Product Mindset: Encouraging Ownership in a Scrum Team

TL; DR: Product Mindset and Ownership in Scrum Teams

There is one product, one Product Owner, one Product Backlog — a simple rule. How is that supposed to scale, you might ask, isn’t that approach turning the Product Owner into the Scrum team’s bottleneck, impeding value creation rather than spearheading it? Well, cargo cult Scrum might end up in that dead-end. The trick to avoiding this fate is to start including the Development Team as early as possible in Product Backlog management which requires a product mindset.

Learn more about how to kick-off this process with an initial day-long product mindset workshop for your Scrum team.

Product Mindset: Encouraging Ownership in a Scrum Team — Age-of-Product.com

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📅 Upcoming Scrum Training Classes, Liberating Structures Workshops, and Events

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.

Upcoming Scrum and Liberating Stuctures training classes and workshops — Berlin Product People GmbH

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Scrum Master Career 2020 — Using Ecocycle Planning to Identify Opportunities

TL; DR: Scrum Master Career 2020

Last week, about 30 members of the Hands-on Agile community in Berlin came together to identify opportunities for personal and professional growth for the coming year, using Liberating Structures’ Ecocycle Planning in the process, to further your Scrum Master career 2020.

Read on and learn in this post what opportunities you have to advance your career as a Scrum Master or agile coach in the next year.

Scrum Master Career 2020 — Using Ecocycle Planning to Identify Opportunities

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Scrum Master Anti-Patterns — 20 Signs Your Scrum Master Needs Help

TL; DR: Scrum Master Anti-Patterns

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 post on Scrum anti-patterns how you can identify if your Scrum Master needs support from the team.

Scrum Master Anti-Patterns — 20 Signs Your Scrum Master Needs Help

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📅 Agile Camp Berlin 2020 — We Are Back!

Save the Date: Agile Camp Berlin 2020

The Agile Camp Berlin 2020 will happen from April 17-18, 2020, at the Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum right in the center of Berlin.

Join the Agile Camp Berlin and experience two energizing days with 200 agile peers focusing on community, sharing, and learning. We will practice games and exercises—from Liberating Structures to paper snowflakes and airplanes to building castles with 50 other folks you have never met in your life. We will share tips & tricks, lessons learned, war stories from the agile trenches, and enjoy the company of 200 like-minded people at a perfect venue for our purpose: the Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum, one of twelve organizations that Frédéric Laloux describes in his book “Reinventing Organizations.”

The #ACB2020 tickets are available now!

Agile Camp Berlin 2020

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21 Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns Impeding Scrum Teams

TL; DR: Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns

What event could better embody Scrum’s principle of empiricism than the Sprint Retrospective? I assume all peers agree that even the simplest retrospective—if only held regularly—is far more useful than having a fancy one once in a while, not to mention having none at all. Moreover, there is always room for improvement. Hence, learn more about 21 common Sprint Retrospective anti-patterns.

Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns — Age-of-Product.com

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Agile Metrics Survey 2020

TL; DR: The Agile Metrics Survey 2020

Let’s stop guessing and start crowdsourcing data and information on this critical topic: Who is using what metrics under which context to what success? Participate in the agile metrics survey now.

Agile Metrics Survey 2020 — Age-of-Product.com

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15 Sprint Review Anti-Patterns Holding Back Scrum Teams

TL; DR: 15 Sprint Review Anti-Patterns

Are we still on the right track? Answering this question in a collaborative effort of the Scrum Team as well as internal (and external) stakeholders is the purpose of the Sprint Review. Given its importance, it is worthwhile to tackle the most common Sprint Review anti-patterns.

15 Sprint Review Anti-Patterns Holding Back Scrum Teams — Age-of-Product.com

Update 2019-11-10: I re-edited text, added new graphics as well as an excerpt from the Scrum Guide to clarify the purpose of the Sprint Review.

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Free Ebook: 38+9 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Avoid Hiring Agile Imposters

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.

38+9 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Avoid Hiring Agile Imposters

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Hiring: 42 + 5 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions to Avoid Agile Imposters

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.

Scrum Product Owner Interview: this free ebook provides 42+5 questions w/ answers to help you to avoid hiring Imposters.

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.

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The Scrum Guide Reordered

TL;DR: The Scrum Guide Reordered

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.

Scrum Guide Reordered — Age-of-Product.com

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Scrum Master Trends Report 2019 — Free Download

TL; DR: Scrum Master Trends Report 2019

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.)

Download the Scrum Master Trends Report 2019 by Scrum.org and Age-of-Product.com

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Agile Failure Patterns in Organizations 2.0

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

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. 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?

Age of Product: Agile Failure Patterns in Organizations

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28 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns

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.

Product Backlog Anti-Patterns — Age-of-Product.com

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Food for Agile Thought #225: Pair Programming, Probabilistic Forecasting, HiPPO Training, Idea Generation 3.0

TL; DR: Probabilistic Forecasting, HiPPO Training—Food for Agile Thought #225

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #225—shared with 24,837 peers—addresses the importance of pair programming; we seek to excel at predicting the future with probabilistic forecasting, and we appreciate an outsight view on Scrum by following sticky notes.

We also point at a crucial stakeholder management competence of Product Owners and Scrum Masters; we enjoy new games and exercises for ideation purposes, and we consider making our product worse for the sake of improving it.

Lastly, we embrace the coining of decaf resistance—it is good to know that a habitual behavior in so many organizations now has a name.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #224?

Food for Agile Thought #225: Pair Programming, Probabilistic Forecasting, HiPPO Training, Idea Generation 3.0 — Age-of-Product.com

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Food for Agile Thought #224: Descaling Manifesto, Cultivating Ownership, Release Planning, 5th Product Manager Report

TL; DR: Descaling Manifesto, Cultivating Ownership, Release Planning, 5th Product Manager Report—Food for Agile Thought #224

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #224—shared with 24,821 peers—introduces the Descaling Manifesto; we address why great teams have the habit of ‘rule-breaking,’ and we analyze why great Scrum Masters are CEO-material.

We also revisit product releases; we download the 5th Product Manager Report, and we get back to output, outcome, input, effort, and how they are all related to each other.

Lastly, we enjoy a look behind the scenes at Netflix and talk about five levels of ownership.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #223?

Food for Agile Thought #224: Descaling Manifesto, Cultivating Ownership, Release Planning, 5th Product Manager Report

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Agile Movers & Shakers (3): Ben Linders

TL; DR: The Agile Movers & Shakers Interview with Ben Linders

Welcome to the Agile Movers & Shakers interview series. Today’s guest is Ben Linders:

“As an independent advisor, trainer, and coach, I help organizations with effectively deploying software development and management practices to deliver business value to customers. My strengths are continuous improvement, collaboration and communication, and professional development. I’m a one-person company doing many different things to help people, teams, and companies become better in developing and delivering software products and services.

I’m a practical person who wants to have a real impact and make the world a little bit better. I look for ways to apply things, share, and help people experiment and learn. In my books, workshops, advice, and coaching sessions, I focus on adopting agile, increasing agility, dealing with impediments, collaboration and communication, continuous improvement, and making retrospectives valuable.

A couple of years ago, I started my own ‘agile scaling and digitalization’ journey. I’m making my books, games, exercises, workshops and remote training, and other agile coaching tools that I use myself in my workshops and advice work available to the world as digital downloads at benlinders.com/shop. And they come with free lifetime support personally by me. Examples of the products and services that I provide are the Agile Self-assessment Game (close to 2000 downloads!), Impediments Cards and Games, Agile Retrospectives Bingo, and Agile Retrospectives Smells Cards and Agile Quality Coaching Cards. People can use them to self-improve their way of working, or coach professionals, teams, and organizations in improving their performance and increasing the value that they deliver.”

Agile Movers & Shakers (3): Ben Linders — Age-of-Product.com

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Food for Agile Thought #223: Innovation Failure, Distributed Teams, PMs to CEOs, Keeping Track of Hypotheses

TL; DR: Innovation Failure, Distributed Teams, PMs to CEOs, Keeping Track of Hypotheses—Food for Agile Thought #223

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #223—shared with 24,653 peers—addresses innovation failure; we revisit standups and what makes them successful, and we learn more about the magic stance of actively doing nothing.

We also delve into the ‘2019 Annual Product Management and Product Marketing Survey’ results; we pick up a few useful visualizations to explain product management to outsiders, and we consider bringing order to our user-related questions, hypotheses, and assumptions to prevent user research from turning ugly.

Lastly, we thank both VPs of Engineering from Buffer and Splice for sharing a guide on how to make distributed teams successful with us.

On our own account: Issue 224 will be delivered on January 12th, 2020. Enjoy a chillaxing Holiday season… 🎉

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #222?

Food for Agile Thought #223: Innovation Failure, Distributed Teams, PMs to CEOs, Keeping Track of Hypotheses

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