Ali Asl: Empathy as a key skill for Scrum Product Owners

The Great Product Owner: Empathy as a key skill for Scrum PO’s

Great Product Owners have empathy for the customer, the organization and the team. As Ali describes it: it’s key to be human! Even if knowledge of the product and the business is very important, knowledge can be acquired, but the skill of empathy is not easy to acquire.

The Bad Product Owner: Cheap and inexperienced, a combination that destroys value for the customer and the company

This company that Ali worked at used to hire graduates as Product Owners. Inevitably, with their lower salaries came a whole host of other problems. The PO’s would not have experience on the product, or the process of developing products and would focus on the wrong things. In this segment, we also discuss how to help Product Owners focus on value and impact.

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 Ali Asl

Ali is an experienced and accomplished Independent Agile Coach, Trainer and Scrum Master focused on supporting organizations and teams in the application of Agile values and principles to deliver quality and value.

You can link with Ali Asl on LinkedIn.

Bevan Williams: Helping a team grow and step out of their comfort zone

Bevan was working with a product tenma that ghad started their move towards Agile. But he started to notice an anti-pattern in their behavior. They acted as if Agile meant freedom to do “anything we want”. The team was focusing on their own comfort, and happiness, but did not seem to be worried about the product they were trying to develop. Listen in to learn how Bevan helped this team step out of their comfort-only anti-pattern and grow. 

Featured Book of the Week: How Emotions Are Made, by Lisa Barrett

In How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Barrett, Bevan learned how important it is to understand the people we work with, and starting with ourselves. This book helped Bevan understand deeply the role of feedback and empathy on the Scrum Master role. 

In this segment, we also refer to Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins, which provides “a good overview of what is expected from the Scrum Master role”, as Bevan puts it. 

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 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: The 4 (+1) key skills for Product Owners with David Pereira

We start this episode by discussing what are some of the key skills for Product Owners. David shares that – as the Head of Product Management – he tries to help his people with the following skills: 

  • Value-driven mindset: solving problems instead of delivering solutions
  • Communication: adapting to the different scenarios and knowing how to navigate common situations for software projects 
  • Empathy: being able to put themselves in the users, as well as stakeholder, and development team’s shoes
  • Decision making: Sometimes we don’t have data, but we can’t stop making decisions or the team will be paralysed. 
  • If you listen to the end of the episode, we share one more (BONUS! 🙂 skill that David helps Product Owners with

The process to help Product Owners develop these skills

Continue reading BONUS: The 4 (+1) key skills for Product Owners with David Pereira

Angel Diaz-Maroto on empathy and the critical role of the Product Owner

Scrum has a foundational story that many of us know. The Pig and the Chicken story. Through that story we learn that in Scrum there are “insiders” (the Pigs, who are committed), and outsiders (the Chickens, who are merely involved). The role of the Product Owner is often looked at as a “chicken”, however Angel relates a different perspective. He talks about the critical role of the Product Owner in a Scrum team as well as the approach he used to bring the Product Owner role back into the team.

About Angel Diaz-Maroto

Angel is a seasoned and very energetic Agile coach and a frequent speaker at international conferences and Agile events in Europe and America. He is Certified Scrum Coach. Currently he is member of Agilar, one of the leading Agile coaching firms in Europe and Latin-America.
He is now at Agilar, but before he was the leader at one of the biggest Agile transformations in europe, including business and IT at the Spanish branch of a multinational bank (ING). He lead the transformation from the trenches and starting from scratch. He as more than 15 years of experience in many different roles and is a professor at ESNE (University School of design, innovation & technology).
You can link up with Angel Diaz-Maroto on LinkedIn and connect with Angel Diaz-Maroto on Twitter.

Bob Marshall on Empathy, NVC, and other approaches to help develop organizations

In this very special episode we talk with Bob Marshall, aka Flowchainsensei on twitter. We discuss some of his outstanding work:
The Marshall model, where Bob Marshall explores the different types of mindsets and their influence on the effectiveness of organizations.

Simply put, the Model explains how the effectiveness of any knowledge-work organisation is a direct function of the kind of mindset shared collectively by all the folks working in the organisation – managers, executives and employees, all. – Bob Marshall

The Anti-matter principle, where Bob explores a single, overarching principle that could guide the actions of those that take Agile seriously.

“Attend to folks’ needs.” — Anti-matter principle

Empathy as a key skill for Scrum Masters

We also discuss one of the key skills for Scrum Masters: Empathy. How to develop it, and what resources are available for those that want to grow their ability to experience empathy.
We mention resources such as videos by Marshall Rosenberg and Carl Rogers.

The Story of the Anti-matter principle

If you are familiar with the anti-matter principle, you have probably wondered where the idea came from. Bob explains the organizational setting that led him to develop what he later called the anti-matter principle. In this section we also discuss the Theory X and Theory Y contrasting theories of management, developed by Douglas McGregor in his famous book: The Human Side of the Enterprise.

A special attention is given in our conversation to the impact of Extrinsic Motivators on the degrading of organizational performance over time. A must listen, if you ask me 🙂

Enjoy this first special episode of the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast.

About Bob Marshall

Bob Marshall has been at the forefront of Digital Business for more than twenty years.
Throughout, he has consistently inspired people to improve their effectiveness – along with the effectiveness of their teams and organisations. He spent three years as founder and CEO of Familiar, Europe’s UK’s first one hundred percent Agile software house and digital consultancy start-up, serving major Digital Business clients in Telecoms, Finance, Travel, Media, and eBusiness.
He has for the past fifteen years headed Falling Blossoms – a Digital Business Consultancy advising organisations how best to go about applying Digital to achieving their business objectives.

He is also the co-founder of the Rightshifting movement, and the creator of the Marshall Model (Dreyfus for the organisation), as well as Prod•gnosis, Emotioneering and FlowChain; the enterprise-wide approach to developing software-intensive products and services.

He has also pioneered the application of psychology and psychotherapy techniques to Digital Business and Digital Business Transformation.

You can find Bob Marshall on Twitter, and link with Bob Marshall on Linkedin.
You can read his regular postings on the Flowchainsensei blog.

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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
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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
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Internal Conference
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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