Johanna Rothman is a force of nature. Every year, in addition to her work teaching, coaching, blogging, and speaking, she writes a book. Well, most years. This year there is a pandemic. Johanna has written five!
I think if you are lucky, you can find people in your industry that you look up to, people who inspire you to dig in a little harder and rise. If you are really lucky, you get to meet these people and know them a little. And if you are really, really, really lucky, they are super fun to interview.
This podcast includes a wide range of topics, including Johanna's new books, staying productive and inspired, leading and empowering people, how being distributed has changed under Covid-19, not losing your *** during the pandemic, and what it might mean for the working world if decide we don't actually need all those office buildings anymore.
The books are here:
You can also buy them individually
The other two books are:
And I've been given some homework:
When organizations begin adopting Agile, there are a number of business areas outside the teams that also have to change in order to create systems that can support this new way of working. Navigating this is always challenging, but it becomes even tougher when you need to have traditional (waterfall) and Agile work happening concurrently. This episode of the podcast features Ross Beurmann who is back to help explain how business planning can support both traditional and Agile time horizons.
This episode also features an update on the conversation Ross, his son Tom and I had recently about the work Tom is doing to create social and legal change in his local government. If you haven’t had a chance to listen, you can check it out here.
To visit Tom’s Facebook site:
Q: How do I get a job as a Project Manager, Product Owner, or ScrumMaster if I have no experience?
This is a question I get asked almost weekly. People are looking for their first gig or trying to figure out what to say in an interview, or just convince themselves they are qualified to do the job. One of the biggest elements of getting your first gig is understanding how the work you have done can be reframed or reevaluated to demonstrate to yourself and others that you actually do have the experience.
This episode of the podcast is an interview with Merchi Reyes. Merchi is outgoing and engaging and he comes from a background that, at first glance, may seem like it has nothing to do with leading teams and project work. And yet, as you’ll hear in the interview, his experience hurling gum into the crowds at Lollapalooza, spinning records as a DJay in Las Vegas, and leading crews who would clean up fallen trees after massive storms, all helped him get a job as a ScrumMaster and Product Owner.
Merchi is a fascinating, engaging guy. I hope you are as inspired but this interview as I am.
In Scrum, everyone is supposed to have one job. You get to be a ScrumMaster, a Product Owner, or a Development Team member. Each team member of the Scrum Team is supposed to be able to totally focus on the role they play. However, in many organizations, they ask people to play more than one role. You might be SM/PO, SM/Dev, or PO/Dev, or in my case (once upon a time), SM/Project Mgr/BA, and since we had no PO, I got to try and be that too… AND IT SUCKED LIKE A FLEET OF VACUUMS!
In every class I teach, there are people who are faced with the daily challenge of playing multiple roles, and more recently I have had a number of students are tasked with being ScrumMaster AND Product Owner at the same time for one team working on one product.
I have very strong feelings about this, and realizing that my responses to this situation are maybe not so flexible and not practical for everyone, I reached out on the Agile Uprising Discord channel if there were people who had succeeded in being SM and PO at the same time, AND if they would be willing to join me for a podcast and share some of their experiences around making the SM/PO gig work.
This episode of the podcast features Andrew Leff, Chris Murman, and Mike Caddell. Over the course of the interview, we discuss the reasons why trying to be SM and PO at the same time is not advised, ways they found to survive it, and it some cases, actually make it work well.
During the podcast, Chris shared a link to https://www.thejobhackers.org which is a great place to go if you are looking to get started with getting experience as a ScrumMaster.
Being a Product Owner is not easy. You are responsible for the success of the product. You have to create enough work to keep up to 9 people busy, stay 2-3 Sprints ahead of them and at the same time, stay completely in sync with the business and constantly be learning more about the customer. It’s a lot. But what happens when you are the PO, and your Manager is spending most of their day acting as BA/PO on your project? Who gets to make decisions? Who do people come to with questions? Who walks the plank if the product tanks? (Trick question - YOU!)
The role of ScrumMaster is just as tough - especially when you work at a startup and the Owner/Founder/KINGOFALLIDEAS keeps coming to you demanding you add new work in the current Sprint and seems frustrated by the fact that your team did not deliver on their forecast in the last Sprint. Whenever you push back on the additional work, you are reminded that part of Agile is being able to adapt.
Note: If your manager/boss/owner spends a lot of their time “helping you”, then you are the target audience for this podcast
Dhaval Panchal from Evolve Agility joins Dave this week to discuss how to cope with the above situations and begin managing up so that you and your team can start delivering on your commitments.