’s an object used (in this case a coffee cup) that indicates who can speak, so they can talk it out and come to an agreement/solution. This helped to work through some team disagreements and helped build a stronger team
  • Leaving on time
    1. After working a lot of overtime, this PM decided to try and leave on time for a week and not do ‘one more thing’ before they left. They said that it really helped them with their work/life balance because they had time to do sports in the evening or spend time with their family.
  • Personal development
    1. This Project Manager had been putting off attending a course and doing some personal development because they had been so busy with their work so every week they decided to do some webinars/develop personally on topics they wanted to research/learn about. This included attending some seminars and networking events held by industry organisations.
  • Work/life balance
    1. After a really intensive few months with their project going live, they wanted to try and re-establish a better work/life balance. This included taking some vacation days but also not replying to emails in the evening/weekend. They said it was tough for the first few days but after a week or so, it became more of a habit.
  • Listening
    1. One thing that Project Managers need to do is listen but some of us aren’t very good at really listening to what we’re told or accepting what we’re hearing. This Project Manager wanted to work on listening to their team and what they were trying to say

Why don’t you try doing this? What small little improvements could you make this week to improve yourself or your life as a Project Manager. Let me know what you do!

Suffering from stress

Stress management is one of those things that everyone has to deal with. Being stressed seems to be a common condition for most of us in our daily lives. I’ve had a full on burn out once and been very close to it another two times. Burn outs and exhaustion is not something that is easily spoken about or it’s perceived as a weakness but I think it’s actually the opposite. Everyone that I know that has had a burn out has been some of the strongest Project Managers and team members that I know.

What is a burn out?

A Burn out can be defined as a prolonged period of working too long and under too much stress/pressure. The causes of Burn out could be anything from having too much to do or to not having control in what you’re doing. My burn out was simply due to too much work that I had with immediate deadlines. I was working 18-20hours a day and it still wasn’t enough to get all of the work done. It also didn’t help that I was working with multiple contrasting timezones so I felt like I had to be working with them to get the most out of the day.

I’ve known colleagues who struggle when their values are conflicted by the work that they are being asked to do. This could be ethically like gold plating or morally when looking at the working conditions.

Spot the signs

There are a few signs but it will depend on your personality and circumstances for what it could look like. One thing to make sure that you’re aware of is knowing yourself and what’s different for you and it could look like any of the following:

  • Physical or emotional exhaustion
  • Depression / Detachment from people
  • Feeling inadequate/ feeling like you cannot achieve anything
  • Unable to function emotionally or physically. This was described to me as being in a forest and not knowing where the trees are.

What to do if you think you’re having a burn out?

I know that in my situation, I was unable to see that I was having a burn out. It was only a friend telling me that she thought I might want to see someone as I was struggling that I finally took help but on my subsequent times where I was close to a burn out – I recognised the symptoms and took some active steps to re-address the balance and make some small but critical changes.

If you are having a burnout; talk to your doctor and also to your boss/ HR Dept about getting some support and help in reducing your stress levels. This could be a period of leave or it could be reducing /removing stressful work.

Coming back from a burnout

You need to understand what caused your burn out and make some active changes. This should not just be done with your work but also on a personal level. Some ideas for personal changes:

  • Do not answer your phone in the evenings or if you must, limit it to one or two times
  • Do not sleep with your phone in your bedroom. Ideally, have it turned off or away from your bedroom
  • Work with your team and bosses about controlling your workload and managing it effectively. Managing expectations here is key. For me, having the team understand that I would only be working one time zone a day helped them focus their demands and needs from me.
  • Find a sport/activity that relaxes and chill you out.
  • Work with your family and friends and rediscover your work/life balance.

It was important for me to work with my bosses and team to make sure that I could control the issues that caused my burn out and make some positive, proactive changes to it. I was fully supported in this by my bosses and this made all the difference.

Another factor that will be beneficial is to understand your stress levels, understand what causes you stress and work on your coping strategies for how to cope with stress.

Having a burn out is not a weakness. It’s a sign of strength and battling for too long.

Let’s talk about equality in Project Management

I was recently sent a link to an article from a Project Management training provider about what people who work in Project Management want for Valentines Day. This post, unfortunately, wasn’t talking about a great training opportunity like I was expecting or about how we can level the playing field equality. It instead, focused on how:

For women, Valentine’s Day signifies hearts and flowers and, for ladies who are romantically entangled, it is a day when the man in their lives has to live up to expectations. For men in this situation, particularly those with certificates in project management, Valentine’s Day is when they learn the true meaning of a mandatory constraint on the schedule”.

After reading this blog post, I checked when it was written and low and behold it wasn’t from 1950 as I suspected; instead it was from January 2017. I’d like to think very positively and this post was intended as a ‘tongue in cheek’ take on Valentines Day but in this day and age, aren’t we passed the times of belittling women in Professional roles?

There are some fantastic women Project Managers and there are numerous studies available regarding the inequality that exists in our field. It’s very disappointing that instead of embracing the diversity, skills, and experience that women bring to the table, we have established training providers reducing down their qualities to stereotypes and presuming that only men can understand the “true meaning of a mandatory constraint on the schedule”.

My first introduction to Project Management was through a fantastic female boss who showed me what Project Management ‘really was’ and helped to guide me through my own journey in Project Management. She also showed me that not only does the glass ceiling exist but it’s vital that we work our hardest to break down those barriers and demand fair treatment in comparison to our male counterparts. According to a survey by the APM, there are only 28% women listed as Project Professionals and for those that do work in the profession, they can struggle with gaining sufficient experience and earning a considerable amount less than their male counterparts.

Let’s talk hard cash for a moment. It’s interesting to note that Iceland is the only country in the world with a law demanding equal wages for both men and women whereas countries like the UK still acknowledge a 18% pair gap in the pay ratio between men and women. I’ve seen this happen very recently. A male counterpart and I were going for the same freelance position and when asked for our hourly rate, we gave the same amount. We have the same years of experience and qualifications so it wasn’t to be unexpected. I received a prompt reply that “that pay rate would never be accepted” and instead offering me an hourly rate of 20% less. When I spoke to my male counterpart about this, he said that he received no such thing and instead had been told that it wasn’t a problem. How did I react to this? Well, I made the vow to never work with this particular company again and to his credit, my male counterpart made a point of mentioning this to the head of the company as ‘a significant area of improvement’.

As a female Project Manager who works predominantly in a field of men, I am used to banter but I can count the number of times when that banter has been against my gender. I was always taught that we are all equal and it’s all about how hard we work and how good we are at our jobs. I’ll continue to try and prove this moving forward.

So, what can you do if you see inequality happening? What can you do to make sure that your organisation and working environment is as fair as possible? As women, we must keep demanding more. Making sure that we’re getting the training that we’re entitled to, pushing the barriers to ensure fair play in the workplace. Ladies, it’s 2018 and it’s time that things were equal and we must keep showing the inequality that exists in our industry.

Planning – it’s like herding cats blindfolded

Planning. As Project Managers it’s something that we tend to excel at and need to do on a daily basis but how can you ensure that you’re making a realistic planning that will fit with the different priorities and working schedule? What are the best ways that you can make a workable plan that will stick?

One of the common complaints that I hear is regarding setting realistic expectations and deadlines. They tend to notice that Project Managers set deadlines that are completely unrealistic or unattainable just to make senior Stakeholders happy. The result is often that deadlines then lose their function as everyone realises that they’re useless and instead of motivating people for the last sprint, they often give up and have the mentality: “we’ll never make it so why bother running at all?”.

If you’re working in an environment where your team has to work on multiple projects then it’s important then get consensus amongst your group of Project Managers for priority. Normally this is done in collaboration with your Project Management Office (PMO) and working alongside your Portfolio Managers to align priorities with your organisation. This is a major requirement and one that you need to make sure happens and is adhered to by all Project Managers. Without this alignment and agreement, your teams will be working on conflicting priorities and for different projects. This can also cause a lot of delays because they may be forced to switch several times a day to different projects and tasks which slows them down.

startup-photos

It sometimes feels like you’re herding cats whilst you’re trying to align priorities and get an understanding of what will be done, and when. I’ve come up with a handy set of hints that could help you if you’re struggling with your planning and priorities.

  • Make sure that you have a good understanding of the work that actually needs to be done. Is it scoped out enough? Is it in enough detail? If it’s not, then I’d work on this as a first priority before handing out planning to the wider team. If you don’t know what’s really required, how do you know how long it’ll really take?
  • Understand the priorities within your team and organisation. Is your project #1? Or is there something else that has a higher priority? This could help you plan buffer accordingly as if you’re not the highest priority there may be a delay in when your resources can become available.
  • How big is your team? Have you got all of the necessary skills? If not, look at making sure that you’ve got the necessary resources available in the timeframe that you need them. In the organisations that I’ve worked in this has been done through employing contractors that had specific skills that we needed (e.g. PeopleSoft, Specific Development code etc).
  • Does your planning make sense? I always like to discuss my planning and steps with a colleague to make sure that I’ve included everything that I need and more importantly, that I’m being realistic with my time frame. As you become more Senior, your colleagues could be asking this of you. Each organisation and project is slightly different and the timescales that are available may also be different but there could be some standards that are useful to know (e.g. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) will always take 4 weeks).
  • Does everyone understand the organisation’s priorities? If this isn’t the case, I’d talk to your Program Manager and PMO to make sure that this is established and communicated throughout the wider teams. It can be a simple miscommunication or misunderstanding which causes a lot of conflict regarding timeframes and resources.
  • Are your resources all trained to do the job that they need to be? At the start of every yearly cycle, I work with the Development Manager or Line Manager of the resources to understand the development of each of the resources that I work with and where this may impact their availability for my project. I do this for purely selfish reasons! If I know when that team member is trained on that specific area, I can then utilise them rather than pay for an external which would cost the project more money. It’s also important to understand if they’re being trained on company time or if it’s over a weekend
  • Do you have sufficient resources to complete the work? During certain periods of the year (e.g. summer, Christmas, national holidays) there will be a reduced number of hours available for work. Are you looking at the availability before finalising your planning? Have you taken this holiday planning into account?
  • Are you updating the planning throughout the project to make sure that it’s up to date and taking completion targets into account? Is everything running to plan? or are there delays? Having up to date planning will confirm if you’re really on track or if there are problems lying ahead.

Planning is a critical task as a Project Manager and it’s something that you need to make sure is accurate before talking to your Stakeholders and team. I’ve done a webinar for Projectmanagement.com on “The questions that you should be asking your team” and it can help you work on the questions that you’re asking your team and how to improve them.

pexels-photo-669986

Have you got any planning tips? Let me know what you think!

Tell me more!

Over the year, I’ve been asked a variety of questions from people over Twitter, LinkedIn, and e-mail and I wanted to give you a rundown of some of them in this blog post. I love hearing from you and being able to help you so feel free to reach out to me if you’ve got any questions!

  1. Question 1: I am a newly qualified Scrum Master. I listened to your webinar and I’m struggling to develop and perform in my role. What advice can you give me?
    1. Well done for getting qualified! I’d definitely look at understanding the requirements of your role and what your team needs from you as a Scrum Master. As you will have seen in my webinar; there are a few ‘stages’ that you go through when transitioning to become a Scrum Master and I’d look at what stage you’re at and what you can do to develop and move forward
  2.  Question 2: I’m working as a remote Project Manager with distributed teams across the globe. I’m having some problems dealing with some obvious culture conflicts and how to get over them. Can you give me some advice?
    1. The first thing to do is to understand your culture and the cultures that you’re working with and then develop and try to develop some common ground. It’s always good to have some ‘ground rules’ but also to ensure that you’re developing your ‘chameleon’ tendencies and adapting when you’re talking to your team so that you can make sure that you both understand what’s required and what the expectations are. The biggest thing about working remotely is to ensure that you’re all aligned and any miscommunication is kept as minimal as possible.
  3. Question 3: I think that I’m a good Project Manager but I’m working in a hopeless organisation. My boss is not supportive of my work or endeavours and the organisation is hostile to any sort of positive change. What can I do?
    1. This is a hard situation to be in. One thing that I’ve tried to do is to make those positive changes in the sphere of my direct influence. I would try to foster the spirit and changes within my team and the areas of my responsibility. I would also be an ‘advocate of change’ for the changes that I’d like to make to promote them within the organisation so that when they see the positive things that can happen, they can be adopted through the organisation
  4. Question 4: I’m currently failing with my work/life balance as I’m working across multiple time zones. Do you have any tips to readdress this balance?
    1. There are a few simple things that you can do to restore your work/life balance. Here are a few tips:
      1. Remember to take your holiday! You need to have that time to recharge your batteries
      2. Turn your phone off when you’re not working. This also includes not having your phone at the dinner table/in the car
      3. Encourage a healthy balance within your team. When there is no immediate deadline, work the time that you need to do
      4. Become more effective in what you’re doing. Look at what you need to be achieving and seeing if there’s a better way to do it
      5. De-stress! Take up running, go for a cycle or just have a nice walk outdoors. Being active is a great way to de-stress and you can always use this to have time with your family
  5. Question 5: I work from home a lot but I’m struggling to be productive. I’m finding that I’m not getting as much work done as I used to. My setup is good, but it’s just personal motivation. What can I  do to get back on track?
    1. Sometimes you need to be a location with others to feel motivated and get work done so it may be time to go back to the office for a few months and see if this helps with your motivation levels at home. You can also look into an assessment of your working conditions. Have you got any ‘distractions’ that you can eliminate? You could always try setting an alarm for a set item of work and then leave it and try something else?
  6. Question 6: I’ve been a Scrum Master for over 2 years now and have had many successful projects but I always get the feedback in the retrospectives that the team feels that I’m not committed to their project. I am but they don’t see it. Any ideas?
    1. The first thing that I would do is look at why they feel like this? Is there anything, in particular, you’re doing or not doing? Have you created a team manifesto together? Would it be an idea to go through together as a team and see if it needs to be developed?
    2. Are you enabling your team to be a success? or are you seen as more of a ‘monitor of tasks’?

Have you got a question that you’d like answered? or would you like some advice? Feel free to reach out to me via E-mail!