Paul Jarvis: Key Indicators of Success for Agile Teams and Their Scrum Masters That You Can Reflect On

Investigate Paul’s perspective on what defines success for Scrum Masters, from the smooth running of refinement sessions to the collaborative maintenance of the Product Backlog. This episode provides practical tips for Scrum Masters to assess their impact, emphasizing the importance of team collaboration, effective backlog management, and the ease of sprint planning. Discover how to assess success in the Agile world through a blend of team dynamics, process efficiency, and shared responsibility.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Sailboat Retrospective and Other Formats

Paul emphasizes the critical role of retrospectives in enabling relentless improvement, highlighting formats like the Sailboat retrospective, Celebration Grid, and the high-performance tree to encourage experimentation and self-assessment within teams. These retrospective formats are not just reflective exercises but strategic tools that prompt teams to align their values with their Agile practices, ensuring continuous growth and alignment with business goals.

How can I, as a Scrum Master, supercharge my facilitation?

Retrospectives, planning sessions, vision workshops, we are continuously helping teams learn about how to collaborate in practice! In this Actionable Agile Tools book, Jeff Campbell shares some of the tools he’s learned over a decade of coaching Agile Teams. The pragmatic coaching book you need, right now! Buy Actionable Agile Tools on Amazon, or directly from the author, and supercharge your facilitation toolbox!

About Paul Jarvis

Paul is a seasoned Enterprise Lean Agile Coach, Trainer, RTE, and Scrum Master with a decade of experience in the FinTech sector, focusing on banking, payments, and e-commerce. Recently, he completed a 3.5-year tenure at a key player in investment banking.

You can link with Paul Jarvis on LinkedIn.

Toby Rao: The Part-Time Product Owner Anti-Pattern, And Its Consequences

The Great Product Owner: The Part-Time PO Anti-Pattern

In this segment, Toby discusses common anti-patterns associated with Product Owners (POs), particularly the issue of them treating their role as a part-time role. Many organizations assign PO responsibilities as a secondary task, causing problems like absenteeism during critical team interactions. This particular PO, who had a full-time job outside of their role, lacked both Agile and software development experience, along with emotional intelligence. The key takeaway was the importance of PO presence and engagement with the team, with a suggestion to have them spend a full day working alongside the team to improve collaboration.

The Bad Product Owner: User-Centric Leadership, a Critical Skill For POs

In this segment, Toby discusses the qualities of a great Product Owner (PO). The exceptional PO he describes, was known for their easy collaboration with the team and their constant availability. The PO emphasized understanding before imposing their views and consistently approached discussions from the perspective of the key Personas for the product. The PO also encouraged the team to consider the system from the customer/user standpoint, this PO deeply comprehended the team’s workflow, which made collaboration easy. Additionally, they recognized the efficiency of pre-refinement in the team’s processes, and made the necessary adaptation to their own workflow.

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 Toby Rao

Toby is an ICF-credentialed Coach and accredited IC Agile trainer, and practices as a certified Executive coach. With a dynamic Agile journey beginning in 2007, he’s an active contributor to the global Agile community. He is based in Washington DC Metro, and speaks at Agile events worldwide and co-founded the A20 Agile conference. Toby also co-founded two thriving Agile meetups in the Washington DC area, with a combined 1300 members.

You can link with Toby Rao on LinkedIn and connect with Toby Rao on Twitter.

Andrew Mitchell: Shared Accountability and Problem-Solving, A Practical Way To Help Scrum Teams

In this episode, Andrew discusses a team that struggled with excessive time spent on refining stories and engaging in arguments during daily scrums. The organization was in the early stages of its agile transformation, and the team had difficulty transitioning from detailed requirements. Engineers felt judged by bugs, leading to a fear of making mistakes. To address these issues, Andrew introduced the concept of shared accountability, shifted the team’s focus to problem-solving, and encouraged smaller work slices. He also emphasized the importance of prioritizing helping people over solely delivering software. These changes aimed to foster collaboration and a supportive team environment.

In this episode, we refer to the book NoEstimates, and the method it describes that served as inspiration for Andrew’s work.

Featured Book of the Week: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

In this segment, Andrew recommends the book “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek as required reading for Scrum Masters. The principle of the book originates from the US Marines, where leaders eat their meals after the soldiers. Andrew highlights the key tip of “They would do it for me,” emphasizing the importance of leaders who prioritize the well-being and needs of their team members. He describes the book as wonderful, implying that it offers valuable insights and lessons for Scrum Masters.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Andrew Mitchell

Andrew prioritizes people when building products, aiming for happy and engaged employees who create great products and serve customers well. He emphasizes trust, psychological safety, servant leadership, and believes Scrum is the best framework to achieve these goals.

He was also a host of the Product Owner Summit 2023, where we collaborated.

You can link with Andrew Mitchell on LinkedIn.

Oguz Ozyurt: The Power of Partnership between Product Owner and Scrum Master in support of the Agile Team

The Great Product Owner: The Power of Partnership between PO and SM in support of the Agile Team

In this segment, we discuss the need to focus on, and develop a great partnership between a Product Owner (PO) and Scrum Master (SM). Oz shares the example of such a partnership, where the conversation between PO and SM focused on the value that the team can deliver. The PO was new to Agile but had an open mind and was an expert in the product domain. The PO was a natural leader and encouraged the team to pull stories from the backlog. He also asked the team to bring their perspective into the prioritization of the backlog. The PO acknowledged the team at every opportunity and brought an appreciation culture into the team. Oz highlights the importance of having a great partnership between the PO and SM, which is the main requirement for a successful Agile team.

The Bad Product Owner: The Importance of Empathy in Product Owner-Scrum Master Relationships

In this segment, Oz discusses the challenges of working with a product owner who lacks a product mindset and is more focused on tasks than the product vision. This can lead to them “making up” work and not prioritizing tasks effectively.

Oz suggested a few tips for dealing with bad POs. First, he recommended asking about prioritization and trying to understand the PO’s background. He also advised having a 1-on-1 coaching session with the PO to help them develop a better understanding of their role and how to prioritize tasks effectively.

Additionally, Oz emphasized the importance of focusing on empathy between the PO and the team. By fostering a positive relationship and working collaboratively, the PO and team can work together to ensure that the product is delivered effectively and meets the needs of stakeholders. Overall, Oz’s advice for dealing with this type of POs is to approach the situation with understanding and empathy, while also providing coaching and support to help the PO develop a product mindset and prioritize tasks 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 Oguz Ozyurt

Oz came from a technical background, and has worked across multiple industries, applying agile practices toward the technical and non-technical areas. He is passionate about agile, he has leveraged his passion for delivery value and agile practices by coaching, teaching, mentoring many teams to transform from traditional software development life cycle to Agile principles and practices.

You can link with Oguz Ozyurt on LinkedIn.

Caterina Palmiotto: The Phantom Product Owner, How Lack of Decision-Making Impacts the Team and Kills Innovation

The Great Product Owner: The Collaboration Between PO and Team as Key to PO Success

In this segment, Caterina shares a story of a great Product Owner who worked closely with their team. The PO took the time to share the high-level vision and timeline for a new module, collected doubts and comments from the team, and presented user stories with enough information to start a discussion. The PO listened to all suggestions and was available every day to collaborate. The refinement process was done in two parts, with the second part focused on investigating technical aspects. The PO even participated in retrospectives and worked with the team to improve the product based on either technical or functional ideas by the team. Caterina emphasizes the importance of building this kind of productive collaboration between POs and their teams, with the help of Scrum Masters.

The Bad Product Owner: The Phantom PO, How Lack of Decision-Making Impacts the Team and Kills Innovation

In this segment, Caterina talks about a Product Owner who only wrote user stories but was unable to make decisions. The Product Owner always needed to report to his boss, which caused a delay in decision-making. This led to delays in the team’s work, resulting in not completing the story in the sprint. Additionally, the team lost trust in the PO, and did not have enough information or support from the PO to bring their contribution to the product through technical innovation. Eventually, the team started to make decisions on their own and stopped suggesting ideas to the PO. Caterina emphasizes the importance of Product Owners being able to make decisions and not causing delays in the team’s work.

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 Caterina Palmiotto

Caterina started as a software developer but soon realized that she was passionate about team dynamics and communication, and embraced agility from the moment she saw it.

Caterina believes a team can be more than the sum of its parts and that growing the right culture is essential. When people are surrounded by good examples they will be motivated to do their best.  So the first step is doing your best to be a good example of the culture you want to nurture.

You can link with Caterina Palmiotto on LinkedIn.

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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
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
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.