Bent Myllerup: Communicating the Vision as a tool to help the Scrum team perform

The Great Product Owner: Communicating the Vision to help the Scrum team perform

Bent starts by explaining how great Product Owners are able to communicate with all stakeholders, and share the Vision they have for the product they own. It helps if a PO also understands the domain well, even if we’ve seen in other episodes, that this is not always a must-have skill. This particular PO was also able to listen, and collaborate well with both the team and the stakeholders.

The Bad Product Owner: The proxy PO anti-pattern

This Product Owner did not have the mandate to be the PO. The PO was merely a proxy to other stakeholders that did not show up, or interact with the team. Great teams need the PO to be free to make decisions and be ready to negotiate with the team when certain things are not possible, or very costly.

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 Bent Myllerup

Bent Myllerup is a management consultant, organisational change agent and agile transformation coach with 20 years of personal experience in management and leadership. He holds a Master in Management Development (MMD) from Copenhagen Business School and a Bachelor in Science of Electronic Engineering. He was the first European Certified Scrum Coach and he is also a Certified Scrum Trainer.

You can link with Bent Myllerup on LinkedIn and connect with Bent Myllerup on Twitter.

Yousef T. Fahoum: Explaining the value of Agile ceremonies to the Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Explaining the value of ceremonies to the PO

Sometimes, the Product Owner does not understand why we have certain ceremonies. In that case, great Product Owners don’t try to change things immediately, but rather work with the Scrum Master to learn, and improve the situation. In this episode, we learn the story of the PO that did not want the team to “spend time” in a PI Planning Increment session (from SAFe), but as she worked with the Scrum Master her views changed drastically. Listen in to learn how Yousef helped the PO learn the value of the PI Planning session.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping the PO’s be more focused, and less disruptive to the Scrum team.

When the PO’s start to act as “the boss”, and ordering teams around, that’s never a good sign. But it can get a lot worse if the PO is also unfocused. In this episode, we learn about the “hair on fire” culture that some Product Owners bring to their teams, and how to recover from that.

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 Yousef T. Fahoum

When starting out as a ScrumMaster and BA years ago Yousef passionately followed the ScrumMaster Podcast. Yousef is a SAFe Enterprise Coach at Elabor8 with experience implementing Agile and SAFe at some of the largest and most recognized brand leaders across industry domains in the U.S. and Australia.

You can link with Yousef T. Fahoum on LinkedIn and connect with Yousef T. Fahoum on Twitter.

Julie Wyman: How to help unempowered Product Owners step up, and start to make decisions

The Great Product Owner: Two characteristics that make a great PO

This Product owner had two characteristics that made her a great Product Owner for the team. She had: a) domain expertise, and b) availability to work with the team. She also knew that it was important to involve others in making decisions and actively asked help from other experts when needed. She was also great at collecting feedback. 

The Bad Product Owner: Helping unempowered PO’s step up, and start to make decisions

This Product Owner was missing empowerment to make decisions. This was further complicated by the fact that the PO was part of a larger program, where there were multiple PO’s that also did not feel empowered. We discuss how to help these Product Owners slowly start to gain ownership, and assert their ability to make decisions.

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 Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

Jeroen de Jong: The Product Owner that “knows it all”, an anti-pattern to be aware of 

The Great Product Owner: Organized, and able to communicate the value and “why” for the stories in the backlog

Great Product Owners are able to keep everyone in the loop and engaged with the product development process. They share the “why” for the product ideas they want to move forward, they share the value of what is being done, and what was delivered in the previous sprint, but they are also organized and structured about their work, including the use of the Getting Things Done method which we talked about on the Tuesday episode. 

In this segment, we also refer to the Coach Your Product Owner e-course that we produced here at the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast, to help you work with the Product Owner. 

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that “knows it all” 

This PO thought they had nothing to learn. They acted as if they knew everything, even better than the team! This type of PO’s are more likely to want to “replace” the team and do things themselves, effectively killing collaboration in the process. 

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 Jeroen de Jong

Jeroen started his career as a self-employed jack-of-all-trades in IT and is passionate about Agile. He is determined to keep learning and to share his knowledge with others.

You can link with Jeroen de Jong on LinkedIn and connect with Jeroen de Jong on Twitter.

BONUS: The psychology of communicating data with Dan Vacanti

Dan joins Vasco to talk about how we can communicate data when working with stakeholders and the team. He’s joined the podcast previously to talk about #NoEstimates with Vasco and Marcus Hammarberg. You can listen to that episode here

We start the conversation by discussing some of the most common anti-patterns we fall into when communicating data to stakeholders and the team. The first anti-pattern Dan mentions is “assuming that people understand the data you present to them”. 

We discuss why that is often a problem, and the role of rationality when discussing and deciding on what interventions are warranted based on the data that is presented. 

In this segment, we also discuss that the role of data, and presenting data, is to assess what actions might be necessary to correct something, or improve the process we work with. 

The emotions behind our reactions to the data being presented

Continue reading BONUS: The psychology of communicating data with Dan Vacanti

Steen Villumsen: Without a product strategy, the Product Owner brings only confusion

The Great Product Owner: Quick decisions, and excellent at collaboration

A great Product Owner knows the value they bring to the team and the stakeholders. They work with stakeholders and the team to make decisions, and  are not afraid to challenge some decisions. Finally, we talk about the PO’s as critical success enablers for the team, and how Scrum Masters can work with the PO’s to define success for the team and the product. 

The Bad Product Owner: Without a strategy, the PO brings only confusion

When Product Owners lack a strategy for their product, they create more than confusion for the team. In some cases, they become mere list managers, and don’t bring the insight the teams need to the work. In this segment, we discuss how important it is to help Product Owners that are stuck in these anti-patterns, as their performance directly affects the teams we work with. 

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 Steen Villumsen

Steen is an Agile Coach, who calls himself a conceptualiser and a communicator. His focus is on moving people and supporting change through coaching.

You can link with Steen Villumsen on LinkedIn.

BONUS: The art, and science of making prediction with #NoEstimates. With Dan Vacanti and Marcus Hammarberg

We explore a real-life project that Marcus was part of, and how the #NoEstimates methods he used helped him make predictions, even if did not estimate the work to be done.

This conversation started from an article that Marcus had posted earlier on social media. In that article Marcus explained how he had used data, as opposed to estimates to make a prediction of when the project would be finished. This approach still creates a lot of controversy on twitter, even if it has been (at the time of recording) 10+ years since the original discussion around estimates started by Woody Zuill and Vasco Duarte on twitter under the tags of #NoEstimates and #Estwaste respectively. 

As Marcus quickly found out in this project, the rate of progress could not have been predicted easily at the start (if at all). When he first started the project, the progress was swift, but at one point he faced a problem he could not solve for several days. This phenomenon is not new for any programmers in the audience, and is quite common. Also, one of the reasons why using methods like #NoEstimates (as explained in the #NoEstimates book, and in Marcus’ blog post), can help uncover information that estimation would not. 

Dealing with surprises: the information you need to share with stakeholders

Continue reading BONUS: The art, and science of making prediction with #NoEstimates. With Dan Vacanti and Marcus Hammarberg

Bevan Williams: From Absent to Awesome! A Product Owner transformation story

The Great Product Owner: From Absent to Awesome! A PO transformation story

This Product Owner was absent at first. A common anti-pattern for PO’s. The PO was spread over 5 teams. That’s when Bevan got together with the PO and asked: “how do we solve this together?” Listen in to learn how this PO went from being absent, to being a great PO with the help of Bevan! 

In this segment, we refer to intent based leadership by David Marquet, who’s been a guest on the podcast. 

The Bad Product Owner: Solving the absent PO anti-pattern.

This Product Owner was often absent, a common anti-pattern in larger organizations. To make it even harder, this PO was only assigned to the role part-time. The team was sorely missing answers that would help them progress. What can we do in these situations? Bevan shares some of the solutions he’s tried to solve the Absent PO anti-pattern. 

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 Bevan Williams

Bevan is an Agile Coach & Trainer at Think Agile. His career has been driven by his passion of creating inclusive environments where people can be at their best. 

You can link with Bevan Williams on LinkedIn and connect with Bevan Williams on Twitter.

BONUS: From 12 to 68 releases a year, a hands-on transformation story with Charles Oppermann

For some, it might seem hard enough to release once per month (12 times a year). However, this particular company is releasing every week of the year (52) and some extra releases when necessary, taking them up to 68 unique releases in a year.

They can do this (mostly) transparently to the end customers, but also release major features that their organization uses in promoting the product.

Listen in to learn how Charles Oppermann has helped his organization reach that level of frequent deliveries, even with multiple hard dependencies and a team that can go up to 60+ people involved in the development and release process.

About Charles Oppermann

Charles Oppermann is a 30-year veteran of the software industry. He prides himself on shipping high-quality software that helps humanity; from the JAWS screen reader and making the internet accessible to people with disabilities while at Microsoft, and for the past decade; protecting people from online threats at Malwarebytes.

You can link with Charles Oppermann on LinkedIn and connect with Charles Oppermann on Twitter.

BONUS: Remote Work Special: Bringing teams together to solve organizational problems with Gene Connolly and Jeff Campbell

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook).


In the past, we’ve covered an internal unconference format that helps us bring multiple teams together to solve company-wide problems. This time, Gene and Jeff join us to share what they’ve learned during the Corona year of 2020 about hosting the same format online! Since we can’t travel as we did before, how can we bring teams together in an interactive, and energy-boosting format to help solve organizational problems? Listen to learn about the Virtual Online Unconference format with Gene Connolly and Jeff Campbell

Going Remote before the teams are ready

Just like all of us, Gene and Jeff’s organization moved to fully remote work at the start of 2020. That presented multiple challenges, not the least of which the fact that teams were interacting less with each other because of the necessary overhead that remote work represents for each team. 

The remote work reality became an even bigger issue when it came to addressing organization-wide issues. In the past, Gene and Jeff have helped facilitate an internal Unconference at Meltwater. However, with remote work being the norm, hosting the unconference became an extra challenge. 

Gene and Jeff were not discouraged, however, and started working on a format that would fit the online/remote reality! 

Hosting a remote Unconference: a hands-on how-to tutorial

Gene and Jeff decided to go live with the first remote unconference, keeping in mind that they would learn a lot and share their knowledge with the wider community

During the first remote unconference, they learned many lessons which they share in this episode, from the “how-to” for MIRO boards, to the surprises related to helping the teams follow instructions. This massive online event had specific challenges they had to learn to deal with and share their lessons with us. 

The most important lesson: iterate quickly, learn even faster!

Perhaps one of the most important lessons for Gene and Jeff was to “try” the format in smaller groups before going full-blown global with their ideas. For that, they decided to quickly test different tools in smaller events with teams and learned what worked and didn’t. 

If you want to know more, check out their fully detailed tutorial at the Melwater blog, and get in touch with Jeff and Gene to ask questions!

About Gene Connolly and Jeff Campbell

Gene Connolly is a Principal Software Developer at Meltwater. He has dedicated his career to improving the quality of life of legacy software systems during their golden years and making the most complex problems he can find slightly less complex.

You can link with Gene Connolly on LinkedIn and connect with Gene Connolly on Twitter.

Jeff is an Agile Coach who considers the discovery of Agile and Lean to be one of the most defining moments of his life and considers helping others to improve their working life not to simply be a job, but a social responsibility. 

He is the author of actionable agile tools, which you can get on Amazon and directly from the author at bit.ly/aatbook

As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organizations both small and large.

You can link with Jeff Campbell on LinkedIn and connect with Jeff Campbell on Twitter.

You can also learn more about Jeff Campbell’s work at his company’s website.

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