Saritha Rai: A critical skills for Scrum PO’s, getting decisions made quickly

This episode is all about making decisions or getting decisions made. Decisions are the fuel for the team’s ability to deliver. Great Product Owners work to get those decisions made.

The Great Product Owner: The PO that got decisions taken quickly

In this segment, we talk about a Product Owner that had been a Project Manager previously, and learn about what traits transfer well from the Project Manager role to the Product Owner role. We hear about how removing blockers, and getting decisions taken become a critical asset for Product Owners that want to help their teams.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO that couldn’t answer the team’s questions

Sometimes, PO’s are busy with several teams, and even several products. When that happens, there’s a natural anti-pattern that emerges. The team does not get their questions answered, and many decisions are left unmade.

In this segment, we also discuss the PO that wants to design the solutions for the team and the PO that doesn’t trust the team. Finally, we discuss a team anti-pattern: the team that wants to please the PO.

In this episode, we refer to the Product Owner Sprint Checklist, a how-to by the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast to help Scrum Masters agree on the right level of engagement with the PO and 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 Saritha Rai

Saritha has been working in the IT industry for 13+ years and is an adaptable and constant learner. She has over a decade of experience in software development and is passionate about training, guiding and coaching people to have a good working environment which will result in high-quality deliverables.

You can link with Saritha Rai on LinkedIn.

George Mathews: The Task Master Product Owner Anti-pattern

The Great Product Owner: The Ex-Developer with a focus on Outcomes

Great Product Owners are often good at communicating, and this example is no exception. However, there are some aspects that make good communicators even better at Product Owner: being available and able to understand the type of questions that developers and testers have when implementing their ideas.

In this segment, we talk about the ex-developer PO that was much more focused on the goals of what was being done, but was also able to speak the language of developers.

The Bad Product Owner: The Task Master

Imagine a PO that goes into a team meeting, and spends their time focused on the tasks. What was done, what was not done and why? The blame game is a sure consequence of that attitude. In this episode, we talk about the task-focus some PO’s have and how that hinders the team’s ability to deliver a valuable increment of their product.

 

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 George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn

George Mathews: Dealing with pressure and stress in Scrum teams

When the team feels pressure from the outside, the behavior of the people on the team changes. At first, it might be simple things, like being late or forgetting to get back to a team member, but later those problems may escalate to full-out conflict. In this segment, we talk about the importance of learning when the team is stressed, and work through those causes for stress as Scrum Masters.

In this episode, we refer to an #AgileOnlineMeetup with Bob Galen where he shares his perspective on how Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches can ensure that their own stress levels are not overwhelming. 

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Simpler is better

George favors a simpler retrospective format for the retrospectives he hosts. In this segment, we explore some of the simpler formats we can use, and why their use matters for the team.

About George Mathews

George Mathews is a Scrum Master at SentryOne for two fully remote teams. Prior to that, he had experience as a Customer Service Representative, Operations Analyst and Finance Technical Analyst allowing him to employ a broad practical point of view as he coaches Agile teams at SentryOne.

You can link with George Mathews on LinkedIn.

Mandy Sunner: Trust as a productivity amplifier for Scrum teams

Using trust as a productivity amplifier, Product Owners can have a huge impact on the team’s performance. We also talk about the missing-in-action Product Owner.

The Great Product Owner: Trust as a productivity amplifier

When Product Owners lack trust for the team, there are many anti-patterns that emerge and lead to problems. In this episode, we talk about the reverse phenomenon: what happens when the PO trusts the team. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Absent PO

The Product Owner role is a key role in Scrum, which in turn means that not having a PO, or having a PO that is often absent is a problem when your team works with Scrum. In this episode, we talk about the Absent PO anti-pattern, as well as what happens when the PO is not up to the task.

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 Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Mandy Sunner: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

At the end of every Sprint, teams show their progress to key stakeholders. As Scrum Masters, we benefit from that ceremony to understand our impact and improve our work. In this episode, we talk about why it is critical for Scrum Masters to improve those ceremonies and focus on the feedback that stakeholders give. That feedback can become our fuel for improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

In retrospectives, we want to focus the teams on what we can do to become a better team. In this episode, we talk about Sprint Goals, and why those goals are important to help the teams be able to reflect better and have better retrospectives.

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

Tony Richards: From “distant” to “team member”, a Scrum PO transformation story

From a distant PO to the PO that makes everybody feel part of the same team. A great transformation, and a great PO pattern to share with your favorite PO!

The Great Product Owner: The Great Facilitator

Great Product Owners focus on the Sprint Review as a ceremony that can help them, as well as the team and stakeholders understand the product better. In this segment, we talk about how great PO’s focus on their facilitation and approaches to get the most out of the Sprint Review sessions.

The Bad Product Owner: The Corner-office PO

You know that something is wrong when the PO actually has to say out loud that they have an “open-door policy”. There’s an implicit message that they are different, even superior to the team. In this “corner-office anti-pattern” segment we discuss how PO’s may alienate their teams, and what we – Scrum Masters – can do to help team members and PO learn to collaborate without the negative impact of hierarchy. Learn how to help the corner-office PO become a great, and productive team member!

 

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 Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

Tony Richards: Helping Scrum teams be aware of their anti-patterns (and patterns)

When Scrum Masters start working with a team, they might feel the need to intervene often. It might be just to get the team to start talking, or for the team members to respect each other’s turn to speak. However, when we evolve our practice and start seeing some success is when we are able to step back and use “mirroring” to let the team understand their own behavior. Just like us, team members are also often blind to their own behavior patterns, a successful Scrum Masters will help team members be less blind to their own behavior patterns.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Powerful Questions Walk

Tony found an approach that helps teams dive deeper into their experience and find improvement opportunities they would otherwise ignore. In this episode, he describes the Powerful Questions Walk exercise and how it improves the team’s ability to learn and reflect.

In this episode, we refer to the Coaching Cards by Deborah Preuss (PDF Download).

About Tony Richards

Tony coaches Agile teams across the UK and currently serves as program advisor to the Scrum Alliance. His most recent client is applying Scrum and Kanban in the engineering and production of physical goods. 

Tony is also in the organizer team for the Scrum Gathering in sunny Lisbon this year, and he’s busy working with a great team of volunteers to review and build a program of great talks and workshops.

You can link with Tony Richards on LinkedIn and connect with Tony Richards on Twitter.

Olsen Turan: The Caring Product Owner, building trust is also the PO’s job!

From the PO who cared about the people to the PO who wanted to own the process. We explore two PO patterns that can help or hinder the team’s performance.

The Great Product Owner: The Caring Product Owner

Great Product Owners will care about the team, not only the product. In this segment, we explore the story of a Product Owner who wanted to get to know the team members, and was able to build a trustful and warm personal relationship with team members. And all of that with a simple trick. Listen in to learn more about the Caring Product Owner.

The Bad Product Owner: The PO who wants to own the process

When Product Owner help with process adoption, that’s sometimes a good thing. However, in this segment, we explore the situation when PO’s go too far and their help effectively demotivates and interferes with the team performance. Is your PO trying to help with Agile? Listen to this segment to learn if your PO is going too far.

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 Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Olsen Turan: A simple, yet effective Retrospective format Scrum Masters can use to build trust

When a Scrum Master joins a team, it is critical to start building trust from the first interaction. In this episode, we talk about what that means in practice and share Olsen’s approach to building trust and opening the communication channels with the team. 

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: The Casual Conversation

There are many retrospective formats out there, each serving a specific purpose, from problem definition to ideation and so on. However, in this episode, we focus on a simple format that aims at building relationships between team members and between Scrum Master and team members. The format is “the casual conversation”, which has been prepared and is facilitated by the Scrum Master but helps team members feel safe and at ease. 

About Olsen Turan

Olsen is an experienced Agile Coach and Scrum Master with a mix of Servant Leadership skills and technical knowledge acquired over his decade-long career. His background includes Ph.D. studies in Organizational Leadership, Agile Transformation and Coaching, Project Management, and Scrum Master duties.

You can link with Olsen Turan on LinkedIn and connect with Olsen Turan on Twitter

You can also follow Olsen Turan on his coaching website.

Sami Prentice: How to help Product Owners that don’t want help

From the PO who is too busy to ask for help, to the PO that works hard to get the team and the stakeholders to interact. We explore two contrasting patterns of the PO role and discuss how Scrum Masters can help the PO’s succeed, and accept help from others.

The Great Product Owner: Involving stakeholders that can help the team

Great Product Owners often focus on helping the team benefit from the knowledge and experience that stakeholders can bring to the team. In this episode, we learn about a PO that was focused on creating collaboration between team and stakeholders, as well taking the time to work together with the team to create a shared understanding of the product and the Vision for the team. 

In this segment, we refer to the User Story Mapping technique popularized by Jeff Patton. Here is the User Story Mapping hands-on facilitator guide if you want to start using that technique at work. 

The Bad Product Owner: The PO who didn’t want any help

Sometimes we work with Product Owners that don’t want any help but are too busy to fully fulfill the requirements of the role. That’s never an easy situation for the team or the Scrum Master. Sami reminds us that we can take advantage of the PO being busy, and start offering help in certain tasks. Building trust with the PO is then a critical focus for Scrum Masters, and Sami shares her tips on how to build that relationship.

In this segment, we refer to Module 02 (How Scrum Masters can onboard a new or beginner Product Owner) of the Coach Your Product Owner course, and how that can help you start a positive collaboration with your Product Owner. The course is available here: bit.ly/coachyourpo.

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 Sami Prentice

Sami is a Scrum Master in Denver, Colorado. She used to work in the beer industry before making the switch to Scrum Master and she is passionate about facilitating awesome meetings that don’t suck. 

You can link with Sami Prentice on LinkedIn.