BONUS: Ryan Jacoby on the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader

Innovation is a topic that gets a lot of attention. There are innovation processes, specific creative games for teams to work with to seek innovative ideas. There’s the Lean Startup movement that tries to codify innovation-friendly processes, and there’s also the UX community pushing the argument that we need more innovation in software companies.

You’ve probably heard the same argument at work. We need to be more innovative to be competitive. Great! But how?

In this episode, we explore how leaders can set up their organizations for innovation. Ryan Jacoby helps us explore the how of that critical question: how can we be more innovative?

Ryan has written a book titled Making Progress – The 7 Responsibilities of an Innovation Leader to describe how organizations can focus on enabling innovation in practice.

The first action you, and your organization need to take

Ryan describes an approach that aims to focus on the team and organization on the customer needs. His approach is simple and immediately actionable. First start by jotting down in plain language and from the point-of-view of the user/customer: what problems are you trying to solve for that customer? Select the top 3.

The other dimension of innovation is your organization’s goals. Define what it means to meaningfully grow the impact of the organization over 6 to 18 months. This growth could be in the number of customers, revenue growth, profit, etc.

Now you have the start of a growth strategy that is centered on customer needs and also directly linked to the company’s/organization’s growth. Next, we talk about innovation in practice.

The 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader

When it comes to putting innovation in practice, Ryan argues that there are 7 areas to take into account.

  1. Define progress for your organization, in other words: what is the impact you seek and the growth in that impact factor
  2. Set an innovation agenda by prioritizing the innovation problems to solve, user and customer groups you want to serve, nature type of innovation to pursue.
  3. Create support teams that build the product
  4. Cultivate the ingredients for success for innovation
  5. Giving great feedback to teams: prepare and setup the feedback moments so that teams can learn quickly.
  6. Inspire progress
  7. Reward progress (as defined in #1)

Ryan explains how he came to value these 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader by telling us his own story when he was responsible to help the New York Times grow their impact through innovative solutions.

Ryan’s book: lessons learned about each of the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader

You can read more about Ryan’s work and find his detailed explanation of the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader in his book: Making Progress – the 7 responsibilities of an innovation leader.


About Ryan Jacoby

Ryan Jacoby, is the founder of MACHINE, a strategy, and innovation company that helps its clients Think Big and Act Small.

MACHINE clients over the years have included people responsible for growth and innovation at The New York Times, Marriott, Viacom, Etsy, Google, Nike, The Washington Post, Feeding America, Fresh Direct, NBC Universal, and The Knight Foundation.

Prior to founding MACHINE, Ryan led teams and relationships at the design and innovation firm IDEO. He was a founding member and location head of the IDEO New York office and built the Business Design discipline at the firm.

Ryan is also the author of the book named “Making Progress” with Sense and Respond press. A book he describes as “a tactical guide for you, the person charged with leading innovation”

You can link with Ryan Jacoby on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Jacoby on Twitter.

For more on Ryan Jacoby’s work, visit his company’s site at

BONUS: Josh Seiden on Lean UX, a toolbox for Product Owners and Agile teams

In this episode, we explore the ideas from the book Lean UX, authored by Josh Seiden and Jeff Gothelf (Jeff Gothelf was on the podcast earlier to help us redefine the measure of success for software development).

Lean UX is both an approach and a set of tools that teams and Product Owners can use to help integrate the design/requirements/user research aspects into the team’s work.

The essence of Lean UX

Continue reading BONUS: Josh Seiden on Lean UX, a toolbox for Product Owners and Agile teams

BONUS: Tim Herbig on Lateral Leadership a critical skill for Scrum Masters and Product Owners

Tim was faced with a problem. How to be a leader without any formal power. All Scrum Masters and Product Owners who have felt the responsibility, but not any “line authority” have faced the same problem. You need to help move the project along, but you can’t tell people what to do!

In this episode we explore the concept of Lateral Leadership how it can help you as a Scrum Master or Product Owner.

Tim Herbig is the author of Lateral Leadership a recent book published by Sense and Respond Press.

Continue reading BONUS: Tim Herbig on Lateral Leadership a critical skill for Scrum Masters and Product Owners

BONUS: Jeff Patton shares his view on the Product Owner role, and what Scrum Masters can do to help

In this episode, we explore some of the critical lessons Jeff learned in his own career as a Product Owner. We review the missing aspects in most Product Owner role implementations and discuss the tools that have helped Jeff as a Product Owner first, and later his students.

The first steps of Jeff’s journey as a Product Owner

Read on for the detailed show notes, and all the links

Continue reading BONUS: Jeff Patton shares his view on the Product Owner role, and what Scrum Masters can do to help

BIG LAUNCH: The @scrumpodcast Coach Your Product Owner e-course v2.0

Helping our Product Owners is a key part of the job a Scrum Master has.

Product Owners, as Antti Tevanlinna puts it, are responsible for making value explicit! (a great episode, by the way!)

So, I’ve been working for 1 year to put this e-course together.

I’ve coached Product Owners (check the video below). I’ve released some modules to collect feedback, and finally, I’ve asked what makes it hard to coach your Product Owner.

All of that to make this e-course available to you! The Coach Your Product Owner e-course v2.0 is now available.

You can check it out here.

Read on for details and a surprise! 🙂

Continue reading BIG LAUNCH: The @scrumpodcast Coach Your Product Owner e-course v2.0

Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

As part of our “Coach Your Product Owner” course, we’ve been hard at work creating simple and actionable tools you can use to help your Product Owner progress. But that coaching cannot happen unless we tackle the biggest problems we have when coaching Product Owners. So, last week I asked people who receive my Newsletter to help me answer this question:

When it comes to Coaching and Supporting your Product Owner(s), what is the single Biggest Challenge that you are facing right now?

The reason for this question is my belief that, as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches, we must help the Product Owners as part of our duties. Sometimes those duties may be just about helping them manage/facilitate a particular session, but often we need to help the Product Owner grow their skills, knowledge, and experience with Agile product development. All aspects of it.

So what are the key challenges we face, when coaching and supporting our Product Owners?

Read on to find out…

Click to learn more about how you can help your PO

Continue reading Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

The (surprising) 9 most common challenges that Product Owners face, and affect their Scrum Teams

Product Owner anti-patterns, round 2Would you want to have a simple, collected, set of solutions (techniques and strategies) to solve the most common challenges Product Owners face? So would I! But before we can collect the solutions, we must understand the problem!

That’s what I did in 2018.

I asked the listeners of the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast and the readers of the blog what were their most common challenges when working with Product Owners. So, if you are a Scrum Master, an Agile Coach or a team member who wants to help the Product Owner, the list below is for you! (NOTE: there are links to solutions as well! ?)

Click to learn more about how you can help your PO

Continue reading The (surprising) 9 most common challenges that Product Owners face, and affect their Scrum Teams

Paulo Rebelo: Helping a Product Owner change from long specifications to User Stories

As Scrum Masters we don’t just work with the team, we also work directly with the Product Owners that support the team. In this story, Paulo shares the case of the Product Owner that had a Business Analysis background and thought the job was about writing specifications in isolation. Listen in to learn how Paulo handled that and helped the Product Owner transition to User Stories and more team interaction.

Featured Book of the Week: Management 3.0 by Jurgen Appelo

In Management 3.0 by Jurgen Appelo, Paulo found a management model that better suited his goal to become a Scrum Master. By reading this book he learned about how he could become a better servant leader. A key aspect of the Scrum Master role.

About Paulo Rebelo

Paulo Rebelo helps companies to improve using agile and lean principles like Scrum, XP, and Kanban. He currently works at Blackhawk Network in the U.S., helping teams succeed by building great products. His background is a developer, Scrum Master, product owner, project manager, and coach. Paulo is a CSP, CSPO and a CSM from the Scrum Alliance and PMP from the PMI.

You can link with Paulo Rebelo on LinkedIn and connect with Paulo Rebelo on Twitter.

Faye Thompson on how a poor Product Owner can destroy the team’s ability to deliver

Many things can fail when we work with teams. But one critical anti-pattern that leads to problems is the lack of a good Product Owner. In this episode, we explore what are the consequences for our teams of having a Product Owner that is unable to filter input from many stakeholders or even to politely say “No!”. Listen in to learn about the many anti-patterns that can come from a poor Product Owner.

Featured Book of the Week: any book by Gerry Weinberg

Faye has followed the work of Gerry Weinberg and recommends that to all Scrum Masters. She mentions several of Gerry Weinberg’s books in this episode, for example: The Secrets of Consulting, or An Introduction to General Systems Theory. For Faye, Gerry’s work is an example of what Scrum Masters work is about: being humane.

About Faye Thompson

Faye calls herself a Scrum Master and agile coach, and she enjoys working with teams to solve cool business problems while not being jerks to one another.

You can link with Faye Thompson on LinkedIn and connect with Faye Thompson on Twitter.

Peter Zylka on the problematic relationship between a team and their Product Owner

What happens when the Product Owner and the team can’t collaborate? When the team just takes orders from the Product Owner and stops contributing to the planning and content of the User Stories? This was the situation that Peter had to face. Listen in to learn how he tackled this relationship problem.

Featured Book of the Week: Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan

In this book, Peter found an approach that helps him as a Scrum Master. In Search Inside Yourself, Chade-Meng tries to offers a method for enhancing mindfulness and emotional intelligence in life and work.

About Peter Zylka

Peter is a freelancing Scrum Master who really loves what he does.

Peter is passionate about Agility and loves supporting teams and organizations on their way into the agile world. As a Scrum Master his goal is to enable each individual in the team to perform the best possible way and to actually understand what a team really is all about.

He starts every day with the goal to make the people around him better.

You can link with Peter Zylka on LinkedIn.