Lena Löfdahl: How pressure destroys the trust between PO and Scrum team

The Great Product Owner: How to simply explain a very complex functionality

This Product Owner worked with an Offshore team that had the mission to completely overhaul the search function in a major company’s website. The PO could have worked in detail, and written down many ideas of how that search function could work, however, the PO simply conveyed what was needed with a high-level vision, and the team worked through a clickable wireframe to collect feedback and deliver a great experience!

The Bad Product Owner: How pressure destroys the trust between PO and Scrum team

This PO was new to the team, and the organization had already put lots of pressure on the team and PO. The PO, unable to cope with the pressure pushed the team, and made them nervous. This ended up disrupting the relationship between PO and team, created a lot of interruptions and conflict. Lena understood that, before working on the methods/processes, the key was to start working on the relationship between PO and team.

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 Lena Löfdahl

Lena is a senior agile coach with a specialty in learning and psychological safety. Successfully coached over 200+ teams and taught courses for 8000+ hours, mostly in agile but also project management. She gets a lot of energy from building teams and colleagues, watching people grow is rewarding work. 

You can link with Lena Löfdahl on LinkedIn.

Lena Löfdahl: The 6 faces of Jack Sparrow, a fun Agile Retrospective

As Scrum Masters, we must define our own success. That definition will depend on what organizations we are at, and their place in the Agile adoption journey. Lena also shares how important it is for us to learn and move on from what might have been great practices in the past, but end up being inadequate in certain situations.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 6 faces of Jack Sparrow, a fun retrospective

The Pirates of the Caribbean retrospective is a metaphor retro that helps the team reflect on their progress through the different phases of Jack Sparrow in the movie “The Pirates of the Caribbean”. As the team discusses the 6 different emotions/faces of the main character. Those create insights about their own work, and what to improve. Find and print 6 different faces of Jack Sparrow from the movie The Pirates of the Caribean, and then ask the team to share their insights according to the emotion in the face. The 6 faces of Jack Sparrow are: 

  1. Happy 
  2. What the Fudge
  3. Thoughtful 
  4. Auch 
  5. Mad 
  6. Mexican standoff 
  7. Makes people laugh and relax 

 

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 Lena Löfdahl

Lena is a senior agile coach with a specialty in learning and psychological safety. Successfully coached over 200+ teams and taught courses for 8000+ hours, mostly in agile but also project management. She gets a lot of energy from building teams and colleagues, watching people grow is rewarding work. 

You can link with Lena Löfdahl on LinkedIn

Lena Löfdahl: Hiring for culture fit is even more important than you thought, in a Scrum team

In a growing team, hiring a super qualified person is often a great achievement. A senior person can help the team grow, bring in the knowledge that would otherwise take a long time to acquire, and more! However, it does not always happen like that. In this story, we hear about a senior team member that created conflict and demoralized the team. Listen in to learn about the critical lessons Lena learned about onboarding and integrating senior team members in an existing team.

About Lena Löfdahl

Lena is a senior agile coach with a specialty in learning and psychological safety. Successfully coached over 200+ teams and taught courses for 8000+ hours, mostly in agile but also project management. She gets a lot of energy from building teams and colleagues, watching people grow is rewarding work. 

You can link with Lena Löfdahl on LinkedIn

Inderdip Vraich: Great Product Owner translate “fuzzy ideas” into concrete asks for the Scrum team 

The Great Product Owner: How to translate “fuzzy ideas” into concrete asks for the Scrum team 

Great Product Owners ask about, and translate their ideas into business value. They ask about it from the stakeholders, and translate it for the team, so that the team may understand why their work is important. They also put significant effort in communicating (e.g. through feature kick-offs) with the team about what is expected. They act as a constant and solid bridge between the outside, and the inside of the team.

The Bad Product Owner: Recovering from conflict between team and PO

One of the characteristic PO anti-patterns is putting unreasonable expectations on the team, and using pressure as a tool to get the team to work “harder”. This kind of anti-pattern can lead to serious problems in the team and the relationship between PO and team. We discuss what a Scrum Master can do to recover from this kind of negative spiral

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 Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter

Inderdip Vraich: A practical psychological safety Agile Retrospective

Reflecting on what success means for a Scrum Master is an important reflection activity for anyone interested in improving their impact on the team. Inderdip shares with us the questions that she has developed to keep her own success reflection going despite the hustle of everyday work.

In this segment, we talk about the Scrum Culture Index and mention a Forbes article that helps understand how to measure (“smell”) culture.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Practical Psychological Safety retrospective

As we often talk about psychological safety, it is important to learn how to introduce the concept to the team. In this segment, we explore a possible retrospective format around creating the understanding of and the actions that lead to psychological safety in 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 Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter.

Inderdip Vraich: Why pushing changes to a Scrum team can easily backfire, and what to do instead

When we start with a new team or organization, and especially if we are experienced Scrum Masters, we often have the temptation to push changes, to help the teams move quickly to a state we can already see in our minds. But is that the best approach? Listen to this story of how “pushing” changes to a team made things worse.

About Inderdip Vraich

Inderdip is an Agile Coach and a Scrum Master based in New Zealand. She has been working in the agile space with IT teams since 2007. She believes in lifelong learning and derives deep satisfaction from working with teams & individuals and see them grow in their journey.

You can link with Inderdip Vraich on LinkedIn and connect with Inderdip Vraich on Twitter

David Wallace: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

Great Product Owners know how to involve team members in the definition and decision-making processes. However, the contrast is a PO that thinks they were given the mission to be a Project Manager. Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager? Listen in to learn about the signs that the PO might have taken the Project Management role.

The Great Product Owner:  Building collaboration by involving team members across disciplines

Great Product Owners are amazing that getting people to buy in to the Vision for the product/project. But they also know how to help the team put in practice continuous discovery, involving both engineering and the design team. As the POs starts to involve team and stakeholders, they make their job both more effective, and easier! A win-win!

The Bad Product Owner: Is your PO behaving like a Project Manager?

When Product Owners think they are Project Managers – maybe because they had that role in the past – they forget about the product vision and start focusing too much on topics that the team should focus on. They dictate dates, scope and force the teams to follow the plan without questioning it. When this happens, a lot is lost in the team. Is your Product Owner behaving like a Project Manager? 

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 David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand based cloud accounting software company. 

You can link with David Wallace on LinkedIn and connect with David Wallace on Twitter.

David Wallace: How to know when Scrum teams have taken ownership of their work

We’ve heard many times here on the podcast, that success is about making ourselves obsolete. Allowing for the team to take ownership and leadership in their work. However, that’s easier said than understood! How do we know that we’ve reached that point? We discuss the signs and leading indicators that teams are stepping up and taking ownership of their work!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Spicying up an old format to keep things fresh

David likes to rely on a simple, and consistent format, and slightly change it to suit the situation. David shares how simple approaches, can help us spice up a familiar format, allowing the Scrum Master to focus on the conversation with 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 David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand-based cloud accounting software company. 

You can link with David Wallace on LinkedIn and connect with David Wallace on Twitter.

David Wallace: Working with Agile skeptics in a Scrum team

David was working with a team that had just started its Agile journey. And while most of the team seemed enthusiastic, the tester/QA in the team was not happy about the new way of working. Listen in to learn how to prepare for team members that might not be keen on adopting an Agile way of working. 

About David Wallace

David Wallace is an agile coach with 25 years of experience in the IT industry. He’s a passionate Agilist and the cohost of the Heart of Agile – Boulder meetup group. He’s currently based in Denver as a Product Delivery Coach at Xero, a New Zealand-based cloud accounting software company. 

You can link with David Wallace on LinkedIn and connect with David Wallace on Twitter

BONUS: Rahul Bhattacharya on what do on your first 90 days of a scrum master for a new team

We start this episode by talking about why it is important to have a specific focus on your first 90 days when working with a new team. The first 90 days are all about setting yourself up for success, and that requires that you take certain actions. 

Start preparing before you start helping

Rahul suggests that we start preparing for our new role as a Scrum Master by asking specific questions (even in the job interview if that’s the case). Rahul suggests that to understand the expectations placed on you, you must understand what others have done before, what the team might be struggling with, but also how the context around the team works. What are the hierarchies, what do the team expect the Scrum Master to do, and more!

Do the Gemba: a critical step for your success as a Scrum Master

The gemba (a term from Lean that means “the place where the work happens”) walk is all about seeing with your own eyes, and talking directly to the people that you will be working with, or that your work will depend on. It’s important for Scrum Masters that are getting started that they not only talk to the team, but also to the stakeholders of the team, and possibly other teams that represent dependencies for the team you are trying to help. 

See the system: looking beyond software development

Finally, the third step in this structured approach to the first 90 days with a new team, is all about what’s around the team that you need to deal with, even if it is not at the core of what the team does. This is “the systemic view” or context for the team. Rahul shares some critical questions we should ask ourselves (and those around the team), so that you can understand what kind of pressure and expectations are placed on the team.

Mega tips to close off this episode (make sure you listen all the way to the end) 

Once we review the 3 main activities to prepare your Scrum Master assignment successfully, we dive into some of the tips that Rahul has collected over the years as an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. Rahul shares some critical insights that will help you overcome the most common challenges Scrum Masters face when taking on a new team. 

To know more about Rahul’s approach, check out this article for Agile Coaches and Scrum masters called “Needs-oriented model of Agile Coaching”

And check out Rahul Bhattacharya’s podcast, The Agile Atelier

About Rahul Bhattacharya 

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at Delivery Hero. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter

And check out Rahul Bhattacharya’s podcast, The Agile Atelier