How to Improve Stand-ups [Guest Post]

TL;DR: How to Improve Stand-ups for Co-Located and Distributed Teams

You’re at another painfully slow stand-up meeting. It feels like it’s never going to end. You begin thinking to yourself, “if I casually sneak out, will anyone notice?” Stand-ups don’t have to be this way. Learn how to improve stand-ups in this guest post from Jonathan Weber.

Age of Product: How to Improve Stand-ups by Jonathan Weber
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Retrospective Exercises Repository

TL;DR: The Retrospective Exercises Repository

How to prevent retrospective boredom? One way to achieve that is never to repeat the same combination of retrospective exercises twice.

Avoiding repetitions might sound like much work for a single team. However, if your product delivery organization comprises of more than one Scrum team, I can highly recommend creating a retrospective exercises repository as it improves the quality of the retrospectives and saves much time if you share the retrospective exercises with your fellow scrum masters.

Learn how to build such a retrospective exercises repository.

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22 Scrum Master Anti-Patterns from Job Ads

TL;DR—Scrum Master Anti-Patterns from Job Ads

Job ads for scrum master or agile coach positions reveal a great insight into an organization’s progress on becoming agile. To gain these, I analyzed more than 50 job ads for scrum master or agile coach positions. Learn more about what makes job ads such a treasure trove with the following 22 scrum master anti-patterns.

22 Scrum Master Anti-Patterns from Job Ads 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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Cargo Cult Agile: The ‘State of Agile’ Checklist for Your Organization

TL;DR: The Cargo Cult Agile Checklist for Download

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 run an analysis on their feedback. If the average number of checkboxes marked is higher than nine, then you are probably practicing cargo cult agile. Consider changing it. Or abandon your agile experiment all together. But don’t refer to it as “agile” any longer.

Everyday Failures in Applying Agile

Agile methodologies, like Scrum, have been on the rise across organizations of all kind and sizes for some years by now. Many consultants responded to the increasing demand for agile practitioners, particularly from corporate organizations, with rebranding themselves.

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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 #105: Business Agility, Continuous Delivery, Amateurs & Professionals

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #105—shared with 10,523 peers—covers continuous delivery, the growing commercialization of agile ideas — also know as business agility —, and helpful engineering practices like ‘skin in the game.’

There is also an excellent post on the difference in mindset between amateurs and professionals. (The article is helpful for team-building as well as stakeholder issues.)

Lastly, the Gartner Hype Cycle 2017 is out, the interview script to identify problems worth solving was also updated, and finally, someone wrote a brief guide to experience maps of all kinds.

Have a great week!

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Download the Scrum Master Salary Report for Free

Welcome to the Download Page of the Scrum Master Salary Report

The Scrum Master Salary Report is the first global report of its kind, based on the replies from 523 individuals, from Australia to the United States, gathered in the time-frame from February 1st to May 1st, 2017.

The Scrum Master Salary Report 2017 by Age-of-Product
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Food for Agile Thought #104: High-Performance Agile Teams, Dual Track Agile, Cultural Revolution

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #104—shared with 10,408 peers—focuses on team building. We address the challenge how to build and scale high-performance agile teams. We learn how important creating the right culture is in that respect, and that the whole process starts with the first team.

We also revisit ‘dual track’ agile—aka continuous product discovery and delivery—and how to visualize your product development work to foster collaboration and inclusion.

Lastly, we dive into product roadmap planning—ProductPlan just published a new survey on processes and tools—, and how to pick the right product ideas from the abundance of available suggestions.

Food for Agile Thought #104: High-Performance Agile Teams, Dual Track Agile, Cultural Revolution

Have a great week!

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Food for Agile Thought #103: Agile Misconceptions, Retro + Product Thinking Exercises, Being PM #1

Food for Agile Thought’s issue #103—shared with 10,283 peers—covers a sad case of failed product discovery. (Yub, SoundCloud.) We also deal with agile misconceptions and hence expectation management for agile transitions, and how to create your agile workspace.

We revisit Google’s learnings on how to create effective teams, pick up ten mental exercises to up your product game, and learn that 15% of product people run weekly experiments.

Lastly, we dive deep into product analytics: what are the data traps to avoid, what is lean analytics, and when to start with what tools and techniques.

Have a great week!

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