The Agile Coach's Guide To The Galaxy

  • Agile,  Interviewing,  Product Management

    Thoughts about hiring Product Owners, Part 3

    This is the third and final part of my series on hiring Product Owners and in this part I go through how to evaluate Product Owner candidates with work samples and through auditions. Part 1 – Are You Recruiting For Potential Or Experience? Part 2 – Questions You Can Ask In Your Interviews Part 3 – Work Samples And Auditions  <- This post. Effort and reward Before you decide how to evaluate your candidates consider the amount of time and energy you’re willing to invest to learn about your candidates. Asking for work samples and evaluating them yourself requires little effort while running auditions require the most time and energy but…

  • Agile,  Interviewing,  Product Management

    Thoughts about hiring Product Owners, Part 2

    Continuing my thoughts on recruiting Product Owners, here are some questions that might help you evaluate candidates level of experience from Product ownership, and questions that might help you discover if they have potential to learn the role. Part 1 – Are You Recruiting For Potential Or Experience? Part 2 – Questions You Can Ask In Your Interviews <- This post. Part 3 – Work Samples And Auditions  Please note that: Treat these questions as inspiration and use the ones you think can be helpful to you. This is not a guide to follow step by step. If a candidate is unable to answer these questions it does not necessarily mean…

  • Agile,  Interviewing,  Product Management

    Thoughts about hiring Product Owners, Part 1

    I’m going to publish three blog posts that I hope will help organizations more effectively recruit Product Owners (POs). In the first one (this one) I share my thoughts on how to decide whether to hire for potential or experience. I also share some thoughts on how to reduce bias in your recruitment. In the next two posts, I’m going to share potential questions that you can ask during your interviews, examples of how to conduct practical tests with POs, and how to work with work samples. Part 1 – Are You Recruiting For Potential Or Experience? <- This post. Part 2 – Questions You Can Ask In Your Interviews Part…

  • Agile,  Interviewing,  Product Management

    Questions I ask in Interviews – How do you prioritise your backlog when there’s too much to do?

    Subjective models are charming but hinder clear thinking but are common and easy to understand due to their quadrant nature. In addit,ion they do not require you to motivate your conclusions which makes them charming to many, but unfortunately, this is also what’s inherently flawed with them. If you’re coaching a team e.g org leads team or dev team that uses any form of subjective prioritization model e.g. MSCW, Risk/Value, Urgency/Importance you can help them make a greater impact by introducing them to objective prioritization models. Objective models encourage conversations and creates alignment Objective prioritization models e.g. Kano, CoD, WSJF help members of organizations understand why decisions are made, and what’s…

  • Agile,  Product Management

    The Product Owner Framework

    The Product Owner Framework is a tool for Product Owners that allows them to evaluate their skills and identify areas for growth. Originally created by Daisy Pilbrow and Javier Ubillos, and later developed and expanded by Daisy and myself. The framework is in no way perfect. It’s a work in progress. We created it to help new Product Owners develop their toolbox fast and despite the holes and the eventual inconsistencies here and there we still felt that we wanted to share this with the world. Hopefully it can help others too. Read more about the background here and if you are a PO, take the evaluation here.

  • Agile,  Product Management,  Team Building

    An Epic discovery workshop (and a guide to facilitate it)

    At some point in time most development teams run out of potential epics to do next for a variety of reasons. Alternatively they can find themselves at a road crossing uncertain about which Epic to implement next. If you ever find yourself in either of these situations here’s a 2-hour workshop that you can run with your team. The workshop can also help create alignment in the team which can be useful in case your your team is having difficulties agreeing over what to do next. The questions and examples in this article come from when I facilitated this workshop with one of the teams that I coach, the Network…

  • Agile,  Product Management

    A stakeholder, user, and customer walk into a bar… but what do they order?

    Stakeholders, users, and customers are three distinct roles. Many workplaces that I have been to have used the words stakeholder, user, and customer as if they had the same meaning. I get confused when someone uses the three words interchangeably because they are very different, and for a reason. The purpose of this article is to share my view of the differences between the three roles. To do this, let’s meet Mark, Lloyd, Roger, and Phil from Healthstudio, a private healthcare company that is well known for its outstanding customer service. Meet Mark, the manager for Healthstudio’s call center. At Healthstudio Mark leads the call center that handles everything from…

  • Agile,  Product Management

    What’s the difference between a user story and a use case?

    User stories and Use cases have the same intention. Many years ago I was at a restaurant in Bombay together with two colleagues, Anup and Rama. We were seated outside and waiting for our food. It was windy and on our table was a stack of napkins that almost blew away. Anup flipped the stack hoping that the napkins would not blow away but as the wind kept on blowing the napkins kept on almost blowing away. Over the next couple of minutes Anup would turn the stack of napkins over from one side to the other several times. Finally Rama took a glass and put it on top of…