Do you need an emergency fund as a change agent—whether you are acting as Scrum Master, Product Owner or agile coach—because conflict is inevitable, but change is not?
In my experience, speaking truth to power, pointing at the emperor’s new clothes and the reality in the trenches, is necessary a trait for every change agent — including Scrum Masters and agile coaches — in organizations that lack strong leadership.
Learn more, how this form of professional honesty can backfire when the incumbents, privileged by the existing system, strike back.
Scrum Master Hiring: Demand Creates Supply and the Job Market for Agile Practitioners is No Exception
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+9 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.
The eighth Hands-on Agile webinar Scrum Master Anti-Patterns addresses twelve anti-patterns of your Scrum Master—from ill-suited personal traits and the pursuit of individual agendas to frustration with the team itself.
The main message of the retrospective was clear: there are too many interruptions by stakeholders and the senior management. The interruptions impeded the flow of work through the team. Consequently, achieving the sprint goal had been at risk several times in the past. Moreover, the team missed the sprint goal twice recently. Solving impediments as a team has become a necessity.
Learn more on how to tackle impediments as a team by running experiments and iterating on the solution.
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.
Learn how individual incentives and outdated organizational structures — fostering personal agendas and local optimization efforts — manifest themselves in scrum stakeholder anti-patterns which easily can impede any agile transition.
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, that 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?
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 final post on scrum anti-patterns how you can identify if your scrum master needs support from the team to up his or her agile game.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #171—shared with 20,122 peers—focuses on pushing agile, or better its futility as ‘agile’ needs to be pulled, we analyze current trends in corporate transformation efforts, and we ask: how safe did the attendees of your last workshop feel?
We also try to learn from Netflix’ failures, we come back to technical debt and its influence on product creation once more, and we compare our problems to the most pressing issues Marty Cagan has identified in today’s product-driven companies.
Lastly, we appreciate a great recipe on how to run a team charter creation workshop.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #170—shared with 20,108 peers—focuses on agile transformation lessons. We learn that becoming ‘agile’ is one but not the only answer, that agile teams are no causation for business agility, and that the 10,000-hour rule applies to agile practitioners, too.
We also remind ourselves that user research is always a team sport, that NPS detractors are not necessarily bad-mouthing your product, and why there is a difference between cooperation and collaboration.
Lastly, we go back to Scrum basics and revisit the idea of delivering a ‘done’ product increment every single Sprint—without making excuses.
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #169—shared with 20,091 peers—focuses on agile trust, or the lack thereof, how to disagree but commit effectively, and why a big change initiative may be advantageous in some cases.
We also dive deep into how to engage effectively in communication with your stakeholders without burning bridges, why idea velocity and execution velocity are two critical factors for a healthy product roadmap, and speaking of which: what continuous alignment with your stakeholders is all about.
Lastly, the good folks at Rootstrap made an epic ebook on customer development or product discovery publicly available. Kudos!
Food for Agile Thought’s issue #168—shared with 20,064 peers—focuses on the importance of the product backlog, how to create an experimentation culture to verify product hypotheses, as well as on the process of how to create a decent product vision in the first place.
We also learn about the differences and similarities of LeSS and Nexus, the two Scrum scaling frameworks appealing to purists, and enjoy CB Insights guide to moron-proof corporate innovation.
Lastly, we join Marty Cagan when he reveals the secrets to building outstanding product organizations with folks like you and me.
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