TL; DR: Business Agility, Scrum and Generative AI’s Take on Getting There
There has been a lot of talking about generative AI recently, mainly fueled by excellent work results in the text and graphics area. A few days ago, OpenAI made a new model available that “interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.” (Source.)
I thought it might be fun to ask ChatGPT a few questions about business agility in general and Scrum in particular.
TL;DR: Scrum Master Salary Report 2023 — An Anonymous Poll by the Community for the Community
The purpose of this anonymous Scrum Master salary report 2023 is to create a clear, data-backed benchmark that allows everyone in the agile community to understand whether their compensation is adequate. (And yes, the report will cover Scrum Masters as well as Agile Coaches, both employed and freelancing.)
The goal is to have a sufficient number of replies – that would be at least 1,000 – by the end of November 2022 to create the report in time for January 2023. Of course, the report will be available for free.
👉 📈 Join the Anonymous Poll for the Upcoming Free Scrum Master Salary Report 2023 Now!
Scrum Master Interview: Demand Creates Supply and the Job Market for Agile Practitioners is No Exception
Scrum has proven time and again to be the most popular framework for software development. Given that software is eating the world, a seasoned Scrum Master is nowadays in high demand. And that demand causes the market-entry of new professionals from other project management branches, probably believing that reading one or two Scrum books will be sufficient. Which makes any Scrum Master interview a challenging task.
Suppose you are looking to fill a Scrum Master position in your organization. In that case, you may find the following Scrum Master interview questions helpful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my sixteen years of practical experience with XP and Scrum, serving both as Product Owner and Scrum Master, and my training experience as a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org. Also, I have interviewed dozens of Scrum Master candidates on behalf of my clients.
So far, this Scrum Master interview guide has been downloaded more than 25,000 times.
TL; DR: 27 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns
Scrum is a tactical framework to build products, provided you identify what is worth making in advance. But even after a successful product discovery phase, you may struggle to create the right thing in the right way if your Product Backlog is not up to the job—garbage in, garbage out. The following article points to 27 common Product Backlog anti-patterns – including the Product Backlog refinement process – limiting your Scrum team’s success.
TL; DR: The Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — How Do You Compare?
The Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 is the third edition of the industry survey after 2017 and 2019. This free report is based on the answers of 1,113 participants globally. If you are considering a career decision this year, maybe, whether you should join the industry as a junior Scrum Master or move to a new organization or go independent, you will find the report’s information beneficial.
By the way, the average salary of the participants in the survey is $83,687, with a standard deviation of about $48,700. In the complete report, you will find more detailed information; download your copy below.
Moreover, we are considering creating a statistical model to suggest further career steps: The “Scrum Master Salary Toolkit.”
TL; DR: 82 Product Owner Interview Questions to Avoid Imposters
If you are looking to fill a position for a Product Owner in your organization, you may find the following 82 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my sixteen years of practical experience with XP and Scrum, serving both as Product Owner and Scrum Master and interviewing dozens of Product Owner candidates on behalf of my clients.
So far, this Product Owner interview guide has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
TL; DR: The Cargo Cult Agile Checklist for Download
Do you want to know the state of agility in your organization? Here we go: Download the checklist, distribute it generously among your colleagues, and run a quick poll. It will only take 5 minutes of their time–and then analyze their feedback. If the average number of checkboxes marked is higher than nine, then you are probably practicing cargo cult agile in one form or another.
If running the cargo cult agile survey is the ‘inspection,’ then consider adapting your approach to being agile by kicking-off a discussion among the stakeholders of your organization’s endeavor.
TL; DR: Scrum Training Classes, Liberating Structures Workshops, and Events
Age-of-Product.com’s parent company — Berlin Product People GmbH — offers Scrum training classes authorized by Scrum.org, Liberating Structures workshops, and hybrid training of Professional Scrum and Liberating Structures. The training classes are offered both in English and German.
Check out the upcoming timetable of training classes, workshops, meetups, and other events below and join your peers.
TL; DR: Agile Metrics
Suitable agile metrics reflect either a team’s progress in becoming agile or your organization’s progress in becoming a learning organization.
At the team level, qualitative agile metrics often work better than quantitative metrics. At the organizational level, this is reversed: quantitative agile metrics provide better insights than qualitative ones.
TL;DR: Scrum Master Duties, Serving a Single Team
Scrum Master Duties: supposedly, a great scrum master serves only one scrum team — that’s at least a popular narrative in the scrum community. Nevertheless, there is also a loud voice that doubts that approach: what would you do the whole day – with a single team? Aren’t they supposed to become self-organizing over time? And if so, does the scrum then need a scrum master 24/7?
As I worked for years as a product owner on scrum teams without a dedicated scrum master-which was working well-I was curious to learn more about that question, too. Hence I ran a survey in late June and early July 2018, the results of which are presented here.
In total, 261 scrum masters participated in this non-representative survey in the two weeks before July 5th, 2018. 19 participants chose not to provide their consent to Google processing and to store their answers. Hence their contributions were deleted, resulting in a sample size of 242 responses.
TL; DR: User Story Guide, Free Facilitation Resources — Food for Agile Thought #371
Welcome to the 371st edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,352 peers. This week, we share an extensive user story guide to create successful products, covering a lot of ground from 3Cs to INVEST to 3Ws. Also, we delve into the benefits of applying principles and patterns from the team topologies concept to remote and hybrid work environments. Moreover, John Cutler busts the myth that all planning is in some way helpful when he points to nine situations where planning might not be beneficial, from planning before the last responsible moment to planning to maximize output.
Also, we appreciate a Forrester Consulting study on the benefits of taking product management seriously, including “key recommendations on making product bets with greater impact.” (Download the study for free.) Then, we analyze different scenarios you may encounter when elevating a team from feature factory workers to problem solvers and dive into the advantages of a product design philosophy popularized by Amazon: Working backward. And Petra Wille shares how to best support your team as a product coach.
Finally, we share lessons learned on how ThoughtWorks helped Etsy create a new product culture, scaling discovery and delivery. The Institute of Cultural Affairs curated an extensive repository of free learning resources for facilitators, from group facilitation methods to virtual facilitation. Lastly, Russ Roberts interviews Annie Duke on the benefits of letting go and how to avoid confusing grit with character.
TL; DR: Hands-on Agile #46: Engage the Agile Fluency® Model with Diana Larsen
On October 12, 2022, agile innovator Diana Larsen delved into the Agile Fluency® Model. After a short introduction to the model, we shifted to an ask-me-anything-style discussion of the groundbreaking view of agile and teams.
📺 Watch the video now: Engage the Agile Fluency® Model with Diana Larsen — Hands-on Agile #46.
TL; DR: Calm Innovation, Delivery Dates — Food for Agile Thought #370
Welcome to the 370th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,317 peers. This week, Shane Parrish interviews Tobi Lütke of Shopify about calm innovation, fighting bureaucracy, and scaling Shopify. Also, we reflect on facilitation and decision-making, including the opportunity costs of premature convergence, and learn more about the “Technology, Organization, and Product (TOP)” approach to agility. Moreover, we dissect the background of bad bosses.
Also, we learn from Ian McAllister about essential PM skills, broadening your horizon, and the importance of diversifying your skills as you move up the ladder. Speaking of which, we also share ten real-life examples of mistakes with long-term career-limiting effects for product managers, and we analyze three, unfortunately, prominent ways to trigger waste and frustration in product management.
Finally, we play our favorite broken record again: hands-off the deliberately abstract concept of story points. Moreover, we detail why teams underestimate work—learn more about hubris, dominant voices, and lacking the big picture—and advocate reducing cycle time to improve throughput and predictability. Lastly, Ken Norton shares his approach to what to do “when it’s time for some tough talk.”
TL; DR: Value Creation in Scrum
As a tactical framework, Scrum is good at delivering Increments into customers’ hands. As we work in iterations, we probably do that several times per month, mitigating risk by closing feedback loops. Nevertheless, there is a potentially hazardous void in the framework that successful Scrum teams start plugging early: how to figure out what is worth building—product discovery—in the first place. As a result, value creation in Scrum is not as straightforward as you might have thought.
TL; DR: Joy of Agility — Food for Agile Thought #369
Welcome to the 369th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,291 peers. This week, we delve into the Joy of Agility and learn about the inevitability of team change and how dynamic reteaming may support dealing with it. Then we consider whether how decisions are made is more important than who makes them and why startups should have a risk roadmap, a plan for what they need to learn, from de-risking their organization to techniques used.
Also, we notice that ‘strong alignment and candid communication between a CEO and CPO’ are prerequisites for an organization’s product success. However, they can slowly dissipate when the organization is on a growth trajectory. Marty Cagan delves into multiple product management topics, from strategy, vision, and ethics, to the ways of working on a recent podcast. Additionally, Lenny Rachitsky interviews Alex Hardiman, the Chief Product Officer at the New York Times, for example, about the background of the Wordle acquisition.
Finally, we use a well-known Indian parable to point at three anti-patterns when using data, from rejecting ‘unfitting’ data to not turning disagreements into learnings. Moreover, we highlight the criticality of developing ‘inclusive mindsets to understand your own perspectives, the perspectives of others, and how they influence collaboration in design.’ Lastly, W.B. explores fundamental limitations to A/B tests that many businesses fail to consider—with possibly grave consequences.