The Scrum Academy gave Sylvia the confidence to set reasonable expectations.

The Scrum Academy gave Sylvia the confidence to set reasonable expectations.

Take Control of Your Destiny & Relieve Your Frustration with a Product Owner Course by The Scrum Academy

In four Sprints, Sylvia’s leadership was able to turn her team into a powerhouse of innovation and quality.

Not too long ago, Sylvia was starting to hate her job.  Stakeholders were unhappy.  Morale was low.  Quality was down.  Everyone was overworked, including Sylvia.

When the Head of Product noticed that Sylvia was the only member of the product team who had not taken a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) course, he suggested she enroll in one.  At first, she didn’t give his suggestion much thought.  That is until two developers on her Scrum Team quit.

This time, the Head of Product became insistent.  Sylvia had to take the course.

Course Size Limited to Twelve People

Sylvia had three requirements for a CSPO course, “One, if I have to spend two days away from work, it had better be a good class.  Two, I don’t want to be just another black square in a Zoom call of fifty people.  Three, I want to ask my instructor questions.”

As she did her research, Sylvia discovered The Scrum Academy was the only provider to cap enrollment at twelve people.  This was different, unexpected.  It felt right.  Without hesitation, she entered her credit card information, paid the $845 and she was signed up for the next course.

An Immersive, Interactive Experience

Within the first five minutes of the course, Sylvia noticed this experience was going to be different and better than she had anticipated.  There was no PowerPoint.  The instructor, Carlton, taught using a variety of interactive activities, games and exercises.  The activities and tools Carlton used were kinda fun!

Later, she would tell her Scrum Team, “This was the only training where I couldn’t split my attention between the class and my regular work… and I didn’t want to!”

Valuable Insights, Practical Frameworks You Can Use

As Carlton began to teach, he said to the group, “Let’s complete a short activity I call, Buy A Framework.  Each one of you has $156.  Use this money to buy the pieces of the Scrum framework that you think are essential for success.  You have a ten-minute timebox for this activity.  At the end of the timebox, we’ll review what each group selected.”

At first, everyone in Sylvia’s group was unsure what to do.  Eventually, they decided to pool their money so that they could buy more pieces of Scrum.  As Carlton facilitated a post-exercise discussion, Sylvia discovered her first insight.  Embedded in this “game” was a framework she could use with her stakeholders to prioritize the big initiatives at her company.  Throughout the course, Carlton would share with Sylvia multiple frameworks to use with her team.

Real World Questions Answered by a Former Product Manager

Prior to the course, Sylvia had watched some YouTube videos about Scrum and read a few articles about Agile product management.   While she had a general understanding of Scrum and product management, what Sylvia struggled with was applying Scrum to her work building digital products.  So Sylvia brought her questions to Carlton and Carlton answered them.

Sometimes, Carlton shared an anecdote based on his work as a product manager or experience as product management consultant.  Other times, he used an interesting metaphor to make a deeper connection to an abstract idea.  Occasionally, he would refer to Scrum Guide.  To every question, Carlton offered a clear, concise answer that blended theory and practice.  By the end of the first day, Sylvia had two pages of new ideas, frameworks and helpful hints to try with her team and product.

No Certification Exam Required

As the second day began, Sylvia started thinking about the CSPO exam.  Her research on the topic had been inclusive, so she asked Carlton this question, “Is the exam hard?”

Carlton answered,  “There is no exam for this course.  To receive your certification all you need to do is three things.  Attend both days, participate in all the activities and accept the license agreement from the Scrum Alliance.  That’s it.”

Learn More Than the Mechanics, Get Inspired

Anyone who is a Scrum trainer can recite the mechanics of Scrum.  But what Sylvia and her team needed was the ability to focus.  Sylvia now understood that her Scrum Team was just going through the motions.  They had not committed to the Spirit of Scrum.

Equipped with this second insight, Sylvia returned to work inspired and motivated to help the team improve their focus.  The Spirit of Scrum gave Sylvia a new vocabulary to talk about change.  This gave her the confidence to explain to her leaders, stakeholders and Developers why Scrum was not working for them.  By talking about values and principles, rather than rules, people listened to her with an open mind.  By adopting an attitude that put the customer first, she was able to change minds.

You Build Better Products When You Use the Entire Framework

Going into the course, Sylvia knew her organization didn’t use all of Scrum.  In fact, they omitted multiple pieces.  With a complete understanding of the framework, Sylvia realized leaving those pieces out made it harder for the business to achieve its goals for the product.

For instance, Sylvia didn’t provide the Scrum Team a Sprint Goal.  The Sprint Goal is the singular objective for the Scrum Team.  It’s the common thread that unites all the work in a Sprint and gives the work meaning.  Without a Sprint Goal, the Developers had no focus; they were just people doing random stuff taken from the top of the backlog.  This was Sylvia’s third insight and she was going to use it to create change.

Stop Being Busy, Start Getting to Done

At the next Sprint Planning meeting, Sylvia proposed an idea, “I’d like us to try something different.  In the past, we worked on stakeholder requests in whatever order they came in.  That meant we were always busy, but never getting to done.  For the next three Sprints, all of us - myself included - are going to commit to a Sprint Goal.  Can we try it out?”

At first, there was silence.  Then, one-by-one the Developers nodded their heads and agreed to give Sylvia’s idea a try.  And the results were surprising.

Create More Focus with Small Changes

With a Sprint Goal, the team had a reason to collaborate.  Instead of a boring meeting about assigning work, Sprint Planning became a collaborative discussion about how the team would collectively solve a problem.  Instead of a series of monotonous status reports that could be done via email, the Daily Scrum became a quick check-in about the team’s collective progress towards their Sprint Goal.  Instead of a messy Product Backlog, Sylvia was able to organize the Product Backlog around themes and objectives desired by the business.

Get Noticed for the Right Reasons

As the experiment progressed, it was clear something was different.  Stakeholders could see progress against goals they defined.  Each Sprint, the team’s focus increased which boosted productivity and quality.  This caused both team morale and stakeholder satisfaction to rise.

One afternoon, the Head of Product inquired about what motivated the change.  Sylvia answered, “My class from The Scrum Academy convinced me that we needed to stop being busy and start getting to done.  The team agreed, so we decided to run a few experiments to increase focus.”

Carlton is an Experienced Product Manager

When people ask Sylvia about Carlton, she tells them that Carlton is extremely knowledgeable, focused on practical solutions, personable and caring.  In addition, she emphasizes Carlton’s twenty-five years of experience working in the software industry as a programmer, Scrum Master, consultant and executive.  This variety of experiences -  especially as a product manager - sets Carlton apart from other Scrum trainers.

Nine Additional Benefits Included with Your Enrollment

  1. All certification and membership fees included in the price.
  2. Two-year free membership with the Scrum Alliance.
  3. Digital copy of your course workbook and any other course materials.
  4. Free copy of Carlton’s book, Fourteen Observations of Good Scrum Practice, an excellent reference for your post-course application.
  5. Comprehensive recommended reading list of books to supercharge your continuing education after your course.
  6. Lifetime of professional support and guidance, just call or send an email if you need some additional help.
  7. Hassle-free cancellation and flexible rescheduling.
  8. Sixteen PDU (for PMP or PMI-ACP).
  9. Sixteen SEU (for Scrum Alliance).

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