Rob Cooper: The Product Owner that was “far” from the Scrum team

The relationship between the Product Owner and the team is a critical aspect of the team’s performance. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting perspectives on building that relationship between PO and team.

The Great Product Owner: Deliberately building a relationship with the team

Great PO’s deliberately build a relationship with the team, but always have a clear idea of what the customer needs. Putting those two together, the PO is able to very clear about what they need to do to help the team deliver on the product vision. We also discuss how the PO is very much a leadership role. 

In this segment, we refer to the concept of Lateral Leadership

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that was “far” from the Scrum team

This story starts with a team that had 2 Product Owners. And even if both PO’s were passionate and wanted to do a good job, Rob noticed that the Business PO was very far from the team. In this segment, we discuss how the Product Owner is an “outreach” role, which tries to bring the team and the customer closer together. 

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Rob Cooper: How Scrum Masters can adapt their definition of success to the team they work with

The Scrum Master role is not always easy to define, and in this episode, we discuss how that makes it hard to define success. Despite that, Rob shares his definition of success, and how he adapts his success definition to accommodate the situation of the team he works with. 

In this segment, we also refer to the idea/concept of Kaizen: Continuous Improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Soup Technique

In this segment, we talk about several possible retrospective formats. We start by discussing Themed Retrospectives and how they can be effective for teams, and we end up tackling one of the biggest obstacles to getting value out of Agile Retrospectives: focusing on things outside the control of the team. We discuss “The Circles and Soup” technique by Diana Larsen, which helps teams focus on the obstacles they have control over, and reach out for help on the items they don’t have control over.

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 Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn

Rob Cooper: How to help teams that are stuck between Waterfall and Scrum

This team was stuck halfway between Waterfall and Scrum. The team was working in Sprints, but they had a 13-week development cycle, followed by a 13-week testing cycle. The separation of testing from development caused several issues, and the company tried to remedy that by asking developers to test in an attempt to speed up the testing cycle. However, things didn’t go according to plan. Listen in, to learn about what happens when organizations separate testing from development, and what we – Scrum Masters – can do to help teams that are in that position. 

About Rob Cooper

Rob is a Lead Agile Coach at Sainsbury’s, focusing on how the whole business uses Agility. Rob is an experienced Agile Coach at Enterprise, leadership, and team levels. In this career, he worked with change in organizations using a range of frameworks, including Scrum, Kanban, SAFe & LeSS approaches. He’s experienced in program & Project Management and has helped multiple teams transition from waterfall to Agile. 

You can link with Rob Cooper on LinkedIn.

Susannah Chambers: Involving the team, an asset for great Scrum Product Owners

The way the PO involves the team in their work and decisions can make or break the collaboration between team and PO. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting approaches, and why the effective involvement of the team in the work of the PO is so important.

The Great Product Owner: User Experience focused PO

This particular Product Owner was very much focused on user experience, and that helped the team also focus on that aspect of their work. During meetings with the team, the PO constantly brought up the value they were trying to “drive” for the customer. 

In this segment, we refer to an approach Susannah calls “Metrics and Chill”. Listen in to learn what that is about.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that would have conversations without the team

Product Owners can help, or hinder the teams’ work. In this segment, we talk about a PO that would turn all blame on the team, and would have conversations with stakeholders without the team knowing about it, or being informed. This inevitably led to bad surprises that the team wasn’t ready for, and then was blamed for. Listen to these anti-patterns to learn to detect them before it is too late!

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Susannah Chambers: Tips on assessing a Scrum team’s evolution over time

Can the team sustain the good practices they have in place? This is one of the questions that Susannah asks herself when assessing the impact of her work as a Scrum Master. She shares some tips that Scrum Masters can use to help the teams show if they are evolving in their Scrum and Agile journey. 

In this episode, we refer to the Personal Agility Movement

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Spinal Tap themed retrospective

One underrepresented retrospective format is that of a film-themed retro. Susannah, a musician herself, shares how she uses scenes from the Spinal Tap movie to help spark reflection and conversation in Agile Retrospectives. Susannah reminds us that the laughing that comes from watching some of the scenes in that movie, relaxes people and helps with the sharing of experiences.

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 Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter

Susannah Chambers: How to Scrum Master two teams, and survive!

This story starts with Susannah working with two teams, in her role as a Scrum Master. This lead to her feeling torn between the two teams that she wanted to help. Multitasking and having to attend multiple ceremonies made her feel stressed and unsure about the best way to help the teams. How can a Scrum Master overcome the challenges of this situation and help the teams? Listen in to learn the important lessons Susannah took from this situation.

About Susannah Chambers

Susannah seeks joy and empowers teams to articulate how they add value. She is a Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Team Coach for 3 software development teams for a major retailer. Susannah is also a Personal Agility Recognized Ambassador for the Personal Agility Institute and she helps people identify what really matters.

You can link with Susannah Chambers on LinkedIn and connect with Susannah Chambers on Twitter.

Serge Huybrechts: Value-centered Product Ownership for Scrum teams

From value-centered product ownership to interruption-based product ownership, two contrasting patterns we must be aware of.

The Great Product Owner: Value-centered, and able to communicate that to the Scrum team

A great PO has the mindset that they are there to understand and serve the customer with the help of the team. The great PO knows the environment (both inside the company and the customer’s environment); knows the customer very well, and most importantly understands how to bring that information to the team. Finally, the great PO has conversations centered around the idea of “value” for the customer and the company.

The Bad Product Owner: Interrupting the team and causing them to fail

This particular PO kept bringing new things to the sprint late in the process: “This has to go in as well” was the key phrase. This PO was heavily influenced by influential salespeople in the organization. All of this led the team to never finish the work they started. 

In this segment, we refer to the episodes with John Albrecht, who’s been a guest here on the podcast.

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Serge Huybrechts

Serge is a Scrum Master, Agile coach, and trainer with a long background in IT Service Management. He considers himself a guide for continuous improvement where Agile, Scrum, and Kanban are the vehicles. Serge loves Agile because of its focus on people and learning resonates with him. 

He also calls himself a bulimic reader and very passionate about music.

You can link with Serge Huybrechts on LinkedIn

Serge Huybrechts: “Start with the end in mind”, a Scrum Master mantra

Serge invites us to define at first what we want to see as the outcome of our work. With this “end” in mind, he suggests we are then ready to start measuring the impact of our work. As the team progresses towards that goal, we celebrate the small successes and focus on enabling the growth of the team. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The OSKAR method

The OSKAR coaching model is a solution-focused coaching approach that we can use when setting up our retrospectives. It’s a method that starts by helping the team focus on the outcome, the result of their improvement ideas, and walks through what they need to put in place to reach that outcome. Starting with the outcome or end-result as the goal for the team.

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 Serge Huybrechts

Serge is a Scrum Master, Agile coach, and trainer with a long background in IT Service Management. He considers himself a guide for continuous improvement where Agile, Scrum, and Kanban are the vehicles. Serge loves Agile because of its focus on people and learning resonates with him. 

He also calls himself a bulimic reader and very passionate about music.

You can link with Serge Huybrechts on LinkedIn

Serge Huybrechts: The right way to bring up blockers and problems to leadership

When Scrum Masters find blockers or problems in teams, and even in organizations, they need to think what’s the right approach to share those insights. The approach we select must be fit to the organization and the prevailing culture. In this story, we hear how Serge found a “tabu” that, when brought up, caused the organization to block it, and effectively invalidate the work Serge had done. 

About Serge Huybrechts

Serge is a Scrum Master, Agile coach, and trainer with a long background in IT Service Management. He considers himself a guide for continuous improvement where Agile, Scrum, and Kanban are the vehicles. Serge loves Agile because of its focus on people and learning resonates with him. 

He also calls himself a bulimic reader and very passionate about music.

You can link with Serge Huybrechts on LinkedIn.

Ines Garcia: The 3 characteristics great Product Owners have

There are characteristics we see over and over again in great product owners, we discuss those with Ines, and we cover User Story Mapping, a technique to help PO’s improve their game.

The Great Product Owner: 3 characteristics for great Product Owners

Ines describes for us 3 characteristics for great Product Owners which help the teams to understand the context and impact of their work, to feel motivated to contribute to the product, as well as to understand all the necessary details before committing to do the work.

The Bad Product Owner: The Busy, Bossy and Absent PO

In this segment, we talk about the PO  that was just a broken telephone for the team, and on top of that was bossy and too busy to answer questions. When you see these characteristics in the PO, what do you do? We discuss some approaches that might help, and discuss the Story Mapping technique (See here for a fully defined facilitation guide for the Story Mapping workshop).

Are you having trouble helping the team working 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 Ines Garcia

Ines is an Agile Coach, a Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP-SM), and a Salesforce MVP. She focuses on helping organizations every day to become more Agile whilst delivering Salesforce technology. She consults, speaks, and trains in these arenas always with the end in mind of enabling an evolution (not revolution).

You can link with Ines Garcia on LinkedIn and connect with Ines Garcia on Twitter.

Check out Ines’ books on Amazon.