Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart: The large backlog as a PO anti-pattern

In this episode, we talk 4 PO patterns, and discuss several techniques on how to recover from the anti-patterns we discuss.

The Great Product Owner: Difficult conversations as a catalyst for a better story and product understanding 

Good PO’s are there for the team, and answer their questions. However, great PO’s are able to have difficult conversations that help clarify the reasons for the Stories and motivate the team. Sometimes, those hard conversations lead to changes in the product. And that’s a good thing! For both teams, and PO!

In this segment, we talk about a tip: have the PO define “team hours”, when they sit with the team and answer their questions.

The Bad Product Owner: The large backlog as a PO anti-pattern

When the PO is not able to handle the Product Backlog anymore, the team will suffer. In this segment, we talk about a PO that had trouble keeping up with the Backlog as it was large, unwieldy, and had no structure. We discuss how the team helped the PO clear the backlog, and what tools and techniques they used to keep the backlog short and under control. 

Another anti-pattern we discuss is the PO who was too much into the details and lost the big picture. When that happens, the PO can’t help the team understand the “why”, and removes the motivation that comes from understanding the purpose of the work. We discuss how the PO can step back and help the team regain their motivation and convey a clearer picture of the reasons for the product changes.

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 Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart

Samantha Menzynski has spent her entire career in software. Starting in support and account management, moving to customer support management, and with Penta’s transformation to Scrum becoming Scrum Master for the Core product team.

You can link with Samantha Menzynski on LinkedIn

Brian Ziebart started his career in software as a developer but found himself wanting to move towards coaching and developing people rather than product development.  When Penta’s Scrum transformation started in August 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to work more with people while still staying involved with development.

You can link with Brian Ziebart on LinkedIn

You can read more about Samantha’s and Brian’s work and the Agile transformation they were part of in this Scrum.org blog post.

Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart: The self-selection workshop for Agile transformations

In this transformation, there was a moment that may have changed the course of events. In this moment, the organization allowed the teams to self-select. Samantha and Brian share that moment, what they did, and how they prepared for a high-risk, but a transformative moment: the self-selection workshop.

About Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart

Samantha Menzynski has spent her entire career in software. Starting in support and account management, moving to customer support management, and with Penta’s transformation to Scrum becoming Scrum Master for the Core product team.

You can link with Samantha Menzynski on LinkedIn

Brian Ziebart started his career in software as a developer but found himself wanting to move towards coaching and developing people rather than product development.  When Penta’s Scrum transformation started in August 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to work more with people while still staying involved with development.

You can link with Brian Ziebart on LinkedIn

You can read more about Samantha’s and Brian’s work and the Agile transformation they were part of in this Scrum.org blog post.

Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart: helping Scrum teams have difficult conversations, safely

When a team started to have “backchannel” conversations and excluding some team members from those conversations, it was clear that something was going on that was not allowed to be discussed in the wider team. Samantha and Brian then focused on helping the team share what was going on in a safe way. Listen in to learn about what was holding the team back from discussing the important topics. 

Featured Book of the Week: Ideal Team Player by Lencioni and Difficult Conversations by Stone et al.

In Ideal Team Player by Lencioni Samantha found a great reference for a team that had to go through a recruiting process. The book helped the team reflect and choose the right candidate, by working together to define what they were looking for in a candidate beyond the technical skills. 

In this segment, we also refer to Difficult Conversations by Stone et al, a book that discusses conversation techniques to help move from emotion to productive problem solving.

About Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart

Samantha Menzynski has spent her entire career in software. Starting in support and account management, moving to customer support management, and with Penta’s transformation to Scrum becoming Scrum Master for the Core product team.

You can link with Samantha Menzynski on LinkedIn

Brian Ziebart started his career in software as a developer, but found himself wanting to move towards coaching and developing people rather than product development.  When Penta’s Scrum transformation started in August 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to work more with people while still staying involved with development.

You can link with Brian Ziebart on LinkedIn

You can read more about Samantha’s and Brian’s work and the Agile transformation they were part of in this Scrum.org blog post.

Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart: When setting a high-bar for the Definition of Done is a bad idea

Brian’s story is enlightening regarding the value of the Definition of Done. A team that had set the DoD bar too high, and chose to not change the DoD. That led to an anti-pattern that had to be untangled by the Scrum Master. 

Samantha shares the story of a Scrum Master that had the tendency to lead all the conversations and how she was able to recover from that pattern with a technique she calls “the pregnant pause”. 

About Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart

Samantha Menzynski has spent her entire career in software. Starting in support and account management, moving to customer support management, and with Penta’s transformation to Scrum becoming Scrum Master for the Core product team.

You can link with Samantha Menzynski on LinkedIn

Brian Ziebart started his career in software as a developer, but found himself wanting to move towards coaching and developing people rather than product development.  When Penta’s Scrum transformation started in August 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to work more with people while still staying involved with development.

You can link with Brian Ziebart on LinkedIn

You can read more about Samantha’s and Brian’s work and the Agile transformation they were part of in this Scrum.org blog post.

Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart: The PO and the Scrum Master as the dynamic duo to help teams succeed

The relationship between the PO and the Scrum Master is one of the most important and impactful relationships to develop. In this episode, we talk about how the right approach from the PO (with the Scrum Master’s help), can help elevate the team to a new level. 

Another aspect of success for Scrum Masters is the team’s ability to handle conflict. In this episode, we talk about what is “constructive conflict”, and why that’s an important aspect of the Scrum Master’s success.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Expert tip for Remote Retrospectives

When facilitating remote retrospectives, the impact of overbearing team members is even bigger. In this episode, we talk about how to use the break-out rooms in your conference system as a way to ensure that every one of the team has a say. 

The Meta-Retrospective is a moment when we discuss the values of the Agile manifesto and reflect on our journey as an Agile team. In this episode, we talk about the meta-retrospective, and why that might be an important tool to add to your toolbox.

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 experiences: 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 Samantha Menzynski and Brian Ziebart

Samantha Menzynski has spent her entire career in software. Starting in support and account management, moving to customer support management, and with Penta’s transformation to Scrum becoming Scrum Master for the Core product team.

You can link with Samantha Menzynski on LinkedIn

Brian Ziebart started his career in software as a developer but found himself wanting to move towards coaching and developing people rather than product development.  When Penta’s Scrum transformation started in August 2019, he jumped at the opportunity to work more with people while still staying involved with development.

You can link with Brian Ziebart on LinkedIn

You can read more about Samantha’s and Brian’s work and the Agile transformation they were part of in this Scrum.org blog post.