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Takunda Noha: The Customer-Centric PO, Embracing the Gemba Walk as a Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Customer-Centric PO, Embracing the Gemba Walk as a Product Owner

In this episode, the focus is on a remarkable product owner who actively engaged in the Gemba walk. The Gemba walk involves visiting the places where the team, staff, and customers interact to observe how the product is being consumed. The episode highlights that it is uncommon for product owners to actively participate in this practice. The exceptional product owner was known for his authenticity and commitment to his words. He demonstrated his dedication by being the first one present when the store opened and even disguised himself as a regular customer to gather valuable information. This genuine approach built trust as he shared insights that were not made up. The episode concludes by emphasizing the importance of checking one’s ego at the door in order to truly understand and serve customers.

The Bad Product Owner: CEO-like Pressure, Overcoming the Struggle to Say ‘No’ as a Product Owner

In this episode, the focus is on a common anti-pattern of a product owner (PO) who struggles to say “no.” The role of a PO is compared to that of a CEO, as they face immense pressure to deliver. The episode emphasizes the importance of having a strong backbone to effectively fulfill the responsibilities of a PO. The struggle to say “no” often leads to deviations from the planned direction and goals, causing challenges in achieving outcomes within quarterly cycles. Takunda shares some tips on how to help PO’s stuck in this anti-pattern. We cover, for example, assessing whether the PO is taking on too many tasks, and considering the opportunity cost of not prioritizing the original goals. We also discuss the need to stick to the planned path and make changes in future sprints rather than pivoting impulsively.

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 Takunda Noha

Takunda is a seasoned change agent. He specializes in turning dysfunctional teams into high performing teams.

You can link with Takunda Noha on LinkedIn.

Developing Teams the Scrum (and Lean) way! by Lean.Org’s The Lean Post

I’ve been working on a collection of great blog posts about the Scrum Master role. If you have a favorite article on the Scrum Master role, or it’s goals and responsibilities, let me know by submitting it here: https://bit.ly/TheBestScrumMasterBlogPosts2020

Scrum Masters are key participants in the teams, and key contributors to the improvement of productivity in the organizations they work in. Even if the Scrum approach and Agile, in general, are very new (from late1990’s, early 2000s), there are other approaches that have been with us for nearly more than a century now.

One such approach is “Taylorism”. In that approach, the main premise is that “some people” know “what needs to be done and how” (the planner/thinker), and other people “do it” (the doers).

“Take it to the team”: a Scrum Master Mantra

Unfortunately, that Tayloristic approach has become prevalent thanks to the work of some early consultancies.

In Scrum, one of the most important changes to the world of work is that the “doers” are also the “thinkers”. This is one of the reasons why here on the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we often say: “take it to the team”. In other words, anyone can raise an idea of improvement, but only the team knows what can/should be done to achieve the goal. Sometimes that team is the development team, sometimes it is the development team + stakeholders, but it’s “the team” that owns and develops the process of work.

This perspective is revolutionary for many, including many consultancies that still push “process improvement” à lá Taylor (you know which ones).

What’s better than Taylorism for developing our teams and organizations? 

That’s why I want to highlight this post in Lean.Org’s Lean Post blog: “Develop Your People Patiently Rather Than Rely on Super Taylorism”

As the article puts it: while the “west” was focused on separating the thinking from the doing, and using “Super Taylorism”,  “in Japan, Toyota was developing a different approach to strategy, one based on technical learning on the gemba through trial and error–a process that aimed to serve all customers with a broad product line of high quality and at the right price.”

Does that sound familiar? Scrum is exactly that kind of approach: “based on technical learning on the Gemba through trial and error”

Check out the post, and learn about the roots of Scrum and Agile. Don’t get stuck in a Tayloristic approach that leads to frustration, dis-enfranchising the team, and long term problems.

Help us grow as a Scrum Master community, share your best 2020 articles below.

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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
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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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Unlock Your Leadership Potential & Help Your Team Reach Their Potential
FREE QUIZ - What's Your Scrum Master Superpower:
Unlock Your Leadership Potential & Help Your Team Reach Their Potential (Please join the waitlist to be notified first when this quiz is ready for you).