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 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 Master Anti-Patterns — 20 Signs Your Scrum Master Needs Help — Age of Product

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Product Discovery Anti-Patterns Leading to Failure

TL;DR: Product Discovery Anti-Patterns

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.

Age of Product: Product Discovery Anti-Patterns Leading to Failure

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Product Owner Anti-Patterns — 31 Ways to Improve as a PO

TL;DR: The Scrum Product Owner Anti-Patterns

If you are working as a product owner, there is — very likely — room for improvement. I curated this list of the most common product owner anti-patterns to help you up your game.

If you like to improve on those you recognize why don’t you ask the scrum master and the team for support? The product owner anti-patterns list is a good starting point for a retrospective.

Product Owner Anti-Patterns — 31 Ways to Improve as a PO by Age of Product

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Agile Management Anti-Patterns — An Introduction

TL;DR: Agile Management Anti-Patterns

Learn more about agile management anti-patterns the aspiring agile manager should avoid during the organization’s transition. From stage-gate through the back door to the ‘where is my report’ attitude.

Age of Product: Agile Management Anti-Patterns — An Introduction

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The Scrum Master Salary Report 2017

TL;DR: Download the Scrum Master Salary Report 2017

Every now and then, the position of the scrum master is revealed as one of the top paying jobs in the United States. However, few have ventured to investigate the state of this career path on a global scale. The Scrum Master Salary Report 2017 is the first salary survey of its kind.

Download the free ‘Scrum Master Salary Report 2017’ and learn more about one of the tech industry’s best career choices.

The Scrum Master Salary Report 2017 by Age-of-Product

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The Scrum Product Owner Theses

TL;DR: The Scrum Product Owner in 56 Theses

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.

Product Owner Theses: Scrum from Product Discovery to Product Delivery

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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.

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

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.

42 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions Avoid Hiring Agile Imposters by Age of Product

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.

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Agile Metrics — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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 typically work better than quantitative metrics. At the organizational level, this is reversed: quantitative agile metrics provide better insights than qualitative ones.

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Hiring: 38 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Avoid Agile Imposters

Scrum Master Hiring: Demand Creates Supply and the Job Market for Agile Practitioners is No Exception

Hands-on Agile: 38 + 6 Scrum Master Interview Questions (2017 Edition)

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.


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Food for Agile Thought #121: Agile Manifesto History, Scrum Master Anti-Patterns, Lean Scrum, Sociocracy

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.

Have a great week!

Food for Agile Thought #121: Agile Manifesto History, Scrum Master Anti-Patterns, Lean Scrum, Sociocracy

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Food for Agile Thought #120: Agile Trends, Throughput, High-Performance Teams and Organizations

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #120—shared with 12,993 peers—focuses on agile trends as we have a look at the latest edition of ThoughtWork’s Tech Radar as well as at the domains of business agility in the 21. Century.

We also point at suitable agile metrics beyond velocity and at moments that reveal you’re a lucky member of a high-performing team.

Lastly, we learn how to apply product management principles to internal products, and how to make the best out of customer feedback.

Have a great week!

Food for Agile Thought #120: Agile Trends, Throughput, High-Performance Teams and Organizations

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Food for Agile Thought #119: Business Agility, Agile Career Lessons, Product Design by Committee

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #119—shared with 12,907 peers—addresses the decision process in groups, how XScale’s business agility approach works, and why cargo cult agile usually means running in circles.

We share a handy guide on how to deal with engineering teams, and why you need to include them in any persona creation activity. We also have a look at Buffer’s 6-week product cycle.

Lastly, we cover why product management by committee is doomed from the start, and we learn about how hard it is as a corporation to get from a big idea to a sustainable product.

Have a great week!

Food for Agile Thought #119: Business Agility, Agile Career Lessons, Product Design by Committee

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Food for Agile Thought #118: Scrum Troubles, Brilliant Jerks, How to Experiment, Sprint Review for POs

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #118—shared with 12,812 peers—addresses the not so apparent Scrum troubles: it is hard, expensive and utterly useless if implemented half-heartedly.

Jeff Patton explains a range of human flaws and failures during product discovery, which is the reason that AirBnB runs experiments diligently—learn from Jan how that works in detail.

Lastly, we cover once more the issue of brilliant engineers who also happen to be jerks, and the pointy-haired Boss finally reveals the purpose of predictions.

Have a great week!

Food for Agile Thought #118: Scrum Troubles, Brilliant Jerks, How to Experiment, Sprint Review for POs

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Create Personas with the Help of the Engineers

TL; DR: Create Personas with the Help of the Engineers

Creating valuable software requires knowing the customer—we all agree on that, right? The first question that then comes to mind is how to support this product discovery process in a meaningful manner in an agile environment? And the second question follows swiftly: who shall participate in the process—designers and business analysts or the engineers, too?

Read on and learn why personas are useful for product discovery purposes, how to create personas, and why the complete team—including the engineers—needs to participate in their creation.

Create Personas with the Help of the Engineers — Age of Product

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