Jaques Smit: Sprint Goals Gone Wrong, Leadership Lessons from a Game Development Team

Jaques shares an experience with a game development team struggling to meet their goals. Despite his efforts to implement sprint goals and keep the team accountable, he faced resistance. Apparently lost with the process of setting goals, the Product Owner (PO) stepped back, pushing Jaques to take ownership and set the goals, which further re-enforced the team’s attitude of not taking ownership. Jaques reflects on the importance of coaching with an open mind and the challenges of directive leadership. He shares insights on enabling constraints and the Cynefin framework.

In this episode we also refer to Clinton Keith’s work as well as the #NoEstimates book.

The inspiring story of how a failing hospital turned things around with Agile and Lean

Recovering from failure, or difficult moments is a critical skill for Scrum Masters. Not only because of us, but also because the teams, and stakeholders we work with will also face these moments! We need inspiring stories to help them, and ourselves! The Bungsu Story, is an inspiring story by Marcus Hammarberg which shows how a Coach can help organizations recover even from the most disastrous situations! Learn how Marcus helped The Bungsu, a hospital in Indonesia, recover from near-bankruptcy, twice! Using Lean and Agile methods to rebuild an organization and a team! An inspiring story you need to know about! Buy the book on Amazon: The Bungsu Story – How Lean and Kanban Saved a Small Hospital in Indonesia. Twice. and Can Help You Reshape Work in Your Company.

About Jaques Smit

Jaques is a seasoned Agile coach and Scrum Master with extensive experience in leading and transforming teams in the game development industry. His expertise lies in fostering team collaboration, resolving conflicts, and facilitating effective retrospectives. Jaques is passionate about continuous learning and empowering teams to achieve their full potential.

You can link with Jaques Smit on LinkedIn and connect with Jaques Smit through his website.

Sónia Won: The Helicopter PO anti-pattern explained

The Great Product Owner: Empathy and Vision, Two Signs of a Great Product Owner

In this segment, Sónia discusses the characteristics of a great Product Owner (PO) who had a programming background, which proved advantageous. The PO had a strong connection with the team and displayed empathy for their work. Focusing on the Vision space, the PO inspired the team by communicating the desired outcome and trusting them to find the solutions. Encouraging them to think creatively and go beyond the obvious, the PO also had a keen sense of what the team needed. Striking a balance, the PO pushed the team while providing them with sufficient time to accomplish their tasks. Overall, the PO’s ability to inspire, communicate, and understand the team’s needs contributed to their effectiveness in the role.

The Bad Product Owner: The Helicopter PO anti-pattern

In this segment, the discussion revolves around a bad Product Owner pattern known as “The Helicopter PO.” The PO is frequently absent, only occasionally attending planning sessions and providing a barrage of sprint goals. The lack of consistent presence and participation in retrospectives led to a lack of vision, making it difficult for the team to focus and make decisions. The team functioned more as a “simple provider” for the PO, resulting in frequent failures, excessive work in progress, and numerous unfinished tasks. The episode highlights the critical role of communication and the importance of the PO being present and engaged with the team for successful outcomes.

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 Sónia Won

Sónia is an experienced professional with 17 years in Software Engineering. She has held roles as a Software Engineer, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for a decade. Currently, as a Product Owner, she values teamwork and recognizes the significance of prioritizing people in any endeavor.

The big lesson she’s learned so far: no matter how complex a subject can be, the most important thing is to take care of people. Because teams, companies, and communities are made of those!

You can link with Sónia Won on LinkedIn and connect with Sónia Won on Twitter.

Kirill Golubev: How the Scrum Master’s Role Contributes to Team Success

In this episode, Kirill discusses the difficulty of measuring the value of a Scrum Master and how success is ultimately tied to the success of the team. He emphasizes the importance of paying attention to retrospective preparation and capturing concerns expressed by the team. Kirill measures his own success and that of the team by the value delivered to a satisfied customer.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: Making Agile Accessible and Using User-Friendly Retro Formats

In this segment, Kirill discusses the importance of using different retrospective formats depending on what the team wants to achieve and the inputs involved. He mentions examples such as the hot air balloon and sailboat retrospectives, which can visually illustrate the key principles of Agile and help the team reflect on how they implement those. Kirill emphasizes the importance of avoiding the use of hard vocabulary in retrospectives, and making sure that everyone, including those unfamiliar with Agile, can actively participate and benefit from the session.

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 Kirill Golubev

Kirill considers himself an Agile and common-sense apologist. He wants to see simple processes in place, when people self-organize and manage themselves without constant push from management.

You can link with Kirill Golubev on LinkedIn.

Mandy Sunner: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

At the end of every Sprint, teams show their progress to key stakeholders. As Scrum Masters, we benefit from that ceremony to understand our impact and improve our work. In this episode, we talk about why it is critical for Scrum Masters to improve those ceremonies and focus on the feedback that stakeholders give. That feedback can become our fuel for improvement.

Featured Retrospective Format of the Week: Sprint Goals as a catalyst for better retrospectives

In retrospectives, we want to focus the teams on what we can do to become a better team. In this episode, we talk about Sprint Goals, and why those goals are important to help the teams be able to reflect better and have better retrospectives.

About Mandy Sunner

Mandy calls herself the Angel of Agile as she guards her team and stakeholders from attacks and compromises which are forthcoming in an era of uncertainty. Her Agile approaches are thought through by virtue of being a systematic thinker and keeping the customers at the forefront of development. A problem solver with many years of practical experience.

You can link with Mandy Sunner on LinkedIn and connect with Mandy Sunner on Twitter.

BONUS: Maarten Dalmijn on scaling the Product Owner role in Scrum organizations

Maarten Dalmijn joins us on this special episode on the role of the Product Owner to talk about how Product Owners can adapt to the increasing demands placed upon them. It could be working with more teams, or supporting the development of multiple products, the PO role (when successfully executed) will eventually expand to cover more aspects and support more teams.

The struggling and un-happy Product Owner

As Product Owners take on the responsibility to work with more teams, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked. That will likely lead to an un-happy PO, which will, in turn, have a big impact on the teams and their performance.

In this segment, we talk about why PO’s end up taking on too much work and discuss some of the tools we can apply to help scale the Product Owner role. We talk about Sprint Goals (an often forgotten aspect of Scrum), and other techniques that Maarten learned in his career that helped him scale up his role and impact. 

In this segment, we refer to a blog post on setting Sprint Goals and the Coach Your Product Owner e-course and the modules on Sprint Goals and Scaling up the PO role. The modules are: 

  • Coach Your PO v2.0 – Module 04 – How to scale up the Product Owner role to serve multiple teams; and
  • Coach Your PO v1.0 – Module 08 – How to define the perfect Sprint Goal – and why that matters!

The Coach Your PO course (v1.0 and v2.0) is available here: bit.ly/coachyourpo.

Collaboration with the Scrum Master

The Product Owner does not need to work alone when scaling their role to a few more teams or products. We discuss the importance of creating a collaborative relationship with the Scrum Master and how Scrum Masters can help Product Owners. 

In this segment, we talk about how Scrum Masters are sometimes an obstacle for their Product Owners to perform, and we refer to a blog post by Marten on what Scrum Masters can do to help Product Owners

Resources for Product Owners and Scrum Masters on the PO role

Reading about the role, and understanding the role of PO is a critical aspect for Scrum Masters that need and want to help their Product Owners. In this segment, we refer to Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan and Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value by Melissa Perri.

About Maarten Dalmijn

Maarten is a Product Manager and Scrum practitioner who believes in ‘less, but better’. By blending the world of Product Management and Scrum, Maarten helps teams beat the Feature Factory and uncover better ways of delivering value together.

He has over 10 years of experience building products and helped rebuild products as well as Agile Transformations as a leader and participant.

He says: “Product management is about getting the right things done. It is easy to come up with a list of things to add to make something better. It is much harder to decide which things to leave out to make something better.”

You can link with Maarten Dalmijn on LinkedIn and connect with Maarten Dalmijn on Twitter

Follow Maarten Dalmijn’s blog posts on Medium.

 

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
Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Discover practical, real-world solutions from leading Agile practitioners. Download three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Discover practical, real-world solutions from leading Agile practitioners. Access three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Discover practical, real-world solutions from leading Agile practitioners. Download three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
FREE! Audiobook Chapters: Overcome Team Resistance and Gain Leadership Buy-In
Download three free chapters from 'Tips from the Trenches Scrum Master Edition' and start transforming your Agile practices today!
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