TL; DR: Lipstick Agile — Happiness in the Trenches?
Have you noticed how many people in the agile field are unhappy with their work situation — caught in a lipstick agile situation where an organization already struggles doing agile? (Not to mention ‘becoming agile.’)
Scrum masters, and agile coaches who are close to either burnout or indifference. Product owners who “own” the product by name only, and developers who are questioning why Scrum a) skips all the practices that make XP work, and b) often turns out to be just another form of micromanagement.
Scrum Master Anti-Patterns: The reasons why scrum masters violate the spirit of the Scrum Guide are multi-faceted. They run from ill-suited personal traits and the pursuit of individual agendas to frustration with the team itself.
Read on and learn in this final post on scrum anti-patterns how you can identify if your scrum master needs support from the team to up his or her agile game.
Scrum has proven to be an effective product delivery framework for digital products like applications or apps. However, Scrum is equally suited to build the wrong product efficiently as its Achilles heel has always been the product discovery part. What product discovery part, you may think now. And this is precisely the point: The product owner miraculously identifies what is the best way to proceed as a team by gating and prioritizing the product backlog. How that is supposed to happen is nowhere described in the Scrum Guide. Consequently, when everyone is for himself, product discovery anti-patterns emerge.
From sunk costs, HIPPO-ism, my-budget-my-features to self-fulfilling prophecies — learn more about the numerous product discovery anti-patterns that can manifest themselves when you try to fill Scrum’s product discovery void.
The following 56 scrum product owner theses describe the role of the PO from a holistic product creation perspective.
The 56 product owner theses cover the concept of the product owner role, product discovery, how to deal with external and internal stakeholders, product roadmap planning, as well as the product backlog refinement. The theses also address the product owner’s part in scrum ceremonies such as sprint planning, sprint review, and the sprint retrospective.
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.
TL;DR: 42 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions That Will Benefit Your Organization
This second publication in the Hands-on Agile Fieldnotes series provides 42 questions and answers for the Scrum Product Owner interview.
Co-authored with Andreea Tomoiaga, 42 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.
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 typically work better than quantitative metrics. At the organizational level, this is reversed: quantitative agile metrics provide better insights than qualitative ones.
Scrum Master Hiring: Demand Creates Supply and the Job Market for Agile Practitioners is No Exception
Maybe, “Agile” in general is a management fad and not trend at the moment. But what we can say for sure is that Scrum has become very popular for software development purposes. 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.
If you are looking to fill a position for a Scrum master (or agile coach) in your organization, you may find the following 38 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my ten 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.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #124—shared with 13,873 peers—addresses some symptoms of troubled agile transitions: low levels of engagement, difficulties in learning presumably simple patterns, optimizing for the own team while ignoring the organization.
We then learn what it takes to build trust, how to discover ‘your product’ without falling into the stage-gate process trap, and what product strategy concepts are currently en vogue.
Lastly, if you want to take your career as a scrum master or agile coach to the next level consider downloading my ‘How to Get Hired as a Scrum Master’ book—it is free on Amazon for five days.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #123—shared with 13,624 peers—addresses Scrum 2018: Scrum Alliance’s latest survey is available, John Cutler’s opinion piece on today’s state of ‘Scrum,’ indications of lipstick agile to watch out for, and ten prevailing scrum myths.
We then focus on how to figure out what is worth building: from creating a bulletproof product strategy to developing an experimentation system and why you need to be careful when using the Net Promoter Score®¸
Lastly, we learn more about the organizational patterns of progressive companies. Have a successful 2018!
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #122—shared with 13,241 peers—supports your New Year’s resolution to read more industry news with the top agile blogs, we learn why software product development sometimes feels like playing Tetris, and how we might deal with fixed scope/fixed deadline projects in 2018.
We also listen to Steve Jobs how good people manage themselves, why including the sales guys may preserve the competitive edge over your competition, and what the next ten years in tech will bring according to Benedict Evans and a16z.
Have a chillaxing holiday season! We will be back with Food for Agile Thought #123 on January 7th, 2018.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #121—shared with 13,152 peers—travels back in time, illuminating the Agile Manifesto history. We learn how Scrum and Lean UX complement each other, and why software development frameworks could be labeled ‘collective fiction.’
We also improve our understanding of learning organizations and how Sociocracy 3.0 contributes to their creation. Hiten Shah shares five mental models that help grow a product, and Mind the Product makes a compelling offer to binge-watch product talks.
Lastly, I published the last post from the Scrum anti-patterns series; there are now 160-plus of them. This article addresses the majority of the readers of this newsletter: Scrum Masters.