Laurens Bonnema: Resolving the “everything is a priority” Scrum Product Owner anti-pattern 

Sharing the passion for the product with the team is a great way to energize the team while sharing the Vision for the product. 

In this episode, we also about how to solve the “everything is a priority” anti-pattern, even if the PO does not want to!

The Great Product Owner: Sharing the passion and energizing the team

This Product Owner was “an energizer bunny” for teamwork. The PO worked with the team when needed, was decisive in decision making, included the team as much as possible and had a real passion for the product. All of this brought great energy to the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Resolving the “everything is a priority” anti-pattern

The Product Queen, is a PO anti-pattern, where the PO wants everything, and they want it now, just like that famous Queen song. However, this anti-pattern does not stop there. This particular PO also wanted everything to be “high-priority”. You may think it is impossible for a Scrum Master to help this PO, but you are wrong. Laurens shares with us an approach that helped this PO change their approach and be very clear on priorities! 

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 Laurens Bonnema

Laurens helps leaders create high-performance organizations by guiding them to embrace who they are. As Laurens puts it: “when leaders ignite their inner strength and capability—and lead from love—they soar beyond their expectations. That is how we create a world of work that we would want our kids to live in.” 

You can link with Laurens Bonnema on LinkedIn and connect with Laurens Bonnema on Twitter.

Laurens Bonnema: Growing high-performing teams as a Scrum Master

As Scrum Masters, we try to grow high-performance teams. In this episode, we talk about what might help teams become high-performing. We discuss the Team Vision, and how that can help teams progress and have fun on their way to high-performance.

In this episode, we refer to the Retrospective’sPrime Directive, which was crafted by Norm Kerth, author of the Project Retrospectives book. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Timeline

When helping teams reflect, one of the most important things is to help them “see” the same events, and causes, so they can then analyze them and come up with possible solutions to try. But how do we help teams visualize what happened? In this episode, we talk about the Timeline Retrospective, a way to help the team visualize and come to a common agreement on what happened, so they may define improvement actions based on a shared understanding of the past.

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 experiences: 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 Laurens Bonnema

Laurens helps leaders create high-performance organizations by guiding them to embrace who they are. As Laurens puts it: “when leaders ignite their inner strength and capability—and lead from love—they soar beyond their expectations. That is how we create a world of work that we would want our kids to live in.” 

You can link with Laurens Bonnema on LinkedIn and connect with Laurens Bonnema on Twitter. 

Nikoletta Tatár: The “Everything is a priority” Product Owner anti-pattern

In this episode, we talk about the focus destroyer and the 5 characteristics that successful PO’s share. 

The Great Product Owner: 5 characteristics of successful PO’s

We talk about  5 characteristics that great Product Owners have. From the ability to listen to the team and customers to their focus on measuring the impact of their ideas/product on the customer.

The Bad Product Owner: “Everything is a priority” anti-pattern

“Everything is a priority” is a phrase that points to a PO that can’t make decisions, or is unaware of the priorities that matter for their customers. However, there’s where the anti-pattern starts. There are many more consequences from that perspective/attitude like the team losing focus and not being able to finish the things they started. 

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 Nikoletta Tatár

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tatár on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tatár on Twitter. 

Nikoletta Tatár: Kudo cards and appreciation as Scrum team success techniques

Do you have a culture of appreciation in the Scrum team? That’s one of the signs of a team that is jelling and on its way to success. We also discuss tips on how to help the team spend more time and effort highlighting the best things that happen, with the goal of building energy and achieving a more positive work atmosphere. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Mad/Sad/Glad, with a Kudos card section

We’ve discussed the Mad/Sad/Glad Agile Retrospective format before, but in this episode, we talk about adding a Kudos card section to that format. The Kudo card section adds higher energy to the retrospective and helps motivate 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 experiences: 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 Nikoletta Tatár

Nikoletta is an Agile Coach who is passionate about creating an environment where teams and individuals have the space to grow, deliver awesome products to customers, and have fun doing so. She is also a Collaboration Superpowers facilitator holding workshops online about remote working and collaboration. 

You can link with Nikoletta Tatár on LinkedIn and connect with Nikoletta Tatár on Twitter. 

Scrum Masters are the future CEO’s, and a podcast by the Lean Enterprise Institute

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

I believe that one of the most well-kept secrets of the Agile community is that the Scrum Master role is the role where the future CEO’s are born.

I know, I know. This sounds like an exaggeration. True. But I do have some good arguments for this below, so read on!

Scrum Masters are about building organizations that work together

I was listening to this podcast by the Lean Enterprise Insititute (a non-profit that tries to advance Lean practice) with heard Alan Mulally, the ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford.

In that podcast, Alan explains how he implemented the “people first” model he learned about at Boeing (being involved in all of the plane projects at Boeing) and later implemented also at Ford.

His perspective is refreshing. But especially it is very much in line with what we think the Scrum Master role is. Take this quote for example: “Pull everyone together around the Vision for the Product, and around the Strategy for achieving that Vision”

“Pull everyone together around the Vision for the Product, and around the Strategy for achieving that Vision”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

For me, that’s a great description of what the role of the Scrum Master is about: pulling people together around the Vision for the product that the Product team has put together with their stakeholders, and pulling people together around the strategy to achieve that Vision!

Scrum Masters are about building organizations that put “people first”

The podcast goes on and talks about something that is incredibly important: how do we build high-performance teams. The lessons Alan shares are also crucial, and we’ve talked about this here on the Scrum Master Toolbox podcast: when a team member does not want to play by the rules the team has setup (low “working together skills, as Alan puts it), that’s poison for the team.

(On Working together and peer accountability) “Everyone who does not operate this way is poison”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

As Scrum Masters, one of our greatest responsibilities is to make sure that the team comes together and agrees on how to work together, and keep themselves accountable! Just like a CEO as Alan explains!

Alan shares his approach to bringing people together on the execution aspect of the work: be clear about the rules (work with the team to define those), and define a method for self and peer accountability!

“Most of the time, when you are clear about the process, and the rules of working together, people will come together and become great team contributors”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

As Scrum Masters, we are responsible for making sure everyone on the team understands (and contributes) to the rules of the work! Just like a CEO as Alan explains!

This was a great podcast with Jim Morgan (Lean Enterprise Institute) and Alan Mulally (ex-CEO at Boeing and Ford), and is filled with insights for Scrum Masters, who are the future of the CEO role!

One more quote to finish (from the podcast, at around minute 29)

“My biggest contribution, was holding myself and the team accountable for following the process and acceptable behaviours”
– Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Boeing and Ford

That’s a quote from a CEO, not a #ScrumMaster. But it could be from a Scrum Master!

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

BONUS: Platform teams, how structural changes improve outcomes in Agile organizations, with Jeff Campbell and Simone Sciarrati 

In this episode, we discuss how the way we organize teams can impact the effectiveness of an organization. Jeff and Simone share the journey of a team, how it changed, and how that team structure change affected not only the team itself but also the organization around them. 

Simone shares that, at Meltwater, they try to focus on “empowered product teams”, and how that differs from most team setups. 

We refer to the book Inspired by Marty Cagan, and how that book influenced their view on how to organize and structure product development teams. 

The first problem they tackled was the Product Owner being an outsider to the team. 

Making the Product Owner, a first-order citizen in an Agile team

Continue reading BONUS: Platform teams, how structural changes improve outcomes in Agile organizations, with Jeff Campbell and Simone Sciarrati 

Lakshmi Ramaseshan: 4 critical aspects that great Product Owners bring to the team

In this episode, we talk about the consequences of having overly-detailed Product Owners, and we discuss 4 critical aspects that great Product Owners bring to the team.

The Great Product Owner: The 4 key aspects of great Product Owners.

A new PO joined the team that Lakshmi was working with, and brought a different perspective. One that helped the team feel their views were listened to and respected. This PO was excellent at four different aspects necessary for the PO role: being a Product Manager, a Project Manager, a Business Analyst, and a leader for the team. 

The Bad Product Owner: From prescriptive to collaborative, a PO transformation

“The Product Owner is the toughest role in the team” Lakshmi starts when introducing this story, in which we explore the anti-pattern of a PO that was super detail-oriented, and prescriptive. The team was feeling demoralized by that attitude, and here is where Lakshmi introduced a different perspective. She introduced the idea of running an experiment on the way the team and PO collaborated. Listen in to learn what that experiment was, and how it can help PO’s learn to trust and listen to the team.

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 Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

You can link with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on LinkedIn and connect with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on Twitter.

Lakshmi Ramaseshan: Helping Scrum teams be self-sufficient

Great Scrum Masters are able to help the teams be self-sufficient, and has Lakshmi puts it: “work themselves out of a job”. We discuss what are the signs that teams are ready to start moving in that direction and become more self-sufficient.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Circles and Soup

In this segment, we discuss the Circles and Soup Agile retrospective format, a format that helps the teams see what’s in their control, and focus on that instead of all the things that would need changing but are outside their control. 

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 experiences: 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 Lakshmi Ramaseshan

Lakshmi considers Agile Coaching her true calling! With 20+ years in the software industry, her journey started as a developer on an agile team. After which she quickly realized good product development is all about having the right conversations, building happy teams, and being aligned with your customer. 

Lakshmi is passionate about growing people, fostering trust amongst the team members, and building high-performance teams. She also believes in giving back to the community & paying it forward to help inspire others on their Journey!

You can link with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on LinkedIn and connect with Lakshmi Ramaseshan on Twitter.

Daniel Lenhart: Turning Product Owner fears into better collaboration tools

PO’s can be overly prescriptive when they feel unsure about certain aspects of the product. In this episode, we share tips about how to turn those fears into collaboration boosters.

The Great Product Owner: Setting boundaries to encourage the teams to make decisions on their own

Good PO’s are able to communicate the vision and ideas behind the stories in a way that the teams will even repeat their words when discussing how to implement the stories they work on. But great PO’s are also available to the team then the team needs and is able to say “no, that’s your decision, not mine” to the teams that feel insecure and try to get the PO to make all the decisions, even implementation technical details. 

The Bad Product Owner: Turning PO fears into better collaboration tools

A Product Owner with technical knowledge can be a blessing for a team that requires more support when creating their User Stories, however, that’s not always the case. In this segment, we talk about the Technical PO that could not stop telling the team “how” they should work and develop the solutions the PO had in mind. In this segment, we talk about how we can work with those Technical PO’s and help them turn their fears and anxieties into tools for better collaboration with their teams.

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 Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.

Daniel Lenhart: Focusing on people interactions over Agile Retrospective formats

Successful Scrum Masters are able to help their teams self-organize and find a way of working that helps them communicate effectively. In this segment, we talk about what that means in practice and share tips on how to help your teams move towards self-organization

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Focusing on interactions over Retrospective formats

Daniel shares a different approach to structuring a retrospective. He shares how he used learnings and ideas from Improv Theatre to help the team reflect, learn, and take action by focusing on the interactions during the Retrospective, instead of the format upfront.

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 experiences: 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 Daniel Lenhart

Daniel never knew what his dream job would be, but now that he is a Scrum Master, he loves it. I studied Biology in university and switched fields to software development. This really showed me the importance of cross-disciplinary learning and looking into new areas of interest. 

You can link with Daniel Lenhart on LinkedIn and connect with Daniel Lenhart on Twitter.