Are we still on the right track? Answering this question in a collaborative effort of the Scrum Team as well as internal (and external) stakeholders is the purpose of the Sprint Review. Given its importance, it is worthwhile to tackle the most common Sprint Review anti-patterns.
Update 2019-11-10: I re-edited text, added new graphics as well as an excerpt from the Scrum Guide to clarify the purpose of the Sprint Review.
TL; DR: The Agile Movers & Shakers Interview with Viktor Cessan
Welcome to the Agile Movers & Shakers interview series. Today’s guest is Viktor Cessan. Viktor has dedicated his career to helping companies consciously design organizations that keep motivation, engagement, and performance levels high. In the 14 years since he started working with Agile methodologies, he has helped companies such as Spotify, H&M, King, Avanza Bank, Telenor, and Sony Ericsson work more effectively.
Viktor has coached teams of as few as 5 members to organizations with more than 200 people, enabling them to greatly improve their effectiveness as well as levels of happiness and well-being. He specializes in working with executive teams to help implement company-wide agile transformation.
Viktor runs training and workshops on a wide variety of topics such as agile team dynamics, product ownership, leadership, and management. His case study detailing his work with Avanza’s agile transformation has been downloaded and shared thousands of times.
Viktor holds a diploma in professional coaching (ICF), is a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO). And in addition, he has extensive experience in/with FIRO, SCARF, Virginia Satir’s work, and Tuckman’s and IMGD.
During this Liberating Structures strategy for Scrum meetup we addressed dealing with uncertainty — a particularly useful skill in highly competitive markets. Learn more about how to train and grow the resilience of your team when dealing with the unexpected.
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 15,000 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.
TL;DR: The Liberating Structures Daily Scrum Meetup
This Liberating Structures for Scrum meetup addressed the Daily Scrum, particularly the notion that it is barely possible to create a Liberating Structure Daily Scrum string that fits into the 15-minutes time-box of the Daily Scrum. Learn more on how to bust that myth.
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.
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: 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 —
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
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?
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.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #217—shared with 24,172 peers—delves into agile playbooks and the optimal Sprint length; we learn how to convince the finance folks to embrace ‘agile,’ and we figure out how team contracts and alignment maps support to create psychological safety.
We also appreciate the visualization of the path from waterfall to a product team that deserves the name; we get more clarity on product reviews when using dual-track agile, and we are surprised by the range of MVP costs.
Lastly, we enjoy a 5-minute video clip, reminding us of all the madness in our industry.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #216—shared with 24,073 peers—delves into the product-market fit concept with statistics, frameworks, and models; we discover the essential elements of high performing teams, and we kiss fixed-everything contracts good-bye.
We also learn from Spotify how to speed up user research by not focusing on running more user interviews, and we look behind the scenes of WeChat and its — by Western standards — unconventional approach to innovation.
Lastly, we enjoy the unpacking of “iteration” and question the language of our community.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #215—shared with 23,979 peers—delves into the requirements for the business agility flywheel to work; we reason about transformation failures, and we understand that Liberating Structures allow us to avoid groupthink when working on strategy.
We also learn what failure made LEGO getting serious about agility; we follow an interview on the importance of collaboration in product teams to escape the feature factory, and we get a better understanding of what customer-centricity means for product managers.
Lastly, we enjoy a new infographic comprised of tips & tricks for agile teams.
In my experience, the Daily Scrum is the Scrum event with the highest anti-pattern density among all events. Learn more about the Daily Scrum anti-patterns that threaten to derail your agile transition.
Update 2019-10-25: Today, I extended and revised the original article to address additional aspects of the topic.
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