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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Liberating Structures for Scrum (1): The Sprint Retrospective

TL;DR: Liberating Structures for Scrum: The Sprint Retrospective

Liberating Structures Sprint Retrospective: A few weeks ago, I started an event series with my Berlin-based Hands-on Agile Meetup group on how to improve Scrum events utilizing Liberating Structures — a set of easy to learn, yet powerful ways to collaborate as a team. The results have been fantastic so far, and I like to share these outcomes with those who cannot participate in person.

In this first post, learn more on how you can use Liberating Structures strings to improve the level of collaboration and engagement at Sprint Retrospectives.

Liberating Structures for Scrum (1): The Sprint Retrospective — Age-of-Product.com

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Webinar #10: Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns [Video]

TL;DR: Webinar Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns

The tenth Hands-on Agile webinar sprint retrospective anti-patterns covers twelve anti-patterns of the sprint retrospective—from #NoRetro to the dispensable buffer to UNSMART action items to a missing product owner.

Webinar Sprint Retrospective — Hands-on Agile Webinar #10

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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.

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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Technical Debt & Scrum: Who Is Responsible?

TL;DR: Technical Debt & Scrum

If technical debt is the plague of our industry, why isn’t the Scrum Guide addressing the question of who is responsibly dealing with it? To make things worse, if the Product Owner’s responsibility is to maximize the value customers derive from the Development Team’s work, and the Development Team’s responsibility is to deliver a product Increment (at least) at the end of the sprint adhering to the definition of “Done,” aren’t those two responsibilities possibly causing a conflict of interest?

This post analyzes the situation by going back to first principles, as laid out in the Scrum Guide to answer a simple question: Who is responsible for keeping technical debt at bay in a Scrum Team?

Technical Debt & Scrum: Who Is Responsible?

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Hiring: 38+9 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Avoid Agile Imposters [PDF and Video]

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.

38+9 Scrum Master Interview Questions, Fourth Edition 2018

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📅 Agile Camp Berlin 2019: April 26–27, 2019

Save the Date: Agile Camp Berlin 2019

The Agile Camp Berlin 2019 will happen from April 26 to April 27, 2019 and the Agile Camp Berlin 2019 venue will be the Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum right in the middle of Berlin.

📅 Agile Camp Berlin 2019: April 26–27, 2019

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Speaking Truth to Power — Taking A Stand as an Agile Practitioner

TL;DR: Speaking Truth to Power

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.

Speaking Truth to Power — When the System Strikes back

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Scrum Master Duties, Serving a Single Team (Survey Results)

TL;DR: Scrum Master Duties, Serving a Single Team

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.

Scrum Master Duties, Serving a Single Team (Survey Results) — Age of Product

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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.

Image from age-of-product.com

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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Food for Agile Thought #192: Ditch Scrum? Friday Deploy Freezes, Boing 737 MAX 8, Issues w/ Northstar Metrics

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #192—shared with 22,034 peers—asks: Should your organization ditch Scrum? Moreover, we address Friday deploy freezes and how systems thinking can help to overcome agile anti-patterns.

We also reveal issues w/ Northstar metrics; we analyze innovation in the era of the learning organization, and we delve into the Boing 737 MAX 8 disaster.

Lastly, we thank Peter Gfader for speaking out loud in support of physical boards and index cards. Finally! 🙏

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #191?

Food for Agile Thought #192: Ditch Scrum? Friday Deploy Freezes, Boing 737 MAX 8, Issues w/ Northstar Metrics

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Food for Agile Thought #191: Agile Is Dead, LS for Scrum Masters, Dot Voting, Prototyping 4 All

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #191—shared with 21,835 peers—asks if Agile is dead, features an epic article on the usefulness of Liberating Structures for Scrum Masters, and applauds Jeff for a handy card listing 45 rebuttals to claims that ‘Agile would not work.’

We also delve into the problem of blindly believing what your customers tell you when creating Product Backlogs. Moreover, we learn why everyone should participate in prototyping, and we reconsider whether we have been using dot voting correctly so far.

Lastly, we thank CollabNet VersionOne for publishing the 13th State of Agile Report.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #190?

Food for Agile Thought #191: Agile Is Dead, LS for Scrum Masters, Dot Voting, Prototyping 4 All

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Food for Agile Thought #190: Agile Budgeting, Agile Architecture, Mental Models, Product Ethics

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #190—shared with 21,794 peers—focuses on agile budgeting — or why the industrial model of handling money is preventing companies from becoming agile —; we learn to distinguish between emergent architecture and architecture by chance, and we come back to technical debt once more.

We also embrace the idea of not harming people and our societies with new products. We learn more about visualizing experiments, and we abandon the idea of misusing the Sprint Planning for creating the perfect plan—control is an illusion.

Lastly, we enjoy Sam Harris Shane Parrish reflecting on mental models, decision making, and the tricks your mind is playing with you.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #189?

Food for Agile Thought #190: Agile Budgeting, Agile Architecture, Mental Models, Product Ethics

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Food for Agile Thought #189: Agile Maturity Models, Liberating Structures & Scrum, Don’t Trust Agile, UX & Scrum

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #189—shared with 21,739 peers—delves into agile maturity models or their uselessness, the original sin of applying Scrum for all the wrong reasons, and whether an organization is supposed to fire incumbent coders when moving to Scrum to ensure success.

Moreover, we analyze product strategy maturity—which is probably contradicting the notion of this week’s essential read—, why we should not bet the farm on ‘Agile' to create successful products, and how to integrate UX with Scrum.

Lastly, we get a better understanding of what becoming agile means when legacy technology is involved.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #188?

Food for Agile Thought #189: Agile Maturity Models, Liberating Structures & Scrum, Don’t Trust Agile, UX & Scrum

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Food for Agile Thought #188: Scrum Roots, Alignment & Agile, A/B Testing’s Dark Side, Hero’s Journey

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #188—shared with 21,733 peers—delves into Scrum roots, the perils caused by a ubiquitous misconception of ‘Agile,’ and how to tackle typical organizational anti-patterns impeding the collaboration of multiple Scrum teams.

Moreover, we analyze the dark side of A/B testing, we learn about a new framework claiming to be able to predict the future success of new products, and we embrace the idea of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ to understand our users’ way of interacting with our applications better.

Lastly, we reflect on the lessons learned from WeWork’s CTO on how to scale technology and the organization simultaneously.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #187?

Food for Agile Thought #188: Scrum Roots, Alignment & Agile, A/B Testing’s Dark Side, Hero’s Journey

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