Rafał Witaszek: When the Product Owner does not link stories to a specific product, they destroy the ability to deliver value

The Great Product Owner: A truly collaborative approach to the PO work

This PO was able to communicate clearly, but also step back, doing only enough research to provide options for the team to decide on. He helped the team clarify ambiguities and brought them challenges that the team could own and help resolve. It was a true collaborative approach to the PO work!

The Bad Product Owner: When the work is not linked to a specific product, it loses meaning, and destroys the ability to deliver value

This PO was not fully aware or able to communicate the products the team was working on. He did not have a clear picture of the portfolio of different products the team needed to support. This caused serious problems in prioritizing and communicating progress to stakeholders, as the team was not able to understand when they were jeopardizing certain products by working on work that was not related to that product. Rafał started a process to help the team, and the PO to list all of the products they had to support, and started to organize the backlog around the products, not just a list of tasks.

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About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn.

Rafał Witaszek: Is your team “chatty”? And other questions we can ask to assess Scrum Master success

Is your team “chatty”? That’s the first question that Rafał suggests we ask from ourselves as we assess our progress, and success as a Scrum Master. We also talk about different metrics we can use to help us guide, and support the team.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4L’s and Starfish retrospectives as possible options for different goals

In this segment, we hear from Rafał how the 4L’s retrospective and the Starfish retrospectives can be used for different purposes. He describes for us, what each of these formats is best for, and how he organizes his facilitation to help the teams focus on those different outcomes.

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About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn.

Rafał Witaszek: Leading change bottom-up and top-down at the same time!

When Rafał joined this organization, he realized the IT department was being blamed as the bottleneck for the speed of the organization. Together with his colleagues, they sent an email to the CEO explaining what they saw, and how they started to understand that the IT department could be more efficient (they had already done some changes), but their backlogs were empty, and not enough work was being added to the teams’ backlogs.

This started a whole change process, where the CEO took the lead and helped them work with the rest of the organization to improve the situation.

About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn.

Rafał Witaszek: Helping a Scrum team that was drowning in “invisible” work

Rafał joined a large organization that was moving to Agile. Even if the team Rafał joined claimed to have been practicing Scrum, when he observed the team, it looked like they were organized around components, and the team also had a large amount of “hidden” work. There was not enough transparency on what was going on. This is when Rafał understood that a lot of work was needed to help this team understand the situation, and act on it.

In this segment, we refer to the episode with Jeff Campbell and János Csorvási, where they also describe a similar situation, and how they got out of it. We also refer to the idea of using the Iceberg visualization to help teams understand that there’s a lot of “invisible” work that needs to be surfaced for the team to be able to take action.

Featured Book of the Week: Atomic Habits by James Clear

In Atomic Habits An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, Rafał found many ideas, and practices that helped him change how he operates both in his professional and personal life. In this segment, we also refer to the book The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded by Watknis.

How can Angela (the Agile Coach) quickly build healthy relationships with the teams she’s supposed to help? What were the steps she followed to help the Breeze App team fight off the competition? Find out how Angela helped Naomi and the team go from “behind” to being ahead of Intuition Bank, by focusing on the people! Download the first 4 chapters of the BOOK for FREE while it is in Beta!

About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn.

Rafał Witaszek: What is often missing when an Agile adoption process starts to fail

When Rafał joined this organization, he had a conversation with some of the Agile Coaches and Product Owners. In that process, he presented some ideas, and they came to an agreement of how to introduce Agile. However, that was not enough. Quickly, Rafał discovered that some critical stakeholders had not been listened to, which caused adoption problems. Rafał learned a key lesson in creating alignment between stakeholders before starting an engagement.

About Rafał Witaszek

Rafał believes the best things are done together. As a Scrum Master, his focus is on enabling communication within an organization. As he is also a passionate sailor, he’s learned that we need to adjust our sails to make the best use of the wind. Focus on what we can affect, and leave other things out.

You can link with Rafał Witaszek on LinkedIn.

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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
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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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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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