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Gemma Murray: The Key to Successful Agile Product Ownership, The Value-driven Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: The Key to Successful Agile Product Ownership, The Value-driven PO

In this segment, Gemma highlights the importance of a great Product Owner (PO) in agile methodologies. A great PO is always asking “why”, and is constantly seeking to understand the value of the product and the work being done by the team. Gemma describes a PO that came into a team that was maintaining a product, but with their focus on value and constant seeking of feedback, they were able to pivot and make improvements based on data and customer feedback. The PO was able to maintain a great relationship with the team by always listening and acting on feedback from the outside.

The PO focused on collecting metrics to validate their ideas and make data-driven decisions. By being able to listen to and act on feedback, the PO was able to make quicker and better decisions that were in line with the needs and wants of the customer. This ability to listen and act on feedback is a superpower for any PO and is key to their success in agile methodologies.

The Bad Product Owner: The Destructive Effects of a Disempowered Agile Product Owner

In this segment, Gemma discussed a common anti-pattern in product ownership, where the Product Owner may not feel empowered to make decisions. This can result in the team looking for clarity from other sources and the PO not feeling like they are part of the team. Gemma recounted out a real-life scenario where a PO manager became involved in the product development process and started imposing ideas onto the backlog. The manager believed they were supporting the PO and team but this resulted in the PO becoming a silent voice in the team.

To address this issue, Gemma offered several tips. She advised sharing observations with the manager to help them reflect on their behavior, separating behavior from consequences, and avoiding assumptions about others’ thoughts. It is important to clarify the consequences of the behavior, in this case, the PO not feeling confident enough to make decisions on the product. By taking these steps, Gemma aimed to help others resolve similar challenges in product ownership.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide ‘Great design for everyone’. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Gemma Murray: Maximizing Impact of Agile Coaching at Moo, Feedback and Measurement Strategies

In this episode, Gemma discusses her work as an agile coach at Moo and how they measure the impact they have on the organization. She emphasizes that feedback is important but measurement helps us reflect and grow. When it comes to defining success, she shares that to measure the impact of their coaching, the coaches at Moo use engagement surveys that touch on Scrum values and use one or two of the survey questions to build their agile coach OKR’s. These metrics provide a lagging indicator but at the same time, they help the coaches define shorter term actions, and metrics, and eventually the OKR’s help measure their impact on a longer time scale.

In addition to using engagement surveys, they also use collaboration questions for which they ask an evaluation on a 1-5 scale to measure the level of collaboration among teams towards a shared goal. The collaboration questions align with their OKR’s as Agile Coaches and help them to see the impact they are having on the organization.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simplifying Agile Retrospectives to amplify their impact on Scrum teams

In this segment, Gemma shares her favorite approach to conducting agile retrospectives. She emphasizes the importance of keeping the format simple, especially for new teams or teams that are adapting to retrospectives. Gemma shares one example, where she uses a smiley face column, a sad face column, and a question mark column to initiate a wide-ranging conversation and to capture various types of feedback and perspectives. To complement the conversation, she captures the action items that the team wants to put into practice, using frameworks such as CAT (Concrete, Attainable, Timely) and SMART. Gemma views retrospectives as a conversational format and emphasizes the importance of asking “what’s the next immediate step?” and making small changes that have a big impact. Additionally, she mentions the 15% solutions from liberating structures and Toyota Kata as helpful tools in facilitating agile retrospectives.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide ‘Great design for everyone’. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Gemma Murray: Small Commitments for Large Organizational Change, A Practical Approach for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

In this episode, Gemma discussed the concept of organizational change and how to approach it in an effective and practical way. She emphasized the importance of starting with small commitments, using the example of a team struggling with capacity and carrying issues from sprint to sprint. Gemma suggested asking for a commitment from the team to try a new approach for three sprints, as the first sprint may feel clunky, the second sprint will have less cognitive load, and the third sprint will provide empirical data to assess the impact.

She also shared her approach to making changes in large organizations, by seeking a small set of volunteer teams to try out the change and give feedback. This method helps to make the change practical, removes resistance, and gives empirical data for reassessment. Overall, Gemma emphasized the importance of giving change a chance by committing to trying it for three sprints before making a final decision. This “give it 3 sprints” mantra Gemma shares with us is not only helpful when collecting data but also energizes the team and removes resistance.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide ‘Great design for everyone’. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Gemma Murray: Avoiding Burnout in Agile Teams, The Importance of Seeking Outside Perspectives as a Scrum Master

In this episode, Gemma discusses a project where the team was building a database of customer data and a UI to interact with that data. The team was highly motivated and excited about the solution they had come up with, but slowly started to conflate the solution with the outcome. They became so focused on the “one big idea” that they struggled to let go, which resulted in burnout for some team members. The team was great at inspection but not at adaptation.

To avoid this type of situation, Gemma suggests seeking outside perspectives and speaking with your peers. As a Scrum Master, she fell victim to the team’s energy in the beginning, but realized something was wrong and sought insights from an Agile Coach. It is important not to get too focused on the work without thinking about the process, and seeking outside perspectives can help to prevent this. To get different perspectives, and get out of the day-to-day work focus, why not join our podcast community to network and seek additional perspectives? Join us here.

Featured Book of the Week: Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts

In Scrum Mastery By Geoff Watts (Geoff was a previous guest on the podcast), Gemma found a reminder that, even if the Scrum Master role can sometimes be seen as “the facilitator”, in practice it is much more than that. In this segment, we also talk about the book Right to Left: The digital leader’s guide to Lean and Agile by Mike Burrows, that helps Scrum Masters understand how they contribute to the production of value in their role.

In this segment, we also refer to the book Lean UX, whose authors were previous guests on the podcast: Jeff Gothelf, and Josh Seiden, and about Lean in general, an approach that can inspire how we implement Scrum in practice.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide ‘Great design for everyone’. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray on LinkedIn.

Gemma Murray: Agile Coaching for Scrum Masters and The Importance of Building Strong Relationships with Product Owners

In this episode, Gemma shares her experience with a project where she learned the importance of being comfortable with failure. One of the first projects she was involved with had a new PO role and the PO was a former project manager who did not understand the differences between the two roles. This lack of understanding caused the PO to not feel part of the team, resulting in a vacuum of decision-making on the day-to-day tasks and lack of help with backlog refinement, which led to blockers creeping in.

To resolve the issue, Gemma set up a coaching relationship with the PO and shared her observations. The PO was eager to learn and the relationship improved. However, Gemma found herself taking on some PO responsibilities, which was a sign of overstepping. She learned two important lessons from this experience: 1) prioritize the PO relationship and have a 1-on-1 relationship with the PO as they are one of the two pillars that support the team and 2) be more explicit about the coaching and support you will be providing and align expectations with the PO. Gemma emphasizes that every PO is different and it is important to adapt to what they need to be great Product Owners.

In this episode, we refer to the Coach Your PO e-course, which helps Scrum Master setup and be ready for a coaching relationship with their Product Owner.

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 Gemma Murray

Gemma works as an Agile Coach for MOO, a branding company whose vision is to provide ‘Great design for everyone’. Having worked in various change roles using both waterfall and agile approaches throughout her career, Gemma believes in the diversity of teams to unlock innovation, creativity and delivering value.

You can link with Gemma Murray 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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