Scrum Master in Disguise

Impressions from the Product Owner Camp 2017 in Frankfurt

Last week I spent two awesome days together with two of my colleagues in Frankfurt attending the 2nd Product Owner (PO) Camp. I had to wear this fancy lanyard which labelled me a “Product Owner” (even though I currently work in the role of a Scrum Master for my team and our organisation):

But who cares about titles and roles? I care more about improving constantly! Therefore my goal the the camp was to learn and share how I can even better support my PO and the whole team with building an awesome product for our customer. So the #pocamp was THE place to be!

As usual for an OpenSpace unconference there were far more exciting sessions than one is able to attend. So I decided again (like I did for the OOP 2017) to write a list of all the sessions I attended to or which I found otherwise valuable for me. Maybe this list of resources, people and some subjective information is also useful to someone else. Even though the #pocamp was a German camp I write this article in English to share as wide as possible.

Working together in remote teams (Tobias Schl├╝ter, @tschlueter)

  • Sketchnotes by Marianne Rady
  • Main take-away: Watch out for “they-and-we” attitudes. Keep questioning them if it is a health tribe/group thing or if people are about to build walls.

Keynote on Business Matters (Dr. Klaus Leopold, @klausleopold)

  • Klaus’ slides
  • my sketchnotes
  • My main take-away: The biggest challenges are not the technical ones, it’s the social ones. That is easily said and to my experience from years in different roles and organisations, tackling this challenge requires constant peoplework on all levels throughout an organisation.

Design Sprints (Heiko Stapf, @criamon & Tim Klein, produktwerkCGN)

  • This session was mainly an introduction into Design Sprints in general and then collectively answering questions like ‘How does that play together with Scrum?’. Honestly I initially attended that session for the great introduction part of Heiko so my sketchnotes are focussed on that.
  • Sketchnotes by Marianne Rady
  • Booktip: “Sprint” by Jake Knapp

Building Communities of Trust (Hias Wrba, @ScreaminHias)

Be nice – assume good intention
Be provocable – stand your ground
Don’t be envious – nobody has to win
Don’t be to clever – no method for (just) its own sake

UX Topics

There were a couple of UX(-related) sessions at the barcamp which I appreciated a lot as there seems some impact to be made from what I saw during the years being a software developer. I attended the Lean UX session of Steffen Hartmann, @sthartmann. Look here for my sketchnotes. The “empathic & empiric” approach sticked to my mind. Not ‘just’ for UX but for business in general. And maybe also in life…?

There was another very recommendable session on UX I could not attend ’cause I still didn’t manage to split myself into two. It was about Personas and UX in the Backlog by Dominique Winter. I had the chance to talk with him over a lunch break and I could literally feel his passion for ‘everything UX’ which was awesome. See Dominique’s slides and the sketchnotes by Marianne Rady if you’re curious now.

Impact Mapping (Frank Gollas, @frankgollas)

Frank did a quick intro to the Impact Mapping method (see my sketchnotes) and then we were invited to an exercise in smaller groups to just try out doing Impact Mapping for imaginary goals like recruiting 300 new employees until 2019 or increasing the number of logged-in users by 1000 within the next year.
My main take-away was that it really “is easy to understand and easy to master”. So just start trying out Impact Mapping in your environment!

Agile Projectmanager

Mick Hohmann did a session which I really appreciated as – from time to time – I see people finger-pointing to jobs ads headlined “Agile Projectmanager” and proclaiming the ‘end of agile’. Mick started by collecting what a Projectmanager (PM) does. Then he impressed me by stating that he actually had never been a PM (even if he has that fancy PM certificate, and worked officially in the role of a PM).
But why is that? He said, that he:

  • listened to people
  • leveraged feedback heavily
  • gave people goals

That’s all Product Owner tasks, isn’t it?

If you are interested in seeing more, I did some sketchnotes.

Generate ideas by using role play (Dominique Winter)

This was a lot of fun on the Saturday morning to get moving (after the long Friday networking evening). We did some small warm-up exercises like just walking around in a circle, walking around and imitating another person (without telling her), walking around and overdoing the imitation of a person (also without telling him). Afterwards we continued with another exercise to wake up creativity: in groups of 3-4 people we made up a chat between persons each coming from another imaginary town to the current venue. Now we finally all were perfectly in the mood for a “real” ideation exercise: one person has an imaginary product and explains it to another person in a dialogue; one or two people observe the dialogue and take notes jotting down all the ideas and information evolving within the roleplay.

Other interesting impulses I took with me:


I feel very grateful for all the people I met there.
Be it friends or people I already know from another (un)conference.
Be it people whom I just ‘knew’ via twitter before and now I met them for the first time in reality.
Be it new connections that started on one of those awesome packed two days.
Be it every other connection that started growing afterwards.

Thank you to all people who made the Product Owner Camp such a great place to be!