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Here is an interview I did with CASS business school who run a series of interviews called Digital Moguls:

My Movie - Kelly Waters - YouTube

The post Interview with CASS business school appeared first on 101 Ways.

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It’s been an incredible couple of years for 101 Ways, growing from just me to a consultancy business with over 70 people in 18 months – soon to be 100 people and expanding internationally!

So I thought it would be helpful to share some tips on what I think it has taken to do this, along with some tips on things to watch out for or think about.  In no particular order…

  1. Experience/Expertise – in my case I didn’t start my business until later in my career, meaning I had many years to build up expertise first.  If you are earlier in your career, pick something you’re interested in and become obsessed about being an expert in it!
  2. Network – some people say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.  Actively network with and help people when you don’t want anything in return.  It will pay off in the long run.
  3. Personal brand/reputation – it’s not much use being an expert in something if no-one knows it.  Talk at events, write a blog, post on social media channels, comment on forums. Be an active contributor to your community and contribute real value not sales posts, so you are giving back and building your public profile at the same time.
  4. Time – make sure you are ready to spend a HUGE amount of your time on your business.  Your own business will eat up all the time you can give.  If you have a young family or lots of other commitments, think twice and maybe do it later.
  5. Team – build a great team around you that are better than you, especially in the areas where you are not as strong or less interested. The team around you will make or break your business.
  6. Cash – create a business model that is cash positive or watch your cashflow like a hawk!  Cashflow problems can destroy even successful businesses.  Work out the cashflow model of when cash comes in and goes out and be ready to monitor this very carefully.  Put a backup plan in place in case you need it.
  7. Culture & Brand – go through the process of knowing who and what you want to be and what you want to be known for.  Be deliberate about the culture you want to create from the outset, as it’s hard to change it later.
  8. USP (unique selling points) – try to be clear about why you are different to others and why people should buy from you.  If you aren’t really offering anything truly unique, at least try to be clear about what you will be better at and why.
  9. People – look after people first and foremost – staff and customers – because business in the end is about people doing business with people they trust. Be honest, compassionate, caring and kind.  Help people to achieve their goals and overcome their problems.
  10. Keep calm and keep smiling – there will always be problems and things that are frustrating or stressful when starting or growing a business.  Try to keep smiling and sort the problems out as quickly and painlessly as you can.  Don’t let your frustrations create a stressful environment for others – find a different outlet for your stress.

I’m sure there are others, but I have a long-standing obsession with lists of 10 🙂

Kelly.

The post 10 Tips for Startup Founders appeared first on 101 Ways.

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TL;DR: The Scrum Product Owner in 56 Theses

The following 56 scrum product owner theses describe the role of the PO from a holistic product creation perspective.

The 56 product owner theses cover the concept of the product owner role, product discovery, how to deal with external and internal stakeholders, product roadmap planning, as well as the product backlog refinement. The theses also address the product owner’s part in scrum ceremonies such as sprint planning, sprint review, and the sprint retrospective.

Product Owner Theses: The Role of a Product Owner

This first set of theses addresses the product owner’s role in the scrum process:

  • A product owner embraces, shares, and communicates the product vision. They represent both the customer and internal stakeholders.

  • on the process, a product owner is the gatekeeper of the product backlog, and thus “owns” the product on behalf of the organization as well as customers.

  • A product owner is responsible for maximizing the value that the product provides to both customers and the organization.

  • To maximize the value of a product, the product owner must be empowered to make all product-related decisions on behalf of the organization.

  • If a product “owner” is not empowered to “own” the product, they are not a product owner per se, and the organization is not practicing scrum.

  • A product owner is the sole representative of the stakeholders, internal and external, insofar as the development team is concerned.

  • A product owner owns the “why”, and influences the “who” and “what”, but should never be concerned with the “how”. Progress in product development is always a collaborative, team effort.

  • A product owner must work closely with the core scrum team, and particularly the scrum master or agile coach — their natural ally.

  • A product owner should actively participate in scrum ceremonies, especially the product backlog refinement, sprint planning, and sprint acceptance ceremonies.

  • A product owner needs to be co-located with the scrum team to avoid delays, communication errors, and other problems caused by distance.

  • Contrary to popular belief, a product owner is neither a user story author nor a requirements engineer, but rather a communicator and facilitator between the stakeholders and the scrum team.

Product Owner Theses: Product Discovery and External Stakeholders

These theses concern what’s required of the product owner on product discovery and product management:

  • A product owner must have a holistic understanding of problems and opportunities: in the market, inherent to the product itself, with the organization and its strategy, and of concern to the various stakeholders.

  • The job of a product owner is to create value for both customers and the organization while mitigating risk.

  • A product owner creates value by embracing a continuous product discovery process built around learning and experimentation.

  • During the product discovery process, a product owner validates hypotheses by continuously running experiments.

  • Frameworks and methodologies suitable for the product discovery process include A/B testing, Business Model Canvas, Continuous User Testing, Design Sprints, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Lean UX, and Rapid Prototyping — to name just a few.

  • A product owner must be capable of thinking regarding systems to deal with complexity.

  • The earlier a product owner is involved in a product’s lifecycle, the more valuable that product owner will be to the organization.

Product Owner Theses: Internal Stakeholder Management

The following theses concern specific aspects of the relationships between product owners and their internal stakeholders:

  • A product owner needs to gain the trust and mandate of all internal stakeholders.

  • A product owner must be able to explain to any internal stakeholder at any time how the stakeholder’s requirements are accommodated by the product vision.

  • Regular feedback from internal stakeholders is crucial to a product owner’s work being successful — specifically, their success with creating the hypotheses funnel that they use to run experiments.

  • Close cooperation between a product owner and their organization’s customer care and sales teams is particularly beneficial for product success.

  • A product owner must be empowered by the organization to say “No” to a stakeholder’s requests — no matter how powerful the stakeholder is.

  • A product owner’s communication with internal stakeholders needs to be transparent and regular to encourage these stakeholders to be engaged with the scrum team.

  • The scrum master is a good ally for a product owner in the pursuit of internal stakeholder engagement.

  • Good opportunities for a product owner to engage internal stakeholders are scrum ceremonies, like the sprint acceptance (demo); workshops, such as user story mappings; or training sessions, whereby stakeholders are taught how to better communicate with the scrum team.

  • Internal stakeholders make excellent members of customer development or user research teams, and a product owner should seek to secure their participation in these activities.

42 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions to Help You Avoid Hiring Agile Imposters!
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Spanning six topical categories, a few of these questions will give you more than enough material for an engaging 60-minute conversation!
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Product Owner Theses: Product Roadmap Planning

The theses in this set concern one of the most contentious topics in the profession: “How do we build agile product roadmaps that work?”

  • A product owner’s role requires that they also act as a product manager, which means that they must define the product vision, perform strategy and market research, develop business models, manage the product lifecycle, and facilitate product portfolio and roadmap planning. (For more detail, refer to Roman Pichler’s The Scrum Product Owner Role on One Page.)

  • An agile product roadmap is a high-level plan that describes how the product vision is likely to be accomplished. It should facilitate experimentation and learning.

  • An agile product roadmap is based on objectives and is usually theme- or goal-oriented.

  • An agile product roadmap is not a prioritized list of features with fixed shipping dates for months to come. (For more detail, refer to my 7 Best Practices on How to Build a Product Roadmap.)

  • Usually, product roadmap planning in larger organizations with several products requires that each product owner aligns his or her efforts with other product owners to synchronize product development.

  • A product roadmap addresses strategic aspects of product planning. A product backlog addresses technical development issues.

  • Roadmap planning is, like product backlog refinement, a continuous effort — just at an increased cadence.

  • Product owners communicate “big product pictures” by using techniques like user story mapping. (For more detail, refer to Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping.)

  • A product owner needs to be familiar with the five levels of agile planning: defining the product vision, defining the product roadmap, release planning, sprint planning, and accounting for the outcome of daily scrums.

  • Relying on a committee of stakeholders for product discovery and portfolio management is the most common reason that agile product delivery initiatives fail.

Product Owner Theses: The Product Backlog and User Story Creation

The theses in this section concern a product owner’s home turf: the product backlog, and user story creation.

Product Backlog

  • A product owner is much more than the “project manager of the product backlog”, and must do more than churning out user stories on behalf of stakeholders. (A.k.a. “ticket monkey syndrome”).

  • Product backlog refinement is a continuous process that needs to be in sync with the product discovery process.

  • Typically, a scrum team will collaboratively refine product backlog items for the upcoming two or three sprints.

Hands-on Agile: The Scrum Product Owner in 56 Theses
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User Story Creation

  • Creating user stories does not equal breaking down requirements documents received from stakeholders into smaller chunks.

  • Writing user stories is a collaborative effort involving the entire scrum team. The process should create a shared understanding of what will be built, and for what reasons.

  • Because it’s a collaborative effort, a user story is a subject of discussion for the scrum team. This might take up to 10% of the team’s availability during a sprint.

  • A product owner will need to come to an agreement with their team as to what standards user stories need to achieve before being considered suitable for the sprint backlog (i.e. defining and achieving the “Definition of Ready”).

  • Planning poker — the process of estimating user stories — is, most importantly, knowledge transfer. It supports the creation of a shared understanding within the scrum team of what needs to be built.

  • User story estimation is a critical part of the risk mitigation strategy for the scrum team.

  • With respect to the “Definition of Ready”: a candidate for the role of product owner should have heard of Bill Wake’s INVEST acronym (from the article INVEST in Good Stories and SMART Tasks).

Product Owner Theses: Sprint Planning, Reviews, and Retrospectives

The final set of theses concern product delivery: the sprint itself.

  • A product owner defines the scope of upcoming sprints by identifying and prioritizing the most valuable user stories in the product backlog.

  • A product owner should participate in all scrum ceremonies related to sprints.

  • The product owner is the person responsible for defining a sprint’s goal.

  • A product owner understands that, in addition to user stories, technical tasks, bugs, and research need to be addressed in every sprint. (For more detail, refer to Barry Overeem’s The Backlog Prioritisation Quadrant.)

  • A product owner should be available on short notice to clarify any questions that the scrum team may have during a sprint.

  • A product owner is responsible for accepting user stories into each sprint, and for deferring user stories that require additional work to meet the ‘Definition of Ready’ standard. This does not apply to user stories that are related to technical or refactoring tasks. The decision on those is the prerogative of the scrum team.

  • A product owner is responsible for deciding whether to release a product increment at the end of each sprint.

  • A product owner should host the sprint review, which is an event meant to provide the scrum team an opportunity to demo the outcome of each sprint to the product’s stakeholders.

  • A product owner must embrace the sprint review as a vital inspect and adapt feedback loop — for both the development team and the product’s external and internal stakeholders.
Conclusion: The Product Owner Theses—Scrum From Product Discovery to Delivery

I believe that the scrum product owner role is the most demanding of all three scrum roles. It covers a lot of ground, from product discovery, politics, and stakeholder management to systems thinking, and maximizing the return on investment for his or her team.

It is also the scrum role that the dark side can misuse simpler than the two other roles.

Am I missing product owner theses to describe the scrum product owner correctly? Please share with me in the comments.

Related Posts

Scrum: 19 Sprint Planning Anti-Patterns.

28 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns

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

The post The Scrum Product Owner Theses appeared first on Age of Product.

The post The Scrum Product Owner Theses appeared first on 101 Ways.

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Agile And The Learning Culture

Corporate culture is one of those topics that gets written and talked about a good bit and with good reason. Implementing and maintaining an Agile culture and an Agile learning culture are both very challenging. Inside a learning culture employees have to be willing to keep up with what is new and how that newness impacts their performance and contribution to the bottom line. Similarly, companies need to make sure that they provide an atmosphere conducive to a faster pace of learning. So this week on the Guardian Podcast with Ryn Melberg, Ryn will be answer questions about learning culture in Agile.

http://rynmelberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Agile-Learning-Cultures.mp3

 

Learning inside an Agile framework is different and in a good way from spelling tests and other places where mistakes are punished.

This article from the Tech Target Network explains a bit more about this topic.

A successful Agile culture is a learning culture.

That’s the most compelling idea I took away from a recent conversation with Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory about their book More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team, published in October 2014. Crisping and Gregory are both Agile coaches.

The learning culture theme runs throughout More Agile Testing. To keep up with new technologies — and address longstanding development challenges — Agile practitioners must continually acquire new skills, test their assumptions and experiment with new ways of working. “If [one approach] doesn’t work, you try something different,” Crispin said. “That is hard for organizations that don’t have a learning culture.”

The book, a testament to the importance of a culture where continual learning takes place, addresses technologies and ways of working that weren’t on the radar in 2009, when Crispin and Gregory wrote their earlier book, Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams. “Five years ago, no one worried about embedded testingmobile testing and globally distributed teams,” Crispin said. But today, depending on the business context in which an organization operates, all of these things are crucial areas of expertise for software professionals.

Another thing they didn’t give much thought to when they wrote their 2009 book was what testers need to know about other disciplines within the software development life cycle. “No one, was talking about doing business analysis,” Crispin said as an example. But today, testers understand it’s not enough to accept business requirements at face value. More Agile Testingaddresses all of these issues.

What is a learning culture?

A learning culture is one in which Agile team members strive to acquire new knowledge and skills relevant to a software development project. For instance, in a learning culture, team members don’t approach a software project as specialists with programming, testing or business analysis expertise. Instead, they come to the table with a mindset that’s conducive to problem solving. Agile And The Learning Culture

Sometimes that means learning from others on the team. Members with strong programming skills can help their peers who come from a testing background write scripts for test automation. The idea, said Gregory, is not that testers acquire enough coding expertise to become full-fledged programmers — it’s that they gain a “technical awareness of programming.” Agile And The Learning Culture

“You try out ideas for an iteration or two, and experiment with something else if they don’t work.”

– Lisa CrispinAgile testing coach

A learning culture empowers team members to pursue areas of interest to them, and share that new knowledge with the team. As the authors explain in the introduction to their book, one member might pursue facilitation skills training, seeking more efficient wants to elicit requirements from business stakeholders. Another might identify a new solution to automated regression testing. Team members should be empowered to try out a new tool or technique and share that information with the team, the authors said. Agile And The Learning Culture

Fail fast and move on

At the heart of a learning culture is the Agile retrospective, an exercise conducted at the end of every iteration. With a focus on continuous improvement, the team determines what worked and what didn’t, and figures out its next steps. To achieve success in the long run, the team must be willing to experiment with approaches that may ultimately fail. As Crispin and Gregory write in the introduction to their book, the goal is to fail fast enough that failure isn’t too costly. In other words, to figure out what works, sometimes you need firsthand experience of what doesn’t. “You try out ideas for an iteration or two, and experiment with something else if they don’t work,” Crispin said.

That’s the most compelling idea I took away from a recent conversation with Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory about their book More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team, published in October 2014. Crisping and Gregory are both Agile coaches.

The learning culture theme runs throughout More Agile Testing. To keep up with new technologies — and address longstanding development challenges — Agile practitioners must continually acquire new skills, test their assumptions and experiment with new ways of working. “If [one approach] doesn’t work, you try something different,” Crispin said. “That is hard for organizations that don’t have a learning culture.”

The book, a testament to the importance of a culture where continual learning takes place, addresses technologies and ways of working that weren’t on the radar in 2009, when Crispin and Gregory wrote their earlier book, Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams. “Five years ago, no one worried about embedded testingmobile testing and globally distributed teams,” Crispin said. But today, depending on the business context in which an organization operates, all of these things are crucial areas of expertise for software professionals.

Another thing they didn’t give much thought to when they wrote their 2009 book was what testers need to know about other disciplines within the software development life cycle. “No one, was talking about doing business analysis,” Crispin said as an example. But today, testers understand it’s not enough to accept business requirements at face value. More Agile Testing addresses all of these issues. Ideas can originate anywhere. The authors themselves learned a lot from their readers, and More Agile Testing is full of reader-generated ideas. “The book includes [tips] from about 40 contributors who tell their own stories,” Crispin said. “We had a failure, and then we tried this, and it worked.”

The post Agile And The Learning Culture appeared first on Ryn "The Guardian" Melberg.

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Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

In a recent scan of the e-literature on the reciprocal impact of Agile on HR, I connected some very interesting insights which I’d like to share. A set of insights that looks like ripples across the surface of a pond. Ripples that started when the Agile stone was thrown into the pond in 2001. In its simplest form, Agile is about a different way of working with each other in teams. Teams that are cross-functional, collaborative, co-located and customer-driven in their decision making. The insights provide compelling reasons why HR needs to take an active role in Agile implementations.

Insight #1

“In the most successful Agile transformations, HR is a driver of the change and a key hub that steers other departments’ success.”

(cPrime.com)

HR certainly needs to be ‘a’ driver in the change, but not ‘the’ (sole) driver. Rather they need to partner in the change. Successful Agile transformations will benefit from HR’s expertise in

  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • Learning & Development
  • Workforce Planning & Talent Management
  • Total Rewards

The driver of the change, historically IT, will need HR’s help to manage the impact to people and traditional HR processes/tools. As the change scales and starts to impact other departments in the business, HR can play a large role in ensuring the business overall stays aligned in delivering end-to-end value to customers.

Insight #2

“2016 will be the year of Agile HR… most HR teams have no clue what Agile HR means.”

(HR Trend Institute)

Agile was a hot topic for HR in 2016 as evidenced by the number of times ‘Agile HR’ has made the shortlist of topics being brainstormed for HR conferences and networks.  It was the #1 trend on the 2016 HR Trend Institute list. Its popularity is not cooling off in 2017. And yet most HR teams still don’t have a clue what ‘Agile’ means, never mind what ‘Agile HR’ means.

Insight #3

“As the world becomes more volatile, organizations need to find ways to become highly agile. HR will need to support a world where people may no longer have predefined ‘jobs’ that lock them into doing one activity.”

(HRO Today)

Agile has entered the mainstream. A necessity given the VUCA[1] world we live in.  Agile is no longer the sole domain of IT. The common refrain from all C-suite leaders these days is increased agility and nimbleness across the entire business – not just IT. The impact of capital ‘A’ Agile or small ‘a’ agile will affect HR. People will no longer have predefined jobs – People’s career paths will change. In this VUCA world, standardized career paths are no longer effective. Batch-of-one career paths will become the norm.

Insight #4

“HR’s job is not just to implement controls and standards, and drive execution—but rather to facilitate and improve organizational agility.”

(Josh Bersin)

The HR profession itself has been going through its own transformation. The HR profession has evolved from an administrative and transactional service to a strategic business stakeholder with a seat at the executive table.  The role of HR now includes a focus on organization-wide agility and global optimization of departmental efforts.

Insight #5

“Human capital issues are the #1 challenge for CEOs globally.”

(The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2016)

The Conference Board’s 2016 survey of global CEOs ranked human capital issues as the number one challenge. It has been number one for the last four years in a row. Within that challenge, there are two hot-button issues:

  1. Attracting and retaining top talent
  2. Developing next-generation leaders

The adoption of agile ways of working will change

  • How we recruit and engage
  • How we nurture and grow not only our leaders but our talent in general

In the words of Robert Ployhart, “…employees don’t just implement the strategy – they are the strategy”[2]. CEOs around the world would tend to agree.

The net of these insights is the more HR professionals understand Agile and its implications, the more effective Agile or agile initiatives and people/strategy will be.

I’d like to see HR ride the wave.

 

 

[1] VUCA is an acronym introduced by the US military to describe a state of increased Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity

[2] Ulrich, Dave, William A. Schiemann, Libby Sartain, Amy Schabacker Dufain, and Jorge Jauregui Morales. “The Reluctant HR Champion?” The Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders. Alexandria, VA: HR Certification Institute, 2015. N. pag. Print.

Please share!

The post 5 Insights to Help HR Ride the Agile Wave appeared first on Agile Advice.

The post 5 Insights to Help HR Ride the Agile Wave appeared first on 101 Ways.

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The Retrospective Exercises Repository

How to prevent retrospective boredom? One way to achieve that is never to repeat the same combination of retrospective exercises twice.

Avoiding repetitions might sound like a lot of work for a single team. However, if your product delivery organization comprises of more than one Scrum team, I can highly recommend creating a retrospective exercises repository as it improves the quality of the retrospectives and saves a lot of time if you share the retrospective exercises with your fellow scrum masters.

Learn how to build such a retrospective exercises repository.

#AgeOfProduct: The #Retrospective Exercises Repository — No More Boring Retros
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Curating Retrospectives with Retromat

Last year, I wrote on how to curate retrospectives with Retromat.

Retromat aggregates a lot of suitable exercises for retrospectives, covering the five stages of retrospectives as suggested by Esther Derby and Diana Larson in their excellent book “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great.”

Esther and Diane distinguish five stages:

  1. Set the stage
  2. Gather data
  3. Generate insights
  4. Decide what to do
  5. Close the retrospective.

Retromat provides a lot of exercises for each of those stages. As a first step, I went through all the exercises listed for the different stages and picked my choices from them. To do so in a structured way, I used an Excel sheet:

Identifying the exercises for future retrospectives is one thing. (The Retromat number is listed in the first column ‘activity’.) Producing the exercises in advance is something different. Doing this upfront for your complete selection is bordering on waste in my eyes. So, I create new exercises on flip chart paper only shortly before a retrospective. (Which is also a good way to familiarize yourself with the exercise itself.) Once an exercise becomes available, I mark it in the Excel sheet with a green background.

For each scrum team, I also add a column to the retrospective exercises repository indicating in which retrospective an exercise was used. (Normally, I use the number of the individual sprint here.) This allows for a quick overview when a certain retrospective exercise was utilized for the last time for a team retrospective. (Of course, I also save all exercises for every retrospective of each team.)

To my experience, if you keep at least three to four retrospectives between the usages of an individual exercise you are on the safe side. Also, try to avoid reusing more than two exercises in a retrospective again. It is interesting to observe that even my clumsy graphics have a considerable potential to be remembered. (Probably, it is also because of their clumsiness.) Anyway, there are more than enough permutations of exercises through all five stages of a retrospective available that you can work around a repetition of activities.

Storing the Retrospective Exercises

When it comes to storing the flip chart sheets, I recommend a small filing cabinet from Bankers Box. They are outrageously expensive — almost 30 Euros in Germany — but very well designed for this purpose. A filing cabinet can hold up to 20 flip chart sheets. Two of those cabinets will suffice for any need to organize retrospectives.

The easiest way to order the exercises is by consecutive numbers, not by retrospective stages. This way is particularly helpful when you branch out beyond Retromat for activities.

Speaking of branching out: there are other sources for respective exercises, for example, Fun Retrospectives.

I add those exercises with a different number range to the Excel sheet, typically starting with an N. Lastly, I also add dedicated games to the respective exercises repository, for example, the candy game.

Conclusion

Creating a retrospective exercises repository is an easy way to make retrospectives more engaging as well as save efforts when your product delivery organization comprises of more than one scrum team. Remember: sharing is caring.

How are you organizing your retrospective exercises? Please share with me in the comments.

Related Posts

How to Curate Retrospectives with Retromat

21 Sprint Retrospective Anti-Patterns Impeding Scrum Teams

20 Questions a New Scrum Master Should Ask Her Team to Get up to Speed

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The post Retrospective Exercises Repository appeared first on Age of Product.

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Psychological Safety Agile Team Performance. What better topic for a podcast named The Guardian than that of psychological safety? The term psychological safety is one that is relatively new as applied to Agile.

Psychological safety is roughly defined as a shared belief that members of an Agile team can take risks without fear of blame, expulsion from the group or even getting fired. The best teams do even better when leaders must cultivate a shared belief that the team is safe to allow interpersonal risk taking.

Psychological safety is a hallmark of the best teams and the best companies.

At Google and a project called Aristotle, a study to quantify and define the perfect team studied a way to ‘hack’ the perfect team. The company studied metrics, team composition, with the idea that the best people are the key to the best team. What they discovered was something far different. Most believed that the best educated, most senior, and highest achievers would mean a team that was automatically superior. Operation Aristotle concluded something far different. To learn the lessons of Google, listen to the podcast.

http://rynmelberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Psychological-Safety.mp3

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On this edition of The Guardian Podcast with Ryn Melberg, Ryn talks with Joel Traugott.

Joel is a self-described digital marketing geek with a love of data-driven marketing and a flair for building & optimizing traffic & revenue. Joel loves to teach others about marketing, and show the power of optimization to clients and others. Also, super into funnels. And today, we will be chatting with him about leveraging Scrum for marketing. Listen here on the link below.

http://rynmelberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Joel-Traugott.mp3

The post Agile, Scrum and Content Marketing appeared first on Ryn "The Guardian" Melberg.

The post Agile, Scrum and Content Marketing appeared first on 101 Ways.

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TL;DR—Scrum Master Anti-Patterns from Job Ads

Job ads for scrum master or agile coach positions reveal a great insight into an organization’s progress on becoming agile. Learn more about what makes job ads such a treasure trove with the following 22 scrum master anti-patterns. To gain these, I analyzed more than 50 job ads for scrum master or agile coach positions.

Analyzing a job advertisement for a Scrum Master or Agile Coach position

Probably, you are considering a position as a scrum master or agile coach in a particular organization. I suggest that before going all in (the application process), you should consider analyzing the job description for scrum master anti-patterns first.

How Large Organizations Create Job Ads

Usually, the organization’s HR department will create the final text of the job advertisement and post it to the chosen job sites. Hopefully, and depending on their process and level of collaboration (and agile mindset) in the organization, the team for which the new position was advertised may have participated in creating the job ad. This certainly avoids advertising a wrong description to prospective candidates.

Too often, however, advertisements may read like a copy and paste from positions that an organization’s HR believes to be similar to that of a scrum master (for example, a project manager). Or, sometimes, the HR department copies from other scrum master job ad which they believe correctly reflect the requirements of the organization. So, don’t be too surprised to see a job advertisement that reads like a list of scrum master anti-patterns.

Red Flags: A Sign of Cargo Cult Agile or just on Organization at the Beginning of the Agile Transition?

This is often the case when an organization’s HR does not have a lot of experience in hiring agile practitioners because they are in the early stages of the agile transition. Therefore, an unusual job description does not imply that the organization is not trying to become agile, it may just mean that the HR department has not yet caught up with the new requirements. Such an advertisement can actually help raise the topic and be of benefit during the job interview.

Be aware, however, that if an organization which claims to be agile is using this kind of advertisement despite being well underway on its agile transition, it then raises a red flag: miscommunication in the hiring process may indicate deeper issues or problems at the organizational level. It could be as critical as someone at management level, to whom the new scrum master would likely report, having no clue what becoming agile is all about.

The Scrum Anti-Patterns Guide

This ebook covers over 120 Scrum anti-patterns, and it is available for free right here. Download the “The Scrum Anti-Patters Guide” now!

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Scrum Master Anti-Patterns from Job Ads in 22 Examples

As mentioned previously, here are some examples of scrum master advertisement anti-patterns (from more than 50 actual job descriptions) that should raise a red flag:

  1. Ersatz PM: The scrum master position is labeled as “Project manager/Scrum master”, “Agile Project Manager”, or “Agile scrum master”. (Are there un-agile scrum masters mentioned in the Scrum Guide?)

  2. The whip: The scrum master is expected to communicate the company priorities and goals. (Product backlog-wise priorities are the job of the product owner. Scrum-wise it is a good idea that the scrum master spreads scrum values and, for example, coaches the scrum team to become self-organizing. Whether this is aligned with the company goals remains to be seen.)

  3. Technical PO: The scrum master is also supposed to act as a (technical) product owner. (There is a reason why scrum knows three roles and not just two. Avoid assuming more than one role at a time in a scrum team.)

  4. Outcome messenger: The scrum master reports to stakeholders the output of the scrum team (velocity, burndown charts). (Velocity—my favorite agile vanity metric.) (Read More: Agile Metrics — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.)

  5. SuperSM: The scrum master is supposed to handle more than one or two teams simultaneously. (Handling two scrum teams is already challenging, any number beyond that is not feasible.)

  6. Scrum secretary: The scrum master is supposed to do secretarial work (room bookings, facilitation of ceremonies, ordering office supplies). (Read More: Scrum Master Anti-Patterns: Beware of Becoming a Scrum Mom (or Scrum Pop).)

  7. Scrum mom: The scrum master is removing impediments on behalf of the team. (How is the scrum team supposed to become self-organizing if the scrum master handles all obstacles?).

  8. Team manager: The scrum master is responsible for team management. (If nothing else helps read the manual Scrum Guide: Is there anything said about team management by the scrum master?)

  9. Delivery manager: The scrum master is responsible for the “overall delivery of the committed sprint”. (I assume the organization does not understand scrum principles very well. The forecast and the sprint goal seem to be particularly challenging.)

  10. CSM®, CSP® & CST®: CSM or equivalent certification is listed as mandatory. (A typical save-my-butt approach to hiring. A CSM certification only signals that someone participated in a workshop and passed a multi-choice test.)

  11. Delivery scapegoat: The scrum master is expected to accept full responsibility of the delivery process. (That is rather the responsibility of the scrum team.)

  12. Proxy PO: The scrum master is expected to drive functional enhancements and continuous maintenance. (Maybe someone should talk to the product owner first?)

  13. Keeper of the archives: The scrum master is expected to maintain relevant documentation. (Nope, documentation is a team effort.)

  14. The PM Reloaded: The scrum master organizes the scrum team’s work instead of the project manager. (Why use scrum in the first place if creating self-organizing teams is not the goal?)

  15. Risk detector: The scrum master is expected to monitor progress, risks, resources, and countermeasures in projects. (The scrum master is neither a project manager nor a risk mitigator. (Risk mitigation is a side-effect of becoming a learning organization built around self-organizing teams.))

  16. Scrum minion: The scrum master is expected to prepare steering team and core team meetings. (The last time I checked the Scrum Guide there was no ‘steering team‘ mentioned.)

  17. WTF? The scrum master is expected to perform the role for “multiple flavors of agile methodologies”. (Multiple what?)

  18. Psychic: The scrum master is expected to participate in “project plan review and provide input to ensure accuracy”. (The scrum master is neither a project manager nor capable of predicting the future any better than another human being.)
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