How to help the PO be involved with the Scrum team, even if the PO does not have time

The Product Owner (PO) is a tough role to fill. Product Owners are torn between users, senior management, team and other stakeholders that they need to attend to.
While the team is working on completing the backlog items, the PO is probably meeting with the Director of Product to agree on a roadmap; with the CEO to hear about the latest ideas he got from visiting a client; trying to meet with the user research group to understand better the customer; reporting status to the head of Project Management; and still needs to visit the Sprint Planning, Backlog Grooming, Demo and the occasional daily meeting to answer questions from the team. And let’s not forget the email backlog!
With all of these tasks one has to ask: do we believe a single person can do this all alone? What I describe here is not even rare! We seem to collectively think that the Product Owner is a super-hero!


Given all of these tasks, it is little wonder that the PO’s end up struggling to even manage the JIRA tickets the teams ask them to review, give feedback on, and prioritize.

The feeling of overwhelm is common in Product Owners. They ask themselves if they are spending their time on the right things. Wouldn’t you, if you got constantly interrupted by questions and requests from others? How do we solve this, increase collaboration between Team and Product Owner, and improve our work place at the same time? Read on for more…
Continue reading How to help the PO be involved with the Scrum team, even if the PO does not have time

Cliff Hazel asks us to not look for unicorns when hiring

It is very easy to give in to the temptation of creating a “shopping list” of skills and then look for the “perfect candidate”. To avoid this common anti-pattern Cliff creates a list of 3 (or so) things that he wants to see in a candidate, but then gets to work. He describes Spotify’s hiring and onboarding process, which will definitely give you some good ideas to put in practice today.

About Cliff Hazel

Cliff Hazel scrum master toolbox podcastCliff Hazel is a coach at Spotify who is trying to learn about how to build effective teams, and how we can create the conditions for them to thrive. His main interests are: Complexity and Systems, Visualisation and Information Radiators, Curiosity and Continuous Learning
You can link with Cliff Hazel on LinkedIn, connect with Cliff Hazel on Twitter and catch him in some conference near you.

Sean Dunn: develop teams and you will be successful

Many will say that helping team meeting commitments is how Scrum Masters best do their work. Seann shows us another side of the job: developing teams. Helping them develop their skills, their collaboration, and focus on outcomes, not outputs.
We discuss that knowing “why” is often more important than focusing on the work at hand, and we mention the book by Simon Sinek: Start with Why.

About About Sean Dunn

Sean is an Enterprise Agile Coach with IHS Global. He has been involved with agile development for 8 years as a developer, product owner, and agile coach. Prior to his exposure to agile development Sean spent 13 years in the Canadian Army. In fact, Sean is known to point out that the Army is far more agile than most people think.
That background in the Canadian Army influenced his view of Leadership and the role of Leadership in creating and developing great teams.
You can connect with Sean Dunn on LinkedIn, check out Sean Dunn on the Scrum Alliance or email him at sean.dunn@ihs.com
Check out Sean Dunn’s blog on leadership.

Matthew Heusser on Systems Thinking and how to apply it in your work

In this Episode we explore Systems Thinking with Matthew, and describe a 3 step process to apply Systems Thinking in our Scrum Master work:

  1. Look at “touch time” the time that the work items are actually worked on. Matt shares with us an example of what this means in practice
  2. Find out where are the queues and where the work “stops” and waits
  3. Make the work visual, make it transparent

This process will help you to understand the system of work and diagnose the systemic problems that you will need to address.
We mention the Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking by Gerry Weinberg and Toyota Production System by Liker, both great primers to Systems Thinking applied in practice.

About Matthew Heusser

Matthew Heusser is the co-author of Save our Scrum, co-chair of the enterprise track at Agile2015, And he is also an author at CIO.com. Matt Software is a delivery consultant/writer and Collaborative software geek since before it was cool.
You can find Matthew Heusser on LinkedIn, and connect with Matthew Heusser on Twitter.

Juha Heimonen’s recipe to measure Scrum Master success: Happiness

Happiness is the metric for Scrum Masters to measure their success, according to Juha. We talk about the role of the process in making people happy, as well as the reasons why happiness is so important for Scrum teams.
We also discuss the book by Marshall Rosenberg: Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life.

About Juha Heimonen

Juha is a entrepreneur, programmer, kanbanista and a unicorn. He calls Software a garden, and says that he tries to be a gardener tending the soil as well as the specific plants.
He is active in the local agile community in Jyväskylä, Finland and also quite active on twitter.
You can link up with Juha Heimonen on LinkedIn and connect with Juha Heimonen on twitter.
You can find out more about his thoughts on Fellowship and how he applies that in his own business at Flowa’s website and blog.

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Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
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Checklist
Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works