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Stephanie Cully: How A Misunderstanding Created The Opportunity For Collaboration Between A Scrum Team And Their Product Owner

Stephanie recounts the challenges faced by a team transitioning to a new application project, marked by tension between developers and the product owner (PO), who micromanaged interface details without clearly conveying customer goals. Initially, separating the team from the PO led to communication issues and misunderstandings. A turning point occurred when a design misunderstanding prompted a shift in strategy: apologies were made, and collaborative design sessions were initiated. This improved communication and understanding, eventually leading the PO to facilitate direct developer-customer interactions, fostering a more integrated and effective team dynamic.

Featured Book of the Week: How To Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty

Stephanie was deeply inspired by Jay Shetty’s “How to Think Like a Monk” in her career as a Scrum Master. The book emphasizes the importance of consistent practice, showing up authentically, and contributing equally within a team. Its teachings resonate with the Scrum Master role, highlighting the significance of not solving problems for others but facilitating their ability to solve problems themselves. This approach fosters self-reliance and growth within the team, aligning with the core principles of effective scrum mastery.

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 Stephanie Cully

Stephanie Cully is a Scrum Master, and CEO of Scrum Life Consulting. Stephanie founded Scrum Life with a mission to help Scrum Masters overcome self-doubt and land the role.

You can link with Stephanie Cully on LinkedIn.

Thorben Pantring: The Micro-Manager PO, And The Impact It Has On Agile Teams

The Great Product Owner: Empowering Teams, The Art of Servant Leadership in Product Ownership

A greatProduct Owner, as described by Thorben, is an outward-facing individual who actively engages with customers, bringing their challenges to the team for collaborative problem-solving. This PO allows the team autonomy, offering ideas without being directive, fostering a collaborative atmosphere in refinement sessions. Engaged in large-scale adoption, this PO excelled as a master collaborator and embraced the servant leadership role. Thorben emphasizes the development team’s centrality in software, debunking the notion of working for the team. This Product Owner embodied customer focus, collaboration, and servant leadership.

The Bad Product Owner: The Micro-Manager PO, And The Impact It Has On Agile Teams

In this segment, Thorben discusses Product Owner (PO) anti-patterns, highlighting issues like focusing on overly detailed feature specs leading to micro-management. This approach stifles openness to feedback and fosters a “just do what I tell you” mentality, making developers passive and hindering communication. This mode of collaboration leads to having pre-defined, upfront designed features with minimal room for adjustments even when problems are found! This pattern ultimately results in deadline-driven development and disengaged developers.

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 Thorben Pantring

Thorben is an experienced Scrum Master & Team Lead in the eCommerce space, showcasing expertise in leadership, LeSS, Scrum, team management, and engineering. With an insatiable desire for learning and a relentless pursuit of progress, Thorben embodies a fervent passion for leadership, agility, and technology.

You can link with Thorben Pantring on LinkedIn.

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.

Bojan Smudja: Genchi Genbutsu, how to help Scrum Product Owners go beyond the backlog to understand the real product

The Great Product Owner: Coaching the Product Owner, A Crucial Role for Scrum Masters

Bojan highlights the importance of coaching the Product Owner (PO) as a Scrum Master. He emphasizes that scrum masters should be prepared to provide coaching to the PO, focusing on their development rather than becoming product coaches themselves. Bojan notes that great POs possess the ability to multitask and actively participate in meetings. They act as focused salespeople, selling product ideas and visions to stakeholders and the team. Simply mastering tools like JIRA and stakeholder communication is not enough; the PO must also sell their ideas to the team and scrum master. By coaching the PO and helping them refine their skills, Scrum Masters contribute to the overall success of the product development process.

If you want to know more about what topics, and how you can coach your Product Owner, check out our e-course on How to Coach Your PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Genchi Genbutsu, how to help PO’s go beyond the backlog to understand the real product

In this segment, Bojan discusses a team composed of newcomers, including a newbie Product Owner (PO), working on an existing product. Bojan noticed that here was a disconnection between the work on the team’s Scrum board and the actual product. The PO struggled to bridge the gap between the technical tasks and the features used by customers. Consequently, the team lost sight of the purpose behind their work and the reasons for building the product. One prominent anti-pattern was the lack of a customer feedback loop, resulting in a missed opportunity to gather valuable insights. Bojan advises the implementation of appropriate feedback loops tailored to the specific product being developed. Additionally, he references the concept of “Genchi Genbutsu,” which encourages going and seeing the product in action with customers to gain a deeper understanding.

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 Bojan Smudja

Bojan is an Agile coach dedicated to assisting individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their objectives. With his expertise and guidance, he empowers others to embrace Agile methodologies and maximize their potential for success.

You can link with Bojan Smudja 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
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