Liberating Structures for Scrum (6): The Successful Scrum Master

TL; DR: The Successful Scrum Master Meetup

During the 19th Hands-on Agile meetup, 30-plus people addressed the path to becoming a successful Scrum Master or agile coach, following up on the “Scrum Master Career 2020 — Using Ecocycle Planning to Identify Opportunities” meetup we had in December 2019.

We used two Liberating Structures microstructures — Appreciative Interviews and Superpower Cakewalk — to delve into what lets us grow as professionals as well as individuals.

Liberating Structures for Scrum (6): The Successful Scrum Master — Age-of-Product.com

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Product Owner Anti-Patterns — 31+2 Ways to Improve as a PO

TL; DR: Scrum Product Owner Anti-Patterns

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.

Product Owner Anti-Patterns — 31 Ways to Improve as a PO by Age of Product

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📅 Upcoming Scrum Training Classes, Liberating Structures Workshops, and Events

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.

Upcoming Scrum and Liberating Stuctures training classes and workshops — Berlin Product People GmbH

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Scrum: 20 Sprint Planning Anti-Patterns

TL; DR: 20 Sprint Planning Anti-Patterns

Sprint Planning is a core event, defining how your customers’ lives will improve with the next Product Increment. Learn more on how to improve its effectiveness by avoiding 20 common Sprint Planning anti-patterns.

20 Sprint Planning Anti-Patterns — Berlin Product People GmbH

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Product Mindset: Encouraging Ownership in a Scrum Team

TL; DR: Product Mindset and Ownership in Scrum Teams

There is one product, one Product Owner, one Product Backlog — a simple rule. How is that supposed to scale, you might ask, isn’t that approach turning the Product Owner into the Scrum team’s bottleneck, impeding value creation rather than spearheading it? Well, cargo cult Scrum might end up in that dead-end. The trick to avoiding this fate is to start including the Development Team as early as possible in Product Backlog management which requires a product mindset.

Learn more about how to kick-off this process with an initial day-long product mindset workshop for your Scrum team.

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Scrum Master Anti-Patterns — 20 Signs Your Scrum Master Needs Help

TL; DR: Scrum Master Anti-Patterns

Scrum Master anti-patterns: The reasons why Scrum Masters violate the spirit of the Scrum Guide are multi-faceted. They run from ill-suited personal traits and the pursuit of individual agendas to frustration with the team itself.

Read on and learn in this post on Scrum anti-patterns how you can identify if your Scrum Master needs support from the team.

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21 Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns Impeding Scrum Teams

TL; DR: Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns

What event could better embody Scrum’s principle of empiricism than the Sprint Retrospective? I assume all peers agree that even the simplest retrospective—if only held regularly—is far more useful than having a fancy one once in a while, not to mention having none at all. Moreover, there is always room for improvement. Hence, learn more about 21 common Sprint Retrospective anti-patterns.

Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns — Age-of-Product.com

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Free Ebook: 38+9 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Avoid Hiring Agile Imposters

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.

38+9 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Avoid Hiring Agile Imposters

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Hiring: 42 + 5 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions to Avoid Agile Imposters

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.

Scrum Product Owner Interview: this free ebook provides 42+5 questions w/ answers to help you to avoid hiring Imposters.

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.

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The Scrum Guide Reordered

TL;DR: The Scrum Guide Reordered

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.

Scrum Guide Reordered — Age-of-Product.com

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Scrum Master Trends Report 2019 — Free Download

TL; DR: Scrum Master Trends Report 2019

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.)

Download the Scrum Master Trends Report 2019 by Scrum.org and Age-of-Product.com

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Agile Failure Patterns in Organizations 2.0

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

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. 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?

Age of Product: Agile Failure Patterns in Organizations

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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 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.

Product Backlog Anti-Patterns — Age-of-Product.com

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Food for Agile Thought #229: Traumatic Agile, Measuring Transformations, Experiments at Pinterest, Absurd Design Sprints

TL; DR: Traumatic Agile, Absurd Design Sprints—Food for Agile Thought #229

Welcome to the 229th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 25,103 peers. This week, we ask whether ‘Agile’ is a reactionary movement; we delve into suitable metrics for experiments, and we learn from a bank how to become agile with 20-plus teams.

We also learn how Pinterest keeps ideas for experiments coming. Speaking of which, we gain insight into suitable experiments at Slack, and we reconsider the usefulness of Design Sprints.

Lastly, we finally have a reference to answer the obvious question: Does Google use Scrum?

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #228?

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Agile Movers & Shakers (4): Dave West, CEO of Scrum.org

TL; DR: The Agile Movers & Shakers Interview with Dave West of Scrum.org

Welcome to the Agile Movers & Shakers interview series. Today’s guest is Dave West.

Dave West is the Product Owner and CEO at Scrum.org. He is a frequent keynote speaker and is a widely published author of articles, along with his acclaimed book: Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design. He led the development of the Rational Unified Process (RUP) and then worked with Ivar Jacobson running the North American business for IJI. Then Dave managed the software delivery practice at Forrester research where he was VP and research director. Prior to joining Scrum.org, Dave West was Chief Product Officer at Tasktop where he was responsible for product management, engineering, and architecture.

Agile Movers & Shakers (4): Dave West — CEO and Product Owner of Scrum.org — Age-of-Product.com

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Food for Agile Thought #228: Asking Good Questions, Product Catastrophes, Agile’s Cognitive Science, Trade-offs & Debts

TL; DR: Asking Good Questions, Trade-offs & Debts—Food for Agile Thought #228

Welcome to the 228th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 25,103 peers. This week, we delve into asking good questions, thus overcoming assumptions; we learn more about the cognitive science behind ‘Agile,’ and we cautiously check SAFe again.

We gain insight into how to handle product failures catastrophes; we reflect whether trade-offs are worth the costs. Also, we come back to defining what a product is, focusing on its two critical elements.

Lastly, we appreciate an excursion into psychological safety—from its origins to pioneering its application.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #226?

Food for Agile Thought #228: Asking Good Questions, Agile’s Cognitive Science, Product Catastrophes, Trade-offs & Debts

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Food for Agile Thought #227: Agile Core Beliefs, Psychology of Feature Adoption, Agile Coaching Competencies, Design’s Unsexy Middle Bits

TL; DR: Agile Core Beliefs, Psychology of Feature Adoption—Food for Agile Thought #227

Welcome to the 227th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 25,021 peers. This week, we address agile core beliefs; we embrace the idea of a one-day Sprint, and we come back to agile coaching competencies.

We also learn how to move on as a product team, struggling with becoming data-informed; we explore cognitive biases in the adoption progress of new features, and we figure out how to speed up A/b tests without sacrificing accuracy.

Lastly, we appreciate the notion that we are not all designers—despite stickies, sharpie, and prototyping apps.

Did you miss last week’s Food for Agile Thought’s issue #226?

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