TL; DR: North Star Metric, Team Dynamics Explained — Food for Agile Thought #297

Welcome to the 297th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,817 peers. This week, we point at data and case studies, providing insights into how to narrow in on your organization’s North Star Metric. Also, we advocate that technical debt is rather a strategic lever for your organization’s success than a liability, and we analyze the invisible undercurrents that determine your team’s culture.

We then continue reading Marty Cagan’s pathology series with a deep dive into the well-known problems with MBA programs. Moreover, we share six common product discovery anti-patterns and what you can do about…


TL; DR: Real Cross-functional Teams for Creating Real and Better Products — ACB21

In this highly engaging speaker session from the Agile Camp Berlin 2021, Jutta Eckstein and Maryse Meinen point out the advantages of creating diverse, cross-functional teams to benefit your customers and your organization.

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TL; DR: Common Developer Blunders — When Your Scrum Team Lacks Alignment

There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. While it is common to first look outside our team for impediments, such as dysfunctional processes or other systemic issues, I would advise starting with the Scrum team’s way of collaboration: Are we aligned on the why, what, and how? Otherwise, the three following Developer blunders may diminish the team effectiveness.

📺 Join me and explore the consequences of these Scrum Developer blunders and what you can do about them in a little more…


TL; DR: Rebels Spark Ideas, CSPO Pathology — Food for Agile Thought #296

Welcome to the 296th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,704 peers. This week, we acknowledge that rebels spark ideas, and we consider whether OKRs can restore purpose to agile teams and free them from the tyranny of the Product Backlog. Moreover, we get an inside view of how Youtube managed its early hyper-growth, and we point at the advantages of using low-code tooling to build software: Iterating faster.

We then address why the tech industry has such a high proportion of weak product managers and product leaders. We pitch the advantages of collaborative decision-making, leveraging…


TL; DR: When Scrum Masters Fail — Making Your Scrum Work #13

There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. Scrum thrives when the Scrum teams are self-managing while Scrum Masters embrace their role as servant-leaders. However, this also implies that Scrum Masters fail when they are overly protective.

📺 Join me and explore the consequences of the overly protective Scrum Master and what you can do about it in less than three minutes.

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TL; DR: Essential Agile Failure Patterns — When Noise Interferes with Signal

There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. When Scrum becomes an element of an agile transformation, the following three common essential agile failure patterns prove to be an exceptionally tough nut to crack for any Scrum Master.

📺 Join me and explore the consequences of foreseeable failure patterns and what you can do about them in a little more than seven minutes.

👉 Update: I am running a poll on LinkedIn — join the voting: “What is your top agile failure…


TL; DR: Overcoming Team Limits, The Mediocrity Trap — Food for Agile Thought #295

Welcome to the 295th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,527 peers. This week, we delve into overcoming team limits with Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum. We also dive into an adjacent topic: Team-building in organizations that double the employee count at least yearly, and we analyze some psychological issues that might interfere with the core of agility.

We then share ten compelling reasons why to stay out of meh work. …


TL; DR: The Oversized Product Backlog Problem — When Noise Interferes with Signal

There are plenty of failure possibilities with Scrum. Given that Scrum is a framework with a reasonable yet short “manual,” this effect should not surprise anyone. Neglecting the critical Scrum artifact for continuous value creation is one of the common Scrum anti-patterns. If your Scrum Team strives to make your customers’ lives easier Sprint after Sprint, beware of the oversized Product Backlog.

📺 Join me and explore the consequences of inadequate Product Backlog management in less than three minutes.

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TL; DR: 71 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 71 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. They are derived from my fourteen 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 8,000 times.

🗞 Shall I notify you about articles like this one? Awesome! …


TL; DR: Spotify Model Fallacy, Pirates & Leadership — Food for Agile Thought #294

Welcome to the 294th edition of the Food for Agile Thought newsletter, shared with 31,412 peers. This week, we dissect the Spotify model fallacy. (By the way, Spotify is no longer using product squads.) We also point at the forward-thinking approach of pirates regarding governance and self-management and why some people have difficulties embracing the idea of autonomous action by self-directed individuals.

We then learn the two only ways of pushing back requests to build features to close deals. Moreover, we list core principles that come with experimentation and what it takes to drive the change; finally, we analyze the…

Stefan Wolpers

I have worked for 14-plus years as an Scrum Master, Product Owner, and agile coach. Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with Scrum.org.

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