Mahesh Jade: Going beyond Scrum ceremonies to solve a team-PO conflict

Allowing and even promoting the team’s questions are signs of a PO that is ready to collaborate with the team. However, when the collaboration does not work, we as Scrum Masters must try to go beyond Scrum, and address the collaboration issues. 

The Great Product Owner: Promoting and answering Scrum team’s questions as a PO

A great PO is ready to discuss ideas with the team, collect their input and foster an environment where the team feels they can ask questions without being put down, or ignored. In this segment, we also talk about the importance of creating a productive partnership between the Scrum Master and the PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Going beyond Scrum ceremonies to solve a team-PO conflict

When the PO comes in only to complain about the team not delivering a story at the end of the Sprint, instead of working with the team to prevent that from happening in the future, a gap emerges between PO and team. Mahesh helped the PO and team come together by looking beyond Scrum and the ceremonies that it defines. 

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 Mahesh Jade

Mahesh is an Agile evangelist dedicated to championing the cause of building winning teams and winning products. A facilitator by passion, a coach, and an agilist at heart, he works to bring agility to the organization and humanizing the workplace. 

You can link with Mahesh Jade on LinkedIn and connect with Mahesh Jade on Twitter.

Leigh Griffin: The part-time PO that starved the Scrum team, and other anti-patterns

From the “starving the team” anti-pattern to the PO that was able to talk to, and be understood by both the technology and the business teams. 

The Great Product Owner: The PO that spoke the business and technology language

This PO was a very experienced PO, who had worked as an analyst before and had a technology background. This gave the PO the ability to speak both business and technology language as serve as a bridge between the two sides. On top of that, this PO was able to keep the team informed, and help them think from a customer perspective.

The Bad Product Owner: The part-time PO that starved the team

This was a part-time PO that ended up letting the team starve by not feeding them enough content for their work. This kind of PO can stop the Agile transformation and affect the overall adoption in the organization. 

We also talk about other anti-patterns in the PO role that Scrum Masters should keep an eye out for. 

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 Leigh Griffin

Leigh is an Engineering Manager in Red Hat working with distributed Agile teams. His focus is on the Agile mindset through proactive Coaching and helping teams to grow.

You can link with Leigh Griffin on LinkedIn and connect with Leigh Griffin on Twitter

Ben Maynard: The relationships of a Scrum Product Owner

Being a PO is not only about the backlog items, it is mostly about collecting feedback and involving the right people in the product development. We talk about the 5 relationships of a Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: The 5 relationships of a Product Owner

Ben starts by sharing “the 5 relationships of a Product Owner”, and how great PO’s focus on building those relationships, not only on the backlog items they need to create. In this segment, we talk about a PO that spent their time learning the practices that were required to be able to work with those “5 relationships”, and help the team develop a simple initial impact map that would help them throughout the project.

In this segment, we refer to the LeSS framework for scaling Agile and Scrum.

The Bad Product Owner: 4 critical PO anti-patterns

Ben discusses a particular anti-pattern for the Product Owner: the PO that created the backlog alone in their room, without talking to the team. We discuss how this anti-pattern leads to the team feeling they are “out of the loop”, and be disconnected from the real customer needs. In this episode, we also refer to the following anti-patterns:

  • The PO as a requirements manager; 
  • The PO going in between teams, not allowing them to talk to each other;
  • The PO as the Analyst, instead of Product Owner.

 

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 Ben Maynard

Ben is an experienced coach, trainer, and mentor assisting senior leaders in medium to large organizations with organizational design and the cultural repercussions. 

You can link with Ben Maynard on LinkedIn and connect with Ben Maynard on Twitter.

Jacy Ong: Challenge the team, and accept the team’s challenges to be a better Scrum Product Owner

How the team acts when the PO is present is a great hint about the PO’s ability to work in Scrum. We talk about two different stances, one that makes the team feel safe, and the other that uses fear instead.

The Great Product Owner: Challenge the team, and accept the team’s challenges to be a better PO

This Product Owner was the classic persona of a great PO, they understood the product, why it existed, and what value it brought to the customers. Furthermore, this PO was available to the team, and responsive to their needs and requests. Perhaps even more important, this PO knew how to give feedback, but help the team feel safe in those moments. In the end the dynamic created between team and PO, helped both challenge each other to be even better. 

The Bad Product Owner: The absent and fearful PO

When the PO is absent, things are never easy. When, on top of that, the PO scares the team into submission, the conditions are set for a disaster. In this segment, we talk about how to work with PO’s so that they understand their contribution to the team, and help the teams engage productively with the PO. 

In this segment, we refer to a tool that helps Scrum Masters and PO’s talk about being available and cooperating within the schedule restrictions that invariably hit PO’s: The Prodcut Owner Sprint Checklist.

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 Jacy Ong

Jacy is a big anime fan! And she has found a strong connection between sports anime and her work as a scrum master. As she puts it: “nothing feels more rewarding than to watch your teams grow and achieve goals they never thought they could possibly achieve. :)”

You can link with Jacy Ong on LinkedIn

Chris Stone: Helping Scrum Product Owners even when the context is difficult

The personality traits that help PO’s succeed and the need for context in the PO role are the topics of this episode.

The Great Product Owner: Humor and Vision drive motivation in the Scrum team

Chris shares the story of a Product Owner that was a native storyteller. He contrasts that with the anti-pattern he calls “JIRA ticket machine”. This Product Owner was able to bring Vision and humor to the interactions with the team. But most importantly was able to easily and clearly convey the “why” for the work the team was doing.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s even when the context is difficult

When the Product Owner is absent, we face many problems as a Scrum team. Questions that aren’t answered, details that are missed, but most importantly, we lose the quick feedback cycle that the Product Owner role is supposed to provide. In this segment, we talk about the reasons why some PO’s are absent, and how we – as Scrum Masters – can help the PO’s by understanding their context, and their needs.

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 Chris Stone

Chris is The Virtual Agile coach, a #PeopleFirst champion, and an Agile Evangelist / Agile Transformation Lead / Scrum Master possessing over 8 years of experience within the IT industry.

You can link with Chris Stone on LinkedIn.

Adrienne Rinaldi: From Scrum Team Member to Product Owner, a difficult transition

Learning to be a Product Owner is not easy. In this episode, we talk about two types of learning stances by newly minted Product Owners.

The Great Product Owner: The Learning Product Owner can be a huge boost to your team!

When Product Owners take on the role, they probably have a very steep learning curve to climb. It’s not only the product they must immerse themselves in, they must also learn to work with a new team, a new set of stakeholders, and the hard job of being a Product Owner itself. In this segment, we talk labout a PO that was ready for that challenge and focused on learning while taking on the role. The Learning Product Owner can be a huge boost to your team!

The Bad Product Owner: From Scrum Team Member to Product Owner, a difficult transition

When a team member takes on the PO role, they might think they know the product well enough (and they probably do), but knowing the product is only one aspect of the Product Owner role. The big challenge is that the person taking on the role is now in a different position, and what worked before while being a team member, may no longer work! In this segment, we talk about the challenges of being a PO after being a 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 Adrienne Rinaldi

Adrienne Rinaldi is an Agile Transformation Coach and co-founder with PinnacleTek Consulting. She has a passion for topics such as emotional intelligence in agile leadership, cultural transformations and breaking the norms in hierarchical organizations. She has enabled value-based strategy and business agility at many levels of client organizations: teams, programs and portfolios. When not being an agilist, Adrienne’s activities a published book (about beer and yoga!), mountaineering, hiking (Colorado 14er finisher), kayaking and spending time with friends/family.

You can link with Adrienne Rinaldi on LinkedIn

Arjay Hinek: The 4 Product Owners of the Apocalypse

The balance between Vision and detailed guidance can make or break a PO. We also discuss the 4 PO’s of the Apocalypse. A tale about some of the worst PO anti-patterns.

The Great Product Owner: Balancing Vision and detailed guidance.

We talk about the careful balance between Vision and details that describes a great Product Owner’s ability to keep the team focused on the Vision while helping define the necessary details that teams need guidance on. A great PO is also able to communicate the Vision in the form of a definition of success through storytelling and the use of metaphors.

In this segment, we also refer to The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management by Stephen Denning.

The Bad Product Owner: The 4 Product Owners of the Apocalypse

In this episode, Arjay walks us through what he describes as the 4 Product Owners you meet in hell. He then explains how those patterns happen in reality with the help of a real-life story of a PO he worked with. From this conversation, it becomes clear how critical it is to help Product Owners through our work as Scrum Masters.

 

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 Arjay Hinek

Arjay has been an Agilist for over a decade. In the last few years he’s focused on Agile and “product development” for non-software applications. A considers himself a teacher at heart, he uses metaphors and story-telling to help others see their challenges from a different perspective and overcome them. 

You can link with Arjay Hinek on LinkedIn and connect with Arjay Hinek on Twitter

You can follow Arjay’s blog at http://goscrumgo.com/

Leland Newson: Creating commitment to the work in a Scrum team, a tale of two Product Owners

From the PO that was able to inspire the team to the PO that was only a PO on weekends. Two contrasting examples of how to help the teams commit to the outcome of their work.

The Great Product Owner: The Storytelling PO that inspired the team

Great Product Owners are able to tell great stories. Stories that engage the audience, and help the team find purpose (the “why”) for the work that they have to take on. Leland shares the story of the “three bricklayers” as a metaphor for what that Product Owner was trying to create: commitment to the outcome of the work. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Overly Busy PO

This PO was so busy that their “PO work” was called by the PO themselves as “weekend work”. The stage was set for trouble. This led to the team not getting feedback from the PO. The stories were not accepted in time for the end of the sprint, it was hard to do any work on the product backlog refinement. Finally, as the situation would not get better, the company finally decided to hire someone else. 

If you are facing this situation right now, you may want to check our Sprint Checklist, a tool to help you deal with an Overly Busy PO.

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 Leland Newson

Leland is a SAFe Release Train Engineer and servant leader who is passionate about helping improve the work environment and helping teams uncover better ways to development software. He focuses on collaboration, shortening feedback loops, improving the flow of work through the system and increasing the team’s adaptability so they can quickly respond to changes and satisfy customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

You can link with Leland Newson on LinkedIn and connect with Leland Newson on Twitter.

Ronny Deicke: The Decision Delays Product Owner, an anti-pattern that makes Scrum teams slower

From the stories PO’s tell, the team can get a much better understanding of what they are being asked to do. Great PO’s will help the team through their storytelling, and User Story writing skills. We also discuss the critical role PO’s play in the decision-making process, and how that directly affects the team’s success

The Great Product Owner: The Story Teller PO

Great Product Owners learn to tell great stories. First while talking to the team, and then on their own. In this segment, we talk about a PO that started by learning the craft of telling stories, and then translated that to the User Stories he wrote with the team. 

The Bad Product Owner: The Decision Delayer PO

In some teams, the PO is unable to make decisions. When that happens, we have the stage set for the team to struggle, and be constantly delayed by the lack of decisions. In this segment, we talk about the consequences for the team of a PO that can’t make decisions on their own, and we discuss possible steps to take with that PO and that organization.

 

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 Ronny Deicke

Ronny is a Scrum Master and Agile coach with a developer and team lead background. Currently working as a part-time Scrum Master and in the rest of the time giving (agile) workshops, supporting people as a coach and Agile Coach. Video game enthusiast and Indie developer on the side.

You can link with Ronny Deicke on LinkedIn and connect with Ronny Deicke on Twitter.

Pieter Verbaarschott: The Product Owner that created trust with the Scrum team

Trust as a productivity amplifier in the team can be hindered or boosted by the Product Owner’s attitude when interacting with the team. In this episode, we talk about two contrasting approaches that affect (differently) the team’s productivity

The Great Product Owner: The PO that created trust with the Scrum team

When Scrum Masters don’t have to “fix” the relationship between team and PO, that’s a great start. But this PO had gone beyond that, he had created instant trust with the Scrum team, and was able to bring customer feedback directly in the team’s Backlog. This all lead to Pieter being a happy observer in the PO – team relationship.

The Bad Product Owner: The Dictator/Boss PO

When PO’s want to be “the boss” and dictate what the team should be working on, it may lead to the team feeling they have no contribution to the product. That they are simply task handlers. This, in turn, may lead to the team feeling they don’t need to improve or collaborate better because the PO already tells them what to do. Listen in to learn what Pieter tried to help the PO and the team find a better way to collaborate. 

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 Pieter Verbaarschott

Pieter is a hands-on generalist with a background in software development. A passion for helping teams work together better. Agile aficionado since his first endeavors in Extreme Programming. Happened to be among Agile Manifesto authors when the discussion was hot. And he refuses to work the traditional way. 

You can link with Pieter Verbaarschott on LinkedIn and connect with Pieter Verbaarschott on Twitter.