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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.

Toby Rao: Success Metrics for Scrum Masters Which You Can Observe In The Daily Meeting

In this episode, we discuss how to achieve true self-organization within the team. Toby’s perspective is that success is measured by several key factors, including active participation and engagement in daily standup meetings. Toby suggests we assess our success by observing if team members are paying attention, interacting with one another, and openly sharing solutions during these meetings.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The 4 L’s and generating learning opportunities

Toby’s favorite retrospective format is the “4 L’s retrospective,” which stands for Liked, Learned, Lacked, and Longed for. In this segment, he highlights its effectiveness in generating ideas, with a particular emphasis on the “learned” component. Toby stressed the importance of continuous learning for both himself and his team, making it a central theme in his retrospectives. The format encourages sharing valuable learning moments and contributes to the team’s growth and improvement.

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 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.

Toby Rao: How To Get A Team From Mini-Waterfall Sprints To True Scrum

In this episode, Toby talks about a team whose burndown chart resembled a cliff, indicating possible problems in the way they managed their sprints. The team was essentially following a mini-waterfall approach, with stories remaining open until the last two days of the sprint. Toby realized the need for change and emphasized the importance of observing what’s happening beyond the team’s actions. He acknowledged that change couldn’t happen overnight and worked with the team to break down stories for better progress transparency. But that wasn’t an easy process! Toby shares how he got the team from “you are criticizing us” to having the team take ownership of their process and make the necessary changes.

Want to Improve Your Change Management Results? Discover the Lean Change Management Approach Today!

As Scrum Master we work with change continuously! Do you have your own change framework that provides the guidance, and queues you need when working with change? The Lean Change Management framework is a fully defined, lean-startup inspired change framework that can be used as the backbone of any change process! You can buy Lean Change Management the book at Amazon. Also available in French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

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.

Toby Rao: Helping a Team Go From Storming To Performing With Trust Building Strategies

In this episode, Toby shares his experience working with a once high-performing team that faced challenges after a leadership change and the introduction of new team members. The established team members, deeply bonded, struggled to share information with the newcomers who questioned team practices. The team found itself stuck in the “storming” phase of development, with trust being a significant issue. Toby emphasized the importance of creating new working agreements when a team undergoes significant changes and promoting collaboration with a “yes, and” approach. He highlighted the need for trust-building interventions, engaging retrospectives, celebrating small successes, and conducting 1-on-1 conversations to address the trust imbalance and improve team dynamics.

In this episode, we refer to the Tuckman Stages Of Group Development and TastyCupcakes.org.

Featured Book of the Week: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear

In Toby’s discussion about his favorite book, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, he highlighted how the book transformed his perspective. He successfully encouraged team members and friends to read it by emphasizing its approach to change. The book’s principle of breaking down significant changes into small daily habits resonated with Toby. It underscored the idea that consistent small actions can result in substantial transformations. Toby also mentioned how the book influenced his coaching style, particularly by suggesting the effective question, “What’s your plan to solve that problem?” It emphasized the power of incremental changes and thoughtful problem-solving strategies.

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 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.

Toby Rao: The Critical Impact of Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Agile Projects

In this episode, Toby shares his experience of working with a team in this transition. Toby emphasized the importance of addressing the initial challenges, including stakeholder engagement and logistics. He highlights the need to overcome mindset barriers within the organization. Key takeaways from this conversation include: the importance of seeking to understand before being understood, helping others grasp the team’s needs, involving leads and stakeholders from other teams to identify blockers, and being open to negotiation for the team’s success. Ultimately, creating shared understanding and transparency led to successful collaboration.

In this episode, we refer to the Tuckman Stages Of Group Development.

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 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.

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
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