Rob Cooper: The Product Owner that was “far” from the Scrum team

The relationship between the Product Owner and the team is a critical aspect of the team’s performance. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting perspectives on building that relationship between PO and team.

The Great Product Owner: Deliberately building a relationship with the team

Great PO’s deliberately build a relationship with the team, but always have a clear idea of what the customer needs. Putting those two together, the PO is able to very clear about what they need to do to help the team deliver on the product vision. We also discuss how the PO is very much a leadership role. 

In this segment, we refer to the concept of Lateral Leadership

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that was “far” from the Scrum team

This story starts with a team that had 2 Product Owners. And even if both PO’s were passionate and wanted to do a good job, Rob noticed that the Business PO was very far from the team. In this segment, we discuss how the Product Owner is an “outreach” role, which tries to bring the team and the customer closer together. 

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Rob Cooper: How Scrum Masters can adapt their definition of success to the team they work with

The Scrum Master role is not always easy to define, and in this episode, we discuss how that makes it hard to define success. Despite that, Rob shares his definition of success, and how he adapts his success definition to accommodate the situation of the team he works with. 

In this segment, we also refer to the idea/concept of Kaizen: Continuous Improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Soup Technique

In this segment, we talk about several possible retrospective formats. We start by discussing Themed Retrospectives and how they can be effective for teams, and we end up tackling one of the biggest obstacles to getting value out of Agile Retrospectives: focusing on things outside the control of the team. We discuss “The Circles and Soup” technique by Diana Larsen, which helps teams focus on the obstacles they have control over, and reach out for help on the items they don’t have control over.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn

Rob Cooper: A 3-step process to introduce change in an organization

This particular organization wanted to move to Agile. As Rob worked with the teams in the organization, he started to realize that the people aspect of the change process was crucial. In this episode, we discuss a 3-step process for change that takes that into account and helps you start to plan your actions as a Scrum Master in a change process. We also talk about the importance of narrative/storytelling when making the case for change. 

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Rob Cooper: Helping a team in an impossible situation, a Scrum Master story

Rob joined this company at the tail end of this team’s story. As Rob entered the organization, he understood that the organization was still stuck in the “old world”. The company had fired many of the people who had developed the legacy app that the team was trying hard to maintain. On top of that, there were many things going wrong at this organization. What could Rob do to help this team? Listen in, to learn about what we, as Scrum Masters, can do in very difficult situations, when everything seems to be going wrong for the team. 

In this segment, we refer to Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Laloux, and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.

Featured Book of the Week: Two surprising recommendations

Rob leaves us with two surprising recommendations that are worth an listen, to understand why he recommends these books. The first book, a book about the full complexity of human behavior and change aversion is The Bible. As Rob puts it: “it’s about human behavior”. The second recommendation, no less surprising is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a book that helped Rob understand storytelling and how a story can crystalize the direction for a team.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Rob Cooper: How to help teams that are stuck between Waterfall and Scrum

This team was stuck halfway between Waterfall and Scrum. The team was working in Sprints, but they had a 13-week development cycle, followed by a 13-week testing cycle. The separation of testing from development caused several issues, and the company tried to remedy that by asking developers to test in an attempt to speed up the testing cycle. However, things didn’t go according to plan. Listen in, to learn about what happens when organizations separate testing from development, and what we – Scrum Masters – can do to help teams that are in that position. 

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Susannah Chambers: Involving the team, an asset for great Scrum Product Owners

The way the PO involves the team in their work and decisions can make or break the collaboration between team and PO. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting approaches, and why the effective involvement of the team in the work of the PO is so important.

The Great Product Owner: User Experience focused PO

This particular Product Owner was very much focused on user experience, and that helped the team also focus on that aspect of their work. During meetings with the team, the PO constantly brought up the value they were trying to “drive” for the customer. 

In this segment, we refer to an approach Susannah calls “Metrics and Chill”. Listen in to learn what that is about.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that would have conversations without the team

Product Owners can help, or hinder the teams’ work. In this segment, we talk about a PO that would turn all blame on the team, and would have conversations with stakeholders without the team knowing about it, or being informed. This inevitably led to bad surprises that the team wasn’t ready for, and then was blamed for. Listen to these anti-patterns to learn to detect them before it is too late!

Are you having trouble helping the team working well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at: bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Susannah Chambers: Tips on assessing a Scrum team’s evolution over time

Can the team sustain the good practices they have in place? This is one of the questions that Susannah asks herself when assessing the impact of her work as a Scrum Master. She shares some tips that Scrum Masters can use to help the teams show if they are evolving in their Scrum and Agile journey. 

In this episode, we refer to the Personal Agility Movement

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Spinal Tap themed retrospective

One underrepresented retrospective format is that of a film-themed retro. Susannah, a musician herself, shares how she uses scenes from the Spinal Tap movie to help spark reflection and conversation in Agile Retrospectives. Susannah reminds us that the laughing that comes from watching some of the scenes in that movie, relaxes people and helps with the sharing of experiences.

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!  

About Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter

Susannah Chambers: Changing from co-located to remote Scrum teams, how to deal with the challenges

As many teams have experienced during 2020/2021, Susannah was in the middle of a change from a co-located team, into a distributed/remote setting. This presented specific challenges to her as a Scrum Master. How to make the remote sessions as effective as the co-located ones? How to help the team feel connected, even when remote? In this episode, we learn about how easy it is to lose alignment when remote and what to do about it. 

In this episode, we refer to the concept of Psychological Safety, which has been a focus of several previous episodes here on the podcast

About Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Susannah Chambers: Overcoming the waterfall reporting syndrome

In this project, the team was “forced” to report their work in a waterfall model: milestones, up-front plans, etc. This brought a series of problems that Susannah describes as “the joyless team”. This highlighted for her the important role Scrum Masters play in helping the team translate the information they have into a language that fits the needs of the stakeholders, but without going all the way back to waterfall plans and reports. 

Featured Book of the Week: Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear, by Sheridan et al. 

In Chief Joy Officer, Susannah found ideas and tools to help teams (and herself) find joy in the workplace. The book resonated with her, and offered ideas that fit the role of the Scrum Master very well. In the book, she also learned about using Joy as the metric that helps teams perform.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Susannah Chambers: How to Scrum Master two teams, and survive!

This story starts with Susannah working with two teams, in her role as a Scrum Master. This lead to her feeling torn between the two teams that she wanted to help. Multitasking and having to attend multiple ceremonies made her feel stressed and unsure about the best way to help the teams. How can a Scrum Master overcome the challenges of this situation and help the teams? Listen in to learn the important lessons Susannah took from this situation.

About Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.