Product Goal-Setting: How Scrum Masters can onboard a new or beginner Product Owner

Photo by Mohamed Hassan @ Pixabay

Why do we have daily meetings? Why do I need to be involved with the team every day? Why can’t I just give you the requirements document and concentrate on other tasks?

This blog is part of Module 2 of the Coach your Product Onwer v2.0 video course.

The Anti-Patterns When A Product Owner Is New To The Team, The Product And To Scrum

These are just some of the questions that Product Owners that are new to Scrum will ask. But sometimes we need to onboard Product Owners that are new to Scrum, new to the Product and new to the team. That’s not an easy task.

The Product Owner may not have any technical knowledge of the product or the understanding of the business the product supports. When a Product Owner is new to the team, and the collaboration habits have not yet developed. For example, he may be tempted to just go away and write all the User Stories in isolation or with a Business Analyst, and never involve the team. Which later leads to the “tell the team what to do, and disappear” anti-pattern. Continue reading Product Goal-Setting: How Scrum Masters can onboard a new or beginner Product Owner

How to help the PO be involved with the Scrum team, even if the PO does not have time

The Product Owner (PO) is a tough role to fill. Product Owners are torn between users, senior management, team and other stakeholders that they need to attend to.
While the team is working on completing the backlog items, the PO is probably meeting with the Director of Product to agree on a roadmap; with the CEO to hear about the latest ideas he got from visiting a client; trying to meet with the user research group to understand better the customer; reporting status to the head of Project Management; and still needs to visit the Sprint Planning, Backlog Grooming, Demo and the occasional daily meeting to answer questions from the team. And let’s not forget the email backlog!
With all of these tasks one has to ask: do we believe a single person can do this all alone? What I describe here is not even rare! We seem to collectively think that the Product Owner is a super-hero!

Given all of these tasks, it is little wonder that the PO’s end up struggling to even manage the JIRA tickets the teams ask them to review, give feedback on, and prioritize.

The feeling of overwhelm is common in Product Owners. They ask themselves if they are spending their time on the right things. Wouldn’t you, if you got constantly interrupted by questions and requests from others? How do we solve this, increase collaboration between Team and Product Owner, and improve our work place at the same time? Read on for more…
Continue reading How to help the PO be involved with the Scrum team, even if the PO does not have time

20 TOP Agile Blogs for Scrum Masters that you will not (easily) find on google searches (2017 edition)

Before reading the post, I wanted to share with you a great interview about how we, as Scrum Masters are always starting from Scratch (just like new year! 🙂 Here’s a Podcast episode as a new year gift from the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast archive built over the last 3 years interviewing Scrum Masters from all over the world.

Podcast Topic: We start a new with every team  (interview with Lucian Stroie)

Now for the list! 🙂

Here in the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we share insights and inspiring stories from Scrum Masters every day of the week because we believe we need inspiration and ideas every day. Therefore we also visit sites and blogs for the same reasons. To end the year with a bang, I wanted to create a list of Top blogs / Sites for Scrum Masters. Was I in for a disappointment… read on to know why…

Continue reading 20 TOP Agile Blogs for Scrum Masters that you will not (easily) find on google searches (2017 edition)

5 tools every Scrum Master should be familiar with on coaching, managing conflict and more

Minnesota State Capitol Woodworkers Toolbox Historical SocietyAs Scrum Masters we deal with many dynamics and problems in the organizations we work with. That’s why, here at Oikosofy, we’ve been building a mini-library for you. In this post by Vasco Duarte, we explore 5 tools that every Scrum Master should be familiar with. We cover the following toolboxes:

  • Stakeholder Management
  • Team Motivation
  • Conflict Management
  • Product Owner Collaboration
  • Continuous Improvement

And in today’s live Facebook event for Scrum Masters we will discuss these tools and answer questions on the tools we have described on that post.

If you can’t join us on the Facebook live event for Scrum Masters, don’t worry. We will be making a recording available. Just sign-up below to make sure you get notified when it is available.


Photo credit and copyright: By Minnesota Historical Society [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Jason Little on many tools to measure our success as Scrum Masters

There are many tools that can be used to measure our success as Scrum Masters. Jason shares some of the tools he uses as well as his approach to success.

About Jason Little

Jason Little helps organizations discover more effective practices for managing work and people. Sometimes that means plucking tools from the Agile world and sometimes that means using more traditional management practices, such as The Rockefeller Habits. Jason is passionate about the people side of change, and focus on bringing meaningful change into organizations that will improve the lives of people. Jason has recently released a new book called Lean Change Management: Innovative Practices for Managing Organizational Change.
You can connect with Jason Little on Twitter and link with Jason Little on Linkedin.
Jason Little is also a funder of Happy Melly.

Angel Medinilla on the three tools that drive success for Scrum Masters

The three tools we discuss and describe in this episode are: One-on-One meetings between the Scrum Master and team members; Lab Time: how we learn together; Retrospectives: learning about how we can work better.

About Angel Medinilla

Ángel Medinilla (Spain, 1973) has 18+ years working experience in the ICT market. In 2007 he started his own Agile Consulting firm. Today, Proyectalis is considered the leading Agile consulting and coaching company in Spain, and one of the most well-known in Europe and Latin America,
He is a regular speaker at Agile conferences all over the world
He is the author of Agile Management (Springer) and “Agile Kaizen: Continuous Improvement Far Beyond Retrospectives’ (Springer). He also contributed to Beyond Agile: Stories of Agile Transformations, (Modus Cooperandi).
In 2015 he co-founded Improvement21, whose goal is to bring the continuous improvement habit to all kind of organizations in order to create better cultures, teams, processes and products.
You can connect with Angel Medinilla on LinkedIn, and contact Angel Medinilla on Twitter.

Zach Bonaker on discusses his views on some Systems Thinking tools

In this episode we review several systems thinking tools with Zach and discuss their applicability to situations we all face as Scrum Masters. We mention Cynefin as one of the models that can help us wrap our heads around the complex environment we work within.

About Zach Bonaker

Zach Bonaker is Benevolent Trouble-Maker from San Diego. He’s an agile coach who specializes in bringing lean thinking to organizations and teams over varying sizes across the country. Zach builds relationships to help transform people, systems, and structures towards safer and faster ways of delivering high quality software. When he isn’t thinking about next-generation agile ideas, Zach can be found enjoying the sunny west coast weather and connecting with people all around the world. Follow Zach Bonaker on Twitter, and connect with Zach Bonaker on Linkedin.

Ryan Ripley on the rule of 3 for system thinkers

System thinkers need tools and techniques to help them focus on the system and not get blindsided by the shiny symptoms that cross our attention every single day. Ryan shares some of the tools he uses to help him see the system at play.

About Ryan Ripley

Ryan Ripley loves helping people do great work. He is a servant leader at heart and is passionate about fostering safety and trust in the workplace. Ryan created the Agile for Humans podcast to put the focus back on the individuals and interactions that make agile work.
You can link up with Ryan Ripley on LinkedIn and connect with Ryan Ripley on Twitter.
Ryan also hosts a popular Agile podcast: Agile for Humans. Be sure to check it out!

Niko Kortelainen shares his story of Scrum adoption and more

Niko explains in this episode how to understand when there are problems that the team needs help resolving, and shares tips on how to keep the team’s tools improving over time. Finally he shares his story of Scrum adoption: From Chaos to Managed Chaos.

About Niko Kortelainen

Niko Kortelainen is a Scrum Master at Digia, which among other things commercializes the cross-platform Open Source framework Qt. In his journey he discovered that the most challenging problems in software industry are not technical problems and ever since then, he has been focusing on how to make everyday work more fun.
You can link up with Niko Kortelainen on LinkedIn and connect with Niko Kortelainen on Twitter.
You can read Niko Kortelainen blog, where he wrote about his experience with adopting Scrum.

Jeff Campbell describes one key Systems Thinking tool

We observe the system we work on every day. We even have many ideas on how the system could or should change for work to flow better, for people to feel better. However, without a form of visualizing the system we work with those are just fuzzy speculative ideas that may or may not matter in the end. Jeff walks us through his version of a Value Stream Map for knowledge work, and how that helps visualize and understand the system we work with. It is only then that we can start changing the system.

About Jeff Campbell

Jeff is an Agile Coach who considers the discovery of Agile and Lean to be one of the most defining moments of his life, and considers helping others to improve their working life not to simply be a job, but a social responsibility. As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organisations both small and large. He is one of the founding members of www.scrumbeers.com and an organiser of www.brewingagile.org in his spare time. He is also the author of an open source book called Actionable Agile Tools, where he explains how he uses 15 of the tools he uses in his daily work as a scrum master and agile coach.
You can link with Jeff Campbell on LinkedIn, and connect with Jeff Campbell on Twitter.