The Agile Coach's Guide To The Galaxy

  • Product Management

    Team Mission Statements: Get The Most Out Of Yours

    Social and Organizational Psychologist Richard Hackman observed that one of the most crucial components necessary for enabling high performance in teams is that they have a compelling mission. Missions become compelling when they’re clear, coherent with the company vision, aligned throughout the company, and appealing to the team members. So if you’re aiming for empowered teams with high product autonomy (level E-I on the picture below), team missions (expressed through team mission statements) are an absolute necessity that will increase engagement, speed, and impact.   Ladder showing different levels of Product Autonomy, as described by John Cutler. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? There’s one catch though: you need to make sure…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Coaching Teams,  Product Management

    Here’s how you can help teams improve their planning meetings

    About a year ago I worked with a team that wanted to improve their planning meetings. As I observed this team, I noticed that they used their planning meeting for 5 other things. Technical discussions and designing solutions – about features or requirements not a part of the coming Sprint’s backlog. Grooming the backlog – preparing the backlog for the future. Walking the board – progress review and status updates on stories and milestones. Discussing ways to improve e.g. teamwork, process, etc – reviews of how the team works, their process, and collaboration. Off-topic requests for help – team members asking each other for help with work and features unrelated to the…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…