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Stephanie Cully: How To Lead with Empathy, The Story of an Open-Minded Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Leading with Empathy, The Story of an Open-Minded PO

In this episode, Stephanie discusses her experience with an exceptional Product Owner (PO) who, despite having no prior experience in Agile and Scrum, demonstrated a remarkable willingness to learn and adapt. The PO’s approach was characterized by asking questions, seeking help, and engaging in training sessions to better understand Agile practices. This openness extended to discussions about customer pain points and the user journey, contributing significantly to the team’s ability to deliver effectively. The PO’s caring attitude towards the team and flexibility in adapting to the developers’ needs further exemplified the qualities of a great PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Addressing the Root Causes of an Absent PO

In this segment, Stephanie shares an experience with a Product Owner (PO) who was essentially absent, leaving a Business Analyst (BA) to handle product prioritization. The BA inadvertently compounded the issue by taking on the PO’s responsibilities instead of addressing the root cause together with the team and the PO. Stephanie intervened to emphasize the importance of understanding why the PO was unavailable, revealing that the PO was overwhelmed with multiple roles. Through facilitating direct conversations among the BA, developers, and stakeholders, Stephanie highlighted the need for clear roles and effective time management in agile teams.
If you are facing a similar situation, where the PO is mostly absent, you may want to review our Sprint Checklist, which helps you have a coaching conversation with the PO, and define clear expectations about participation in the work with the team.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Stephanie Cully

Stephanie Cully is a Scrum Master, and CEO of Scrum Life Consulting. Stephanie founded Scrum Life with a mission to help Scrum Masters overcome self-doubt and land the role.

You can link with Stephanie Cully on LinkedIn.

Johannes Andersen: Ceremony Over Substance, The Scrum Master Trap, And How It Affects Teams And The Product Owner

The Great Scrum Master: Beyond the Backlog, How a Great Scrum Master Helps Product Owners

From a Product Owner’s perspective, Johannes shares what an ideal Scrum Master looks like. This Scrum Master not only introduced him to Scrum but also focused on the underlying purpose beyond mere processes. His patience, clarity, and pragmatic approach in defining priorities and solving conflicts greatly facilitated the PO’s understanding of product development challenges. This Scrum Master’s ability to foster meaningful conversations significantly helped Johannes in the PO role, highlighting the importance of a Scrum Master’s soft skills in guiding and supporting the product vision.

The Bad Scrum Master: Ceremony Over Substance, The Scrum Master Trap, And How It Affects Teams And The Product Owner

From a Product Owner’s perspective, Johannes highlights an anti-pattern where the Scrum Master becomes overly focused on ceremonies and strict adherence to Scrum guidelines, losing sight of the actual outcomes. This approach mistakenly centralizes process ownership with the Scrum Master, rather than distributing it among the entire team. Johannes advises addressing this issue by realigning the Scrum Master’s role towards shared goals and understanding, using tools like Team Topologies for discussion. The key is moving beyond the “servant” aspect of “servant leader” to foster a team environment where understanding and self-direction are prioritized.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Johannes Andersen

Johannes comes from a finance and fintech background, and is now an enterprise agility maestro at a leading telco in Copenhagen! He focuses on optimizing the flow from strategy to execution, championing portfolio management with a keen eye on doing the right things, even if imperfectly. Johannes is an international speaker on product development topics.

You can link with Johannes Andersen on LinkedIn.

Freddie Brown Jr: Inspiring Excellence, How the Commitment and Clarity Transforms the Performance of the Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Inspiring Excellence, How the Commitment and Clarity Transforms the Performance of the Scrum PO

In this segment, Freddie highlights the exceptional qualities of a great Product Owner (PO), Sara. She exhibited visionary leadership, with a clear and effectively communicated product vision. Her ability to inspire the team and her commitment to the product’s success were some of the most important qualities highlighted by Freddie. Sara’s enthusiasm for the work, skill in defining and explaining requirements, and prompt feedback to the development team set her apart as an exemplary PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Collaboration Over Dictation, Tackling the Micro-Manager Scrum PO Challenge

In this segment, Freddie discusses the challenges of dealing with a micro-managing Product Owner (PO) who dictates team processes and avoids accountability. This PO type often over-commits work, ignoring team capacity. Freddie suggests that Scrum Masters should foster a collaborative environment, seek to understand the team’s feelings towards the PO’s behavior, and communicate with the PO to get to the root cause of their behavior’s. He emphasizes the importance of helping the PO explain their goals to the team, to create alignment and avoid misunderstandings.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Freddie Brown Jr.

Meet Freddie Brown Jr, the Agile Genie! With a magic brain that grants your corporate wishes faster than Aladdin’s lamp, he transforms chaos into strategic brilliance. He’s the genie you never knew you needed, making agile dreams come true – all with a sprinkle of humor that’s truly magical! 🪔🚀😄

You can link with Freddie Brown Jr. on LinkedIn and connect with Freddie Brown Jr. on Twitter.

Viktor Didenchuk: Effective, Protective, Result-Oriented, The Traits of a Successful Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Effective, Protective, Result-Oriented, The Traits of a Successful PO

When describing a great Product Owner and how they work, Viktor focuses first on effective communication; a great PO must clearly articulate what’s working and what isn’t to the team and stakeholders while fostering a reflective environment. Secondly, protection is essential; they must safeguard the team and product vision amidst constantly evolving technology, resisting the urge to chase every new trend. Finally, being result-oriented is vital; a great PO has a clear understanding of the desired outcomes and end state of the product. Viktor encapsulates this with the mantra, “It’s always the leader who is wrong, and it’s always the team who wins.”

The Bad Product Owner: The Blind PO, Focusing On Short-Term Requests Instead Of The Overall Product Vision

Viktor discusses a common anti-pattern in product ownership: the ‘blind PO’ who lacks a clear vision. This type of PO is overly preoccupied with politics and managing stakeholder requests, neglecting the broader product vision. They often focus solely on satisfying immediate customer demands, which can work for some but not all scenarios. This approach can lead to team demotivation. Viktor emphasizes the need for POs to reflect, ask probing questions, and truly ‘own’ the product, considering long-term goals and the product’s overall direction, rather than just short-term customer requests.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Viktor Didenchuk

Viktor began his career as a Software Engineer in the mid 2010’s, before discovering a passion for coaching and facilitating value delivery. He currently serves as a Scrum Master at Lloyds Banking Group, the UK’s largest retail bank, where he contributes to the Agile transformation of a 60,000+ employee organization, navigating and sharing the challenges encountered.

You can link with Viktor Didenchuk on LinkedIn.

Kulsoom Pervez: From Interference to Empowerment, Overcoming Micromanagement Tendencies in a Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Customer-Centric Product Owner, Focused On Clear Prioritization And Collaboration With The Scrum Team

Kulsoom shares insights on the traits of a great Product Owner (PO), that excelled by staying close to the customer, understanding market needs, and bringing valuable insights to the team. This PO consistently communicated the vision and roadmap, while also being receptive to suggestions from the team. Notably, the PO’s ability to prioritize work effectively involved mastering the art of saying “no.” This PO’s strengths included building strong relationships with the team and maintaining an open-minded approach, which facilitated a smooth and productive partnership, making the Scrum Master’s role more effective and the overall team dynamic more cohesive and successful.

The Bad Product Owner: From Interference to Empowerment, Overcoming Micromanagement Tendencies in PO’s

Kulsoom discusses a Product Owner (PO) that tended to micromanage the team and focused excessively on details, neglecting the broader vision and roadmap. This over-involvement extended to interfering with estimations and pushing work onto the team rather than allowing them to pull it, often losing sight of priorities. Kulsoom advises a non-judgmental approach to understand the root causes of this behavior, such as the PO’s work environment, their trust in the team, or underlying challenges they face. She emphasizes the importance of including the PO in retrospectives to build trust and address these challenges effectively.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work 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 Kulsoom Pervez

Kulsoom is passionate about constructing sustainable, resilient, and high-performing teams, consistently delivering value to customers through the transformative power of Agility. She embodies a leadership style that inspires, empowers, and fosters the growth of her colleagues. Kulsoom enjoys reading and has also dabbled in blogging.

You can link with Kulsoom Pervez on LinkedIn.

Get These Valuable Lessons Today!
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
Internal Conference
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
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