TL; DR: Scrum Master Interview Questions on the Sprint Review
Scrum has repeatedly proven 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. A good starting point, though, is to ask a candidate about the intricacies of a Scrum event that puts the Increment, the Stakeholders, the Developers, and the Product Owner at heart, thus providing an excellent opportunity to reflect on the big picture. It is the Sprint Review.
Suppose you want to fill a Scrum Master (or agile coach) position in your organization. In that case, you may find the following interview questions helpful in identifying the right candidate. They are derived from my sixteen years of practical experience with XP and Scrum, as a Product Owner and Scrum Master, and my experience as a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org. Also, I have interviewed dozens of Scrum Master candidates on behalf of my clients.
So far, this Scrum Master interview guide has been downloaded more than 23,000 times.
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.
Suppose you are looking to fill a Scrum Master position in your organization. In that case, you may find the following Scrum Master interview questions helpful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my sixteen years of practical experience with XP and Scrum, serving both as Product Owner and Scrum Master, and my training experience as a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org. Also, I have interviewed dozens of Scrum Master candidates on behalf of my clients.
So far, this Scrum Master interview guide has been downloaded more than 23,000 times.
TL; DR: 27 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns
Scrum is a tactical framework to build products, provided you identify what is worth making in advance. But even after a successful product discovery phase, you may struggle to create the right thing in the right way if your Product Backlog is not up to the job—garbage in, garbage out. The following article points to 27 common Product Backlog anti-patterns – including the Product Backlog refinement process – limiting your Scrum team’s success.
TL; DR: The Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — How Do You Compare?
The Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 is the third edition of the industry survey after 2017 and 2019. This free report is based on the answers of 1,113 participants globally. If you are considering a career decision this year, maybe, whether you should join the industry as a junior Scrum Master or move to a new organization or go independent, you will find the report’s information beneficial.
By the way, the average salary of the participants in the survey is $83,687, with a standard deviation of about $48,700. In the complete report, you will find more detailed information; download your copy below.
Moreover, we are considering creating a statistical model to suggest further career steps: The “Scrum Master Salary Toolkit.”
TL; DR: 82 Product Owner Interview Questions to Avoid Imposters
If you are looking to fill a position for a Product Owner in your organization, you may find the following 82 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my sixteen years of practical experience with XP and Scrum, serving both as Product Owner and Scrum Master and interviewing dozens of Product Owner candidates on behalf of my clients.
So far, this Product Owner interview guide has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
TL; DR: The Cargo Cult Agile Checklist for Download
Do 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 analyze their feedback. If the average number of checkboxes marked is higher than nine, then you are probably practicing cargo cult agile in one form or another.
If running the cargo cult agile survey is the ‘inspection,’ then consider adapting your approach to being agile by kicking-off a discussion among the stakeholders of your organization’s endeavor.
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.
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 often work better than quantitative metrics. At the organizational level, this is reversed: quantitative agile metrics provide better insights than qualitative ones.
TL; DR: The Meta-Retrospective
A meta-retrospective is an excellent exercise to foster collaboration within the extended team, create a shared understanding of the big picture, and immediately create valuable action-items. It comprises of the team members of one or several product teams—or a representative from those—and stakeholders. Participants from the stakeholder side are people from the business as well as customers.
Meta-retrospectives are useful both as a regular event, say once a quarter, or after achieving a particular milestone, for example, a specific release of the product. Read more on how to organize such a meta-retrospective.
TL; DR: Ditching Spotify for Scrum — Food for Agile Thought #348
Welcome to the 348th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 35,438 peers. This week, we share lessons learned from ditching Spotify (the “model”) for autonomous Scrum teams while pointing to an inherent problem when a technique like coaching is treated like a panacea: There are notable side effects. Also, we notice patterns accompanying change and point at leverage points to intervene in a system, and we delve into the benefits of remote work.
Then, Ely Lerner believes that ‘product leaders need a framework to ensure they’re spending the right amount of time and effort on the right priorities.’ Learn more about his framework. Also, we suggest Karin Dames’ ‘recipe for an integrated development process.’ Moreover, we outline an approach to how product teams can create a product a customer will consider unique, and we recommend augmenting merely ‘predictable’ roadmaps for the senior leadership.
Finally, Tim Harford compares today’s change aversion in many corporations with a disaster from 1346, and Mark Graban and Rich Sheridan discuss various lessons learned on improving the conditions for creating outstanding products in a complex environment.
TL; DR: Beneficial Pre-Mortems, Scaled Feature Factories — Food for Agile Thought #347
Welcome to the 347th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 35,417 peers. This week, we delve into five success-critical topics for every product manager, from the benefits of pre-mortems to prioritizing your time to ROI and opportunity-cost thinking. Also, we explain code cruft in a metaphor for non-technical people to help the looming conflict between developers and management, and we share learnings from supporting agile transformations at three companies in the insurance and automation industries.
Then, we detail a pattern of non-tech companies heavily investing in digitalization: Despite good intentions, they end up as big feature factories. Moreover, we point out a) how iterating behavioral changes and applying experiments help build the right products and b) the often overlooked signal-to-noise ratio critical for innovation, or: asking for ideas is a bad idea.
Finally, we embrace a simple process that allows everyone on a team to start writing user stories: the Product Backlog Building Canvas. Also, the folks at ProductLed asked 600-plus SaaS businesses about their paths to product-led growth and core metrics such as free to paid accounts conversion rates.
TL; DR: Scrum Developer Anti-Patterns
After covering the anti-patterns of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, and the stakeholders, this article addresses Scrum Developer anti-patterns, covering all Scrum Events and the Product Backlog artifact. Continue reading and learn more about what to look out for if you want to support your teammates who build the Increment.
TL; DR: Pro Frameworks, Ensuring Excellence — Food for Agile Thought #346
Welcome to the 346th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 35,394 peers. This week, we point to the benefits of frameworks, helping us learn, collaborate, and reduce cognitive load. Also, we explore the idea of starting an agile transformation by splitting off a part of an organization and helping that part become agile first; consequently, we take the stoic perspective on transformations.
Then, we follow Marty Cagan, who adds excellence in the form of a strong product leader to the success recipe of the individual empowered product teams tasked with solving customer problems. Moreover, we address the ‘create customer value’ obsession: Ian Miell claims that ‘many peoples’ work generates value by focussing on things that appear to have no measurable or apparently justifiable customer benefit.’ And we remind ourselves of Goodhart’s Law. (In other words: Why you do not want to become data-driven as a product mensch.)
Finally, we list typical mistakes when measuring success, from vanity metrics to worshipping data. We describe five models to better understand a team’s performance, from Google’s Team Effectiveness Model to the T7 Model of Team Effectiveness, and we share an extensive guide on how to embrace the new hybrid work reality as a facilitator. Lastly, we thank Shane Hastie and Sandy Mamoli for authoring the 2022 edition of the InfoQ Culture & Methods Trends Report.