Leslie McCormack: The Product Owner that helped the team progress

From communication skills to the ability to step back from the day-to-day work, we review the Open-minded PO and the Micromanager PO patterns.

The Great Product Owner: The open-minded PO

Great Product Owners are not always people with lots of knowledge of Scrum. In this episode, we explore the characteristics that made this Product Owner a great PO. We discuss the need to be open-minded, able to communicate goals clearly, their attitude, their way to handle feedback and how those characteristics drive the Scrum team forward.

The Bad Product Owner: The Micromanager PO

Micromanager Product Owners are a drag on the team’s ability to perform. They usually become a bottleneck for decision making, and end-up often second-guessing the team, causing latent conflict and disengagement. In this episode, we discuss what Scrum Masters can do to help Product Owners that are stuck in this anti-pattern.

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 Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

Leslie McCormack: The ultimate success goals for Scrum Masters and Scrum teams

Leslie asks a few questions of herself when evaluating her success. We review those questions and why they are important to assess team growth and product success which are the ultimate success goals for Scrum Masters and Scrum teams.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Rotating exercises to create creative thinking

Scrum Masters must be able to adapt their Agile Retrospective exercises to the needs of the team at that time. In this episode, we talk about multiple exercises you can run, and why it is important to always be ready to facilitate a different exercise. We also discuss some of the downsides of repeating exercises over time.

In this episode, we refer to the Sailboat / Speedboat Restrospective exercise, the 3 L’s Retrospective exercise (similar to the 4L’s Retrospective exercise) and others.

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

Leslie McCormack: A story of personal change for Scrum Masters

Once in a while, the focus of change is our own way of working. As Scrum Masters, we must also be adapting to the changes that happen around us. In this episode, we discuss how a Scrum Master with a background in Scrum, can adapt to a scaled Scrum approach, specifically, LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)

A story of personal change, and how you can keep yourself up to date with the changes around.

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

Leslie McCormack: Trying to be Agile in a Waterfall organization

Sometimes we work with teams that are in a context where Agile values and principles are not applied correctly. In this episode, we explore the story of a team that thought they were practicing Agile, but in fact, were still in the Waterfall mentality. We discuss how the mentality of the team directly affects their ability to understand and benefit from Agile ways of working.

Featured Book of the Week: The Scrum Field Guide by Mitch Lacey

In The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year by Mitch Lacey, Leslie found inspirational ideas and practical advice that she could relate to, and therefore apply in her own practice. 

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

Leslie McCormack: How to host impactful Agile Retrospectives

Retrospectives are an important ceremony for Agile teams. The goal of the retrospectives is to help the teams assess their practices, learn and improve. Without that ceremony, Scrum would not be an Agile practice. After all the manifesto clearly states: “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”

So, it’s no surprise that when Leslie struggled with her first retrospective, she went about learning how to host better, more engaging, and more impactful retrospectives. 

About Leslie McCormack

Leslie is a full-time Scrum Master. Prior to that Leslie was a Project Manager, and started her career as a mainframe database developer (COBOL, HCL, DB2, Oracle, Unix). After that, she moved on to Java support for a few years. Finally, she transitioned to an analyst role, and it was in that role that she first encountered Agile and Scrum.

You can link with Leslie McCormack on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Marcus Hammerberg on predicting Software development without estimation

Marcus wrote a blog post about predicting progress in ‘well-defined’ projects. He used a simple example where uncertainty was very limited. You can read the details in the blog post. However, even when uncertainty about the work was low, the predictions he was able to do (and he collects quite a few metrics in that story), was limited. 

In this episode, we explore the limits to prediction, and how that affects how we should look at prediction in our own software projects. 

Embracing uncertainty and what that means in practice for software projects

Continue reading BONUS: Marcus Hammerberg on predicting Software development without estimation

Darren Smith: 3 Anti-patterns PO’s should avoid

In this episode, we explore in detail some of the most common anti-patterns Darren sees in the Product Owner role, and we discuss why a PO training is not necessary for a great PO. 

The Great Product Owner: Business knowledge and outcome focus

To be a great Product Owner, it isn’t necessary to have attended a certification course. However, it is necessary to have a good connection to the business and a sharp focus on outcomes (impact) over output (more work). In this segment, we discuss what happens when you have those characteristics in your PO.

The Bad Product Owner: 3 Anti-patterns PO’s should avoid

There are many sides to a failed Product Owner role. In this episode, Darren shares with us some of the most common anti-patterns that he’s witnessed in his career as a Scrum Master.

In this segment, we refer to the remote facilitation online masterclass by Judy Rees.

For more anti-patterns, read Darren’s “How to Fail as Product Owner” infographic.

 

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 Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter.

Darren Smith: Leadership lessons for Scrum Masters

“Leaders make leaders of other people” is the phrase Darren shares with us to explain his view on what success is for a Scrum Master. By focusing on the team, and what they can do, Darren helps teams grow and become self-sufficient.

In this episode, we refer to Darren Smith’s The Naked Scrum Master blog, as well as the book Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: A Walk In The Park

There are many formats that Darren likes to use. In this episode, he advocates the use of the “right” method for the retrospective, at the “right” time. Listen to the story of a team under pressure, and what Darren did to be able to help the team with his retrospective format.

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter.

Darren Smith: The question that can inspire change in your Scrum team

Change processes can sometimes be overwhelming. Darren has found his own way to handle that by focusing on small steps and one inspiring question he shares with us in this episode. Listen in to learn what is the question that can inspire change in your Scrum team. 

In this episode, we refer to the book Lean Change Management by Jason Little.

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter

Darren Smith: Great Scrum teams excel under pressure!

You only know a good team when they are under pressure. It’s easy to “follow the process” if you have a lot of time and little pressure. However, as a Scrum Master, you know you’ve done good work when the team sticks to the process (and even improves it) when they are under pressure. I advocate using self-imposed pressure to get better, I’ve written and recorded a video about that based on my own experience as a runner. The same is true in your work as a Scrum Master! 

Featured Book of the Week: Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti

In Agile Actionable Metrics For Predictability by Dan Vacanti, Darren found the inspiration to start using and learning from metrics. It also got Darren started on Probabilistic Forecasting, a method he uses regularly. 

In this segment, we also refer to Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, and to Scrum Mastery, but Geoff Watts. Both Diana Larsen and Geoff Watts have been guests here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast. 

About Darren Smith

Darren, aka the Naked Scrum Master, has been helping teams and organizations be better than they were by exposing dysfunction and helping people to remove obstacles from their path so they can be happier and more fulfilled in their working lives.

You can link with Darren Smith on LinkedIn and connect with Darren Smith on Twitter