• Coaching,  Facilitation,  Leadership

    Help workshop groups collaborate better, faster, with the Workshop Collaboration Canvas

    It takes weeks if not months of interactions for a team to really come together and collaborate well. So when we put a group of people who don’t collaborate on a regular basis into a workshop and expect them to solve an important problem in a day or two, that group is unlikely to be operating at their collective best. But since we know this even before going into the workshop, we as facilitators can accelerate the group’s ability to collaborate openly and freely through different exercises. Working Agreements is a popular exercise that helps groups but it alone won’t get the group there because the participants are either not…

  • Agile,  Leadership,  Self awareness

    6 Ways People Resist Becoming T-Shaped — And How To Work Past It

    When people doubt or resist the T-shaped philosophy, it’s easy to assume that they just haven’t understood what being T-shaped means and why it’s valuable. More often than not though, I’ve found that a lack of information isn’t what’s holding people back. In my work with organisations and teams, I’ve come across 6 main reasons why people resist the trend towards being T-shaped. I’ve outlined these reasons for you below and have included some remedies that may help you and your teammates get past any hesitation. 1. Their identity is tied to their role Many people identify with their role. They may have worked with something for many years or…

  • Agile,  Interviewing,  Product ownership

    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…

  • Agile,  Interviewing,  Product ownership

    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. 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 that she does not have the potential to learn fast, it might just mean she hasn’t thought of these things. Most of these questions are explorative and the purpose…

  • Agile,  Interviewing,  Product ownership

    Thoughts about hiring Product Owners, Part 1

    I’m going to publish three blog posts that I hope will help organisations 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. Why am I writing these posts? Many companies try to hire POs (or Product Managers) with “many years of previous experience from the…

  • Agile

    Spread tribal knowledge with History lines

    To help teams share and document tribal knowledge I run/facilitate an exercise I call History lines[1]. In this exercise teams are asked to visualize how different things have changed over time and at the end of the exercise you’ve helped spread knowledge to everyone in the team, the team has drawn new conclusions about their past, and they’ve documented some parts of their tribal knowledge. I’ve found History lines useful when: Team composition changes e.g. when merging or splitting teams or when onboarding several new members in a short period of time Team members have come to rely on specific people for context Bootstrapping new teams Visualize what makes sense…

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