Armin Mandara: When Product Owners Multiply, Making Decisions in a Maze of Stakeholders

The Great Product Owner: Empowering Teams, A Key PO Skill

Armin discusses the role of a great Product Owner (PO) in fostering team success. Drawing from an experience with a mixed team of internal and client-side members, he highlights the importance of clear communication and decision-making abilities in a client-driven setup. A standout PO, in his view, comprehends their role and limitations, excelling in making timely decisions and maintaining a pragmatic approach, even in challenging situations. They actively engage in discussions, emphasizing necessary trade-offs while demonstrating a keen awareness of the team’s needs.

The Bad Product Owner: When POs Multiply, Making Decisions in a Maze of Stakeholders

Armin shares his experience in a B2B ecommerce setting, where a multitude of stakeholders complicated the Product Owner (PO) role. The presence of proxy POs, business analysts, and various other figures led to a lack of clear decision-making. Armin underscores the importance of collaboration between the PO and Scrum Master and emphasizes the need for transparency and timely decisions. He advises making issues transparent to stakeholders and offering suggestions for improvement to address this common anti-pattern. Clear ownership and decisive action are essential for effective product ownership.

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 Armin Mandara

Armin is the Head of Scrum Masters at IBM iX, a leading digital agency. With a career spanning seven years as a Scrum Master, Armin has partnered with numerous teams to successfully deliver top-notch digital products. His passion lies in enabling agile teams to achieve their goals and unleash their true potential.

You can link with Armin Mandara on LinkedIn.

Armin Mandara: Thriving Teams and Joyful Work, Armin’s Vision of Scrum Master Success

Armin reflects on the essence of success for Scrum Masters, emphasizing the delivery of high-performing teams and consistent, valuable software. He emphasizes the importance of joy and camaraderie within the team, highlighting laughter and open communication as key indicators. Armin stresses the value of fun in facilitating difficult conversations. Success, in his view, also hinges on the team’s ability to openly discuss problems.

In this episode, wer refer to the episode about a team that got into trouble: “When Harmony Hinders Progress, Learning to Trigger Difficult Conversations”. [LINK]

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Fostering Open Conversations with Simple Retrospective Techniques and Exercises

Armin likes to use the framework by Derby and Larsen (introduced in the Agile Retrospectives book). He begins with a warm-up exercise to set the stage and assess the mood of the team. For data gathering on what’s going well and what needs improvement he might run the “glad/sad/mad” exercise. Armin values open conversation for generating insights and emphasizes clear instructions for each phase. To conclude, he incorporates a lively check-out exercise, ensuring a fun and engaging close to the retrospective session. This approach enhances team reflection and facilitates meaningful discussions for continuous improvement.

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 Armin Mandara

Armin is the Head of Scrum Masters at IBM iX, a leading digital agency. With a career spanning seven years as a Scrum Master, Armin has partnered with numerous teams to successfully deliver top-notch digital products. His passion lies in enabling agile teams to achieve their goals and unleash their true potential.

You can link with Armin Mandara on LinkedIn.

Armin Mandara: From Checkboxes to Skills, Crafting a Dynamic Career Path and Fostering Self-Development

Armin shares a pivotal career path transformation experience, emphasizing a shift from achievement-based lists to skill-focused development. Recognizing flaws in how managers approached the existing career paths, Armin collaborated with HR to redefine them. The focus shifted from rigid checkboxes to individualized skill levels, providing freedom for personal growth. Armin underscores the importance of nurturing ownership of one’s development and highlights the value of skill improvement over specific achievements. This initiative aimed to motivate and empower individuals to take charge of their professional growth.

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 Armin Mandara

Armin is the Head of Scrum Masters at IBM iX, a leading digital agency. With a career spanning seven years as a Scrum Master, Armin has partnered with numerous teams to successfully deliver top-notch digital products. His passion lies in enabling agile teams to achieve their goals and unleash their true potential.

You can link with Armin Mandara on LinkedIn.

Armin Mandara: When Harmony Hinders Progress, Learning to Trigger Difficult Conversations

Armin shares his experience with one of his initial teams, responsible for QA and user acceptance. The team lacked cross-functionality and faced uneven work distribution. Communication about improvements was scarce, leading to stagnant progress. Some stakeholders provided no feedback, and the team maintained a facade of contentment. Armin observed a reluctance to engage in conflict and recognized the team’s collective unawareness of necessary improvements. Even if in one-on-one meetings, individuals were more candid, they did not raise the topics in a wider group. Armin advises addressing issues individually to gauge openness for discussion. The team’s absence of external pressure hindered growth, reflecting the challenge of balancing harmony with performance.

Featured Book of the Week: “Radical Honesty” by Brad Blanton

In this episode, Armin delves into his favorite book, “Radical Honesty” by Brad Blanton. He highlights how the book goes beyond conventional honesty, emphasizing the importance of genuine self-connection. Armin asserts that this radical honesty is a crucial skill for Scrum Masters, enabling them to tap into their emotions effectively. The book prompts a re-evaluation of authenticity, urging individuals to be true to themselves on a deeper level.

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 Armin Mandara

Armin is the Head of Scrum Masters at IBM iX, a leading digital agency. With a career spanning seven years as a Scrum Master, Armin has partnered with numerous teams to successfully deliver top-notch digital products. His passion lies in enabling agile teams to achieve their goals and unleash their true potential.

You can link with Armin Mandara on LinkedIn.

Armin Mandara: Breaking Change Resistance with Dialogue and Collaboration, A New Scrum Master Story

Armin shares a story from his early days as a Scrum Master, leading a team in developing an ecommerce platform for a major corporation. Despite initial challenges, he sought to introduce project retrospectives for broader learning. However, faced with resistance from project managers, he reflected on the experience and found strength in seeking support and open communication. Armin emphasizes the inevitability of resistance and advocates for transparent, honest conversations in the workplace, acknowledging the power of addressing concerns openly.

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 Armin Mandara

Armin is the Head of Scrum Masters at IBM iX, a leading digital agency. With a career spanning seven years as a Scrum Master, Armin has partnered with numerous teams to successfully deliver top-notch digital products. His passion lies in enabling agile teams to achieve their goals and unleash their true potential.

You can link with Armin Mandara on LinkedIn.

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
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
Opens in a new tab.
NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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