Professional Scrum Training Courses
An interactive, activity-based course where students gain a strong understanding of Professional Scrum and the role of the Scrum Master. Through a combination of discussion and exercises, students develop a deep understanding of the underlying principles of Scrum and the Agile mindset while learning the practices applied by successful Scrum Teams.
Students gain an understanding of the critical role that the Product Owner plays on the Scrum Team. Throughout the class, students learn a number of Product Ownership practices that they can use once they leave the classroom while also receiving an introduction to Agile Product Management.
Enables all members of a software-focused Scrum Team to learn Scrum while doing it, experiencing what it is like to build products with modern Agile and DevOps practices.
Course where participants learn about the EBM framework through a series of hands-on, activity-based exercises to help leaders guide their teams toward continuously improving customer outcomes, organizational capabilities, and business results.
Professional Scrum Competencies
Scrum.org has created these Professional Scrum™ Competencies to help guide an individual’s personal development as they learn Scrum.
New and Now at Scrum.org
Resources Describing Scrum Guide Changes
Find a series of resources that discuss and describe the changes between the 2017 and 2020 versions of the Scrum Guide.
Accountabilities of a Professional Product Owner
In this joint whitepaper from Avanade and Scrum.org, we explore the key complexities of Product Ownership and ways to address them.
Measuring Enterprise Agility
Is your organization really agile? How do you know? This whitepaper describes the foundation mindset, actions and behaviors of agile in four simple statements supported by 12 principles.
What Makes Scrum.org Different
Learn how Scrum.org is unique in the market as a mission based organization that provides consistent experiential training around the world.
Professional Scrum Certification Assessments
The Professional Agile Leadership - Evidence Based Management assessment validates and certifies an understanding about how leaders can best support their teams in an agile environment.
New Blog Posts
Every Scrum Team, at some point, will struggle with how to facilitate the Daily Scrum. By using a Kanban Board and Flow Metrics, Scrum Teams can better collaborate on their work, visualize progress towards the Sprint Goal, and form the best plan possible for the day.
In tis blog post, Professional Scrum Trainer Venkatesh Rajamani walks through challenges Scrum Masters face and how to resolve them.
TL; DR: Product Owner Interview Questions: The Product Mindset If you are looking to fill a position for a Product Owner in your organization, you may find the following 82 interview questions useful to identify the right candidate. This 8th set of Product Owner interview questions addresses the product mindset. The questions are derived from my sixteen 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 10,000 times. 🗞 Shall I notify you about articles like this one? Awesome! You can sign up here for the ‘Food for Agile Thought’ newsletter and join 34,000-plus subscribers. 🎓 Join Stefan in one of his upcoming Professional Scrum training classes! The Role of the Product Owner According to the Scrum Guide According to the Scrum Guide, Product Owners have a vital role in the value creation process of the Scrum team: Page 5: The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals. Page 6: The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal. Page 6: The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items. Page 6: The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes ordering Product Backlog items. Source: Scrum Guide 2020. (The aggregation is taken from the Scrum Guide 2020 Reordered.) There is a reason why some refer to the Product Owner role as the “Achilles heel” of the Scrum team or the “single wringable neck.” Take out the Product Owner—by organizational design or choosing the wrong candidate—and Scrum mutates into a pretty solid waterfall 2.0 process. Download the 82 Product Owner Interview Questions Ebook The free 82 Product Owner Interview Questions ebook is not merely listing the questions, but also contains background information on: Why the questions are useful in the process, and… A range of appropriate answers. Two to three questions from each category will provide more than enough ground for an engaging initial 60 minute-long conversation with candidates. PO Interview Questions Set 8: The Product Mindset Becoming an agile, learning organization focused on creating customer value is about developing a product mindset everywhere, from the individual to the C-level. Employing Scrum can be a major stepping stone on this journey when the management empowers Product Owners and is not merely regarding Scrum as a delivery means to ship more features, products, and services within the constraints of the iron (project) triangle. Again, a fully formed and empowered Product Owner is crucial for a transformation success at that level. The following set of questions regarding the product mindset is designed to better understand a candidate’s perspective: Do they probably have what it takes to fill the shoes of the Product Owner role? Q 77: First Principles of the Product Mindset Looking back at your professional experience, can you name some first principles of a Product Owner with a product mindset? This question allows the Product Owner candidate to reflect on their core beliefs of product management in general and the Product Owner role in particular. My top three choices of the first principles of the product mindset are: A successful Product Owner is an agile product manager at heart. Product Ownership is a leadership position in the first place. It is not about churning out deliverables at an ever-increasing speed to maximize the output of the Scrum team. Great Scrum teams abandon the feature factory early. Stakeholder collaboration is essential to becoming a successful Product Owner. Having the final say on the composition and ordering of the Product Backlog does not mean monopolizing the decision-making process. Successful Product Owners learn to lead and delegate early. Q 78: The Product Focus of Successful Product Owners You have worked with Product Owners (and product managers) in the past. How did the successful ones master the challenges of the role? Moreover, where did the less successful ones fail? In my experience, successful Product Owners manage to split their time between different responsibilities and stakeholders without getting lost in details or failing to communicate appropriately while guiding everyone in the right direction: Accomplishing the product vision. The key to achieving this level of alignment among the critical stakeholders is that they know how to delegate decisions while being transparent about the underlying system. Moreover, they include everyone at a meaningful level in the subsequent communication and collaboration, respectively, using the “vision, validation, value” approach. A less successful PO typically fails to have a product mindset and act as a team player. They fail at being product leaders. Instead, they are typically stuck in the scribe mode, refusing to delegate work that others can perfectly handle for them. For example, there is no reason why a PO would create and write all Product Backlog items themselves. In my experience, Developers can author PBi very well. Also, they tend to shield the rest of the Scrum team from communicating with stakeholders, namely customers and users. Establishing these team-internal functional silos — Developers develop and do not talk to customers — often lowers innovation and productivity. Generally, they tend to create a bubble for themselves where falling victim to confirmation bias is not uncommon. They start loving their solution instead of the customers’ problem. Additionally, less successful Product Owners also tend to invest less in creating a product mindset throughout the organization. For example, they rely less on joined work sessions with stakeholders like user story mapping, value stream mapping, or impact mapping. Also, they are less transparent about the status quo and where the Scrum team is heading. Q 79: The Product Mindset in a Quickly Growing Organization Your new product proves to be very desirable in the market, and your organization—and hence the number of Scrum teams and stakeholders—is increasing rapidly in size. So, how do you preserve a product mindset as the responsible Product Owner? Here, the candidate should point at the importance of embracing empiricism, self-management, and autonomy to deliver value to customers within the constraints of the organization while creating a sustainable return on investment for the latter: Embrace self-management as a good way to cope with increasing demands regarding the Product Owner’s contributions. Delegate work to other Scrum team members, particularly regarding Product Backlog management and refinement. Create a transparent system to structure product discovery by including stakeholders. Be transparent about the upcoming work and artifacts to allow for inspection and adaptation. Go the extra mile with stakeholders (internal and external) to ensure their active participation in Scrum events. Generally, foster alignment and collaboration among stakeholders and Scrum team members. Set up and support a training program for stakeholders to understand the needs and opportunities of the product department better. Q 80: Growing the Product Mindset as a Product Owner in Your Organization In what ways can you support your personal growth as a Product Owner if your organization is still stuck in the old ways and far from developing a product mindset? Even the longest journey starts with the first steps. If the “Product Owner” position is currently that of a glorified scribe taking requirements from stakeholders, and you aim to move to the entrepreneur level, I would at least explore the following steps: Convince the organization that becoming a learning organization by applying Scrum in a complex environment is not just a hiring technique but a sound business decision. Achieving business agility will pay dividends for everyone. The best way to do so is to succeed as a Scrum team within the given constraints. Consequently, support your Scrum team on its path to fully embrace Scrum, namely self-management, as the entrepreneur level is focused on product leadership. The groundwork, such as Product Backlog item creation and refinement, will need to be handled by others. Invest in networking within the organization by including stakeholders in the Scrum team’s work, for example, regarding product discovery. The further towards the entrepreneur level a PO moves, the more support they need from the C-level. Be transparent in everything you do. Moreover, be unbiased and non-corruptible at the same time. Be generous in supporting stakeholders in whatever form is necessary, for example, by offering training classes, authoring internal newsletters, or promoting Scrum events within the organization. Q 81: Spreading the Product Focus among Scrum Teammates How can you help other Scrum team members, namely the Developers, develop a product mindset? Speaking with John Doerr, you want missionaries, not mercenaries on your team. To achieve that state, I would recommend taking the following steps: Encourage Product Backlog management by Developers, for example, by ensuring that Developers fully understand the big picture, starting with the ‘Why.’ Possible other Scrum team activities are collaboratively working on Product Goals, customer and user personas, impact maps, user story maps, prototypes, marketing strategies, business plans and models, stakeholder maps/radars, etc. Involve Developers in product discovery activities, for example, user research. (Having Developers observe or talk to customers and users is highly beneficial in my experience.) Encourage everyone on the team to regularly work in customer care to better understand everyday issues our product or service causes. Please note that not all Developers feel comfortable with the idea of investing much time in communicating or collaboration with stakeholders while neglecting to build the product or service. (Some just like to solve puzzles all day long — which is okay as you cannot force people to get involved in these activities.) Q 82: Engaging with Stakeholders to Further the Product Focus So, embracing a “customer problem first” perspective, thus developing a product mindset throughout the organization, seems to be a good bet to create value for everyone. How would you engage with different groups of stakeholders in the process? How have you done so successfully in the past? The question is designed to provide the Product Owner candidate with room to share their experience and shine. Also, it is about understanding whether they have a holistic approach to stakeholder communication and what drives a stakeholder to interact with a Scrum team. Interacting comes in many different forms, from exercising control to pursuing goals (probably also personal agendas) to being kept in the loop. The candidate should have explored some of the following approaches to stakeholder engagement: Engaging with users: Invest in continuous user research, including all Scrum team members. Invite users to Sprint Reviews. Invite users to collaborative exercises, for example, user story mapping, etc. Encourage Scrum team members to work in customer care to understand better user needs regularly. Create a transparent system to support continuous product discovery and invite your users. Engaging with providers: Apply the same rules to providers and contractors that apply to everyone on the team or within the organization. Make providers and contractors “full” team members, down to the level of email addresses. Consequently, do not privilege internal team members over external ones if not mandated for legal or governance reasons. Engaging with governance people: Understand the constraint they are working under; try walking in their shoes. Include the governance people as early as possible in the Scrum team’s work, for example, regarding creating a Definition of Done. Align with them on roadmaps, Product Goals, and other near- and mid-term planning exercises. Know your (governance) stakeholder: The best tech is not necessarily the best solution from a compliance perspective. (In my experience, for example, a continuous delivery capability can turn out to be unnecessary gold-plating and thus waste if a legally required audit takes a week anyway.) Be cautious, though, that some governance stakeholders may be tempted to use your openness to strengthen their position within the organizational power-play. Engaging with influencers: Learn to distinguish between the formal role of “influencer” and the individual that genuinely exercises influence. Sometimes, the formal role bearer and the real influencer are not identical. Invest in networking within the higher levels of the organization to build rapport with prospective influencers and learn early about change coming your way. Keep your friends close, keep your opponents closer. Conclusion: How to Use These 82 Scrum Product Owner Interview Questions Scrum has always been a pragmatic business, and to succeed in this mindset, candidates need to have a passion for getting their hands dirty. While the basic rules are trivial, getting a group of individuals with different backgrounds, levels of engagement, and personal agendas, to continuously deliver value by creating a great product is challenging. The larger the organization is, the more management level there are, the more likely failure in one of its many forms is lurking around the corner. The Product Owner interview questions are not necessarily suited to turn an inexperienced interviewer into an agile expert. However, they support figuring out what candidate has been working in the agile trenches and who’s more likely to be an imposter. (You should avoid inviting candidates from the latter category to a trial.) Hence it’s probably a good idea to look for a pragmatic veteran who has experienced failure—and success—in other projects before and the scars to prove it. Regarding certifications of candidates, I recommend looking out for those with PSPO I, PSPO II, and particularly PSPO III certificates from Scrum.org. 📖 Product Mindset Related Posts Product Owner Anti-Patterns — 31+2 Ways to Improve as a PO 28 Product Backlog and Refinement Anti-Patterns 23 Product Owner Anti-Patterns from Job Ads: The Snitch, the Whip, the Bookkeeper, the Six Sigma Black Belt™ Overruling the Product Owner? — Making Your Scrum Work #21 Peer Recruiting: How to Hire a Scrum Master in Agile Times The Scrum Guide Reordered — understand the Scrum Guide’ patterns and concepts quickly to avoid hiring imposters ✋ Do Not Miss Out and Learn more about The Product Mindset — Join the 11,000-plus Strong ‘Hands-on Agile’ Slack Community I invite you to join the “Hands-on Agile” Slack Community and enjoy the benefits of a fast-growing, vibrant community of agile practitioners from around the world. 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