Thursday, May 19, 2016

How many hours of study for PMP certification?

Habits of highly effective product owners and scrum masters #4 ownership

They own the product. All their actions demonstrates this ownership. Their main objective is to get a great product out of the team. All their actions are targeted towards this.

I voluntarily seek for opportunities to do exploratory testing of the features during their development phase itself to provide early feedback which helps the team to deliver what they agreed upon and sometimes even better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Habits of highly effective scrum masters and product owners #3 Conformance to the Organizational velocity

Like the sprints have velocity, organizations also have velocity. Removing impediments highlighted by the teams must be resolved as fast as possible, else the sprints can fail. For resolving these issues, one has to work through different stakeholders on whom the scum master, product owner do not have direct control. Sometimes they become bottlenecks and sprints fail, if the organizational decision making velocity is low. If we go faster than the rest of the organization, we may go and hit someone who is going slower than you. It is more like travelling in a traffic jam. One may like to speed up, and if the speed is more than the vehicle before, an accident is almost certain. So, is the case with organizations and teams.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Habits of highly effective scrum masters and product owners #2 Continuously create emotional bank accounts

When I do something good to my team, I make some deposits to the emotional bank account. Similarly when I do something bad to my team ..., yes, that too happen once in a while. I am also human, and I can err, then I withdraw from the emotional bank accounts. As long as my emotional bank deposits are more than the withdrawals, the team will include me, else I will be always an outsider. Be demanding, and at the same time focus on improving the production capability relentlessly. One fine day you will realize that you are part of the team completely, and the team will start resonating with your product backlog. Some managers make the blunder of imposing rules on to the team, even before understanding the names of the team members. A very wrong start indeed. A great opportunity missed. Yes, all these are influenced by the 'Seven habits of highly effective people' by Stephen R Covey, and I am lucky and blessed to revisit it wearing the hat of a product owner and a scrum master.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Habits of highly effective scrum masters and product owners #1 Focus on improving production capability based on empirical data

One of my scrum teams is on the verge of becoming a dysfunctional team because of compounded factors and after a very open retrospective, these are the reasons that surfaced;

  • Politics among team members 
  • Lack of ability of some of the team members 
  • Incompetent scrum master 
  • User stories are not documented by the product owner
Lot of mud got thrown without any data and some fell on me as well. End of the day I got that filthy feeling of not managing the situation professionally. I was going back to my 'bad manager' habits of just focusing only on the production (velocity) and not on how to improve the production capability of the team.That is when the concepts in the  book 'Seven habits of highly effective people' , by Stephen R Covey become invaluable to scrum masters and product owners 

 For any meaningful improvement, we need to know where we are empirically.  We did not fix anything, and got into the next sprint, with the hope of getting some data to validate our assumptions. In the scrum lingo, the theme of the sprint itself is to create data, to base our judgments, so that meaningful and sustainable improvement is possible, thus achieving improved productivity.