Why do we have daily meetings? Why do I need to be involved with the team every day? Why can’t I just give you the requirements document and concentrate on other tasks?
This blog is part of Module 2 of the Coach your Product Onwer v2.0 video course.
The Anti-Patterns When A Product Owner Is New To The Team, The Product And To Scrum
These are just some of the questions that Product Owners that are new to Scrum will ask. But sometimes we need to onboard Product Owners that are new to Scrum, new to the Product and new to the team. That’s not an easy task.
The Product Owner may not have any technical knowledge of the product or the understanding of the business the product supports. When a Product Owner is new to the team, and the collaboration habits have not yet developed. For example, he may be tempted to just go away and write all the User Stories in isolation or with a Business Analyst, and never involve the team. Which later leads to the “tell the team what to do, and disappear” anti-pattern. Continue reading Product Goal-Setting: How Scrum Masters can onboard a new or beginner Product Owner
The overly busy or absent Product Owner is a common anti-pattern in agile organizations.
This can have serious consequences for the teams we work with as Scrum Masters.
Additionally, Product Owners that are spread too thin may not even have time to be in the Scrum meetings because they serve many teams or handle several products, or because they have so many other meetings with C-level, or other stakeholders. Missing critical Scrum meetings (e.g. Sprint Review, Sprint Planning, Grooming) will quickly lead to a de-motivated team, as well as lack of trust and potential conflict between the team and the Product Owner. In my own experience, when the Product Owner starts missing critical Scrum meetings, the team will quickly start asking: “why do we even do these meetings”, which quickly leads to the meetings being dropped.
How do we help our Product Owners overcome these challenges? Read on…
The Product Owner (PO) is a tough role to fill. Product Owners are torn between users, senior management, team and other stakeholders that they need to attend to.
While the team is working on completing the backlog items, the PO is probably meeting with the Director of Product to agree on a roadmap; with the CEO to hear about the latest ideas he got from visiting a client; trying to meet with the user research group to understand better the customer; reporting status to the head of Project Management; and still needs to visit the Sprint Planning, Backlog Grooming, Demo and the occasional daily meeting to answer questions from the team. And let’s not forget the email backlog! With all of these tasks one has to ask: do we believe a single person can do this all alone? What I describe here is not even rare! We seem to collectively think that the Product Owner is a super-hero!
Given all of these tasks, it is little wonder that the PO’s end up struggling to even manage the JIRA tickets the teams ask them to review, give feedback on, and prioritize.
“My Scrum is failing!” is a commonly heard comment. “Agile isn’t working for us” or the common “we do Scrum, but … [add your favourite anti-pattern]” are just symptoms that the teams are struggling with Agile adoption.
In the other end of the spectrum, we have teams that are highly effective. They deliver valuable functionality to the market every sprint, and sometimes even several times per sprint. These teams seem to have found a “groove” where collaboration is natural, they are motivated, and the results speak for themselves. We call these high-performing teams. Teams that spend more time delivering value than “struggling” with their agile adoption.
Where is your team in this continuum? And it is a continuum. There are many shades of grey on this scale from “my scrum is failing” to “we lover our job, and our customers love us”.
How do we bridge that gap? How do we help people go from scrum-but to “yeah! we did it!? Read on for more…
Before reading the post, I wanted to share with you a great interview about how we, as Scrum Masters are always starting from Scratch (just like new year! 🙂 Here’s a Podcast episode as a new year gift from the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast archive built over the last 3 years interviewing Scrum Masters from all over the world.
Podcast Topic: We start a new with every team (interview with Lucian Stroie)
Now for the list! 🙂
Here in the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we share insights and inspiring stories from Scrum Masters every day of the week because we believe we need inspiration and ideas every day. Therefore we also visit sites and blogs for the same reasons. To end the year with a bang, I wanted to create a list of Top blogs / Sites for Scrum Masters. Was I in for a disappointment… read on to know why…
Product Owners have an impossible job! I know, I’ve been a Product Owner. And even worse, a Product Manager transitioning to Product Owner! And even worse! I was also the Project Manager. Geeez! When I look back I am amazed I survived that phase of my career.
Here’s the kicker, that was the best time of my Agile adoption journey. I got to see my ideas come to life so quickly! And have a concrete business impact (the product we delivered went on to generate 10 Million Eur in sales a little over 3 years).
My Product Owner journey towards Agile was not easy! Let me tell you how I survived that stressful time, and lived on to learn a lot from the experience.
When the big Agile adoption wave started in the early 2000’s, certification was all the craze. These days it looks like you can’t have a coffee meeting without getting a certificate. But here’s the thing: a certificate only states that you know the basics! I have (infamously) said, “Please do share that you have a Scrum Master certificate so that I can eliminate you from the hiring process!”
Why did I do that?
Certification does not say you want to learn. Certification does not say you are an insightful Scrum Master or coach. Certification only says: “I know the basics”. And if that’s all people can quote as their achievements it further says: “I don’t want to know more than the basics”.
Go beyond the basics
At the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we believe that learning on the job, learning every day is how we get better. How we improve our craft and our profession. Agile coaching or Scrum Mastering is not something that you can learn in a university, you learn it on the job!
As part of our efforts to help you learn on the job we decided to sponsor 2 online summits, which are FREE (no excuses!) for you to learn from amazing speakers.
This week we are sponsoring the Remote Forever Summit which has amazing speakers that share their insights on how to work (specifically) with remote teams.
We hope you like it, and we will continue to support more online summits and even conferences in the future that help Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches learn from people who’ve been applying these ideas and sharing their experiences for many years.
Go learn! Be better, every day!
PS: are you thinking of organizing an online summit? Get in touch, we’d love to help!