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Isshai Kamara: The Making of a Great Product Owner, Learning, Leading, And Succeeding With Agile Teams

The Great Product Owner: The Making of a Great Product Owner, Learning, Leading, And Succeeding

This episode with Isshai delves into the qualities of a great Product Owner (PO). Key attributes include an eagerness to learn, and their ability to craft compelling user stories. These POs are not only available to their team and the Scrum Master but are also deeply committed to the team’s success. Their popularity among developers is a testament to their effectiveness, and they regularly check in with team members. Isshai also emphasizes the importance of helping POs build trust capital within the team, highlighting how interpersonal skills and team dynamics play a crucial role in a PO’s success.

The Bad Product Owner: From Tech Expert to Team Enabler, Reframing the PO Role

In this segment, Isshai explores a Product Owner (PO) anti-pattern involving POs with a technical background. These POs often preemptively size stories, overshadowing the input from developers and testers. This behavior led to dissatisfaction among the developers. Isshai suggests effective strategies for addressing this issue, such as encouraging POs to prioritize developers’ opinions, utilizing project management principles when interacting with senior team members, referencing authoritative sources on agile practices, aligning with the team on shared goals, and maintaining a focus on supporting the team’s needs. These tips aim to foster a more collaborative and respectful dynamic within the agile team.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Isshai Kamara

Isshai Kamara is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience, specializing in Agile delivery roles and Scrum implementation. Initially a Technologist, he later transitioned into Project and Engineering Management. With 8 years in Agile delivery, Isshai has become an advocate for IT careers, aiding professionals in transitions and conducting bootcamps for tech roles. His extensive experience in Agile methodologies and commitment to IT career development make him a distinguished figure in the tech community.

You can link with Isshai Kamara on LinkedIn and connect with Isshai Kamara on Instagram.

Anna Mbengam: Prioritizing People And Empowering Teams in the Scrum Master’s Absence

In this episode, Anna emphasizes the critical role of a Scrum Master in ensuring team happiness. She prioritizes facilitating self-organization and meaningful interactions among team members. Anna’s success criteria extend beyond metrics to encompass factors like continuous improvement, agile mindset adoption, and positive team culture. She advocates for open dialogue and hosts regular one-on-one meetings to gauge individual team members’ progress and well-being. Anna also empowers the team to take ownership of the Scrum Master role in her absence, assessing the impact upon her return.

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: Start/Stop/Continue, To Help Scrum Masters Listen Better

Anna likes the ‘Start/Stop/Continue’ retrospective format, as it fosters understanding and alignment within the team. Initially driven to implement sweeping changes, Anna learned the value of stepping back to enable teams to drive their own transformations. This format allows her to actively listen and discern the team’s focal points, resulting in more effective and meaningful retrospectives.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Anna Mbengam

Anna, an accomplished Scrum Master and SAFe Coach since 2018, thrives in diverse industries like Personal Investments, Healthcare, Food & beverage, and Banking. She’s authored 5 self-published guides aiding aspiring Scrum Masters, and her mentoring has transformed 200+ professionals into highly effective individuals for any organization.

You can link with Anna Mbengam on LinkedIn and read Anna’s books.

Aki Salmi: Indicators of a Thriving Agile Team When Uncertainty Rules

In this episode, Aki emphasizes the importance of growth within a team, regardless of whether the path forward is uncertain. He provides insightful tips, such as tracking the effectiveness of retrospectives and monitoring the nature of discussions. Aki prompts reflection on whether the team is delving into systemic issues or getting stuck in “but” statements. He encourages listeners to observe where the team’s focus lies and whether they exhibit curiosity towards their work, asking exploratory “what if” questions.

Featured Retrospective Format For The Week: The Empty Table Retrospective

In this segment, Aki shares his preferred retrospective format inspired by “Agile Retrospectives” by Larsen and Derby. He gives the tip that it’s a lot easier for Scrum Masters when we don’t run retrospectives for our own teams. Aki introduces the “Empty Table” retro, emphasizing the significance of a thorough check-in. Participants imagine an empty table to gather insights and events. He used to employ dot-voting extensively, but later decided there were better methods to select the topics for discussion. He suggests a different approach for topic selection to promote shared leadership. He stresses the importance of active listening and embraces silence as a valid contribution.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Aki Salmi

Aki is a software crafter and shares the joy of coding and the value of empathy at work. That is, Aki works on ones and zeros (code) and everything else (humans).

You can link with Aki Salmi on LinkedIn.

Aki Salmi: Working With BDD To Help Agile Teams Understand And Deliver On Business Needs

In this episode, Aki shares two impactful stories of change. Firstly, he recounts a scenario as a scrum master in a team with two-week sprints. Because the team was “ok” with letting a feature slip from one sprint to the other, that feature eventually took four weeks to deliver, after which the team found out that they implementation did not align with the business. Implementing Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) with tools like Specflow facilitated better communication with the business, ensuring subsequent deliveries met business needs. Aki’s second story reflects his realization about strong opinions and conflicts. Aki learned the value of active listening and being open to others’ perspectives. In this episode, we refer to Chris Argyris’ “Knowledge for Action”nd Portuguese.

Want to Improve Your Change Management Results? Discover the Lean Change Management Approach Today!

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

About Aki Salmi

Aki is a software crafter and shares the joy of coding and the value of empathy at work. That is, Aki works on ones and zeros (code) and everything else (humans).

You can link with Aki Salmi on LinkedIn.

Lorraine Chambers: Designing A Workshop To Help Agile Teams Overcome Conflict, And Learn To Communicate Effectively

In this episode, Lorraine reflects on a pivotal early experience as a Scrum Master. Faced with communication breakdowns in her new team, exacerbated by disrespectful responses to a junior member, she initially hoped for resolution without intervention. However, tensions escalated. Seeking guidance from an agile coach, they conducted communication-focused sessions, delving into communication styles and sharing some active listening practices. Progress seemed slow, prompting Lorraine to shift her coaching approach. She designed a workshop on navigating disagreements, using role-playing exercises. Additionally, she emphasized creating a collaborative working agreement and proactive identification of anti-patterns. Ultimately, Lorraine emphasizes arming teams with tools for independent problem-solving.

The inspiring story of how a failing hospital turned things around with Agile and Lean

Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story – How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

About Lorraine Chambers

Lorraine’s vision of excellence is summed up in the words of philosopher, Lao Tzu — “A leader is best when people barely know he exists … ” She’s held several roles in the Fintech industry, including Product Owner and Quality Assurance. She’s a native New Yorker that loves travel, music and museums.

You can link with Lorraine Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Lorraine Chambers on Instagram.

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Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
Checklist
Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A Quick & Practical Guide to Agile Projects for BI
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