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Andrew Mitchell: Communication, and Empowering Engineers, Two Product Owner Superpowers

The Great Product Owner: Marty Cagan’s Influence, Inspiring Excellence in Product Ownership

In this segment, Andrew emphasizes the importance of moving POs out of engineering and into the business to better understand business needs. Inspired by Marty Cagan’s book “Inspired”, this great PO excelled in writing effective stories and facilitated closer collaboration between developers and customers. They viewed the engineers’ involvement with customers as a helpful aid rather than a threat. This shift toward self-management empowered the team and enabled faster delivery of products. A great PO plays a crucial role in fostering collaboration, understanding business requirements, and driving successful outcomes.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that could not communicate requirements effectively, and what to do about it

In this segment, Andrew discusses the challenges that arise from having a bad Product Owner (PO). These POs excel in discovery but struggle to communicate effectively with the team, leading to frustration and a lack of trust. Andrew suggests coaching the POs in writing clear stories and focusing on value and prioritization. Interrupting the team’s work is another issue to avoid. He emphasizes the importance of well-defined acceptance criteria in stories. Andrew also notes that problems with bad POs often stem from organizational issues rather than individual skills. Bringing the team closer to the discovery work can help address these challenges effectively.

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 Andrew Mitchell

Andrew prioritizes people when building products, aiming for happy and engaged employees who create great products and serve customers well. He emphasizes trust, psychological safety, servant leadership, and believes Scrum is the best framework to achieve these goals.

He was also a host of the Product Owner Summit 2023, where we collaborated.

You can link with Andrew Mitchell on LinkedIn.

Andrew Mitchell: From Facilitator to Empowerer, The Journey of an Effective Scrum Master

In this episode, Andrew shares that success is achieved when the Scrum Master can gradually step back and allow the team to navigate Agile events independently. This includes team members reminding each other of Agile values, active participation without the Scrum Master’s constant input, and the ability to carry out refinement meetings and handle customer interactions without heavy reliance on the Scrum Master. Avoiding unhealthy conflicts and not making decisions on behalf of the team are key aspects. Conducting team happiness surveys is recommended to gauge team dynamics. Overall, a successful Scrum Master empowers the team and fosters autonomous decision-making.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Survey the team to create insights ahead of the retrospective and tailor the retrospective for what the team needs

In this segment, Andrew discusses his favorite retrospective format, which is always “the one that works best for the team” at that time. He shares that a colleague started surveying the team by asking a few questions. The survey is conducted two days before the end of the sprint, allowing team members to think about their answers in advance. This approach generates great conversations during the retrospective and helps facilitate meaningful discussions. Andrew emphasizes that this format leads to valuable exchanges and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the retrospective.

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 Andrew Mitchell

Andrew prioritizes people when building products, aiming for happy and engaged employees who create great products and serve customers well. He emphasizes trust, psychological safety, servant leadership, and believes Scrum is the best framework to achieve these goals.

He was also a host of the Product Owner Summit 2023, where we collaborated.

You can link with Andrew Mitchell on LinkedIn.

Andrew Mitchell: Lessons in Change Management from Story Points to Flow Metrics in a Scrum Team

In this episode, Andrew discusses his change process of transitioning from traditional story point refinement to flow-based metrics and #NoEstimates. He faced resistance at the team and organizational levels. Andrew conducted an experiment using two years’ worth of data, showing that story points were not superior to throughput. He presented the results to leadership and the teams, emphasizing the importance of holistic metrics and their impact on predictability and team dynamics. Andrew introduced t-shirt sizing for simpler estimation conversations and highlighted that counting stories was more predictive than relying solely on story points. The episode emphasizes lessons in change management, including metric selection and fostering collaboration and predictability.

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 Andrew Mitchell

Andrew prioritizes people when building products, aiming for happy and engaged employees who create great products and serve customers well. He emphasizes trust, psychological safety, servant leadership, and believes Scrum is the best framework to achieve these goals.

He was also a host of the Product Owner Summit 2023, where we collaborated.

You can link with Andrew Mitchell on LinkedIn

Andrew Mitchell: Shared Accountability and Problem-Solving, A Practical Way To Help Scrum Teams

In this episode, Andrew discusses a team that struggled with excessive time spent on refining stories and engaging in arguments during daily scrums. The organization was in the early stages of its agile transformation, and the team had difficulty transitioning from detailed requirements. Engineers felt judged by bugs, leading to a fear of making mistakes. To address these issues, Andrew introduced the concept of shared accountability, shifted the team’s focus to problem-solving, and encouraged smaller work slices. He also emphasized the importance of prioritizing helping people over solely delivering software. These changes aimed to foster collaboration and a supportive team environment.

In this episode, we refer to the book NoEstimates, and the method it describes that served as inspiration for Andrew’s work.

Featured Book of the Week: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

In this segment, Andrew recommends the book “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek as required reading for Scrum Masters. The principle of the book originates from the US Marines, where leaders eat their meals after the soldiers. Andrew highlights the key tip of “They would do it for me,” emphasizing the importance of leaders who prioritize the well-being and needs of their team members. He describes the book as wonderful, implying that it offers valuable insights and lessons for Scrum Masters.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

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 Andrew Mitchell

Andrew prioritizes people when building products, aiming for happy and engaged employees who create great products and serve customers well. He emphasizes trust, psychological safety, servant leadership, and believes Scrum is the best framework to achieve these goals.

He was also a host of the Product Owner Summit 2023, where we collaborated.

You can link with Andrew Mitchell on LinkedIn.

Andrew Mitchell: From Command and Control to Shared Leadership, a Project Manager’s transition to the Scrum Master role

In this episode, Andrew shares his experience as a new Scrum Master and the mistake he made by trying to replicate a command and control leadership style. The team was demotivated and lacked trust, and Andrew initially felt the need to have all the answers despite his limited experience. However, he learned the importance of admitting mistakes and building trust with the team. He also discusses the transition from project manager to Scrum Master, emphasizing the need to let go of control and embrace shared leadership. Lastly, he advises embracing silence to foster deeper thinking and collaboration.

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 Andrew Mitchell

Andrew prioritizes people when building products, aiming for happy and engaged employees who create great products and serve customers well. He emphasizes trust, psychological safety, servant leadership, and believes Scrum is the best framework to achieve these goals.

He was also a host of the Product Owner Summit 2023, where we collaborated.

You can link with Andrew Mitchell on LinkedIn.

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How to deliver on time and eliminate scope creep By scoping projects around outcomes and impacts, not requirements!
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Avoid scope creep! And learn to scope projects around impacts and outcomes, not requirements!
Get These Valuable Lessons Today!
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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