Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

Practical advice for making agile work in the real world

The Agile Mentors podcast is for agilists of all levels. Whether you’re new to agile and Scrum or have years of experience, listen in to find answers to your questions and new ways to succeed with agile.

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#80: From Struggling to Success: Reviving Agile Teams with Mike Cohn

January 10, 2024     30 minutes

Are you part of a struggling Agile team? Join Mike Cohn and Brian Milner in this episode as they uncover the primary signs of a team in distress. Listen in as they share the common causes of underperforming teams, and what to do to boost morale, enhance collaboration, and transform your Agile team from struggling to thriving!


What is the primary sign of a struggling Agile team? It's when the energy in the room feels like a deflated balloon, and laughter is a distant memory.

In this episode of the Agile Mentors Podcast, Brian Milner and Mike Cohn of Mountain Goat Software help listeners identify the signs of a struggling Agile team and the common culprits.

Listen in as they unveil the key principles of cultivating a positive work environment and the vital importance of addressing CYA behavior.

Plus, they share their top-notch tips on boosting team morale and enhancing collaboration, all while preventing unfinished projects and ensuring consistent delivery.

Tune in to transform your Agile team from struggling to thriving!

Listen Now to Discover:

[01:23] - Brian welcomes back Mike Cohn to the show to discuss how to identify the signs that your team is struggling and what to do about it.
[01:54] - Common causes of unfinished work.
[04:45] - Do developers use Scrum as an excuse to be lazy? No—that’s rare but can be easily corrected.
[07:36] - How to manage underperforming teams.
[09:04] - Teams that lack excitement and laughter may be struggling. Work should be fun and enjoyable. How to create a positive work environment.
[10:32] - How to break the habit of rolling unfinished work forward.
[12:44] - The power of small wins to improve job satisfaction.
[14:12] - How to boost morale and deliver small wins that create a sense of accomplishment.
[14:30] - The Agile Mentors Podcast is brought to you by Mountain Goat Software and their Certified Scrum Training Classes. Whether you want to be a Scrum Master, Product Owner, or even take an advanced certification, all courses are designed to give you the skills that agile teams and organizations value so you’ll stand out in the market. For more information click on the Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule.
[15:35] - What CYA is really telling you about your team.
[16:59] - The role of managers in creating an environment of openness and collaboration
[19:03] - How individualistic behavior—working in isolation, not collaborating—hinders teamwork.
[21:08] - Introducing Swarming—a horrible way to work, you’ll get less done—but a great drill to help teams discover new ways to collaborate.
[27:54] - Thank you to Mike Cohn for joining us on the show.
[28:18] - Please share this episode with others if you found it useful. Send feedback and suggestions for future episodes to And don’t forget to subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode.
[27:54] - If this topic was impactful to you and you want to continue the discussion, join the Agile Mentors Community, where we have a topic discussion for each podcast episode.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

#70: The Role of a Leader in Agile with Mike Cohn
#39: The Art of Writing User Stories with Mike Cohn
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Certified ScrumMaster Training and Scrum Certification
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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Mike Cohn, CEO of Mountain Goat Software, is a passionate advocate for agile methodologies. Co-founder of Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance, he thrives on helping companies succeed with Agile and witnessing its transformative impact on individuals' careers. Mike resides in Northern Idaho with his family, two Havanese dogs, and an impressive hot sauce collection.