Erik de Bos: The Product Owner that stepped back so much, the team had no choice but to take ownership!

The Great Product Owner: The PO that stepped back so much, the team had no choice but to take ownership!

This PO was “annoyingly laissez-faire”, which at first irked Erik, but ultimately proved to be an asset for Erik and the team. The PO empowered the team in practice, by stepping back, and letting the team write their own User Stories, while at the same time being available to answer their questions.

In this segment, we talk about the movie “Master and Commander”.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that wanted to control everything about the team

This PO thought they knew better than anyone else. Even if Erik would be able to have a good conversation about Agile with the PO, when the time came, the PO would revert back to “controlling” everything the team was doing. Erik setup a retrospective with the PO about the issue they were facing, and tried to help the PO step back. They found a new way to organize the Backlog Refinement so that the PO would not be tempted to control the team. Listen in to learn about the tough conversations Erik had with the PO, and how he tried to help the team and the PO.

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 Erik de Bos

Erik is what you get when you take a trained scientist, who mastered Agile as a programmer and is now a Scrum Master. A pragmatic, analytic, systemic and critical personality who is completely focused on understanding the problem. Because once you understand the problem, the solution is easy.

You can link with Erik de Bos on LinkedIn and read Erik de Bos’ articles in Medium.

BONUS: A DevOps transformation from the point of view of the development teams with János Csorvási and Jeff Campbell

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

Jeff and János share the story of a DevOps transformation at Meltwater, where they both work. We start by discussing the big differences between an Agile and a DevOps transformation.

The big difference between Agile and DevOps transformations

As they describe it, a DevOps transformation is more about the technical aspects of software development. While in an Agile transformation we may look at processes, and team composition, the DevOps transformation that Jeff and János describe was focused on removing the hand-overs, and building the technical infrastructure necessary for that to happen. Their goal was to create, and support cross functional teams that would be able to implement, deploy and operate their software in production.

Change management in a DevOps transformation

Continue reading BONUS: A DevOps transformation from the point of view of the development teams with János Csorvási and Jeff Campbell

Wilson Govindji: How a Product Owner can take advantage of a technical background in the PO role

The Great Product Owner: Taking advantage of a technical background in the PO role

This PO had a product background, and a strong tech background, but that meant that the PO could communicate both with the team (technology people) and with the stakeholders (non-technology people). This background, instead of giving the PO overconfidence, helped with understanding the feedback, and look for more feedback. This PO was able to bring his past experience into the role, instead of replacing the responsibilities of a PO with the “fake” knowledge from his past experience.

The Bad Product Owner: When PO’s destroy the team’s ability to be productive

Product Owners are constantly faced with many problems, or challenges that they need to address. When they lack the ability to prioritize and learn from feedback, they stop being helpful for the team, and can create a lot of confusion. In this episode, we talk about yet another anti-pattern to add to the lack of ability to prioritize: when the PO is, at the same time over confident, and stops listening to feedback from users and stakeholders. Listen in, to learn how feedback, or lack thereof, can destroy the team’s ability to be productive.

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 Wilson Govindji

Wilson is a pragmatic Scrum Master, he has over 15 years in Software development and has worked in different roles, from Support Analyst, Developer to tech lead. Wilson is from Portugal, with Indian origins and currently living and working in the UK with his wife and two daughters.

You can link with Wilson Govindji on LinkedIn and follow Wilson Govindji’s blog on Medium, and follow Wilson Govindji on Instagram.

Wilson Govindji: How a new Scrum team struggled, and then learned what working as a team is about 

Wilson was working with a team that was new to Scrum. It was the first time that many different roles were working together. Then he noticed a pattern: people were no longer speaking up during the Scrum ceremonies. The testers would challenge the behavior of the software, but the developers would just ignore them. This was the start of a longer process of self-destruction for this team. Listen in to learn what happened, and how Wilson helped this team turn the situation around.

In this segment, we refer to the Tuckman’s stages of group dynamics.

Featured Book of the Week: Extreme Ownership, How the U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Willink and Babin

In Extreme Ownership, How the U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Willink and Babin, Wilson found a reminder of how important it is to accept ownership of everything that happens. This is a leadership book from which Wilson learned some key lessons for him as a Scrum Master.

In this segment, we also talk about the book The People’s Scrum by Meyer.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Wilson Govindji

Wilson is a pragmatic Scrum Master, he has over 15 years in Software development and has worked in different roles, from Support Analyst, Developer to tech lead. Wilson is from Portugal, with Indian origins and currently living and working in the UK with his wife and two daughters.

You can link with Wilson Govindji on LinkedIn and follow Wilson Govindji’s blog on Medium, and follow Wilson Govindji on Instagram.

Gurucharan Padki: Customer-centric Product Owners that destroy the team because of that

The Great Product Owner: Great PO’s are committed to the success of the team, not only their personal success

Great Product Owners are able to relate to the team members, and share their perspective on the future of the product. This particular PO, was able to talk to the team about the roadmap, and communicated the Vision for the product. Even if the team was distributed among several timezones, the PO was able to be in contact and available to the team. Great PO’s are committed to the success of the team, not only their own success.

The Bad Product Owner: Customer-centric PO’s that destroy the team because of that

This PO thought they were the boss of everyone, and tended to micro-manage the team. This particular PO was more focused on sales, and pushed all customer ideas to the team without concern for their feasibility or applicability to the product Vision. The PO heard the customers, but was unable to filter out the bad ideas from the good ones.

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 Gurucharan Padki

Gurucharan Padki comes with 18 years of experience in the IT industry, of which he has spent more than a decade in the Agile world delivering products, programs and projects with focus on engineering and quality . He has played the role of product owner, scrum master and agile coach in multiple organizations across India and the world driving transformations.

You can link with Gurucharan Padki on LinkedIn.

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

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