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Tag Archives: Product owner

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Innovel Announces New Certified Scrum Training Courses in Canada

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I am really excited to be back Canada with public Scrum certification courses, after years honing our private and public Scrum training in international markets.

Early bird rates are available and registration is now open in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal:

More fun, More value, More Retention

We offer more than the basics of Scrum in our CSM® courses. While we will teach you about the Scrum framework, the roles, and the techniques to plan and implement Scrum in your projects, we also make this very interactive and enjoyable 2-day workshop style class useful with discussion exercises and group-oriented simulations. 

And, our new Certified Scrum Master Plus™ is CSM® with a 3rd day add-on to help with scaling (multi-team development) questions, Scrum Master coaching and facilitation skills, and creating an implementation plan for your first Scrum. Our students often say that the CSM should be a 3-day course to allow more time to absorb and understand the ideas. They asked, we created this highly beneficial third day, exclusively available with Innovel.

Certified Scrum Product Owner® Training by Innovel will show you how to effectively work with a Scrum team to take a product from idea to implementation. While we cover Scrum basics, this course focuses on Agile Product Management, Lean Startup, working with stakeholders, prioritization, reducing risk and maximizing business value.

Contact if you would like more information about our private or public training courses or to request a group discount code (10% off for groups of 3 more).

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Video: Booting Up Customers to Build Great Products

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This is a video of a talk I gave at Agile Tour 2011 in Vilnius Lithuania in October 2011.

Your New Customer has no clue what Agile is, however they have lots of assumptions about how they will “get the product done.” Do they know how to work effectively with you? Do they know all of the business and user issues that the product will need to solve and how to solve them? Have they built a product like this one before? Are the 100% committed to being the product owner or do they have other jobs too?

We’ll discuss how turn a customer into a Product Owner, from the first meeting to creating the first backlog, through to one year into development. We’ll go through key learning points that your new Product Owners and teams will have to transition through, and techniques you can use to make your life and theirs easier. Come prepared to learn tested hands on techniques you can apply in working with your customers.

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Should Scrum Team Members Talk Directly with Customers?

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A discussion on LinkedIn from the past was started based on this question.

Before answering, we must also ask:

  • What do you mean by customer?
  • What do you mean by user?
  • Is it a sponsor?
  • Is it another manager?

First, Misunderstanding of the Product Owner Role

The Product Owner (PO) should be representing the various stakeholders for the system being built. The PO should also be creating alignment among the team and the stakeholders as to what needs to be accomplished in the release. This is a balancing act between the various needs, business and technical.

The PO is not an information hub, though. Everything does not have to go through the PO. A good PO creates alignment around the vision and the solution, and steers based on their ongoing learning and subject matter expertise.

Then, Understanding the Stakeholder Groups

Scrum Team Members Should Talk to Users

In general, it is a good idea for a Scrum team members to talk to users.

  • The PO can become a bottleneck if they try to control all information. Also, there may be some nuance that a user can provide that will help a developer understand the problem more clearly. Imagine this framed in the context of a sprint – it is about clarification and understanding to implement the solution.
  • When users and developers interact there can be a special spark of innovation. Innovation happens when people with tools and techniques really start to understand a problem. Users sitting down with developers creates empathy and helps teams become motivated to provide pain relief or innovations that surprise or delight.

Scrum Team Members May Be Best to Avoid Talking to Sponsors

It is not a good idea for Scrum Team members to talk to sponsors, without the PO around.

  • The sponsor is usually most concerned with high level issues and the politics/expectation management for the product/project. The sponsors should engage the PO to discuss the product/ project. (If they are going around them to the team, there is something else going on.)

Scrum Team Members May Benefit Talking to Other Managers:

Having Scrum team members talk to other managers may make sense.

  • If there are dependencies with other teams/vendors and the team is managing those issues within the sprint, the Scrum team should probably talk to the manager.
  • It may also be an end run around the PO to get work done that is not planned in the sprint. In this case, the team should refer the manager to the PO.

Scrum Does Not Restrict Communication to Scrum Meetings

Scrum does specify meetings where interactions between teams and customers are more formal. However, Scrum says nothing about restricting communications to the Scrum meetings. If communications are restricted to these meetings only, the team will be slower and have less opportunities to learn.

A Scrum Master Requires Flow

As a Scrum Master, the goal is to get great software developed and do it with the highest level of engagement from all parties. This means there are lots of communications that should happen on an ongoing basis between all members of the project community.

A Scrum Master needs to enable work to flow from request to working software, and this involves maintaining the flow of information. Will there be deviation? Sure, however the Scrum Master is there to detect when the team or the stakeholders are getting off track (i.e. adding scope, changing direction, etc.) and help them stay on track.

Sure, you can talk! Step up to the table.

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Dude! Where’s My Backlog? The People and Process of Product Ownership.

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In September 2010 I gave a keynote talk at Agile Eastern Europe called “Dude, where’s my backlog?” The talk covers the common pitfalls seen with Product Owners and the Product Backlog. The talk covers the people that bring a product backlog into existence and the processes they can use to maintain it. This includes using ideas from Kanban for personal process and modifications to Scrum for more frequent involvement of the team in maintaining the backlog.

Robin Dymond Keynote: “Dude, where’s my backlog?” from Agile Eastern Europe 2010

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