Dov Tsal: The Product Owner that did not know what she owned

Lack of details can be a motivator for the team to bring their creative thinking. Great Product Owners can take advantage of that. In this episode, we also discuss what happens when the PO doesn’t really know what they own.

The Great Product Owner: Bring a problem, and solve it with the team

Great Product Owners inspire the team to think of solutions the PO could not think of. To do that, they share the context and pain of the customer and leave the details out, so that the team asks questions, and starts imagining what the successful outcome would look like. In this segment, we also discuss how important it is that the PO gives time, and space to the team so they can work on the problem the PO brings to the team.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO who does not know what he owns

Sometimes, the Product Owner isn’t clear on what exactly they own. In those cases, the team can’t be clear either on what they are trying to achieve. This lack of clarity can come from the fact that the PO “hat” is thrown to someone who isn’t right for the job, and may even have a few other “side” jobs they need to attend to. Are these characteristics present in your PO? Listen in, to learn how Dov suggests we tackle these PO anti-patterns.

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 Dov Tsal

Dov Tsal is a versatile agile coach, scrum-master, change-agent, and enabler, helping companies teams, and individuals to make an impact. Dov is also the creator of the #MeetingSpicer, a coaching tool to hack meeting culture. He is also the co-creator of The Agile Tao Podcast about understanding agility through the Taoist prism.

You can link with Dov Tsal on LinkedIn

Dov Tsal: Defining success as a dynamic benchmark, that follows the team’s evolution

When it comes to defining success for a Scrum Master, Dov suggests we think of it as the success of a parent. Where the perspective, and the actions we take change constantly because the team (like a child) is also continuously evolving and changing. In this segment, we share many tips on how to review and assess our performance as Scrum Masters. 

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Silent Retrospective

Dov introduces the “silent retrospective”, an approach he takes to help the team reflect and share their insights in a way that allows all to share their views and thoughts. We also talk about how to prepare and facilitate the “silent retrospective”. 

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 Dov Tsal

Dov Tsal is a versatile agile coach, scrum-master, change-agent, and enabler, helping companies teams, and individuals to make an impact. Dov is also the creator of the #MeetingSpicer, a coaching tool to hack meeting culture. He is also the co-creator of The Agile Tao Podcast about understanding agility through the Taoist prism.

You can link with Dov Tsal on LinkedIn.

Dov Tsal: Working with change linchpins, the catalysts for change

It is often the case that in organizations that are in a process of change, the people who can block, or enable change are only a few. In this episode, we talk about these “linchpins” of change and reflect on how we can build productive relationships with those stakeholders, with the aim to help progress Agile adoption. 

About Dov Tsal

Dov Tsal is a versatile agile coach, scrum-master, change-agent, and enabler, helping companies teams, and individuals to make an impact. Dov is also the creator of the #MeetingSpicer, a coaching tool to hack meeting culture. He is also the co-creator of The Agile Tao Podcast about understanding agility through the Taoist prism.

You can link with Dov Tsal on LinkedIn.

Dov Tsal: The problems Scrum Masters create when trying to help teams

The problems in Scrum adoption can come from the conflict between a team and the person “pushing” the process. In this segment, we talk about the approaches we sometimes take as Scrum Masters that negatively affect the team and their Agile adoption.

Featured Book of the Week: The Agile Tao by Peter Merrel

The Agile Tao by Peter Merrel is based on the Book of Tao, an ancient book with series of meditations on the mysterious nature of the Tao–the Way, the Light, the very Source of all existence. Dov shares how The Agile Tao helped him understand better his role as Scrum Master. 

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 Dov Tsal

Dov Tsal is a versatile agile coach, scrum-master, change-agent, and enabler, helping companies teams, and individuals to make an impact. Dov is also the creator of the #MeetingSpicer, a coaching tool to hack meeting culture. He is also the co-creator of The Agile Tao Podcast about understanding agility through the Taoist prism.

You can link with Dov Tsal on LinkedIn

Dov Tsal: What to do when Scrum just isn’t a fit for the team?

What are the necessary conditions for us to successfully implement, and benefit from Scrum? That’s a question that we explore in this episode, where Dov shares a story of a team that worked isolated from the rest, and which did not have a real Product Owner. In this episode, we also discuss what we should do when Scrum isn’t the right fit for the conditions around the team. 

About Dov Tsal

Dov Tsal is a versatile agile coach, scrum-master, change-agent, and enabler, helping companies teams, and individuals to make an impact. Dov is also the creator of the #MeetingSpicer, a coaching tool to hack meeting culture. He is also the co-creator of The Agile Tao Podcast about understanding agility through the Taoist prism.

You can link with Dov Tsal on LinkedIn

BONUS: Aligning Agile Remote teams with Luke Szyrmer

Aligning teams is not only the challenge we face as Scrum Masters working with remote teams. There’s also the stakeholder side, and aligning stakeholders is even harder than aligning the teams we work with. 

We discuss some tactics, as well as a key metric to keep our eye on: “the velocity and quality of decisions that happen around the teams.”

Scrum team consequences due to missing alignment

When teams and stakeholders are not aligned, we can see decisions being delayed, or even ignored. All of this leads to a direct impact on the team’s ability to deliver. Luke shares with us some anti-patterns and some tips he’s collected over the years. 

We learn how important it is for Scrum Masters to keep tabs on the communication, and alignment between different departments (not only between teams), and we discuss how sometimes the solution is “more meetings”, leading to the inevitable meeting overload anti-pattern. 

We also discuss and describe some of the anti-patterns that emerge when teams and departments lose alignment. 

Solving the lack of alignment

When it comes to helping departments and teams get aligned, Luke suggests we try what he calls “sensemaking meetings”. These are meetings that help us find answers to questions and improve shared group understanding of a topic or situation. But there’s another goal for sensemaking meetings: to build the necessary interpersonal networks that are needed to solve future problems.

Solving meeting overload: an experiment

Just like many of us have experienced, Luke also experienced moments when there were too many meetings. In this segment, he suggests we try an experiment he tried before: cancel all meetings for 2 weeks. We discuss why you may want to try that experiment, what were some of the consequences of trying that experiment, and the good things that happened once people started to realize that some meetings were actually useful and necessary. 

Dealing with unreasonable expectations

There’s another aspect of remote work that leads to problems at the team level. The fact that work gets hard when remote, and that stakeholders are now more distant from the teams, leads often to unreasonable expectations. These expectations can cause problems at the team level, through high levels of stress, and between teams and stakeholders because of missed expectations. In this segment, we discuss the dynamics that lead to unreasonable expectations and what we can do to help both teams and stakeholders adjust their expectations to the reality of remote work. 

About Luke Szyrmer

Luke is the host of the Managing Remote Teams podcast. Luke has managed or participated in fully remote teams for almost a decade. He has lead programs of widely distributed teams. Over the last 9 years, he has lead teams building software, running marketing and sales, and launched a bestselling book. Remotely. In many cases, with people he never met or spoke to in person.

You can link with Luke Szyrmer on LinkedIn and connect with Luke Szyrmer on Twitter

You can also follow Luke’s work at AlignRemotely.com.

Kyla MacDonald: The Product Owner as a Scrum team member, not only team stakeholder

Looking at the Product Owner in relation to the team is a critical aspect of our assessment when coming into a new team. In this episode, we talk about the PO that was absent, and let the team alone, and contrast that with a PO that saw herself as a team member and how that changed the perspective the team had on the PO role. 

The Great Product Owner: PO as a team member, not only team stakeholder

This Product Owner believed that the team needed to share her vision and never missed a chance to share the purpose and the vision with the team. The PO also made sure that all the team members were heard, and role-modeled the idea of experimentation, and learning from exposing ideas to customers. Finally, the PO assumed the role of a team member, not a team stakeholder. 

The Bad Product Owner: Helping the PO focus on value and delight for customers

We’ve discussed often here on the podcast how “being absent” is one of the most common, and most dangerous Product Owner anti-patterns (see this article on how to solve that anti-pattern). But there’s an even worse variation that mixes in the “belief” that Agile will solve all the problems the team has, which leads the PO to step back even further. In this segment, we talk about how to bring the PO back into the conversation with the team and focus on value and delight for customers. 

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 Kyla MacDonald

Kyla imagines a world where the talk at Friday drinks is all about the great things we achieved in the week, what we learned, and what we can try next. As she puts it, people who find satisfaction, meaning, fun, and growth in their work, will naturally be in a better position to find the same in their home life. The thing that excites Kyla the most about agile is how concepts and principles apply to any and every area of your life. Which for her is running, paragliding and life on her hobby farm (they call it a lifestyle block in NZ).

You can link with Kyla MacDonald on LinkedIn and connect with Kyla MacDonald on Twitter.

Kyla MacDonald: Measuring the impact of a team of Agile Coaches

Kyla was working with a team of coaches, and they defined their vision as “We exist to support teams to deliver more value, more frequently with more ease and more delight”. This helped them accept that they were always there to push the teams forward and then again move forward. To ensure they kept themselves accountable, they needed to keep score for themselves as a team of coaches. Listen in to learn how they measured themselves and the impact they had on the teams they worked with.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 3 V’s

Kyla shares the 3V’s format, where the team discusses Value, Velocity and Vitality! This format helped her introduce the concept of fulfillment and how the work we do has many dimensions. 

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 Kyla MacDonald

Kyla imagines a world where the talk at Friday drinks is all about the great things we achieved in the week, what we learned, and what we can try next. As she puts it, people who find satisfaction, meaning, fun, and growth in their work, will naturally be in a better position to find the same in their home life. The thing that excites Kyla the most about agile is how concepts and principles apply to any and every area of your life. Which for her is running, paragliding and life on her hobby farm (they call it a lifestyle block in NZ).

You can link with Kyla MacDonald on LinkedIn and connect with Kyla MacDonald on Twitter.

Kyla MacDonald: Starting with an inspiring Agile transformation vision

Kyla was working on an Agile transformation program. This program started with an inspiring question: “what would a great day look like at work?”

The CIO that had just arrived helped management learn from other organizations, and that started to transform the organization. Listen in to learn how that Agile transformation team helped change the mindset and desire to go to work for hundreds of people. 

About Kyla MacDonald

Kyla imagines a world where the talk at Friday drinks is all about the great things we achieved in the week, what we learned, and what we can try next. As she puts it, people who find satisfaction, meaning, fun, and growth in their work, will naturally be in a better position to find the same in their home life. The thing that excites Kyla the most about agile is how concepts and principles apply to any and every area of your life. Which for her is running, paragliding and life on her hobby farm (they call it a lifestyle block in NZ).

You can link with Kyla MacDonald on LinkedIn and connect with Kyla MacDonald on Twitter

Kyla MacDonald: From unaware and confused to engaged and motivated, a Scrum team transformation

Kyla was working with a team that was under a lot of pressure. They were busy, and stressed. No one in that organization wanted to disturb, or interrupt this team. So much so, that planning was done only with senior people. However, by not wanting to interrupt the team, the organization was making the team unaware of why they were working on, and confused. The story changes when the Product Owner starts involving the team in planning and decision making. 

Featured Book of the Week: Leadership is Language by David L. Marquet

In Leadership is Language by David L. Marquet (a previous guest here on the podcast), Kyla learned about how language impacts people and behaviours. A key lesson for us, Scrum Masters. In this episode, we also talk about The Skilled Facilitator by Roger M. Schwarz, where she learned some of the concepts she now applies in her work as Scrum Master. 

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 Kyla MacDonald

Kyla imagines a world where the talk at Friday drinks is all about the great things we achieved in the week, what we learned, and what we can try next. As she puts it, people who find satisfaction, meaning, fun, and growth in their work, will naturally be in a better position to find the same in their home life. The thing that excites Kyla the most about agile is how concepts and principles apply to any and every area of your life. Which for her is running, paragliding and life on her hobby farm (they call it a lifestyle block in NZ).

You can link with Kyla MacDonald on LinkedIn and connect with Kyla MacDonald on Twitter