TL; DR: Ignoring the Capacity Check during Sprint Planning
There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Since Scrum is an intentionally incomplete framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. For example, the Developers are ignoring a capacity check during the Sprint Planning, and as a result, the Scrum team creates a Sprint Goal that most likely cannot be accomplished.
Join me and delve into the effects of this trust-shattering practice in less than 80 seconds.
TL; DR: High-Performance Teams: Core Protocols with Richard Kasperowski
Want fabulous teams that build great products? Great teams don’t happen by accident. However, they don’t have to take a long time to build either. Learn more from Richard Kasperowski on employing core protocols for psychological safety and emotional intelligence from this Hands-on Agile session.
📺 Watch the video with Richard Kasperowski now: Hands-on Agile #34: Core Protocols for Psychological Safety.
TL; DR: The Agile Metrics Survey 2021
If you value agile practices, it is crucial to know if a job offering or a prospective business partner that claims to be “agile” really keeps its promises. Unfortunately, as agility usually cannot be observed directly, and certainly not from the outside of an organization, there is no way of knowing in advance if you will enter an agile environment that serves your own working needs or if a lot of frustration lies ahead of you. Therefore, we ran an extensive survey throughout 2020 and 2021 with more than 1,000 participants from all walks of agility: the Agile Metrics Survey 2021.
With the Agile Metrics Survey 2021, we present the first results and conclude with some thoughts about possible application scenarios of our instrument as well as possible next steps in our research.
TL; DR: 76 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 76 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my fifteen 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 9,000 times.
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 54 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my fifteen 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 22,000 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: 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: The Meta-Retrospective
A meta-retrospective is an excellent exercise to foster collaboration within the extended team, create a shared understanding of the big picture, and immediately create valuable action-items. It comprises of the team members of one or several product teams—or a representative from those—and stakeholders. Participants from the stakeholder side are people from the business as well as customers.
Meta-retrospectives are useful both as a regular event, say once a quarter, or after achieving a particular milestone, for example, a specific release of the product. Read more on how to organize such a meta-retrospective.
TL; DR: The Core Belief Model, Agile Principles — Food for Agile Thought #320
Welcome to the 320th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,679 peers. This week, we point at the importance of an organization’s mindset as the starting point for any meaningful transformation, introducing the Core Belief Model. Also, we learn from McKinsey’s interview of six bp leaders on their learnings and reflections regarding a successful transformation, and we delve into the basics of ‘agile,’ from ‘starting with Why’ to the people factor to the perils of shielding teams from clients.
We then delve into the magic math behind an organizational culture where innovation thrives and into the differences between a PoC, a prototype, and an MVP. Also, we sketch four critical negotiations for product managers, from the overly optimistic salesperson to the executive with an ‘excellent’ idea, and we share a new canvas for the jobs-to-be-done framework to help you avoid unnecessary pivoting and churn.
Lastly, we appreciate Richard Kasperowski interviewing Mary and Tom Poppendieck on what you can do to keep your team together in this challenging time, and we share eight games to hack your culture to unlock high performance. Moreover, we learn that Péter Horváth believes that you should not simply ask ‘why’ five times in a row — for multiple psychological reasons.
TL; DR: 20 Product Prioritization Techniques, The Simplified Scrum Guide — Food for Agile Thought #319
Welcome to the 319th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,623 peers. This week, we point to an epic guide on 20 product prioritization techniques, and we summarize seven lessons learned on change; from change is happening anyway to you never know when your efforts will pay off. Also, we point to an ‘extremely simplified definition of the Scrum framework,’ primarily based on the SG 2020 with a bit of the 2017 edition.
We then delve into gold-plating and its consequences, and we share Lenny Rachitsky’s definition of the job of a product manager, from delivering business impact to solving the most impactful customer problems. Moreover, we follow Teresa Torres when she suggests avoiding hands-offs between the product trio leading discovery and the team building the product.
Lastly, we praise the best-designed ‘thinking tool’ in history; we share Jeff Gothelf’s free OKR tracking spreadsheet using Google Docs, and we provide a good primer on how a statistical method can contribute to your team’s forecasting quality.
TL; DR: Kodak’s Shirley Cards, Dark Side of Metrics — Food for Agile Thought #318
Welcome to the 318th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,565 peers. This week, we tell the story of a lack of diversity and its consequences for humanity, photography, and product design: Kodak’s Shirley Cards. Also, we share a long list of improv games to support team building and help prevent burnout and fatigue, and we point at five possible values you could provide when asked for an estimate, from optimistic to risk-averse to worst-case estimates.
We then ask whether uncertainty might establish a better foundation for product discovery and product design, and we listen to Melissa Perri interviewing John Cutler on the importance of product education. Moreover, we advocate thinking of ‘time as a blade, a tool that can sharpen focus and trim waste,’ detailing Honeycomb’s approach to planning, and we reflect on how to overcome the annual planning waste while pointing at the reasons continuous planning fails in practice.
Lastly, we name the dark side of metrics: Companies expose themselves to metric corruption when optimizing those at the cost of all else, and we share an epic list of resources to further your change agent skills.