The Corporate Context
As Scrum gets more widely adopted it has become diluted with old corporate patterns. The product owner is considered to be responsible for writing (and knowing!) all the user requirements, and solely accountable for the success of a product, some literature going as far as calling these people the "single wringable neck". The scrum master is cast as some kind of delivery manager, responsible for output and keeping developers on task, and developers are encouraged to continually increase their "velocity".
All of this has nothing to do with Scrum, of course, and happily the 2020 Scrum Guide makes it very clear that the scrum master, developers and product owner are diffrent accountabilities within the same team. Furthermore, the different accountabilities are unlike traditional corporate roles, and indeed play out in somewhat paradoxical ways: a product owner needs to release ownership, a scrum master needs to serve, and developers need to code less and talk more. The scrum team is a collaboratie unit, both within itself and with other teams and stakeholders, and each member is responsible for its success.
Collaboration is not a synonym for communication. Anyone can communicate—just issue a command, or send an email. One-way communication is cheap, and usually ineffective, and yet is our default way of sharing information. Collaboration takes more work, and a great deal of practice. It is the art of dialog, requiring two-way, or multi-way conversations in real time, ideally face-to-face. It requires exploration, visualisation, and even prototyping. Good collaborators never compromise, instead they discover new pathways, discard old ideas, dream new dreams, and join forces to make these visions a reality. This takes real skill—and a very different approach to working than is generally taught on typical certification courses, MBAs, or even in the workplace.
In the course of this workshop, participants will learn how to deeply engage one another through visual exploration, confrontation, dialog, storytelling and real life examples, leading to clear purpose and well-understood, well-crafted product requirements. Specifically, the following topics will be covered.
Comments from Previous Participants
Note: these comments were collected from an earlier version of this workshop, 2017-2021, which had more of an emphasis on the product owner. The current version is around 80% similar in terms of content, but with a focus on the whole scrum team.
"It was an insightful day for me. Through the creative activities I realized once again how important (and yet so often neglected) is the mindful approach to people we work with. Definitely a lot to reflect on especially for those who are on the self-mastery journey." — Natalie Caraman, scrum master, agile coach
"Highly recommend for those interested in developing existing or learning new skills and behaviours to be successful in an Agile environment. This one day workshop provides powerful tools and practical skills to improve project collaboration and team productivity." — Meg Dibb-Fuller, digital and communications professional
"And again, in a smooth and apparently effortless way, you managed to use the topic of the workshop, the collaboration, to create the workshop itself. Just magic. Collaboration is one of those things that we all think we know it, but too often we don't spend enough time to make sure that people around us have the same ideas. In the workshop we experimented this, discovering how a product owner can be at the centre of a collaboration network and where the collaboration space takes place.
The Request/Response model is simple, and in its simplicity relies its power. It is already helping me in visualising my current context better, and its dysfunctions.
Not secondarily, the numerous practical exercises help to understand and experiment the model, and they are something that go straight into my toolbox; I know they will be extremely useful in facilitating other workshops and retrospective.
Thank you so very much for the effort you put in your work." — Davide Aldrovandi, coach, scrum master, listener
"Tobias, your [collaboration] workshop is truly an insightful experience in letting go and creating a space in between, inviting and meeting people in that space, suited for executives, managers, not just product owners." — Frederic Ducros, Chief Transformation Officer, AirAsia
"[This workshop] has left me with profound insight. Now I breathe collaboration, feel into products and connect with their owners. This workshop is an unforgettable experience that drives the hedonic understanding without neglecting the cognitive faculties. Priceless." — Sven Ihnken, scrum master
Content: Tobias Mayer, 2016-2021
Page last updated: 07/10/2022