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The key piece of a big puzzle – Product Owner as a Product Master

Transitioning to an Agile approach in product development brings a set of new rules, as well as roles and concepts, and the building of a new culture. One of the most important roles within this process is the Product Owner.

Among many responsibilities that the Product Owner can take over to facilitate development and improve your products are Product Backlog management, overseeing product development and evaluation of the product process, while maintaining the satisfaction of the stakeholders and amazing customer experience. What a juggler and a wizard this person should be!

The career path of the Product Owner

Product development must handle various business goals, a specific group of target customers or users, a set of product features. Furthermore, competition on the market, scalability, UX and UI design, KPIs, and a multiple of other requests. The key person of interest, in charge of taking care of all these goals, is the Product Owner.

He/She should be the one to consider such characteristics and to act with the main purpose to maximize the value of the product. The Product Owner’s responsibility is to be aware of the business goals the product needs to achieve and help adapt the Development Team’s work according to those goals.

According to his/her level of professional experience, the career development path of a Product Owner can be on several seniority levels. Each of them has a strict set of criteria in number of areas that the Product Owner must meet.

At the beginning of his/her professional career Product Owner knows and follows the principles of Agile development. During that stage, PO gather product requirements from the stakeholders and assure that the Development Team is doing the best they can, at all times. Product Owner should be able to understand the product vision but still need to learn how to support stakeholders and customers.

At this stage, still they don’t have to follow good user experience practices while filling out the product road map. However, the Product Owner who is at the beginning of his career path should be able to identify the needs of the customers and to introduce Development Team with them in a clear and comprehensive manner.

While at the beginning of the career Product Owner discusses the goals and vision of the product with the stakeholders. They point to the goals based on product description and works together with the Development Team to understand product requirements, answering questions as best they can, according to their ability. Also, they actively take part in planning, refinements, reviews, etc.

 

When the Product Owner becomes the Master of Products

Maybe at the beginning of their career, Product Owner does not need, to be certified, but for those with proven experience, this is a must. The Product Owner should be certified with a recognized certificate from the international institution, such as the Scrum Alliance, as a proven record of their skills and a validation of their career development.

As with their career development and work practice, Product Owner becomes really independent in their work. At this stage, PO already know how to act in different situations while cooperating with various types of stakeholders. PO involve stakeholders same as the users in the process, inviting them to actively take part in the development of the product, giving constant feedback and bring new ideas on product features.

The Product Owner prioritizes the Product Backlog based on business value. They translate the general Product vision into specific product features and implement long-term planning through regular road mapping. With the experience, they already have, they must prepare and lead refinements and do the planning within their Team.

While taking care of the stakeholders’ interests, Product Owner also keeps the users’ needs in focus and makes sure that product meets their requirements as well. They discuss and define those requirements, accepting potential changing requests. From this reason he/she works with the UX designers to deliver user-friendly experience, and to help the Team understand those requirements.

As a master of the product, an experienced Product Owner is a professional who is able to introduce his team with a new and useful tools and practices. With the knowledge and expertise, he/she actively supports the stakeholders from the business point of view, explaining potential product’s opportunities and risks. Furthermore, they stay up to date with the newest trends in a product development and know how to give add value to both – the stakeholders and customers, based on their knowledge.

What is the next level for Product Owners?

If you are already a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), with a proven record in product development you might be interested to in-deep your knowledge, skills and practices taking a program such as Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner.

As a Certified professional, you have already been introduced to Scrum values, practices, and applications. You understand how to provide a level of knowledge and expertise above and beyond that of typical product managers. Incorporation of Scrum values and Agile principles into your world of work takes diligence, patience, and a commitment to continuous improvement, since you understand that Agile is a life-long journey and never-ending process.

That’s why you should consider to further enhance your knowledge and skills, and the next reasonable step is obtaining an Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) certification from the Scrum Alliance. As an experienced Product Owner, with additional experience of a consultant, program and project manager, and technical leader you will have strong benefit by joining the program.

What is best about this? A-CSM program is an advanced workshop and it is ideal for a Certified Scrum Product Owner who has one or more years of work experience in that role. Attending this program is an opportunity to build on your foundational knowledge with enhanced implementation skills, as well as to distinguish yourself in the global marketplace. Nevertheless, to demonstrate advanced value to your team and organization as a highly trained Agile professional.

 

Will this be the end of your career path into the world of the products?

The answer is no, because you can continue with further scaling of your Product Owner mastership, whether you would like to stay in product development practice, or you are maybe more interesting in training and coaching. From both perspectives, there are some challenging choices you can take in your further professional development.

Speaking about practice, you can go with some of the Scaled Scrum Product Owner programs, which are appropriate for anyone who is interested in becoming a Chief Scrum Product Owner. If your ambitions are going into this direction, and you would like to be able to coordinate activities of multiple Product Owner in complex environment, you should think about this option.

If your ambitions are going more into direction of coaching, choices are multiple, too. Starting with a Certified Scrum Product Owner Professional, you can continue with further scalability into the leaders of Scrum Alliance, as long you reach the highest rank – Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). But even after that, it won’t be the end, because learning about products is never-ending process.

Just like a Scrum Master can take CSPO certification, you can do the same, as well. That does not necessarily mean that you will ever work as the Scrum Master, however, you can jump into his shoes and understand more clearly your Scrum Master and what he/she stands for.

Many companies will offer to pay for you to obtain certifications, especially once you have proven yourself as a successful in product development. Even more, much and more companies are be ready to pay to have you if you are already certified, since this is the best record of all your achievements and professional self-development. Why don’t you make yourself really marketable, become the Master of the Products today!

The role of HR in Agile transformation

The role of HR in the transformation of the organization is significant. There are two aspects that we can consider and discuss: Agile for HR and HR for Agile.

Agile HR deals with the application of agile principles, methods, and ways of thinking within its teams and projects.

At the global level (primarily in America and Europe) Agile HR is accepted in more and more organizations that are on the path of agile transformation. The implementation of this concept records success with the formation of a self-organizing multidisciplinary team. This kind of organization in which greater powers and responsibilities are given leads to greater employee satisfaction and consequently (a good voice is heard far and wide) attracts new talents.

Based on the successful Agile experience, the Agile HR manifesto was defined with six key values:

  • Collaborative networks over hierarchical structures
  • Transparency over secrecy
  • Adaptability over prescriptiveness
  • Inspiration and engagement over management and retention
  • Intrinsic motivation over extrinsic rewards
  • Ambition over obligation

The benefits of the Agile way of doing business are visible very quickly if the basic recommendations are applied in daily work. Agile HR enables experimentation, and step-by-step progress, tolerating mistakes and learning from them. Each team needs to find a framework that works for them, depending on the number of people, industry, culture, and business needs. Sometimes, different tools can be combined to constantly improve. The best approach should be originated through a cycle of testing and learning.

Agile HR does not have to work in an Agile organization to apply this operating model to modernize the profession.

But, if the entire organization is ready for an agile transformation, then the HR for the Agile aspect is applicable. In this case, HR helps and supports a complex business transition.

An agile business is a set of values and principles and includes various concepts, i.e. “framework” that can be chosen depending on the teams and needs. The most well-known and accepted is the Scrum framework, which helps teams generate value through adaptive solutions to complex problems. This framework had the greatest application in the IT industry, back in the eighties of the last century, but it is unstoppably expanding into other industries: finance, insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing industries, etc. The idea is simple: when you define a goal, you need a TEAM, which joins together to achieve the goal with each member contributing to the progress. It is important to note that teams must be able to self-organize and make independent decisions in their domain, and synchronize with other members at (usually) bi-weekly meetings called “sprints”, when a “review” or overview of achievements and planning for the next period.

Companies that had successfully implemented the concept of Agile business have specific organization charts. New positions and roles in the Agile company are Scrum Master and Product Owner (currently “top-in-demand” globally), which HR should include when planning a new organizational scheme.

However, the implementation of the “framework” is only part of the Agile transformation. What is often a deal-breaker is the culture of the organization. Behavior, leadership style, structure, and organizational processes require change and the application of comprehensive “change management” for this way of working to be successful. The key and critical element of the satisfactory application of agile practices is open communication, which HR advocates. It is known that HR helps employees to honestly (not just declaratively) feel supported, secure, and free to take initiatives so that they are motivated to express their full potential.

Since there are different types of organizations in Serbia, before deciding on Agile transformation, it is recommended to perform an assessment of the company climate and the maturity of the teams. The good practices certainly speak in favor of the Agile way of doing business, whether at the sector or corporate level.

Start with a small test, learn and let the Agile way of doing business modernize you and move you forward.

Learn more about it at Agility in HR (ICP-AHR) certification training

The journey of Scrum Master – diving into the practice

Scrum Guide precisely defines what a Scrum Master is and what are their main responsibilities. However, still, there are numerous discussions regarding this role and which hard and soft skills needed to make a successful Scrum Master. That’s why we thought it would be great if we talk about the journey of Scrum Master..

Do you remember famous quotation: “It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!” Do you think Scrum Master look alike him a bit? What kind of roles he/she should act? Servant Leader? Facilitator? Coach? Some even say Scrum police. It is obvious that the Scrum Master should be many roles at once.

So, what does a Scrum Master actually do? How does their workday look like? Also, does their daily routine change as they engage with more teams? These are some interesting questions, probably very well known to those with deep experience in this role, but let’s talk a few words on this at the beginning.

Scrum Master as per book

A Scrum Master is a Teacher, Coach, Mentor, Learner… We have mentioned this at the beginning, so just to confirm. As per definition, the Scrum Master empowers the team to perform, achieves this goal serving the people, rather than leading them. That’s why the Scrum Master is often called the Servant Leader.

As a servant leader, the Scrum Master’s main responsibility is to facilitate value delivery by removing roadblocks that making progress becoming slow or out of the track. Furthermore, Scrum Masters are often considered team coaches, those who train the people, improving their skills and performances. This is how Scrum Master builds a culture of an organization, by learning teams Scrum values and principles.

The Scrum Master is the person in the team who is responsible for managing the process and only the process! They don’t have the power over the team, and they are not involved in the decision-making. Still, they have the authority guiding the team through the Scrum process with their experience and expertise.

The day of the Scrum Master

Scrum Masters are working closely with the team, celebrating the success and failures together, trying to bring things on track wherever things go off track or people forgetting Scrum values. Whether they are doing Scrum ceremonies or building a team culture, they share all the goals of their team, they are the main support that enables the team to achieve the goals.

The Scrum Master facilitates all Scrum meetings, Sprint Planning, Review, Retrospective, and Daily Scrums. Daily Scrum meetings are his/her common routine, and Scrum Master is there to appoint the team purpose of Daily’s. So, he/she should help the team(s) stay focused on the purpose of Scrum, and this is process improvement. Daily Scrum should have a limit to up to 15 minutes, but this should not be a strict rule.

Together with the Product Owner, they should realize other Scrum meetings, involving them as well, but facilitation is still in the hands of Scrum Master. Depending on how much they are engaged with the stakeholders, Scrum Master should be the bound between the Product Owner and the team. They should have a regular meeting and sync ups, especially when the Product Owner misses some of the meetings.

Scrum Master is working on Sprint Reviews, by setting up a scene for every team. It is a time when whole team members gather together in one place, even stakeholders if possible. This is how they receive feedback from all departments at once. These meetings are at the end of the Sprint where the Scrum team and all the stakeholders get together and discuss accomplished tasks and which of the Sprint goal has been met.

While Sprint Review is a discussion about what the team is building, Sprint Retrospective has more focus on how they’re building it. Sprint Retrospective often goes after the Sprint Review, and they serve to help the team improve by identifying issues and determining action items that will help solve them. Scrum Master has a leading role in preparing both of the Scrum ceremonies.

To achieve all Spring goals, the most important is Sprint Planning. It should take up to 8 hours the most of each Sprint and Scrum Master has to take care to achieve the team’s better collaboration and more effective communication on these events. As a great facilitator, he/she understands the goals the team has to commit. Using leadership tools and techniques makes sure the team understands them as well, training them.

As a Coach Scrum Master is responsible for managing the process of how information flows. The Scrum Master is like a leader for his Scrum team in his daily practice, for a single team or a multiply teams. In a part of its day, Scrum Master should up to date the team with everything that is taking place inside the workplace, help them with the obstacles, resolve impediments. The journey of Scrum Master is full of challenges.

So, it is best if you determine your daily routine and your own practice, whether you choose to do facilitating, problem-solving, or just sitting with the team, and watching them in progress. Although seems simple, it is not such an easy thing to be an outstanding Scrum Master. You can become this whether through very good practice and challenges or though mastering your skills in some of the advanced programs.

What beyond the role – how to Advance Scrum Master journey

If you are already a Certified Scrum Master and have built your base on Scrum values, practices, and applications, then getting an Advanced Certified Scrum Master certification should be the next step of your Agile journey. As a person in charge for changes, you should change yourself.

With your experience, you know how much change can be difficult, and how much it is challenging to implement changes. But your role is to question and even challenge the initiative within your organization, helping it to become more successful. That’s why you always need new techniques, ideas or approaches to support your mission in resolving impediments.

Programs such as an Advanced Scrum Master equips you with the knowledge to implement the Scrum framework for Agile and Lean project management. Furthermore, it includes Agile coaching, Agile facilitation, service delivery, as well as setting up and managing the Scrum lifecycle.

It can also enable you with a big picture of how to make Scrum teams more productive in the workplace. The same as on how to bring changes in the organization for the adoption of Scrum and Agile principles. An Advanced Certified Scrum Master Certification can help you further upskill yourself with the latest Agile tools and techniques.

What is best about this? A-CSM programs are the most common practice-based, with a lot of case studies and experience sharing. Ultimately it makes you ready to help the team to solve problems, protect them from external interference and irritation. Furthermore, help them improve their performance and leap over each other’s tasks.

Is this the end of the journey of a Scrum Master?

The answer is no, it actually depends on your own interests and ambitions. There are three options you can take. For example, if you take Advanced Scrum Master course, you can continue to develop your career becoming a Certified Scrum Professional, Team Coach or a Scrum Trainer, if you have that kind of passion!

Otherwise, you can continue to nurture Scrum career, becoming an outstanding Scrum Master, amazing speaker, lecturer or writer, sharing your experiences. If you want to go beyond Scrum, but you don’t like to climb the leathers, you can certify yourself for a Product Owner as well. Scrum does not prescribe this, because it considers these should be divided roles. However, you can understand much better your Product Owner and his position.

As you can see, there are a lot of options and opportunities. The future is promising for sure. Scrum is rising star and Scrum roles are its sparkles. It’s not a joke, Scrum roles belong to the jobs of the future, they are future actually. Scrum Master, as a quick fact, has mentions on the LinkedIn as one of the most promising jobs of 2023.

Are you ready to take this journey? Jump in, the right time is today! Sign Up via link.

5 reasons to attend Regional Scrum Gathering 2023

This year, the Regional Scrum Gathering Balkans℠  will be organized in Belgrade! This is one of the biggest Agile events in the SEE region and it will be two full days of learning, networking, inspiration, and fun. So, book your dates: 16 – 17th of November.

If you were a previous year’s participant, you don’t need too much persuasion. Therefore, let us remind you briefly:

#1 Live Event
RSG conference will be a live event this year – we all know that contact in person is irreplaceable, so YES to continual networking!

#2 Interact with great Agile Minds
RSG conference is a place where you can meet and talk with the greatest Agile Stars, so YES to interactive practical conversations with all Agile Superstars!

#3 Career boost
RSG conference will help you grow your Agile career because you will learn valuable and useful lectures and panels and you will collect SEU points, so YES to continual professional improvement.

#4 See & Be seen
Mingle with like-minded people and enjoy during interactive workshops and fun breaks! So, YES to interactions and energy exchange.

#5 Fun
After official conference time, explore Belgrade tourist attractions. So, YES to Belgrade

Check out our speakers and topics: Regional Scrum Gathering Balkans 2023

#networking #agileserbia #belgrade #scrumalliance #agile #regionalscrumgathering #agilemindset

Experience Serbia and Belgrade

New workforce trends and HR agility

The whole world is facing the “Great resignation” phenomenon when more than half of the employees are looking for a new job or are planning to do so in the near future.

Why is this happening?

The pressure for results is transferred to all hierarchical levels and no matter how much you want to be a good employee; you can’t manage to complete all the tasks. This creates stress and the famous “burnout”, which is cited as the main reason for mass resignations, even in conditions of inflation and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. There is also a shift in perception about life, values, and life priorities, fueled by a harsh awareness of the speed and transience of life. Many, who had lost their closest family members, and friends, or had severe symptoms of the disease had experienced an “awakening”. People are re-examining their lives and do not accept that the dominant segment is work. “I don’t live to work, but I work to live”.

What should employers do to adapt?

Everyone knows what the word agile means – fast, nimble, swift, dexterous. That word is gaining value nowadays when changes are happening so fast, that this trait has become not only desirable but necessary for survival. And we all had the real test during the Covid 19 pandemic, which taught us that both the system and the people must be adaptable. It was this global crisis that gave birth to a “new reality” and new trends in the labor market.

All this means that the time has come to change the relationship and the way of working, to make the system sustainable. Employers face a new challenge – how to find and retain a quality workforce? Due to new life priorities, employees have now become more demanding, pickier, and less tolerant. That is why it is not unusual for them to change employers even in periods shorter than a few years. It is a long pastime that one should wait for retirement in one (first) company because now the dominant belief is that “new blood” in the organization brings new experiences, a new perspective, and new energy.

This process of adapting to the new demands of employees will last until it is shown in practice which model is the most acceptable. New employees value themselves, and their time. That is why “remote” work, flexible working hours, private health insurance, and the like appear more and more on the list of desirable benefits. The focus is on results while accepting different work styles i.e. accepting diversity, and if this is not recognized in the form of promotions or rewards for achieved results, the option of changing the company is open. It is important to understand that employees are replaceable, but also employers if they don’t fulfill the initial agreement and promises.

Inevitably, trends in the labor market are changing and the question is how to organize in the future?  The solution lies in the new business paradigm that continuously adapts to new requirements. The good news is that there is a model according to this principle, but the bad news is that the success of the implementation depends solely on the team that implements it.

Why does HR need to be agile?

The agile business was born precisely because of the rapid changes and the development of technologies so that they need to deliver “value” in shorter periods appeared. The project, which is defined for two years, becomes the “big picture” that is still being pursued but is broken down into shorter periods in which a “sub-project” that can live independently should be implemented. To make it clearer, we will compare it with an example familiar to everyone: if a music album is being prepared, the artist will not wait to record all 10 songs but will release singles one by one. The point is to create wholes that have value for the user and deliver successively those small values ​​in stages. Thus, on the one hand, the development towards the realization of the big goal is monitored and problematic delays in parts are solved on the fly, and on the other hand, costs are optimally managed (because you are already earning from the delivered parts). Sounds good?

The future of successful organizations is to be Agile, i.e. less hierarchical – more cooperative, less reactive – more proactive, and for that the teams need to be empowered, independent, and ready for continuous personal improvement and learning. Because the greatest value to the company is provided by enthusiastic employees.

Learn more about Agility in HR from  excelent HR consultant, Facilitator & Agile Coach  Ilija Popjanev at double-certified Agility in HR (ICP-AHR) certification training.

What is the VUCA world?

Today, we live in the so-called “VUCA” world, which is an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.

Bob Johansen, of the Institute for the Future, mentioned VUCA in the business world in his book  „Leaders Make the Future“. He used it to explain the turbulent and unpredictable changes that are impacting organizations, and he stressed new skills, approaches, and behaviors are necessary to manage the four VUCA threats.

Volatile means a high level of instability and high dynamics of change. It involves a lot of unpredictable situations and resists our need for control. It is often perceived as negative, but it can also bring sudden positive changes. To overcome Volatility, create a clear vision of the future and then set your team members flexible goals that can be amended if necessary.

Uncertainty means a situation in which we do not have enough information to predict the result and do not know what impact our activity will cause. Then, we cannot properly plan the achievement of goals, because we do not know what will happen next, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this case, it is important to listen, analyze and evaluate performance to understand the situation. The aim is to anticipate possible future threats and generate foresight to prepare your responses.

Complexity means a large number of parts that interact with each other, such as e.g. social groups or markets. In such systems, prediction and control are difficult, because a change in one variable can affect others unpredictably and create a completely unexpected response. Competitive advantage in complex systems requires the ability to sense, shape, and exploit new opportunities. Simply, continuous improvement is no longer enough. The best way is to react to complexity with clarity – communicate clearly with people and promote team collaboration.

Ambiguous means a lack of clarity on how to interpret the situation, because the information is incomplete or even contradictory. Because it is open to more than one interpretation, there is no obvious meaning. Context plays a key role and if the perspective changes, new information necessary for decision-making can be revealed. This can also be a source of innovation but requires a high level of creativity and observation skills to identify new ways of interpretation. If you want to counter Ambiguity to promote flexibility and adaptability – plan, but be prepared to adapt your plans.

Organizations, and people in general, are afraid of a “VUCA” environment because they feel they are losing control. If we can’t predict the future, if we don’t understand the situation or if we don’t know how it will affect us, we feel insecure.

Although the VUCA world seems difficult to escape, it is possible to manage your team and mitigate the risks and negative effects. Learn more about different management styles required, and adapted to the complex environment.

Why does QA become an amazing Scrum Master?

Living and doing Agile isn’t easy. It’s a completely different philosophy that includes so many specific aspects and roles. In this mindset, besides the roles, like  Scrum Masters and Product Owners, we must not forget to mention perhaps the most important – the Development team.

„Scrum is a mindset, culture, and philosophy, not just a fixed set of practices. So, observing, listening, and not interfering are the most important aspects of a great Scrum Master’s job.“

Testers (Quality Assurance) are not necessarily a part of an Agile team, but they are very crucial. Actually, the role of one tester in the Scrum team includes different activities that ensure and provide important feedback not only on test progress, status, and product quality but also on process quality. Among these activities is understanding, implementing, and updating the general Agile Test Strategy.

But, how about Scrum?

In Scrum, each Sprint is quite distinctive. Planning, running tests and analyzing results must be done by the testers. They have complex work, but also a satisfying one. QA testers are one of the key links in the chain of creating new software or games, because their task is to test them to identify all possible problems and bugs and help the company avoid the catastrophe that would occur if they started selling the product. We can say that a QA tester is like a chef who must first try each dish before serving it to the customer to make sure all the flavors are perfect.

So, the main role of the QA tester is therefore to remove all shortcomings and flaws from the products being tested so that it is easy and intuitive to use – as its users expect. But, in practice, we see that more and more often QAs become Scrum Masters. Why is that?

#1 QAs spent years working within Scrum/Agile/Kanban methodologies

#2 QAs are analyzing all aspects of one idea/project

#3 QAs know the value of creating feedback with stakeholders

#4 QAs can see problems in the system

#5 QAs see that small changes in the project can make a big impact if they aren’t previously tested

#6 QAs know how to explain in details each segment of testing and why is their role so important

#6 QAs are also good at monitoring and coaching, so the Scrum Master role is valuable for these segments as well as for their career

#7 QAs know that their Scrum Master certification is very significant in Agile world and the experience of testers gives that certification a wider meaning


Why is June your and our month?

Being a great Scrum Master is a piece of art. But in time, it gets easier, as well as more challenging. That’s why you can get valuable knowledge from proven Professionals in Agile world. Book 5th – 7th June for Certified Scrum Master Course

Are you ready to upgrade your career?

This article is inspired and published on Testing is believing and Near Shore blogs. Thank you for your inspiration and guidelines.

Agile for Beginners: “Product Owner”, The Owner of product success and client satisfaction (PART 1)

PART 1

“Product Owner” – The Owner of product success and client satisfaction

An agile organization that implements Scrum has clearly defined roles and responsibilities, but also a completely new way of defining success.

While in a traditional organization, we achieve success after the completion of the project, in an agile organization we achieve and deliver “partial success” in phases. That means that teams focus on priorities and the most important items of the product, which they deliver in the first stage, and therefore it is possible to offer clients a functional product – but with certain limits. In the agile development of a new product, first, a basic model with minimum functionality is delivered, it is tested on the market and if a positive response is received, the team continues with further development and adds options that will attract a broader target group.

Business agility is applicable to all industries, although it was the most common and applicable in the IT environment (due to fast and frequent technology changes). The process of developing a new product is the same for each company, but what makes the difference between an agile and a traditional organization are:

– Business positions/roles,

– Responsibilities and powers of team members,

– Iterative status checks with alterations according to new information.

In an agile organization, the following key roles are defined: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development team (which is cross-functional and consists of usually up to a maximum of 10 different team members necessary for product development).

Product owner” – also known as a Product Champion, Value manager…

The Product Owner is a person who understands the client’s needs and turns them into a vision that needs to be communicated to the team, by breaking it down into stages and priorities so that product development can be monitored.

Everything starts with a good understanding of the client /buyer’s needs, which is obtained during numerous interviews. In this phase, a Product Owner becomes a detective who must find out what the client/customer wants and what is the most important to them. This is a crucial phase because, in practice, misunderstandings often occur, and therefore open communication is needed when defining expectations and realistic deadlines. The entire process of communication with the client and, ultimately, his satisfaction depends on accurate synchronization.

When the research part is finished, the Product Owner becomes a visionary, because he creates a product vision that will be a guide for all team members involved in development. It is very important to explain to the whole team why something is being done and what their contribution is so that they feel included.

The next step is to create a detailed plan for the long-term that lasts from 2 to 5 years, to the short-term at the sprint level – which lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. Then he becomes a caring supervisor who takes care of meeting deadlines and fulfilling client requests.

Employee experience

A few years ago, companies were mainly customer-centric. Times and business objectives have changed, and organizations are now becoming also employee-centric because they’ve recognized that the employee experience directly affects their business outcomes. How productive, effective, and engaged people are at work directly affects everything from workplace culture to profit to growth.
Studies show that the organizations that invest the most in the employee experience are then more likely to be rated the best places to work, lead on innovation and achieve great customer satisfaction.
Great employee experience translates into great business results and that is why organizations need to keep their employees happy, connected, engaged, and safe, both physically and virtually.

What is employee experience?

From the moment someone looks at your job ad, to the moment they leave your company, everything that worker learns, does, sees, and feels contributes to their employee experience.

The company’s physical workspace, culture, and technology are all important components of the employee experience, aka EX.

With unprecedented changes to our society, economy, and business, the way employees experience work has become more important than ever before. Yet as critical as it is to an organization’s ability to navigate disruption, transformation, and economic uncertainty, research from Deloitte shows that only 9% of business leaders believe they are very ready to address the issue.

How to improve the employee experience?

As a new fire travels along their employee journey to their eventual exit from the organization, there are a few things that will shape their employee experience.

Culture – it is the vibe that you feel when you come into work – it can motivate or stifle, energize or drain, empower or discourage their employees. It is a mixture of leadership style and organizational structure, sense of purpose, and the mixture of personalities who work with you.

Technology – invest in suitable tools for the employee to get their work done efficiently, with future developments in mind. The technology landscape is so vast, that it’s easier than ever to give employees what they need to maximize their efficiency and make them more confident in their roles.

Workspace – Employees who are happy in their work environment will concentrate better, have improved well-being, and will be more productive. And the physical workplace is not necessarily always in the office: autonomy to work from home or in multiple workspaces can also contribute to a positive employee experience.

Anytime you make a strategic decision inside of your company run it through these three things: how it is going to impact how your employees feel, how it is going to impact the resources they have access to do their jobs, and how it is going to impact the space in which they work.

Feedback – Organisations should invite regular input from employees to measure satisfaction and ensure healthy employee engagement. Learn about what your employees are doing every day and try new ways to simplify work and improve productivity and performance.

5 critical areas impacted by the employee experience
Employee engagement and employee satisfaction

The employee experience directly affects how engaged and satisfied employees are. When employees have work experience that works well for them, their workflows are more streamlined and they can do their jobs more easily and effectively. Those with a positive employee experience are also more motivated to engage with their work, their team, and their organization as a whole. That can take the form of putting in extra effort on the job, staying up to date with company news, and/or seeking out better processes or ways of working.

This is why many employers and HR departments keep an eye on their employee engagement metrics.
Talent recruitment

Today’s candidates aren’t just looking for lucrative jobs, but for meaningful work. As potential employers vet them, they too are vetting companies. Beyond company review sites like Glassdoor and anonymous workplace discussion apps, it’s common for prospective employees to scrutinize benefits, sustainability practices, and diversity, equity, and inclusion policies during the hiring process.

A positive employee experience and strong shared culture can create employee advocates across all these categories and platforms, attracting more candidates and giving companies more access to top talent.

Employee retention

Just as employee performance is judged from day one, employees are also evaluating their new company from the start of the onboarding process. Companies that are slow to grant access to the necessary systems, servers, tools, and information their people need for work is reducing productivity and creating a negative impression from the start. Some studies have shown that as many as 40% of newly recruited employees leave their jobs within 6 months—something that makes the HR employee experience more challenging.

The Harvard Business Review has identified common reasons why people leave, including better opportunities for career development, culture challenges, salaries, job shifts, and supervisor relationships. All of these are facets of the employee experience.

Customer experience

The correlation between employee experience and customer experience (CX) is undeniable. According to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their competitors by 147% in earnings per share. Research from Glassdoor also supports this correlation, with the company stating that “on average, a 1-point increase in Glassdoor company rating is associated with a 1.3-point increase in customer satisfaction. Even marketing industry experts recommend that if brands want to improve their customer experience, they start by making improvements to their employee experience.

Profitability
When it comes to linking employee experience with business impact, the numbers don’t lie. Studies from an array of industry-leading consultancies, institutions, and companies show clear links between EX, profitability, and business success:

Statistics on employee experience (EX) and profitability

• Companies that score in the top 25% on employee experience report a 2x return on sales and nearly a 3x return on assets – IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute
• EX leaders have 25% higher profits than competitors with poor EX – MIT
• EX leaders have 4x higher average profits, 2x higher average revenues, 40% lower turnover, and 24% smaller headcount – Jacob Morgan for SHRM
• EX leaders beat out the average S&P by 122% – Accenture
• Disengaged employees can cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year – Gall

If you want a thriving workforce, successful business, and happy customers, you need to start with your employees. How you treat them will have a knock-on effect that ripples throughout your company. It’s time to examine your employee experience and, where necessary, get started on making positive changes. Today.

Thank you for inspiration:
https://blog.jostle.me/blog/employee-experience
https://firstup.io/blog/employee-experience-what-it-is-and-how-to-improve-it/

How to be a SUCCESSFUL manager in an AGILE environment?

Author: Vladimir Kelava

Today, we live in a world where a change in the business environment has become a constant, driven by factors such as e.g. globalization and world economic challenges. Many organizations, therefore have a big problem adapting to the challenges of today’s international business world.

Globalization means that impact from one side of the planet can have unpredictable consequences around the world, transmitted almost in real-time. Instability and constant change pressure decision-makers to act in a much shorter timeframe than most leaders would like.

To succeed in such an environment, organizations must accept change as a constant and reflect it through the processes, structure, and technologies they use. This requires great flexibility and an accelerated pace of decision-making.

With all that in mind, we can conclude that the traditional approach to management should be replaced by an approach that accepts today’s challenges. The traditional approach to management leads us to a linear way of thinking where everything has its cause and effect and in which we approach the management of the organization as if it were a machine in a predictable environment, assuming that improving the whole requires monitoring, repairing and replacing individual parts.

Today, more than ever, we need to replace the “cause and effect” way of thinking with the so-called complexity thinking approach where we see the organization as a whole (complex adaptive system) made up of “parts” that interact with each other, intertwine and, in the end, give a unique end result. Organizations must embrace change and explore future opportunities – these are some of the essential characteristics of an agile organization.

The traditional management and leadership style does not fit into the modern environment. Some research even shows that “old-style” managers are one of the biggest obstacles to agile transformation in many cases due to fear caused by not knowing their role in an agile environment. Management 3.0 actually gives us an answer to the question: What is the role of management in an agile environment?

Let’s put things this way – you work as a manager in a company that has decided to implement the Scrum framework. After some time, success, failure, and happy and sad moments, one day you realize that you have succeeded! You have successfully “implemented” Scrum!

Ok, not everything is 100% perfect… However, retrospectives give results that guarantee continuous improvement.

You don’t have to prioritize work anymore – that’s now the role of the Product Owner. You don’t have to worry about the process anymore – that’s the role of the Scrum Master now. There is no need to tell the team how to organize things – the team is self-organizing.

Um? What then is the role of management in an agile environment?

There are six areas to focus on: energize people, empower teams, align constraints, develop competence, grow structure, and improve everything. Each of these six areas represents a separate view of the Management 3.0 model.

People are the most important “parts” of any organization and therefore management activities must be directed towards keeping people active, creative, and motivated. Self-organizing teams are one of the foundations of an agile environment, and therefore empowerment and management trust must be present in everyday work.

Self-organization does not know good and bad and can lead us to many things, and to avoid self-organization in the wrong direction, it is necessary to give teams a clear purpose and defined goals. Teams cannot achieve defined goals if team members are not sufficiently competent, and precisely because of this, management activities must contribute to the development of competencies.

Today, teams are in a complex environment (organization) and therefore it is important to consider organizational structures that improve communication and facilitate daily work. The environment we are in brings change as a constant and because of this people, teams and organizations must continuously improve to avoid failure.

Learn more about this topic at upcoming Management 3.0 Foundation Workshop.