Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

As part of our upcoming “Coach Your Product Owner” course, we’ve been hard at work creating simple and actionable tools you can use to help your Product Owner progress. But that coaching cannot happen unless we tackle the biggest problems we have when coaching Product Owners. So, last week I asked people who receive my Newsletter to help me answer this question:

When it comes to Coaching and Supporting your Product Owner(s), what is the single Biggest Challenge that you are facing right now?

The reason for this question is my belief that, as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches, we must help the Product Owners as part of our duties. Sometimes those duties may be just about helping them manage/facilitate a particular session, but often we need to help the Product Owner grow their skills, knowledge, and experience with Agile product development. All aspects of it.

So what are the key challenges we face, when coaching and supporting our Product Owners?

Read on to find out…

Continue reading Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

Donna Marie Lee: Is the team facilitating their Scrum ceremonies when the Scrum Master is away?

A quick way to check if our work as Scrum Masters is having the needed impact is to check if the team is still hosting the Scrum Retrospectives when we are away. If that’s the case, then it is likely that the Scrum Master has done a fairly good work. In this episode, we discuss this and other approaches Scrum Masters can use to assess their contribution to the team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Retro Beers

When we think of retrospectives we typically think of a meeting room, people sitting down (or standing) and executing some prepared exercises over the course of the meeting. But that’s not what a retrospective is about. It’s simply a possible format. In this episode, we discuss the 5 stages of retrospectives and how those can be implemented in many different ways.

In this episode, we refer to Retromat, a useful resource to help you plan your retrospective.

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

You can link with Donna Marie Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Donna Marie Lee on Twitter.

Donna Marie Lee on how change starts by helping Scrum teams ask the right questions

When teams start a change process, we often look back at single events that may have triggered that change. In this episode, we talk about a different type of process. A process where the Scrum Master helps the team find the right change by asking questions. We discuss the process that questions help trigger, and how that helps the team (and the Scrum Master) find the right time and the right way for change to take hold.

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

You can link with Donna Marie Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Donna Marie Lee on Twitter.

Donna Marie Lee on helping a group become a real Scrum team

In this episode, we discuss the common anti-pattern of teams that are nothing but a loosely coupled group of individuals. Where collaboration is difficult, if not impossible. A group that can’t work well together because they share very little that would make them a team.

We then discuss the approaches, the tools, and strategies that Donna Marie used to help that group of people become a real team.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

In Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts, Donna Marie found practical advice for her journey as a Scrum Master. She especially appreciated the real-life stories that the author shares. Those stories helped her connect with the Scrum Master role as well as learn valuable practices and strategies for her role.

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

You can link with Donna Marie Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Donna Marie Lee on Twitter.

Donna Marie Lee on Scrum Masters taking things personally

Scrum Masters face difficult moments regularly. Helping organizations and teams improve is not a linear process, and sometimes people react emotionally to the changes they are facing. Donna Marie shares a story of when she took that push-back personally. We then discuss how to overcome the temptation to take things personally, and what to do instead.

About Donna Marie Lee

Former software engineer turned pragmatic change agent working in Tokyo. Enthusiastic about inspiring teams to be great and achieve their goals.

Certified Scrum Professional with more than 5 years experience in training, facilitating and coaching agile and scrum practices.
Previously worked as a Line Manager and Team Lead responsible for nurturing the growth and maturity of teams and individuals within the company.

You can link with Donna Marie Lee on LinkedIn and connect with Donna Marie Lee on Twitter.

Daniel Heinen on the lack of commitment to quality anti-pattern and how that can destroy Scrum teams

In this week we explore the “system conditions” that can cause catastrophic failure in teams. Specifically, we look at the lack of commitment to quality anti-pattern, where that comes from, and how we can, as Scrum Master, help teams overcome that anti-pattern.

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Daniel Heinen: a simple Success definition for us as Scrum Masters

There are many possible answers to the question: “what does Success mean for you as a Scrum Master”. And some of those answers can be very detailed and in-depth. But that’s not the only way to look at our success as Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we discuss a simple definition of success. Listen in to learn more about that simple definition, and see how that can help you improve your own work as a Scrum Master.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Weather Report check-in

The Weather Report retrospective format is a metaphor-based format that helps the team highlight the “clouds” or “storms” they faced in the previous sprints.

You  use this exercise as a check-in (with a short phrase or two from each team member), or as a starter for a deeper conversation about what we might want to do differently in the next Sprint.

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Daniel Heinen on how Scrum Masters must go from teachers to moderators

When a change process starts it is easy to be tempted to “drive” that change in the organization. However, that’s not always a good option. In this episode, we discuss the possible negative side effects of “driving” change into a team or organization.

How can Scrum Masters get out of the “drive” change anti-pattern? In this episode, we discuss how management can play a major role in helping move to a pull-mode change process and what the role of the Scrum Master is in that type of change.

Listen in to learn about concrete tools and practices that help the Scrum Masters go from “teacher” to “moderator” in the change process.

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Daniel Heinen on the “strong” leader anti-pattern Scrum Masters must be aware of

When leaders are “strong”, we may have the top-down scrum anti-pattern. When the leader drives what the team does, and the team just follows orders. In this episode, we discuss this Scrum anti-pattern and how we, Scrum Masters, can tackle such situations.

Look out for team burnout, lack of trust from stakeholders and how people hide from the latent conflict. All symptoms that something is about to break.

Featured Book of the Week: Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde

In Scaling Lean & Agile Development by Larman and Vodde, Daniel found a good description of the scaling problems developers usually face when working in large organizations, and why we must take a deliberate approach to help many teams work together (scaling Agile).

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.

Daniel Heinen on how Scrum Masters can protect the team from political games in the organization

In this episode, Daniel tells us the story of when the Product Owner took a “leader” role, and hid information from the stakeholders. The Product Owner promised many things to management to ensure funding for the project. This is a common anti-pattern in project organizations, but it can have serious consequences in an Agile environment because of the additional transparency that Agile and Scrum bring to the process.

In this episode, we talk about how Daniel and the team handled the difficult and delicate situation they were facing.

In this episode, we refer to the #NoEstimates movement, and the concept of Muda (Type 1) from Lean Manufacturing.

About Daniel Heinen

Daniel has been a Scrum Master since 2014 on a Scrum pilot at BMW. Since 2016 focusing on organizational change management, for example, facilitating communities of practices for Scrum adoption at BMW. Recently he started working as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Autonomous Driving BMW, who decided in 2017 to restructure according to the LeSS framework.

You can link with Daniel Heinen on LinkedIn.