BONUS: Maarten Dalmijn on scaling the Product Owner role in Scrum organizations

Maarten Dalmijn joins us on this special episode on the role of the Product Owner to talk about how Product Owners can adapt to the increasing demands placed upon them. It could be working with more teams, or supporting the development of multiple products, the PO role (when successfully executed) will eventually expand to cover more aspects and support more teams.

The struggling and un-happy Product Owner

As Product Owners take on the responsibility to work with more teams, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked. That will likely lead to an un-happy PO, which will, in turn, have a big impact on the teams and their performance.

In this segment, we talk about why PO’s end up taking on too much work and discuss some of the tools we can apply to help scale the Product Owner role. We talk about Sprint Goals (an often forgotten aspect of Scrum), and other techniques that Maarten learned in his career that helped him scale up his role and impact. 

In this segment, we refer to a blog post on setting Sprint Goals and the Coach Your Product Owner e-course and the modules on Sprint Goals and Scaling up the PO role. The modules are: 

  • Coach Your PO v2.0 – Module 04 – How to scale up the Product Owner role to serve multiple teams; and
  • Coach Your PO v1.0 – Module 08 – How to define the perfect Sprint Goal – and why that matters!

The Coach Your PO course (v1.0 and v2.0) is available here: bit.ly/coachyourpo.

Collaboration with the Scrum Master

The Product Owner does not need to work alone when scaling their role to a few more teams or products. We discuss the importance of creating a collaborative relationship with the Scrum Master and how Scrum Masters can help Product Owners. 

In this segment, we talk about how Scrum Masters are sometimes an obstacle for their Product Owners to perform, and we refer to a blog post by Marten on what Scrum Masters can do to help Product Owners

Resources for Product Owners and Scrum Masters on the PO role

Reading about the role, and understanding the role of PO is a critical aspect for Scrum Masters that need and want to help their Product Owners. In this segment, we refer to Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan and Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value by Melissa Perri.

About Maarten Dalmijn

Maarten is a Product Manager and Scrum practitioner who believes in ‘less, but better’. By blending the world of Product Management and Scrum, Maarten helps teams beat the Feature Factory and uncover better ways of delivering value together.

He has over 10 years of experience building products and helped rebuild products as well as Agile Transformations as a leader and participant.

He says: “Product management is about getting the right things done. It is easy to come up with a list of things to add to make something better. It is much harder to decide which things to leave out to make something better.”

You can link with Maarten Dalmijn on LinkedIn and connect with Maarten Dalmijn on Twitter

Follow Maarten Dalmijn’s blog posts on Medium.

 

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

BONUS: Agile Online Summit 2019, an Agile conference you can attend from home

In this BONUS episode, Tom Henricksen, the host of the Agile Online Summit presents this unique Agile conference that you can attend from home

The Agile Online Summit has been on since 2017, and is now in its third edition. From 500 participants in its first year, the AOS 19 will have 3000+ attendees from all over the world, and when you look at the list of speakers, it’s easy to understand why. AOS 19 will have, among others: 

  • Andrew Stellman will talk about the people aspects, and how those affect Agile adoption
  • Al Shallowly will explore the 3rd decade of Agile, and what it might bring
  • Rebecca Scott will share her ideas on how teams can improve their connection with other teams
  • Bob Gallen will speak about Product Ownership
  • Anantha Natarajan will share lessons from implementing agile in a non-IT organization
  • Richard Lawerence will share his experience and ideas about Behavior Driven Development

Date and place: October 7th to 11th

This session packed conference will take place online from October 7th to 11th. Beyond the recorded sessions that will be accessible in those dates, there will also be live sessions organized to help you ask direct questions from the participants as well as interact with your fellow conference attendees. 

For more details stay tuned to the Agile Online Summit website, where all the sessions are described, and where the information about upcoming live sessions will be added. 

A networking opportunity you can enjoy from home or at the office

As any IRL (in-real-life) conference, Agile Online Summit is a networking opportunity, which will help you get to know the speakers as well as other participants. There will be a slack channel available for all who sign-up at this link (NOTE: DISCOUNTED VIP TICKET for Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast fans). 

The Slack channel will be the preferred community hang-out area with channels for you to interact with participants from all over the world, but there will also be live sessions where you can ask questions directly from the speakers. Sign-up for the conference to know when those sessions take place (NOTE: Tickets are FREE for live attendance, purchase the VIP ticket for life-time access to the talks). 

About Tom Henricksen

Tom Henricksen is a technical professional and coach. After working for many years as a developer, Scrum Master, and manager he has made a lot of mistakes and wants to help others achieve their goals. Tom has a passion for sharing wisdom with other agilists.

Tom is the founder and host of the Agile Online Summit. 

You can link with Tom Henricksen on LinkedIn and connect with Tom Henricksen on Twitter

You can find Tom Henricksen’s website at MyITCareerCoach.com.

BONUS: Diana Getman – How checklists make Agile teams faster and deliver with high quality, without adding more processes

In this episode, we explore the role that checklists can have in helping teams improve their process and their performance without adding more processes. 

It is a normal tendency to “add more processes” to fix a problem a team is experiencing. In this episode, we challenge that view. Checklists, we argue, are a simple, effective tool that helps you reach a similar goal, but does not require the process to grow, and become bloated. 

2 Common types of checklists that help teams improve how they work

There are several types of items we can add to a checklist. In this segment, we discuss 2 common types of checklists, and how they can help teams. We start by discussing the “process checklists”, which may include important tips on how to execute a certain process. 

The key thing to remember is that checklists don’t replace processes, but are rather a set of reminders, or items that help teams execute a process once they’ve already read and understood the process. 

The second type of checklists we discuss are those that summarize a series of requirements or pre-conditions that a team needs to follow-up on. This may include quality requirements or certain tasks that need to be completed before a certain work item is considered complete. 

The most common checklists Scrum teams use

Scrum teams have a common set of checklists that they use. We discuss the commonly used Definition of Done, and also talk about the importance of having a Definition of Ready, and how that may help teams get started on the right foot when a new Sprint is about to kick-off.

Additionally, we talk about a pre-release checklist. With a pre-release checklist, teams are able to keep a memory of what they’ve learned from the past about meeting the release requirements, and can continuously improve that critical aspect of any team’s process.

In this segment, we also tackle the usual objections that people given when asked to consider the use of checklists. Checklists may be seen as “more bureaucracy”, but instead, they are there to help teams summarize a process that already exists, provides transparency about the process execution, and ultimately it should be a time saver for the team.

How about you? How have you used Checklists in your work? Share your experience in the comments below.

About Diana Getman

Diana Getman has more than 25 years of experience as a project manager leading cross-functional teams, in both startup and non-profit organizations. Diana has held the roles of Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Agile Coach and is the current President at Ascendle, a custom software development firm in Portsmouth, NH.

You can link with Diana Getman on LinkedIn, or visit Ascendle’s blog for more on checklists.

BONUS: The critical steps to become a Scrum Master, inspiration and tips for you to apply and become a more impactful Scrum Master

When Ben moved to another team he faced some pretty challenging situations. A fully distributed team with a Scrum Master in another country trying to juggle the time zone differences. 

It was only fitting that Ben would then take over the Scrum Master role shortly after. The journey from developer to Scrum Master is hard enough, but in this story, we talk about how to take on the Scrum Master role for a distributed team as well. Not an easy first assignment as a Scrum Master. Listen in to learn about that journey and the lessons that you can apply in your own work. 

The major obstacles Ben faced in his Scrum Master journey

Continue reading BONUS: The critical steps to become a Scrum Master, inspiration and tips for you to apply and become a more impactful Scrum Master

The value that Agile coaching and Scrum Masters bring to your organization – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook). He joins us on this series of Q&A shows to answer questions you’ve submitted. You can submit your questions via our survey (short, about 2 min to fill-in) or by tweeting us @scrumpodcast with #agilejeff.

In this episode, we talk about the importance of technical excellence and how to help teams adopt that mindset.

How to explain the need for Agile coaching and Scrum Masters

Continue reading The value that Agile coaching and Scrum Masters bring to your organization – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

How do we help Scrum teams focus on technical excellence? – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook). He joins us on this series of Q&A shows to answer questions you’ve submitted. You can submit your questions via our survey (short, about 2 min to fill-in) or by tweeting us @scrumpodcast with #agilejeff.

In this episode, we talk about the importance of technical excellence and how to help teams adopt that mindset.

How do we help teams focus on technical excellence?

Continue reading How do we help Scrum teams focus on technical excellence? – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

How to help Self-organization get started in the team – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook). He joins us on this series of Q&A shows to answer questions you’ve submitted. You can submit your questions via our survey (short, about 2 min to fill-in) or by tweeting us @scrumpodcast with #agilejeff.


In this episode, we talk about getting management to understand and learn how to support and promote self-organization by the team.

Helping teams and managers adopt self-organization as a way to improve the team’s impact

Continue reading How to help Self-organization get started in the team – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

How to help Self-organization get started in the team – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook). He joins us on this series of Q&A shows to answer questions you’ve submitted. You can submit your questions via our survey (short, about 2 min to fill-in) or by tweeting us @scrumpodcast with #agilejeff.

In this episode, we talk about getting management to be involved and buy-in to the agile transformation.

Helping teams and managers adopt self-organization as a way to improve the team’s impact

Continue reading How to help Self-organization get started in the team – Q&A with Jeff Campbell

BONUS: Ryan Jacoby on the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader

Innovation is a topic that gets a lot of attention. There are innovation processes, specific creative games for teams to work with to seek innovative ideas. There’s the Lean Startup movement that tries to codify innovation-friendly processes, and there’s also the UX community pushing the argument that we need more innovation in software companies.

You’ve probably heard the same argument at work. We need to be more innovative to be competitive. Great! But how?

In this episode, we explore how leaders can set up their organizations for innovation. Ryan Jacoby helps us explore the how of that critical question: how can we be more innovative?

Ryan has written a book titled Making Progress – The 7 Responsibilities of an Innovation Leader to describe how organizations can focus on enabling innovation in practice.

The first action you, and your organization need to take

Ryan describes an approach that aims to focus on the team and organization on the customer needs. His approach is simple and immediately actionable. First start by jotting down in plain language and from the point-of-view of the user/customer: what problems are you trying to solve for that customer? Select the top 3.

The other dimension of innovation is your organization’s goals. Define what it means to meaningfully grow the impact of the organization over 6 to 18 months. This growth could be in the number of customers, revenue growth, profit, etc.

Now you have the start of a growth strategy that is centered on customer needs and also directly linked to the company’s/organization’s growth. Next, we talk about innovation in practice.

The 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader

When it comes to putting innovation in practice, Ryan argues that there are 7 areas to take into account.

  1. Define progress for your organization, in other words: what is the impact you seek and the growth in that impact factor
  2. Set an innovation agenda by prioritizing the innovation problems to solve, user and customer groups you want to serve, nature type of innovation to pursue.
  3. Create support teams that build the product
  4. Cultivate the ingredients for success for innovation
  5. Giving great feedback to teams: prepare and setup the feedback moments so that teams can learn quickly.
  6. Inspire progress
  7. Reward progress (as defined in #1)

Ryan explains how he came to value these 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader by telling us his own story when he was responsible to help the New York Times grow their impact through innovative solutions.

Ryan’s book: lessons learned about each of the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader

You can read more about Ryan’s work and find his detailed explanation of the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader in his book: Making Progress – the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader.

 

About Ryan Jacoby

Ryan Jacoby, is the founder of MACHINE, a strategy, and innovation company that helps its clients Think Big and Act Small.

MACHINE clients over the years have included people responsible for growth and innovation at The New York Times, Marriott, Viacom, Etsy, Google, Nike, The Washington Post, Feeding America, Fresh Direct, NBC Universal, and The Knight Foundation.

Prior to founding MACHINE, Ryan led teams and relationships at the design and innovation firm IDEO. He was a founding member and location head of the IDEO New York office and built the Business Design discipline at the firm.

Ryan is also the author of the book named “Making Progress” with Sense and Respond press. A book he describes as “a tactical guide for you, the person charged with leading innovation”

You can link with Ryan Jacoby on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Jacoby on Twitter.

For more on Ryan Jacoby’s work, visit his company’s site at Machine.io.