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.
Team building has always been a challenge, not just since the advent of agile frameworks and the resulting emphasis on self-organization, engagement, and achieving a valuable objective. This post covers four team building mental models — or concepts — that have proven useful in understanding the context of creating agile teams: from Taylorism to Tuckman to Lencioni to Dan Pink.
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+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, the this Scrum Master interview guide has been downloaded more than 14,000 times. sc
Do you need an emergency fund as a change agent—whether you are acting as Scrum Master, Product Owner or agile coach—because conflict is inevitable, but change is not?
In my experience, speaking truth to power, pointing at the emperor’s new clothes and the reality in the trenches, is necessary a trait for every change agent — including Scrum Masters and agile coaches — in organizations that lack strong leadership.
Learn more, how this form of professional honesty can backfire when the incumbents, privileged by the existing system, strike back.
The eighth Hands-on Agile webinar Scrum Master Anti-Patterns addresses twelve anti-patterns of your Scrum Master—from ill-suited personal traits and the pursuit of individual agendas to frustration with the team itself.
The main message of the retrospective was clear: there are too many interruptions by stakeholders and the senior management. The interruptions impeded the flow of work through the team. Consequently, achieving the sprint goal had been at risk several times in the past. Moreover, the team missed the sprint goal twice recently. Solving impediments as a team has become a necessity.
Learn more on how to tackle impediments as a team by running experiments and iterating on the solution.
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.
Learn how individual incentives and outdated organizational structures — fostering personal agendas and local optimization efforts — manifest themselves in scrum stakeholder anti-patterns which easily can impede any agile transition.
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, that 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?
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.
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.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #180—shared with 21,092 peers—focuses on micromanagement perils and the magic that happens once you leave the industrial paradigm behind you. We also learn about four different approaches on how to scale agile team, and we revisit the velocity as well as the minimum viable product discussion.
Being dedicated storytellers ourselves, we borrow from Pixar’s rule book on storytelling, and we embrace eight ways how we can focus our product teams on outcome/impact, not output/features.
Lastly, we applaud Mike Cohn for busting more product development myths!
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #179—shared with 20,968 peers—questions agile dogmas, we bust more Scrum myths and learn why innovative cultures are paradoxical.
We also explore how to avoid the building trap or to become a feature factory; we learn how to free ourselves from the shackles of inertia and risk-aversion, and we have our gut feeling confirmed that fixed scope, fixed time projects can go only one way—south.
Lastly, we learn what kings, and queens, and knights, and trolls have to do with agile transitions. (Yub, GoT is coming.)
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #178—shared with 20,783 peers—focuses on learnings from agile transitions failures, how we as agile practitioners volunteered to join probably futile efforts, and why coaching mistakes may have contributed to the mess.
We learn how to support the transition to a product-centric organization; we remind us why (active) listening is a crucial instrument in our toolbox, and how to avoid falling into the “building the wrong thing” trap.
Lastly, we reconsider the idea of not having product managers at all; why not let the engineers do this job, too?
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #177—shared with 20,568 peers—covers Scrum limits, the brand-new Scrum Master Trends Report 2019—a joined venture of Age-of-Product with Scrum.org—and the fallacy of wanting to scale ‘agile’ throughout an organization.
We also learn from the Puppet founder that we are not alone in our skepticism regarding enterprise sales, what the author of ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ has learned about innovation for the last 25 years, and how we can achieve a better understanding for product management among stakeholders.
Lastly, we have a look at what creates an exemplary agile workspace; if only more organizations would join ING in this respect.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #176—shared with 20,343 peers—covers a study on personality traits suited for agile team building; we go through the stages of adopting self-management as an organization, and we listen to the professor who coined the term “psychological safety” to realize why it has become an essential building block for organizational success.
Also, we ask whether the rush to ship a new product as soon as possible to gather feedback has become untenable; we dive into determining product value, and we understand the particularities of product management from a new viewpoint.
Lastly, we learn more about the educational challenges agile coaches face themselves.
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