Category: Scrum

Technical Skills And The Product Owner

| By Resalin Rago in Product Owner, Scrum | 0 Comments



Product Owners are in high demand. Searching on Indeed for “Product Owner” pulled up 103 new jobs posted this month. While, its existence is relatively new compared to a Product Manager, it’s gaining attention as Agile and Scrum begin to overtake traditional methods of building software and managing creating projects.

The Product Owner (PO) is responsible for creating the product vision and guiding the team as they work to make the vision a reality. They are the bridge between stakeholders, team, and the end users. It’s a job that requires a number of different hard and soft skills, from knowledge of Agile and Scrum to a Mama bear instinct to protect the product.

One of the most frequently asked questions in our CSPO classes is whether technical knowledge is required in a Product Owner role. The short answer is no, but the long answer is that technical skills are helpful, but not in the way you might think.

When you’re looking for a new PO, you want someone steeped in product development experience (clearly). The list below consists of hard and soft skills required in the PO role in addition to the years of experience needed. Because this post pertains to product ownership, we prioritized it in order of least to most important. You’re welcome.

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Lessons Learned from an Ice Cream Social (A Retro On A Sprint Retrospective)

| By William Baxter in Agile, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 2 Comments



Sprint Retrospectives…the other bookend to Sprints. Retros mark the official end of the Sprint and serves to provide teams the opportunity to reflect so that the next Sprint is even more efficient.
Like all meetings, Sprint Retrospectives can be very useful or attendants can leave feeling confused and even angry if they feel like their time was wasted. They require planning from the ScrumMaster for teams to reap its full benefits. There are a lot of Retrospective activities out there; it helps to know what kind the team needs.

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21 Flavors Of ScrumMaster Role Combinations – Pros and Cons

| By David Hawks in Scrum, ScrumMaster | 1 Comment


In the perfect Agile world, a ScrumMaster is a ScrumMaster…and that’s it. There’s not a never-ending custody battle where a person goes back and forth between two roles. Unfortunately, we live in the real world. Often, people come to our CSM workshops with a divided workload and wearing different hats: Product Owner and Manager or Software Lead And ScrumMaster.

This post will discuss the pros and cons of various ScrumMaster combinations, beginning with the ideal combination, ScrumMaster – ScrumMaster (dedicated ScrumMaster).

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Scrum Events Are Necessary (And Not Evil)

| By David Hawks in Agile, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 0 Comments


Refs gather for a quick meeting


In Scrum, there exists a general confusion about the Scrum events, or meetings: when they happen, who attends and why they exist.

The last question comes up…a lot. There will be resistance to “all the overhead” of Scrum, meetings included. In order to convince others to participate in Scrum events you can’t just say, “those are the rules of Scrum.” Developers and managers need to be convinced, which means we Agilists need to make sure they understand the value. Here are the Scrum Events and a quick explanation of why they exist.

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ScrumMaster ≠ Manager

| By Reese Schmit in Scrum, ScrumMaster | 1 Comment



The role the ScrumMaster plays on the team is never static and takes on many forms. Their role is one of servant leadership; as the team needs, the ScrumMaster provides. When the team first adopts Scrum, the ScrumMaster plays the teacher: training the team on the mechanics of Scrum, guiding the Product Owner on how to build a backlog, educating stakeholders on the new ways they will be given transparency into the progress of the product.

As the team progresses the ScrumMaster transitions into more of a coach: creating space for the team to self-improve, mentoring Product Owners on increasing outcomes while reducing output, and helping stakeholders embrace team empowerment. In just the span of a day the ScrumMaster will oscillate from teacher to coach to mentor to mom to confidante to guru to barista and back again 30 times.

There is one role, though, the ScrumMaster should never slide into for the team, and that is the manager.

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Can You feel the Burn(down)? How to use burn down charts for good, not evil.

| By Valerie Santillo in Agile, Scrum, ScrumMaster | 0 Comments


Photo by Shan Sheehan

As a scrummaster, some of my teams resented the burndown and me for pestering them to update their time. Sometimes, teams feel the updating of hours and the burn down are ways to make make micro-managing easier. And, sometimes, that’s EXACTLY what it is used for. It’s sad but true.  So, what happens when this “evil” scenario is true?

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Why You Need To Jazz Up Your Boring User Stories

| By William Baxter in Process, Product Development, Scrum, Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Jazz_Flickr_Jose Hidalgo

This picture was found on Flickr under the Creative Commons license. Thank you, Jose Hidalgo for the great picture.


User stories are a staple of Agile practices. Most teams use the following standard three-clause template:


         I want FUNCTIONALITY

         So that BENEFIT

Teams are generally successful at creating conversation around user stories following the prescribed format, especially if they add acceptance criteria and adhere to the (3Cs) (Card, Conversation, Confirmation). Many teams also work hard to endow their stories with the INVEST qualities. Using the template, the 3 Cs, and infusing with INVEST, create sufficient user stories. Passing. Maybe even a B. But how do you get to an A+ and does it really matter?

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