TL; DR: My Top Ten Worst Scrum Anti-Patterns
I recently was invited to a Scrum.org Webinar, and I picked a topic close to my heart: the worst Scrum anti-patterns. So, without further delay, here are my top ten of the meanest, baddest Scrum anti-patterns I have experienced.
TL; DR: 76 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 76 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my fifteen 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 9,000 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.
If you are looking to fill a position for a Scrum Master (or agile coach) in your organization, you may find the following 54 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my fifteen 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 22,000 times.
TL;DR: Scrum Master Salary Report 2022 — An Anonymous Poll by the Community for the Community
The purpose of this anonymous Scrum Master salary report 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 2021 to create the report in time for January 2022. Of course, the report will be available for free.
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: 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: Fulfilling Working Experiences, Sustainable Disruption — Food for Agile Thought #315
Welcome to the 315th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,364 peers. This week, we will learn how kindness, consideration, and respect can transform any team into a fulfilling working experience. We also look at using our current knowledge to nudge the post-pandemic world into a better place. Finally, for the sake of contrast, we also list six attributes of a dysfunctional corporate culture, from information hoarding to recreational complaining to high top performer turnover.
We then refer to Star Trek’s transporter tech to visualize software creation in an agile context. (Okay, it is about many backlog items turning into a releasable Increment.) Moreover, we delve into successful decision-making, pointing at drivers, constraints, and floats, and we propose a pivot for startups from technical diligence to product diligence before funding rounds and deliver a framework for the task.
Lastly, we analyze the evaporating illusion of long-term planning when you start using OKRs to target outcomes, and we summarize the whole story point thingy. (Maybe, some people will learn this time.)
TL; DR: Tech Revolutions, Benefits of Negative Feedback — Food for Agile Thought #314
Welcome to the 314th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,281 peers. This week, we offer a summary of Carlota Perez’s 2002 book ‘Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital;’ a must-read to understand innovation and disruption. We also share free cards and games to help Scrum teams get better at using Scrum to its full potential, and we explain the critical importance of pre-mortems for unearthing unknown unknowns regularly.
We then refer to Elon Musk and the importance of welcoming negative feedback, whether some egos are bruised in the process or not, and listen to an interview with Ash Maurya — Mr. Lean Canvas — on enabling continuous improvement innovation. Moreover, we introduce the subtleties of learning when practicing user interviews, from the basics to common mistakes, providing a guide to improve your interviewing skills.
Lastly, we share a list of free innovation tools, from the ‘Innovation Maturity Assessment’ to the ‘Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation,’ and we delve into the most common mistakes made when gathering data from agile teams by employing surveys and how to avoid them.
TL; DR: Scrum Questions: Seven Simple Issues and Complex Answers
How hard can Scrum be; the manual has 13 pages? You may have heard something along this line from skeptics in the past, dismissing the complex nature of an intentionally incomplete framework. The point is that exciting discussions happen when you start digging a bit deeper. Supposedly simple Scrum questions often return a broad spectrum of answers, ideas, and opinions.
Therefore, for some months now, I have run polls on LinkedIn. The polls address topics like the implications of self-management, how the management or corporate hierarchy fits into the picture, and the relationship between Scrum and agile coaching.
Let me share some of the controversial findings and discussions with you. As always, there are no simple answers in complex environments.
TL; DR: The Problem-Solving Trap, Beloved DoD — Food for Agile Thought #313
Welcome to the 313th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 33,207 peers. This week, we offer valuable advice on staying cognitively open, thus avoiding the problem of killing new ideas too early while being open to feedback at the same time. We also point at five good reasons to embrace the DoD, from having a quality standard to simplifying communication to providing clarity, and we delve into a well-known fallacy of decision making and how we confuse probability with propensity.
We then share a compact introduction to user stories, covering the “card, conversation, confirmation” approach to templates to the importance of keeping the Pareto principle in mind when creating new things. Moreover, we walk you through the appropriate levels of detailing product roadmap items, from “thing happening now” to “far-off things” to avoid creating noise, and we talk about bugs, refactoring, and their implication on product strategy and the flow within your product team.
Lastly, we talk about metrics and goals on the path to becoming an agile organization, and we introduce the tool Miro used to weather the pandemic-driven massive influx of new users by structuring product discovery and retrospectives in the process.
TL; DR: The Obsession with Commitment Matching Velocity
Despite decades-long efforts of the whole agile community—books, blogs, conferences, webinars, videos, meetups; you name it—we are still confronted in many supposedly agile organizations with output-metric driven reporting systems. At the heart of these reporting systems, stuck in the industrial age when the management believed it needed to protect the organization from slacking workers, there is typically a performance metric: velocity.
In the hands of an experienced team, velocity might be useful a team-internal metric. But, when combined with some managers’ wrong interpretation of commitment, it becomes a tool of oppression. So when did it all go so wrong?