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Sofia Katsaouni: The Pitfalls of Multiple Product Owners For One Team, And A Solution That Worked

The Great Product Owner: Collaboration, Guidance And Trust, What Great PO’s work to achieve

In this episode, Sofia explores the qualities of a great Product Owner (POs), highlighting their guidance, collaborative problem-solving with the team, and how they shielded the team from interference. Trust-building is a key aspect, achieved by not imposing solutions and avoiding unilateral communication of deadlines. Sofia offers a tip on helping POs communicate “no” kindly to stakeholders. Additionally, she discusses the effective involvement of stakeholders, emphasizing onboarding and expectation-setting before demos.

The Bad Product Owner: The Pitfalls of Multiple PO’s For One Team, And A Solution That Worked

In this episode, Sofia shares an early-career experience with dual Product Owners (POs) who were also team managers, causing chaos and confusion. She identifies the anti-pattern of having two POs without alignment, leading to an environment where the team felt constrained. Sofia provides tips on resolving this issue, advocating for a single PO, clarifying role responsibilities, and utilizing the PO proxy pattern to help coordinate and align stakeholder participation.

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 Sofia Katsaouni

Sofia is a dedicated Agile and Organizational Coach who places people and their needs at the forefront. Transitioning from electrical engineering, she applies analytical skills to empower high-performing teams. With an emphasis on trust and psychological safety, Sofia enables startups and scale-ups to foster human-centric, performance-driven cultures.

You can link with Sofia Katsaouni on LinkedIn.

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.

Oguz Ozyurt: Helping Scrum Teams by Establishing Trust and Shared Understanding with Product Owners

In this segment, guest Oz emphasizes that we all work in a complex environment and are change agents. Oz shares a story about a team that faced problems with its product owner, who would add stories to the sprint backlog without refinement and interrupt the team even on the last day of the iteration. As a result, the team lost trust in the PO.

To address this challenge, Oz recommends making sure the team has an agreement on how to bring new stories into an ongoing sprint and discussing the team agreement with the PO. Oz also suggests bringing up the topic in the retrospective when the PO introduces a surprise story. Oz acknowledges that these conversations can be difficult, especially when the PO is a good friend of the team’s manager, but emphasizes the importance of building trust and ensuring shared understanding.

Featured Book of the Week: Leading Change by John Kotter

In this segment, Oz recommends “Leading Change” by John Kotter, which outlines eight steps for organizational transformation and is useful for anyone looking to apply these steps to a change process. Oz also suggests “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek for its insights on inspiring others and finding the purpose behind the work. Finally, Oz recommends “Team Topologies” which provides guidance on building and managing modern teams, a key responsibility for Scrum Masters. The authors of Team Topologies, Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais, have been previous guests on the podcast.

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 Oguz Ozyurt

Oz came from a technical background, and has worked across multiple industries, applying agile practices toward the technical and non-technical areas. He is passionate about agile, he has leveraged his passion for delivery value and agile practices by coaching, teaching, mentoring many teams to transform from traditional software development life cycle to Agile principles and practices.

You can link with Oguz Ozyurt on LinkedIn.

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
FREE QUIZ - What's Your #1 Agile Roadblock:
(Please join the waitlist to be notified first when this quiz is ready for you).
Identify What's Holding You Back & Transform Your Challenges Into Strengths
FREE QUIZ - What's Your #1 Agile Roadblock:
Identify What's Holding You Back & Transform Your Challenges Into Strengths (Please join the waitlist to be notified first when this quiz is ready for you).