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Zach Stone: Strategies for Healing a Disrupted Team-Product Owner Connection

The Great Product Owner: The Ideal Product Owner, Balancing Strategy, Collaboration, and Care

In this episode, Zach highlights an exceptional Product Owner (PO) who showcased a unique blend of tactical and strategic prowess. This PO’s deep care for the team was evident in their collaborative and engaging approach. They fostered open dialogue, valuing team input and seeing engineers as partners in solving problems. The PO’s commitment to understanding stakeholder requests in-depth allowed them to effectively shield the team. Their transformative and protective actions were a testament to their collaborative leadership style, making them a beloved and effective bridge between stakeholders and the engineering team.

The Bad Product Owner: Restoring Harmony, Strategies for Healing a Disrupted Team-PO Connection

In this episode, Zach reflects on a challenging experience with a struggling Product Owner (PO). The PO’s performance was hindered by environmental factors and burnout, leading to breakdowns in team collaboration and psychological safety. A lack of connection with the team and berating behavior adversely affected team morale and relationships. The adversarial atmosphere hindered healthy conflict resolution and led to self-sabotage. Zach shares valuable tips for improving such situations, emphasizing the importance of gauging safety for conversations, individual validation, and creating a secure space for difficult discussions. He underscores the potential for growth through acknowledging mistakes, highlighting that the PO eventually transformed into a sought-after collaborator through positive change.

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 Zach Stone

Zach has worked as a process facilitator for over 17 years, as a specialist in behavioral science. He co-founded a firm that uses techniques to rebuild war zones  for organizational dynamics. He has been an agilist for the past 7 years and was recently a speaker at the Global Scrum Conference. He lives in Santa Fe with his Wife and spends his time exploring canyons and trails.

You can link with Zach Stone on LinkedIn.

Zach Stone: Evolving Our Perspective On Scrum Master Success With Experience

In this episode, Zach discusses his evolving perspective on success as a Scrum Master. Initially valuing predictability, he now prioritizes the impact of Scrum events over strict adherence. He acknowledges the risk of losing sight of purpose when fixating on predictability and velocity. Shifting from an adherence mindset to a goal-oriented, customer-centric approach, Zach emphasizes the importance of clear product goals in boosting team motivation. Success, for him, is now defined by the meaningful impact achieved through Scrum events, aligning teams with overarching objectives and driving tangible results.

Featured Retrospective Format for the Week: The Rosebud and Thorn Retrospective Format

In this episode, Zach shares his preferred retrospective format, the “Rosebud and Thorn.” He appreciates its simplicity and authenticity, as it prompts participants to share both positive and challenging aspects. The retrospective serves as a communication gauge for the team, revealing their dynamics and communication quality. Zach emphasizes the format’s value in assessing team functioning throughout the sprint. Additionally, he advises adapting facilitation strategies for remote sessions, especially those lacking camera visibility, ensuring effective retrospectives regardless of the setting. The “Rosebud and Thorn” emerges as a powerful tool for insightful and meaningful reflections.

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 Zach Stone

Zach has worked as a process facilitator for over 17 years, as a specialist in behavioral science. He co-founded a firm that uses techniques to rebuild war zones  for organizational dynamics. He has been an agilist for the past 7 years and was recently a speaker at the Global Scrum Conference. He lives in Santa Fe with his Wife and spends his time exploring canyons and trails.

You can link with Zach Stone on LinkedIn.

Zach Stone: Agile Beyond Tech, Facilitating Change Amid Strong Emotional Turmoil

In this episode, Zach discusses his experience initiating change within a 10,000-employee mass transit organization plagued by violence towards its staff. Initially met with skepticism, the consulting team employed active listening and dialogue facilitation, prioritizing fair conversation. The process involved uncovering needs, contextual understanding, and addressing assaults on employees. Frustration was initially high, but they introduced motivational interviewing, emphasizing that change is difficult and often involves conflict. They posed the question, “Does the pain of staying the same outweigh the pain of changing?” Acknowledging normal feelings like fear and anger, the team encouraged acknowledging resistance, highlighting the importance of being heard and seen throughout the challenging change journey.

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 Zach Stone

Zach has worked as a process facilitator for over 17 years, as a specialist in behavioral science. He co-founded a firm that uses techniques to rebuild war zones  for organizational dynamics. He has been an agilist for the past 7 years and was recently a speaker at the Global Scrum Conference. He lives in Santa Fe with his Wife and spends his time exploring canyons and trails.

You can link with Zach Stone on LinkedIn.

Zach Stone: Overcoming Vision Challenges in Agile Teams, And The Key Role Of The Product Owner

In this episode, Zach recounts a team’s struggles with a platform and component-based structure. Despite having capable members, the team faced challenges surrounding unclear priorities and vision. Frequent changes in priorities left the team uncertain about their work’s purpose after a significant launch. Communication issues arose as developers weren’t grasping the vision. The absence of direction led to disengagement, arguments during refinement, and an overwhelming workload. Introducing a Product Owner with a clear mission restored commitment. A critical incident, the Ukrainian war, catalyzed a much-needed laser focus. This episode underscores the importance of a well-defined mission and external factors in shaping team dynamics.

Featured Book of the Week: “The Help Increase the Peace Program Manual” by the American Friends Service Committee

In this episode, Zach discusses some of his favorite Agile-related books. “The Help Increase the Peace Program Manual” by the American Friends Service Committee is praised for its insights into conflict facilitation and fostering healthy communities. This book transformed Zach’s perspective on communities and equipped him to navigate groups with conflicts. Another book that Zach highlights is “Thinking in Systems” by Meadows explores various aspects of sociology, economy, and more, encouraging readers to view the world holistically. Zach values its ability to prompt a deeper understanding of “why” and uncover systemic factors. He emphasizes how external/systemic issues can impact team-level problems, shedding light on the interconnected nature of challenges.

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 Zach Stone

Zach has worked as a process facilitator for over 17 years, as a specialist in behavioral science. He co-founded a firm that uses techniques to rebuild war zones  for organizational dynamics. He has been an agilist for the past 7 years and was recently a speaker at the Global Scrum Conference. He lives in Santa Fe with his Wife and spends his time exploring canyons and trails.

You can link with Zach Stone on LinkedIn.

Zach Stone: Stakeholder Turbulence in Agile And Their Impact On Team Morale

In this episode, Zach reflects on his impatience and passion for the change process in Agile. He discusses a challenging scenario involving two conflicting stakeholders with differing product ideas. The stakeholders’ heated conflicts escalated, impacting team morale. Zach initially focused on the team rather than addressing the stakeholder conflict directly. He suggests bringing stakeholders together to discuss the situation, emphasizing the importance of early conflict resolution. Zach also highlights the significance of observing and validating team dynamics, as well as addressing conflict promptly to prevent further disruptions. He acknowledges an anti-pattern of fear and emphasizes proactively engaging with stakeholders for better outcomes.

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 Zach Stone

Zach has worked as a process facilitator for over 17 years, as a specialist in behavioral science. He co-founded a firm that uses techniques to rebuild war zones  for organizational dynamics. He has been an agilist for the past 7 years and was recently a speaker at the Global Scrum Conference. He lives in Santa Fe with his Wife and spends his time exploring canyons and trails.

You can link with Zach Stone 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
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