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Eliza Gregory: Strategies for Dealing with a Misaligned Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Caring, Committed, and Capable: Traits of a Great Product Owner

In this episode, Eliza emphasizes that a great PO genuinely cares about the team, the product, and the project. They have a strong desire to perform well and ensure the success of the team. Eliza mentions the importance of reminding the PO to take breaks and rest, if they may have a tendency to shoulder too much responsibility. A great PO should be able to say “no” when necessary, demonstrating their care for the team’s workload and effectively prioritizing tasks to align with the product’s goals. Overall, a great PO is someone who combines a genuine concern for the team, a passion for the product, and the ability to make informed decisions for the project’s success.

The Bad Product Owner: Strategies for Dealing with a Misaligned Product Owner

In this episode, Eliza discusses the challenges of working with a bad Product Owner (PO) who was new to the company, and exhibited behaviors that were not in the team’s best interest, despite claiming to support change and act as a catalyst for it. In meetings, the PO constantly fought against change and advocated for the status quo. Additionally, they frequently interrupted and spoke over the team, and even asked the Scrum Master for more command and control.

Eliza found it confusing that the PO seemed to be fighting against Agile principles and stepping on the team’s autonomy. Eventually, Eliza left the company, but learned that the PO had conflicts with other Agile coaches and managers as well.

She provides tips for dealing with such situations, including having one-on-one conversations with the PO and coaching them as part of the Scrum Master’s role. Creating a safe space for the team to express themselves without interruptions is crucial, and understanding the perspective and background of the PO is also important. Eliza suggests getting training to better understand the PO’s job. Overall, the episode highlights the challenges posed by a bad Product Owner and offers strategies for managing and coaching them 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 Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue.

Eliza Gregory: Unlocking Team Autonomy, and Achieving Success through Difficult Conversations

In this episode, Eliza explores success for Scrum Masters and discusses a situation where success was achieved when her team no longer relied on her. She describes an anti-pattern where teams still ask for permission as if she were their boss, indicating a lack of autonomy. Eliza shares an experience with a team that was initially closed off to change. A manager’s demoralizing comment caused the entire team to shut down. However, during a retrospective, Eliza was able to facilitate a discussion by getting one team member to open up, leading to the team collectively sharing their feelings about the manager’s comment. This retrospective proved to be a success as it allowed for an open conversation about a difficult topic with a little prompting from Eliza. The team then took the initiative to address the issue themselves. Eliza provides tips, noting that when the entire team realizes they are on the same page, they gain the courage to bring up important topics. She also highlights the significance of shared experiences within the team, as it contributes to their overall growth and effectiveness.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Letter From the Future, predicting the future in your Agile Retrospective

In this segment, Eliza introduces the concept of the “Letter From the Future” and shares her experience of implementing it for the first time. She advises that it may require explaining the concept multiple times before being able to successfully conduct it. The retrospective follows a specific format, beginning with setting up a digital whiteboard. Eliza then assigns a postcard to each developer. To engage the team, she appeals to their culture. The main activity involves writing a letter to oneself from the future. Eliza highlights that the different format of this retrospective helps the team think differently and encourages fresh perspectives.

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 Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue.

Eliza Gregory: The Power of Crucial Conversations, Helping Resolve Conflicts in Change Management

In this episode, Eliza discusses a specific experience in a new company where processes were not yet solidified. She describes a situation where an external person, known as the “JIRA god,” had access to her team’s backlog and re-opened an item without consulting the team. This led to an argument and conflict, prompting Eliza to apply the Crucial Conversations techniques to resolve the issue. She emphasizes the importance of understanding different expectations and avoiding judgment during such conversations. Eliza shares tips, including clarifying the desired outcome and the benefits of the proposed change, as most people are unlikely to change unless they see the benefits. She also suggests taking a break from the computer, seeking feedback and support from other scrum masters, and giving the situation time to evolve. Ultimately, she highlights the significance of effective communication and patience in navigating conflicts.

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 Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue.

Eliza Gregory: Addressing Communication Issues by Building Trust and Safety With The Scrum Team

In this episode, Eliza shares a story about an international team that faced trouble with communication and escalation issues. The team initially attempted to create team agreements using a shared whiteboard. However, Eliza later discovered that team members were escalating concerns directly to management without involving her. This raised concerns about whether the team felt safe communicating with her. Eliza offers the tip of addressing this issue through one-on-one conversations, emphasizing the importance of creating a safe space for team members to express themselves. She found that these coaching conversations had the most significant impact. Eliza advises making it clear to team members that you are there to listen and understand their concerns. Additionally, she recommends setting up one-on-one meetings and allowing individuals to define the cadence that suits them best. Eliza also suggests conducting more workshops, especially for teams that are not yet mature, to facilitate better communication and collaboration.

Featured Book of the Week: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Grenny et al.

In this segment, Eliza describes the book “Crucial Conversations.” She highlights that the book is dense and cannot be read in one sitting. Although it is not specifically focused on Agile or Scrum, it delves into conversations that occur when emotions are high and people feel unsafe or threatened. The book emphasizes the importance of creating a safe space and presents essential skills for effective communication with one’s team and others. Eliza emphasizes the significance of recognizing within oneself when entering a crucial conversation.

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 Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue.

Eliza Gregory: From Project Manager to Scrum Master, a first person story

In this episode, Eliza discusses an anti-pattern when her project management background interferes with her scrum master role, causing her to insert her opinion instead of allowing the team to fix the problem. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging mistakes publicly and showing vulnerability. Eliza also talks about the challenge she faced when transitioning to a new company and culture without enough time to adjust. She advises being prepared for changes in terminology when moving industries. Feeling the need to improve her skills, Eliza went back to the basics by reading more books and seeking opportunities to gain knowledge. Additionally, she shares the challenges of working with teams that don’t speak English as their native language and suggests learning the working styles of the team. Eliza emphasizes the significance of asking for feedback from the teams and highlights that adapting to new teams is a personal journey.

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 Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue.

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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