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.
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.
If you are looking to fill a position for a Scrum Master (or agile coach) in your organization, you may find the following 38+9 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my thirteen years of practical experience with XP as well as Scrum, serving both as product owner and Scrum Master as well as interviewing dozens of Scrum Master candidates on behalf of my clients.
So far, this Scrum Master interview guide has been downloaded more than 15,000 times.
TL; DR: Faking Agile Metrics — An Eye-Opening Exercise
Imagine you’re a Scrum Master and the line manager of your team believes that the best sign for a successful agile transformation is a steady increase in the Scrum Team’s velocity. Moreover, if the team fails to deliver on that metric something is wrong with the Scrum Team. Alternatively, something is wrong with you as you are the Scrum Master and hence responsible for the team’s performance. (Apparently, not faking agile metrics, or being transparent in this case, does not seem to be valued here.)
Learn more about how to coach these kinds of line managers and help them overcome their preference for the industrial past with a simple exercise on how to cook the agile books.
Last year, I ran a (non-representative) survey on how Scrum Masters are allocating their time when working with a single Scrum Team. Much to the surprise of many readers, the direct Scrum Master engagement with a single Scrum Team of average size and a typical 2-week Sprint turned out to be about 12 hours per week.
This result immediately prompted two additional questions: What are Scrum Masters doing during the rest of the week, and in what way does a Scrum Master’s work manifest itself over time? While answering the above question requires additional research and data collection, the latter can be answered to a certain grade by focusing on a few common scenarios.
The first article of this series will address the Scrum Master engagement with the Development Team.
TL; DR: 42+5 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions That Will Benefit Your Organization
This second publication in the Hands-on Agile Fieldnotes series provides 42+5 questions and answers for the Scrum Product Owner interview.
Co-authored with Andreea Tomoiaga, 42+5 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions to Avoid Hiring Agile Imposters represents the most important learnings of our more than 20 years combined hands-on experience with Kanban, Scrum, XP, and several product discovery frameworks. We have worked as Scrum Product Owners, Scrum Masters, agile coaches, and developers in agile teams and organizations of all sizes and levels of maturity.
We have each participated in interviewing dozens of Scrum Product Owner candidates on behalf of our clients or employers. The questions and answers herein are what we have learned.
TL;DR: The Liberating Structures Daily Scrum Meetup
This Liberating Structures for Scrum meetup addressed the Daily Scrum, particularly the notion that it is barely possible to create a Liberating Structure Daily Scrum string that fits into the 15-minutes time-box of the Daily Scrum. Learn more on how to bust that myth.
Popularized by Elon Musk, utilizing first principles thinking to solve problems in an innovative, creative, and less biased way has proven popular in the tech community. Given that its sibling empiricism is an integral part of Scrum as a framework, applying Scrum first principles thinking is also a useful exercise.
Learn more about how to Elon Musk the Scrum Guide.
The Scrum Guide Reordered is based on about 90 percent of the text of the 2017 Scrum Guide, extending its original structure by adding additional categories. For example, you will find all quotes that can be attributed to the role of the Scrum Master in one place. While the Scrum Guide is mainly focused on the three roles, five events, and three artifacts, I aggregated quotes on specific topics as well, for example, on self-organization, finance or technical debt.
The Scrum Guide–Reordered allows you to get a first understanding of Scrum-related questions quickly. For example, it is good at relating a specific topis — say “stakeholder” — with Scrum first principles such as Scrum Values, or empiricism.
Back in 2017, we started the Scrum Master Salary Report 2017—the first industry report that covered in-depth the educational background, working experience, industries, and organizational details of the companies Scrum Masters or agile coaches work for. For its 2019 edition—the Scrum Master Trends Report 2019—, we partnered with Scrum.org—the leading Scrum training and certification institution founded by Scrum co-founder Ken Schwaber—to improve the underlying data set.
Learn more about the state of the industry and download for free the Scrum Master Trends Report 2019. (Scroll down for the sign-up form.)
TL;DR: Agile Failure Patterns — Why Agile is Simple and Complex at the Same Time
Agile failure seems to be increasingly more prominent nowadays despite all the efforts undertaken by numerous organization embarking on their journeys to become agile.
The funny thing is: Who would disagree that the four core principles of the Agile Manifesto —
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
— are derived from applying common sense to a challenging problem? Moreover, the application of those principles might be suited to fix numerous organizational dysfunctions and reduce an error-prone and complex social setting to maybe just a complicated one?
TL;DR: 28 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns
Scrum is a practical framework to build products, provided you identify in advance what to build. But even after a successful product discovery phase, you may struggle to make the right thing in the right way if your product backlog is not up to the job. Garbage in, garbage out – as the saying goes. The following article points at 28 of the most common product backlog anti-patterns – including the product backlog refinement process – that limit your Scrum team’s success.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #214—shared with 23,916 peers—delves into Scrum agility; we follow a notion for time-based estimates, and we learn more about similarities and differences between Cynefin and the Stacey matrix.
We also consider the suggestion to skip standups as those are supposedly the worst breed of time-wasting status update meetings; we appreciate an infographic on output, outcome, and impact, and follow AirBnB to Cuba.
Lastly, we applaud an engineer for sharing his take on the role of the Product Owner.
There has never been a shortage of articles claiming that Agile is either dead, failing, disrespectful, or useless, with authors ranging from respected signatories of the Agile Manifesto to click baiters to people who never experienced the real thing in the first thus lacking a standard for comparison. (See the links below.)
The question from my perspective, though, is: Have we finally have reached peak agile?
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #213—shared with 23,845 peers—delves into how Liberating Structures rescue Scrum; we borrow Swedish ideas on agile leadership beyond the so-called ‘Spotify model,’ and we learn to create an environment that is attractive to introverts.
We also consider pair coaching; we learn how to include stakeholders in product decisions while managing their expectations, and we dare to look at some math, namely Cost of Delay.
Lastly, we shed light on Mr. Amazon’s grand plan for the universe.
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