TL; DR: HoA #44: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog w/ Allan Kelly
In this energizing 44th Hands-on Agile session on product backlog management, Allan Kelly clarified one thing: The backlog was a great idea until it wasn’t. Many successful teams deliver backlog items daily, but their backlogs aren’t getting smaller. The never-ending backlog overshadows delivery success. Product discovery, dual-track agile, OKRs, etc., make it worse by accelerating backlog growth without taking any of the rotting items away.
Learn more about Allan’s remedy for oversized product backlogs in less than an hour.
📺 Watch the video now: Allan Kelly: Honey, I Shrunk the Backlog — Hands-on Agile 44.
TL;DR: Scrum Master Salary Report 2023 — An Anonymous Poll by the Community for the Community
The purpose of this anonymous Scrum Master salary report 2023 is to create a clear, data-backed benchmark that allows everyone in the agile community to understand whether their compensation is adequate. (And yes, the report will cover Scrum Masters as well as Agile Coaches, both employed and freelancing.)
The goal is to have a sufficient number of replies – that would be at least 1,000 – by the end of November 2022 to create the report in time for January 2023. Of course, the report will be available for free.
👉 📈 Join the Anonymous Poll for the Upcoming Free Scrum Master Salary Report 2023 Now!
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: Scrum Master Duties, Serving a Single Team
Scrum Master Duties: supposedly, a great scrum master serves only one scrum team — that’s at least a popular narrative in the scrum community. Nevertheless, there is also a loud voice that doubts that approach: what would you do the whole day – with a single team? Aren’t they supposed to become self-organizing over time? And if so, does the scrum then need a scrum master 24/7?
As I worked for years as a product owner on scrum teams without a dedicated scrum master-which was working well-I was curious to learn more about that question, too. Hence I ran a survey in late June and early July 2018, the results of which are presented here.
In total, 261 scrum masters participated in this non-representative survey in the two weeks before July 5th, 2018. 19 participants chose not to provide their consent to Google processing and to store their answers. Hence their contributions were deleted, resulting in a sample size of 242 responses.
TL; DR: Tracking Learnings, Impact Mapping for Fun & Profit — Food for Agile Thought #363
Welcome to the 363rd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,042 peers. This week, we delve into tracking learnings and what to do with all the “stuff” that continuous product discovery produces. Also, we analyze the utility of agile games as change-supporting tools and share a decision-making approach to scaling, from “don’t scale” to “managing dependencies between work to be done.” Finally, we consider the fact that “simple” covers a vast ground and has the potential to cause confusion and misinterpretation. (You may want to reconsider your KISS approach.)
Then, we advocate getting comfortable with impact mapping when you have a “vague goal but haven’t yet done a good exploration of how to get there.” Again, we also stress the importance of product discovery, given that we all love “our ideas” when building new businesses, before we point out five practices that will enable your team to take full advantage of the Product Backlog as a tactical tool.
Finally, we appreciate Paulo Caroli’s curated list of popular practices for organizing meetings; he also provides a downloadable PDF and a Mural template. On top of that, Andrea Saez shares the “Customer Value Explorer,” a canvas to map customer value against business objectives. Lastly, Google Cloud published the “2022 Accelerate State of DevOps Report,” focusing on security.
TL; DR: Agile Military — Food for Agile Thought #362
Welcome to the 362nd edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 36,013 peers. This week, we delve into lessons learned on leadership in the agile military. We also read a curated collection of articles, “facts, evidence, and opinions from relevant sources without vested interests” on the usefulness of SAFe® and analyze common reasons why organizations do not reap the expected benefits of becoming Agile. Moreover, we ask: Do we need a CUO, a Chief Unblocking Officer?
Then, we dissect strategy anti-patterns, from committing too early to prospective customers to dodging controversial calls while delving into product leadership, team objectives, and the importance of context and clarity. Also, Jon Moore and Marty Cagan continued their article series, detailing why consequential transformations to product-led organizations require different decision processes, and Kate Kaplan created an overview of the human side of DesignOps: who is doing what and talking to whom?
Finally, we sketch various mental models, concepts, and “laws” helpful to Scrum Masters and agile coaches and delve into the relationship between hypothesis-driven development, validation, and the minimum viable product. Lastly, we learn that just because your Sprint board has columns and cards does not mean it is a Kanban board.
TL; DR: Useful Agile Metrics — Food for Agile Thought #361
Welcome to the 361st edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 35,942 peers. This week, we enjoy an Agile 2022 workshop, where Doc Norton deep-dives into the tricky issue of useful agile metrics, from the problematic ones, like velocity, to gaming metrics to selecting metrics that support your team. Also, we dissect contributing factors to successful agile transformations while pointing at what to avoid, from cargo-cultism to HyperScrum-dementalism to agile scapegoatism, and delve into the rationale of higher purpose goals, from motivating people to driving autonomy. Finally, did you know that the fourth element of Scrum’s empiricism—beyond transparency, inspection, and adaptation—is hiding in plain sight in a sentence on Scrum Values?
Then, we learn from Lenny Rachitsky how to best proceed in becoming the stakeholder whisperer, while Jon Moore and Marty Cagan sketch necessary changes in how you build products when transforming to become a strong, product-led company. Moreover, John Cutler reflects on the “tension between your go-to-market (GTM) and product teams as you scale,” resulting in more complexity, for example, product debt. By the way, there is also an interview with John by Jason Knight.
Finally, we listen to John Drogosz pitching the advantages of value stream mapping for cross-functional teams to improve their way of working and suggest ten steps to gain any basic industry understanding, from diagrams to glossaries to thought leaders and conferences. Moreover, Rita McGrath elaborates on Kodak’s demise and what the halo effect has to do with it. Think printers from the company that invented digital photography.
TL; DR: Elements of Empiricism
In its theory section, the Scrum Guide refers to the three elements of empiricism: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. However, a fourth element, foundational to enable empiricism, is hidden in a sentence on Scrum Values. Read on and learn more about the complete picture of Scrum’s empiricism.