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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The Overall Retrospective for Team and Stakeholders

TL;DR: The Overall Retrospective

After rebuilding an existing application on a new tech stack within time and under budget our team had an overall retrospective with stakeholders this week to identify systemic issues. We found more than 20 problems in total and derived eight detailed recommendation the organization will need to address when moving forward to the next level of agile product creation.

Read on and learn how we achieved this result in under two hours with an overall retrospective attended by 16 people.

Age of Product: The Overall Retrospective for Team and Stakeholders

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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 identified 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 #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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Food for Agile Thought #117: The Agile Periodic Table, Scrum Guide 2017, AMA W/ Steve Portigal

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #117—shared with 12,693 peers—covers the agile periodic table, a remarkable visualization of agile principles and practices. We also learn more about the background of the changes to the Scrum Guide leading to the 2017 edition.

In addition to that, we feature survey results that prove that being able to prioritize product features is the most important trait that defines your success as a product owner or product manager.

Lastly, the WhatUsersDo Community on Slack had a great session with tips & tricks from Steve Portigal on user testing. (By the way, the Hands-on Agile Slack community just crossed the 2000 member threshold, see below.)

Have a great week!

The Agile Periodic Table, Scrum Guide 2017, AMA W/ Steve Portigal — Food for Agile Thought #117
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Food for Agile Thought #116: Agile Experiments, Starting Standups on Time, Rebuilding Trust

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #116—shared with 12,576 peers—covers agile experiments, and how to free yourself from five failure anxieties when transitioning to agile.

We also learn how to motivate people to be on time (without playing Bob Marley), and how to rebuild trust in a product and engineering team.

Lastly, we learn from Julian Birkinshaw—Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School—about Agile’s impact on strategy.

Have a great week!

Food for Agile Thought #116: Agile Experiments, Starting Standups on Time, Rebuilding Trust

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Food for Agile Thought #115: Agile ROI, Winning Hearts and Minds, Product Transparency

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #115—shared with 12,439 peers—focuses on winning hearts and minds in the organization as we borrow from political campaigns, and we now can convince financially-minded business people about the Agile ROI.

We also go the extra mile providing transparency on the product process, we learn how to translate prioritization into numbers every MBA understands, and we kiss ‘one-size-fits-all’ Agile good-bye.

Lastly, John Cutler asks the right question: Shall the product organization focus on learning fast or shipping fast?

Have a great week!

Food for Agile Thought #115: Agile ROI, Winning Hearts and Minds, Product Transparency

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