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? Speaking truth to power probably comes at a price.
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.
On many occasions in the recent past, working with distributed agile teams has amplified existing organizational, technical, and cultural challenges in many organizations. Starting changing, and I am not referring to the introduction of a new video conferencing tool, always requires the acceptance that there is a problem that needs attention. In that respect, the current issues that many distributed teams face may also act as accelerants to become more agile. The following article addresses some of the most current impediments to achieving agility by revisiting several agile laws that are particularly relevant to distributed agile teams.
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.
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 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, this Scrum Master interview guide has been downloaded more than 16,000 times.
TL; DR: 42+5 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions That Will Benefit Your Organization
This second publication in the Hands-on Agile Fieldnotes series provides 42+5 questions and answers for the Scrum Product Owner interview.
Co-authored with Andreea Tomoiaga, 42+5 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.
We are used to saying the Scrum is a perfect probe for organizations, as it will reliably discover all dysfunctionalities. Since the pandemic has forced many of us to work remotely, this unique capability has been kicked into overdrive regarding remote agile transitions.
Here are my top-10 challenges of organizational change that remote Agile has made more urgent to address than ever before.
TL; DR: Remote Agile Event Planning — a Cheat Sheet
Imagine, you are supposed to facilitate a remote user-story mapping with 26 people from all over our organization. Or, think about a remote meta-level Retrospective of a recent release of your organization’s cash cow that went sideways. You may ask yourself: How am I planning for this given that participants likely have different levels of experience, and everyone needs to be included fully in the discussion? My solution to this challenge is going the extra mile regarding the remote agile event planning. The concept I describe below is tested, proven, and modeled after my virtual Professional Scrum training classes.
There has been no shortage of articles on how to work remotely recently, including our series on remote Agile. While most of the ideas, lessons learned, and tips and tricks may not be new to those few remote work pioneers, they are, however, to the rest of us. The question hence is: What remote work problems are agile teams and organizations facing, and what has proven to be successful in the transition? Answering these two questions is the purpose of the Remote Agile Survey: Let us stop guessing but collect data instead to inspect and adapt the way we can work as an agile distributed team.
TL; DR: A Remote Retrospective with a Distributed Team
We started this series on remote agile with looking into practices and tools, followed by exploring virtual Liberating Structures, how to master Zoom as well as common remote agile anti-patterns. This fifth article now dives into organizing a remote Retrospective with a distributed team: practices, tools, and lessons learned.
TL; DR: Remote Agile, Part 1: Practices & Tools for Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and Product Owners
Agile has always been about colocation, about direct communication, physical boards, and all the other haptic and analog moments to create value in the digital realm. As a Professional Scrum Trainer, I strive to provide training classes without using PowerPoint or digital devices. Moreover, admittedly, I love index cards. However, times are changing. So, let’s dive into the particularities of practicing remote Agile with distributed teams.
We start with basic techniques and tools and follow up with how to apply Liberating Structures in the remote realm. If you like to get a hands-on introduction, consider joining my webinar/live virtual class next Thursday.
If you are working as a Product Owner, there is—very likely—room for improvement. This list of some of the most common Product Owner anti-patterns might be a starting point. Hence, if you recognize some anti-patterns in your daily work, why don’t you ask the rest of the Scrum Team for support? The Product Owner anti-patterns list is a good starting point for a retrospective.
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. (Scroll down for the sign-up form.)
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: JTBD Guide, Good Retrospectives — Food for Agile Thought #250
Welcome to the 250th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 26,776 peers. This week, we appreciate a comprehensive JTBD guide with templates; we learn how to figure out whether a team is capable of having meaningful Retrospectives, and we reconsider our inclination to favor feature teams over component teams.
We then delve into opportunity mapping to improve our product work; we embrace the idea that we are probably not charging enough and that we should run some pricing experiments, and we explore the timing and the dynamic of innovation.
Lastly, we learn more about OKR throughout the different stages of product development work.
TL; DR: Ruinous Scrum, Losing Out to SAFe — Food for Agile Thought #249
Welcome to the 249th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 26,763 peers. This week, we analyze the ruinous Scrum claim of some developers; we empathize with a failed attempt to avoid SAFe, and we learn about the success of an ambitious change project with Scrum.
We then delve into the journey of Sarah Cooper and her approach to product discovery as a comedian; we reassure our belief that lying to customers is unacceptable, and we analyze five critical success criteria of Design Thinking.
Lastly, we thank Bob Sutton for an interview on change and identifying pockets of excellence.
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