Jeremy Willets: The product owner that was the team manager

As usual on the Friday’s episodes, we explore Product Owner patterns and anti-patterns to help you work effectively with the Product Owner.

The Product Owner pattern for the week

This Product Owner was the manager for the team, but despite that, he was an effective PO. Listen in to learn how this PO stepped back to help the team contribute, and how he separated his PO responsibilities from his management responsibilities.

The Product Owner anti-pattern for the week

Product Owner’s personalities can have a big impact on the relationship with the team. In this episode, we explore what happens when the PO is self-centered and egotistical. We discuss the symptoms that indicate this anti-pattern and some of the things you may want to do as a Scrum Master to help the PO and team 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 Jeremy Willets

Jeremy Willets is a Technical Writer turned Scrum Master/Agile Coach. He’s passionate about bringing Agile to all facets of his organization. He enjoys spending time with his family, making music, and drinking the finest craft beer the world has to offer!

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn and connect with Jeremy Willets on Twitter.

Jeremy Willets: how interruptions kill Scrum team effectiveness and efficiency

A team was given a new assignment. They would finally start developing a cool new technology that they had wanted to focus on for a while. They were assigned full-time to this new project. What’s not to like? Well… It’s never that simple. Scrum teams don’t exist in a vacuum, and soon enough the “old” work started interrupting the “new and cool tech project”! Listen and learn what happened to that team.

In this episode, we refer to the book: Principles of Product Development Flow by Don Reinertsen.

Featured Book for the Week: Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business by David Anderson

In Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business by David Anderson, Jeremy found that Scrum needs to evolve, and that following Scrum as such may not be the best option for you, or your teams. In Kanban, David Anderson answers the following questions:

  • What is Kanban?
  • Why would I want to use Kanban?
  • How do I go about implementing Kanban?
  • How do I recognize improvement opportunities and what should I do about them?

About Jeremy Willets

Jeremy Willets is a Technical Writer turned Scrum Master/Agile Coach. He’s passionate about bringing Agile to all facets of his organization. He enjoys spending time with his family, making music, and drinking the finest craft beer the world has to offer!

You can link with Jeremy Willets on LinkedIn and connect with Jeremy Willets on Twitter.

Elena Popretinskaya: Scrum Product Owner anti-pattern and an example of a great PO

In this episode, we continue to ask the Product Owner question: examples of Product Owner anti-patterns, and examples of great Product Owners. We often get asked about what is a good Product Owner, and how to define the role so that success becomes clear. 

Elena’s example of a Product Owner anti-pattern is the “Solutionizer despot PO”, a Product Owner that always has the solution and replaces the team’s own thinking by proposing detailed solutions.

Elena’s example of a great Product Owner is someone that can bring Vision to the team. Help motivate and direct the team’s thoughts without imposing solutions.

Learn from Elena about how to tackle the anti-pattern, but also how to learn from the great Product Owner example to help your Product Owner succeed. After all, the team’s success depends on the PO’s performance!

 

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 Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier 🙂

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

Elena Popretinskaya: Definition of Ready, a Scrum tool to help teams start a Story on the right foot

Teams that are motivated, can also find themselves in trouble. This happens, for example, when teams are eager to get started and rush into implementing stories that are not well understood or defined.

In this episode, we talk about the possible pitfalls of being “too” driven, and how we can help teams get ready to start implementing before committing to early.

In this episode, we refer to a tool called “Definition or Ready”, a simple checklist (à lá Definition of Done) that helps teams make sure that they have enough information to get started implementing.

Featured Book for the Week: Emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman

In Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Elena found an explanation and a reminder that humans are not computers. We are emotional creatures. Our emotions drive our behavior as much as anything else.

About Elena Popretinskaya

Elena considers herself a lifetime learner (she says, she absolutely loves having “aha!” moments). And she especially enjoys learning together with and from other people: her team and her friends. Elena is curious about everything: people, software craftsmanship and the world around. Elena is also a passionate hiker and a cross-country skier 🙂

You can link with Elena Popretinskaya on LinkedIn and connect with Elena Popretinskaya on Twitter.

Catrine Björkegren: the “my product is the most important” anti-pattern in the Product Owner role

In this episode, we introduce a new set of questions. Two questions that help us understand some of the most common anti-patterns in the Product Owner role as well what great Product Owners look like.

In this episode, we talk about a Product Owner anti-pattern related to the PO’s relationship with other PO’s in the organization. We discuss the “my Product is the most important” anti-pattern!

The Great Product Owner: When a Product Owner is able to bring in the business perspective and trust the team to find out what’s the best possible technical solution.

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 Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

Catrine Björkegren: How to avoid the “hero” anti-pattern in Scrum teams

In some teams, the division of work leads to having people who are the “heroes” for some part of the product. This siloing of expertise leads to many anti-patterns, and as Scrum Masters, we must be aware of those, and be ready to act and help teams overcome the problems that come with this “hero” anti-pattern.

In this episode, we talk about #MobProgramming and the Promiscuous Pairing paper by Arlo Belshee (PDF download).

Featured Book of the Week: Training from the Back of the Room by Sharon Bowman

The Scrum Master’s work includes training and workshop facilitation. It’s important that we learn how to help people learn in a classroom setting. In Training from the Back of the Room by Sharon Bowman, Catrine found a new way to look at how to organize and facilitate training. Thanks to that book Caterine changed how she hosts/facilitates training and workshops for teams and stakeholders.

 

About Catrine Björkegren

Agile coach and scrum master, Catrine has worked with agile for a decade in various areas like education, nuclear waste, government agencies, pharmaceutical and at the Royal Swedish Opera.

She believes that co-location is the key to building teams and that leadership is the key to successful agile transformation.

You can link with Catrine Björkegren on LinkedIn and connect with Catrine Björkegren on Twitter.

Kristopher Stice-Hall: The Self-Absorbed Product Owner Anti-pattern

This week we start a new Friday question. We explore examples of Product Owner anti-patterns as well as great product owner practices and examples.

Kristopher shares a story of how a Product Owner’s personality can derail a team, and sometimes, even an organization.

We end the week by talking about examples of practices that a good Product Owner can have, and how to help the Product Owner take on those practices.

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 Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

Kristopher Stice-Hall: What can happen when the Product Owner and Team fail to collaborate

The interaction between teams and Product Owner is one of the most critical in Scrum. Sometimes teams forget that the PO must be involved in the decisions they make every day. Decisions such as prioritization, technical / functionality trade-offs, etc. If teams start making those decisions without PO involvement they endanger the success of the product. How can Scrum Masters help the teams involve the PO in the right decisions? That’s what we tackle in this episode.

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/coachyourpo18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

Featured book of the Week: User Stories Applied, by Mike Cohn

In the User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn, Kristopher found a good, practical guide to help teams learn how to use User Stories to their advantage, especially to take in the customer/user point of view.

About Kristopher Stice-Hall

Is the co-owner of Digital Maelstrom, a consultancy specializing in custom software, DevOps, managed cloud services, and information security. He has been doing Scrum Master work for over 10 years. He has worked with fortune 500 companies to companies less than 15 people. He also has been doing software development for 17 years.

You can link with Kristopher Stice-Hall on LinkedIn and connect with Kristopher Stice-Hall on Twitter.

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 Machine.io.

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