Thomas van Zuijlen: Helping Product Owners get out of the “weeds”, by focusing them on the future, and the “why” question

The Great Product Owner: The PO that could survive even the most embarrassing of situations, and help everyone move on

This PO was able to be involved with the team, but also let the team make their own decisions. But that was not the only superpower. This PO was also able to recover from the most awkward situations, and give everybody a sense of progress. Listen in to learn about a specific, and potentially embarrassing situation that the PO handled perfectly.

The Bad Product Owner: Helping PO’s get out of the “weeds”, by focusing them on the future, and the “why” question

When PO’s get involved with making technical decisions with the team (getting involved with the “how”), they tend to interfere more than help. The setup is so that the team usually then follows whatever the PO thinks they should do (as PO’s often have a technical background, or at least authority), and then the team loses the ownership of their own decisions. In this case, we also hear the the PO was so busy with the “how”, they didn’t have time to think about the future and the “why”. This is a self-perpetuating pattern that we need to help PO’s get out of.

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 Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

Thomas van Zuijlen: The double-diamond visualization to guide Scrum teams in their retrospectives

Thomas’ approach to being a successful Scrum Master includes “making waves”, or has he describes it: “getting angry emails”. We talk about how important it is to look at the reactions people show when discussing the ways of working, and how important emotions are in showing us – the Scrum Masters – if we are having an impact!

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The double-diamond visualization to guide Scrum teams in their retrospectives

Thomas likes to use many different formats with the teams he works with. However, he strives to make the process of the retrospective explicit for the teams as they get started. He uses the Double-diamond visualization for the process of the workshop. After a few times of using that visualization, the teams know how the retrospectives go, and start being more natural and taking on the normal flow of the retrospective.

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 Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

Thomas van Zuijlen: Setting up a Scrum team for success when working as a contractor

Thomas was part of a team that had to replace a whole application. They decided to go with the StranglerFig pattern described by Martin Fowler. But, in this case, the pattern was being applied not only to the software, but also to the team, and interaction with the client. Thomas set-up a kick-off for the relationship, and based it on the key aspects we need to take into account as a Scrum Master: team agreement, expectations, vision for the product, and much more! Listen in to learn how Thomas used the first meeting with the client to set up the team’s agile ways of working, and get the customer involved in giving feedback and guidance to the team from day one!

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

Thomas van Zuijlen: How to help a Scrum team of experts that had started to work alone in their silos

This team was full of passionate people, and experts in their field. However, they had the sense that they were “busy”, and this led them to retreat to their own tasks, and forget about talking to each other. As they were “busy” with their own tasks, they didn’t dare ask for help either, which made the situation even worse, and pushed them further into their personal silos. How can a Scrum Master help a team in this situation? We discuss with Thomas the possible angles we can take to help such a team.

Featured Book of the Week: Good Talk: How to Design Conversations that Matter by Stillman

For Thomas, Good Talk: How to Design Conversations that Matter by Stillman, was a reminder that conversations don’t happen by chance, and that our job as Scrum Masters is to prepare and facilitate many conversations. The book gives some tools, and advice on how to prepare those conversations.

In this segment, we talk about Thomas’ newsletter, which you can follow at TheBacklog.cc

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 Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

Thomas van Zuijlen: A key lesson for Scrum Masters when taking on a new team!

Thomas was working with a scale up. The organization had grown quickly and the management felt that it was slowing down too much, so they wanted to work on their processes, and get the teams to collaborate better, and speed up the rate of delivery. After 6 months of trying, Thomas left. He felt that he had not had an impact on the organization, and needed to move on. Listen in to learn about what happened, and why that organization was not ready to improve. There’s a key lesson for all Scrum Masters starting to work with a new team or organization.

About Thomas van Zuijlen

Thomas is an independent Scrum Master and workshop facilitator from the Netherlands. He believes self-organization, empiricism and facilitation will save the world (of work). A former developer and occasional quiz master with 15 years of experience, Thomas operates in the Netherlands and Lithuania. His weekly newsletter on practical agility can be found at TheBacklog.cc.

You can link with Thomas van Zuijlen on LinkedIn.

Get The Booklet!
How to deliver on time and eliminate scope creep By scoping projects around outcomes and impacts, not requirements!
Get the Product Owner Booklet!
Avoid scope creep! And learn to scope projects around impacts and outcomes, not requirements!
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