Jens Oliver Meiert

Professional Agile Leadership (PAL) Reminders and Resources

Post from January 29, 2020 (↻ September 27, 2020), filed under .

Beside training and certification for the standard Scrum roles like Developer, Scrum Master, and Product Owner, Scrum.org also offers training and certification for other topics. This includes agile leadership, through what Scrum.org calls Professional Agile Leadership (PAL).

Over the course of the last months I have taken a really deep dive into Scrum, and given my priorities I identified PSM (Professional Scrum Master) and PAL as areas I liked to be so familiar with as to also go through respective certification.

PAL, however, was challenging, and it took even more deep-diving to be ready for the exam. To counter the lack of solid online documentation I’m here sharing some key points as well as all relevant Scrum.org documentation that should help you have it a little easier.

I assume no responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the following materials. If you spot something that’s wrong or missing, would you let me know?

Reminders and Key Points

In this section you find some points that may be touched on in the PAL assessment. They’re just light reminders, however, and for effective preparation please consult the resources that then follow.

Remember that the unexpected will happen, and that that’s acceptable as long as one learns from it.

The complex domain is where more is unknown than known.

Depending on the maturity of the team, agile leaders delegate responsibility.

An agile leader makes sure teams have what they need to succeed, and helps remove any impediments to them.

Maintain the option to run experiments to test the market and learn about needs and options.

Keep in mind that technical alternatives can also be evaluated in experiments.

Remember that the team should commit to the Sprint Goal, not to Product Backlog items.

To get an idea of the status of each team, teams can be asked to come up with a workable way to share Sprint Goals and accomplishments during each Sprint.

In order to know what and how a team is doing, also use Product Backlog Items (PBI) and what is being improved as a result of Sprint Retrospectives.

For justified, repeated disruptions it’s useful to reassign that work or transfer knowledge to do the work to individuals outside the Development Team.

Teams that lack engagement may be helped by sharing a product vision that they can connect to.

When the allocation of performance bonuses becomes an issue, consider letting the teams decide how to distribute them.

For staffing new agile teams, consider bringing interested people together, discussing the initiative’s goals, and reminding participants to balance skills and experience, and to self-organize.

To get new teams up to speed, consider spending time with them, being clear about product users and goals, and what metrics will be used to gauge success.

Remember that velocity is not a metric to compare team performance.

Comparing team performance can lead to all sorts of problems. Together with the Scrum Master, identify and remove impediments that stand in the teams’ ways.

It’s important that Product Owners are actively participating and contributing so that the Scrum Team can deliver value.

Work with Product Owners to analyze delivery capabilities and to use respective information for a forecast on possible goals.

Make sure Product Owners are in touch with customers, to understand what customers are trying to do. However, leave product decisions to the Product Owner.

Support Product Owner decisions even when it affects short-term business.

Resources

Almost all of the resources that follow are from Scrum.org’s PAL learning path. It may just be a tad simpler to find and access them in list form. My tip: Do all the open assessments, read the articles, and decide on 1–3 good books on leadership. Which ones? I want to read a few more before making recommendations. (Scrum Mastery and Mastering Professional Scrum aren’t on the list for PAL, but useful.)

Tests:

Articles:

Books:

❧ This is a lot, and still a bit imprecise. I’ve been in touch with Scrum.org on more targeted materials, and so far haven’t heard back. PAL is not as clear and therefore not as straightforward to learn for as PSM (and PSD and PSPO)—but maybe this helps you a little more than what I had to collect here and there.

Many thanks to Hans-Georg Bess, one of the organizers of PMCamp Hamburg, for reviewing this post.

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on April 29, 2020.

I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m a web developer and author. I love trying things (sometimes involving philosophy, art, or adventure). Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

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