ChatGPT Prompts for Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Developers

TL; DR: ChatGPT Prompts for Scrum Practitioners

Last week, I ran an “interview” with ChatGPT as an applicant for a fictitious Scrum Master position based on questions from Scrum Master Interview Guide. (See below.) While the overall results were broadly acceptable, I thought that changing the ChatGPT prompts might deliver better results. So, this time, I chose to present ChatGPT with three everyday scenarios based on more comprehensive prompts. Lo and behold, it worked very well.

Think twice if you still believe this technology is a fad or a toy. Instead, grab a cup of coffee and read for yourself.

ChatGPT Prompts for Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Developers — Berlin-Product-People.com

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How to Create ChatGPT Prompts

The following ChatGPT prompts comprise several elements:

  1. I define in what capacity ChatGPT shall interact with the prompts; for example, as a Scrum Master.
  2. Then I sketch the situation and suggest what knowledge ChatGPT shall consider answering.
  3. As a third step, I point to helpful practices.
  4. Finally, I describe the scenario and place my first request.

Examples of ChatGPT Prompts for Scrum Practitioners

I picked three scenarios for the ChatGPT prompts:

  1. A conflict is brewing at a Retrospective.
  2. The sales team sells unauthorized features to meet its quota.
  3. Dying in beauty by sticking to the Definition of Done?

Cannot see the form? Please click here.

I created all prompts and scenarios on January 15, 2023, based on the ChatGPT Jan 9 version:

I. ChatGPT Prompt for Scrum Masters

I want you to act as a Scrum Master.

I will describe a conflict situation in a Scrum team. You will use your knowledge of teaching, coaching, mentoring, communication, and conflict resolution to provide me with suggestions on how to solve the conflict.

Your suggestions include surveys, talks, interviews, team meetings, games, exercises, or including other parties like stakeholders or line managers, and other useful practices.

My first request is: Tension has been mounting among the members of your Scrum team for quite some time. The stakeholders have unrealistic expectations regarding future Increments and are dissatisfied with the team’s performance. The technology your Scrum team has built over time is increasingly less reliable, and technical debt is notably increasing. Shortly into this Sprint’s Retrospective, the team members start arguing loudly and passing blame. How would you handle the situation?

ChatGPT:

“As a Scrum Master, my first step in this situation would be to address the immediate conflict by facilitating a team meeting to establish a safe and open environment for team members to express their concerns and feelings. I would remind the team of the importance of respect and active listening during the discussion and ensure that all team members have the opportunity to speak.

To address the underlying issues of unrealistic expectations and dissatisfaction with the team’s performance, I would suggest conducting a survey or interviews with the stakeholders to gather more information about their expectations and concerns. This will help the team to understand the stakeholders' perspective, and work towards aligning their expectations with the team's capabilities.

To address the technical debt and reliability issues, the team can conduct a technical retrospective to identify and prioritize the technical debt and implement a plan to address it.

It's important to remember that the role of the Scrum Master is to help the team to be self-organizing and self-managing, so it's important to involve the team in the process of resolving the conflict and finding solutions to the underlying issues.

Lastly, it's important to communicate to the stakeholders the team's progress and the actions they are taking to resolve the conflict and address the underlying issues. This would help to build trust and keep the stakeholders informed and aligned with the team's efforts.”

Comment: Spot on.

Follow-up question: Is there anything else I should know?

ChatGPT:

“One important thing to keep in mind is that conflict is a natural part of any team and should be viewed as an opportunity for growth and improvement. As a Scrum Master, it's important to create an environment where team members feel comfortable discussing and resolving conflicts in a constructive manner.

It's also important to be aware that conflicts can often be the result of deeper underlying issues, such as lack of trust, poor communication, or unmet needs. As a Scrum Master, it's important to be aware of these underlying issues and work with the team to address them.

Additionally, it's important to be aware of the team's dynamics and to be mindful of the impact that conflicts can have on individuals and the team as a whole. As a Scrum Master, it's important to be aware of any team members who may be more affected by the conflict and to provide them with additional support as needed.

Finally, it is important to be aware of the impact of external factors on the team, such as changes in the organizational structure or market conditions, and to take them into account when addressing conflicts and underlying issues.

Overall, the role of Scrum Master is to be a coach, facilitator, and servant leader, who helps the team to be more productive, efficient, and self-organizing. Therefore, it's important to be flexible, empathetic, and to have strong communication and conflict resolution skills in order to effectively manage conflicts within the team.”

Comment: Spot on, again. If you still believe that underlying technology is a toy or fad, think again.

Follow-up question: How can Scrum Values help to solve the situation?

ChatGPT:

The Scrum values of commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect can play a crucial role in resolving the conflict in this situation.

  • Commitment: By committing to the Scrum process, the team will be able to work together to address the issues and find solutions. A shared commitment to the team's success can help to build trust and cohesion among team members, which can be crucial in resolving conflicts.
  • Courage: It takes courage for team members to speak up and express their concerns and feelings during a conflict. A Scrum Master can help to create an environment where team members feel safe and supported to do so. Additionally, the team will need courage to take on the technical debt and resolve the underlying issues that may be causing the conflict.
  • Focus: By maintaining a focus on the team's goal and the Sprint goal, the team will be able to stay on track and work together to resolve the conflict and address the underlying issues.
  • Openness: By fostering an open and transparent environment, the team will be able to have open and honest conversations about the conflict and underlying issues. Additionally, being open to feedback and different perspectives can be crucial in finding solutions.
  • Respect: Showing respect for one another, and for the different perspectives and opinions that team members bring to the table, is essential in resolving conflicts. A Scrum Master can help to create an environment where team members feel respected and valued, which can be crucial in resolving conflicts.

By embodying these values and fostering a culture that aligns with them, the team will be better equipped to resolve conflicts and move forward together.

Comment: This is an excellent application of all five Scrum Values to the conflict.

Follow-up question: How might the Scrum Master have contributed to the situation?

ChatGPT:

“As a Scrum Master, it is important to recognize that you may have contributed to the situation described in your question in a number of ways. Some possible ways that the Scrum Master may have contributed to the conflict include:

  • Not providing a safe and open environment for team members to express their concerns and ideas.
  • Not being transparent about any issues or challenges the team is facing.
  • Failing to address conflicts proactively.
  • Not providing enough guidance or support for the team to effectively manage conflicts.
  • Taking sides or imposing own solutions instead of facilitating the team's own resolution.
  • Not measuring the progress and outcomes of the actions taken and making necessary adjustments.
  • Not providing adequate support to individual team members: If some team members are more affected by the conflict than others, it may be because the Scrum Master has not provided adequate support to those individuals.

It’s important to remember that the Scrum Master is responsible for the Scrum Team's effectiveness and the Scrum process, so it’s possible to contribute to the conflict by not performing their role effectively. However, it’s also important to remember that it is a team effort, and all team members are responsible for the success of the team and the Scrum process. It’s important for the Scrum Master to reflect on their actions and consider what they could have done differently to prevent or alleviate the situation.”

Comment: Outstanding reflection on how a Scrum Master might have contributed to the conflict. I would consider hiring an individual at the level of expertise as a Scrum Master at any time.

II. A Prompt for Product Owners

A Product Owner example for ChatGPT prompts:

I want you to act as a Product Owner.

I will describe a conflict situation within the organization. Then, you will use your knowledge of product discovery, product management, innovation, collaboration, alignment, stakeholder management, expectation management, communication, and conflict resolution to provide me with suggestions on how to solve the conflict.

Your suggestions include surveys, talks, interviews, stakeholder meetings, training classes, educational offerings, exercises, workshops like user story mapping and value stream mapping, or including other parties like business analysts, subject matter experts, line managers or c-level members, and other useful practices.

My first request is: “Your sales team sells non-existing features to customers to meet its quarterly quotas. They also agree on fixed delivery dates for these new features and accept contractual penalties in the case of non-delivery. However, at no time does the sales team reach out to you as a Product Owner in advance to align their need to meet sales quotas with the overall product strategy, roadmap, or current Product Goal. How would you handle this situation?”

ChatGPT:

“This is a serious issue and it needs to be addressed immediately. Here are a few suggestions on how to handle this situation:

  1. Schedule a meeting with the sales team to discuss the problem and the impact it has on the product and the company. This should be done as soon as possible, and in a non-confrontational manner.
  2. Gather data by conducting surveys, interviews, and talks with both the sales team and customers to understand the root cause of the problem.
  3. Make sure to involve other stakeholders in the process, such as business analysts, subject matter experts, and line managers.
  4. Create a clear, shared understanding of the product vision, strategy, and goals, and align them with the sales team's objectives.
  5. Use tools such as user story mapping and value stream mapping to help the team understand the impact of their actions on the overall product.
  6. Provide training classes and educational offerings to help the sales team understand the product and its development process better.
  7. Establish clear expectations and communication channels between the sales team and the product team to ensure alignment and avoid similar situations in the future.
  8. Consider including C-level members in the resolution process to ensure that the problem is treated with the necessary urgency and importance.
  9. Work with the sales team to find a mutually beneficial solution that meets both the sales team's quota and the product's overall goals.
  10. Consider imposing penalties for non-compliance to ensure that the sales team is aware of the seriousness of the problem and the importance of aligning their actions with the product strategy.”

Comment: Okay, this answer draws a lot from the original prompt, basically reformatting it and mixing in a bit of common sense.

Follow-up question: Is there anything else I should know?

ChatGPT:

“It's important to note that this kind of situation can be indicative of a larger problem within the organization, such as a lack of clear communication channels, a lack of alignment on product vision and goals, or a lack of understanding of the product development process. So, it's important to use this as an opportunity to identify and address any underlying issues that may be contributing to the problem.

Additionally, it's important to maintain an open-minded and non-confrontational approach when addressing the issue, as the sales team may not be aware of the negative impact their actions are having on the product and the company.

Lastly, it's important to keep in mind that the product owner is responsible for ensuring that the product vision is aligned with the company's goals and that the product is delivered on time, within budget, and with the desired quality. It is also important to keep in mind that the sales team is responsible for driving revenue and reaching the company's sales goals. It's important to find a balance between the two and work together to achieve the company's overall goals.”

Comment: The answer applies common sense; for example, be non-confrontational and concentrate on identifying the root cause. However, its knowledge base’s classic project management bias also shows: “…that the product is delivered on time, within budget, and with the desired quality.” Nevertheless, an overall quite decent answer.

Follow-up question: How might the Product Owner have contributed to the situation?

ChatGPT:

“There could be various reasons why the product owner may have contributed to the situation:

  1. Lack of clear communication: If the product owner has not effectively communicated the product vision, strategy, and goals to the sales team, they may not understand the product well enough to sell it correctly.
  2. Lack of alignment: If the product owner has not aligned the product vision with the company's goals, the sales team may be selling features that do not align with the overall product strategy.
  3. Lack of stakeholder management: If the product owner has not effectively managed the expectations of stakeholders, the sales team may have unrealistic expectations about the product's capabilities or delivery date.
  4. Lack of training and education: If the product owner has not provided the sales team with the necessary training and education on the product, they may not understand the product's capabilities or development process.
  5. Lack of collaboration: If the product owner has not fostered a culture of collaboration between the product and sales team, the sales team may feel disconnected from the product and its development.

It's important to keep in mind that it's not always easy to identify the root cause of a problem like this, and it's likely that multiple factors have contributed to the situation. The product owner should take a holistic approach to address the problem and consider the possible reasons that may have led to the conflict.”

Comment: ChatGPT identified five good reasons for the problem. However, I was also looking for the ‘misaligned incentive’ problem in vain.

Follow-up question: Would a typical incentive structure for sales teams be relevant to the problem?

ChatGPT:

“A typical incentive structure for sales teams can be relevant in this situation, as it can help to motivate the sales team to sell the product correctly and align their actions with the product strategy. However, it's important to ensure that the incentive structure is designed in a way that aligns with the product vision and goals, rather than encouraging the sales team to sell non-existing features.

For example, the product owner could work with the sales team to create an incentive structure that rewards the sales team for:

  • Meeting or exceeding sales quotas while selling the product correctly.
  • Achieving customer satisfaction targets.
  • Providing valuable customer feedback that helps to improve the product.
  • Meeting key performance indicators (KPIs) related to the product vision and goals.

It's also important to note that incentives alone may not be enough to address the problem, and that the product owner needs to take a holistic approach to resolving the conflict by involving other stakeholders, creating a shared understanding of the product vision and goals, and fostering a culture of collaboration between the product and sales team.”

Comment: Thumbs up. Of course, I like the idea that the Product Owner can create or influence the incentive structure for the sales team.

III. ChatGPT Prompt for Developers

I want you to act as a Developer on a self-managing Scrum team, responsible for creating all Increments.

I will describe a conflict situation with your Scrum team’s Product Owner and some stakeholders. You will use your knowledge of programming, developing software, extreme programming, technical excellence, innovation, creating viable technology stacks, technological longevity, technical debt, quality assurance, quality management, Scrum, the importance of the Definition of Done, stakeholder management, collaboration, communication, and conflict resolution to provide me with suggestions on how to solve the conflict.

Your suggestions include discussions, surveys, talks, interviews, stakeholder meetings, workshops, exercises, or including other parties like subject matter experts, technology leaders, line managers or c-level members, and other useful practices.

My first request is: “Your startup is running out of cash quickly. The organization would need to meet a product milestone to receive a new funding round from venture capital firms. However, meeting this funding requirement with the remaining runway would also mean abandoning the quality standard defined by your Scrum team’s Definition of Done. The stakeholders do not see it as a problem; they want to take the risk but not go out of business due to a lack of funds. Meeting the milestone is the only for the startup to survive. On the other side, abandoning the Definition of Done violates the first principles of Scrum. How would you address the conflict?”

ChatGPT:

“This is a complex and challenging situation that requires a delicate balance between the need to meet a product milestone to secure funding and the need to maintain the quality standard defined by the Scrum team's Definition of Done. Here are a few suggestions on how to handle this situation:

  1. Schedule a meeting with the stakeholders, the product owner, and the Scrum team to discuss the problem and the impact it has on the product, the company and its survival.
  2. Gather data by conducting surveys, interviews, and talks with the stakeholders, the Scrum team, and the venture capital firms to understand the root cause of the problem and the expectations of all parties.
  3. Make sure to involve other stakeholders in the process, such as subject matter experts, technology leaders, and line managers.
  4. Use workshops and exercises such as a "Risk Management" or "Quality vs. Quantity" to help the stakeholders understand the impact of their decisions on the overall product and the company's survival.
  5. Establish clear expectations and communication channels between the Scrum team and the stakeholders to ensure alignment and avoid similar situations in the future.
  6. Consider including C-level members in the resolution process to ensure that the problem is treated with the necessary urgency and importance.
  7. Work with the stakeholders to find a mutually beneficial solution that meets the product milestone requirement while maintaining the quality standard defined by the Scrum team's Definition of Done as much as possible.
  8. Make sure that the stakeholders are aware of the risks that come with violating the Definition of Done, and that the team will be able to handle them.
  9. Consider creating a new definition of done that aligns with the current situation and the stakeholders requirements, but also makes sure that the product will meet the quality standards that the team and the company are committed to as much as possible.
  10. Document the situation and the resolution process and share it with the team, stakeholders and other relevant parties, so that the company can learn from it and avoid similar situations in the future.

It's important to remember that the survival of the company is at stake, and the team should consider all the options and alternatives available, but not at the expense of the product's quality, customer satisfaction and the company's reputation.”

Comment: ChatGPT suggests dying in beauty. An admirable stance, although you won’t encounter it in practice. By the way, adapting the Definition of Done to a delivery requirement is damaging Scrum anti-patterns. However, in a life-or-death situation, principles may fade.

Follow-up question: Is there anything else I should know?

ChatGPT:

“It's important to keep in mind that in this situation, the team should not compromise the product's quality or user experience to meet the funding requirement, this could lead to negative consequences in the long run, such as losing customers or damaging the company's reputation.

Additionally, it's important to understand that the stakeholders and the team may have different priorities and perspectives, and it's important to work together to find a solution that meets everyone's needs, in this case, the survival of the company.

It's also important to remember that the Scrum framework values the definition of done as it defines the acceptable level of quality for the product, the team should try as much as possible to maintain the definition of done, but in case of a conflict, the team should clearly communicate the tradeoffs and the risks involved to the stakeholders and let them decide.

It's important to keep in mind that the team should not rush into making a decision without thinking it through, it's important to have a clear understanding of the problem, the risks and the potential solutions. The team should also consider the long-term impact of their decisions on the product, the company, the customers, and the company's reputation.

Lastly, it's important to remember that the Scrum team is responsible for delivering a high-quality product and the stakeholders are responsible for securing the funding, but both parties are working towards the same goal: the survival of the company.”

Comment: ChatGPT is still true to Scrum’s principles. Consequently, the likelihood of everyone losing their jobs is high.

Follow-up question: How might the Developers have contributed to the situation?

ChatGPT:

“It's important to keep in mind that it's not always easy to identify the root cause of a problem like this, and it's likely that multiple factors have contributed to the situation. However, some ways the Developers may have contributed to the situation include:

  1. Lack of clear communication: If the Developers have not effectively communicated the Definition of Done to the stakeholders, they may not understand the level of quality the team is committed to.
  2. Lack of collaboration: If the Developers have not fostered a culture of collaboration with the stakeholders, the stakeholders may not understand the impact of their decisions on the product's quality.
  3. Lack of risk management: If the Developers have not effectively managed the risks associated with the project, the stakeholders may not understand the potential negative consequences of violating the Definition of Done.
  4. Lack of technical expertise: If the Developers lack the technical expertise needed to deliver a high-quality product, the stakeholders may not understand the importance of the Definition of Done.
  5. Lack of stakeholder management: If the Developers have not effectively managed the expectations of the stakeholders, the stakeholders may have unrealistic expectations about the product's capabilities or delivery date.
  6. Lack of understanding of the company's financial situation: If the Developers were not aware of the company's financial situation and the need to secure funding, they may not have fully understood the urgency of the situation and the potential consequences of not meeting the product milestone.
  7. Not being involved in the fundraising process: If the Developers were not involved in the fundraising process, they may not have fully understood the stakes involved and the potential consequences of not meeting the product milestone.
  8. Not being aware of the stakeholders' priorities: If the Developers were not aware of the stakeholders' priorities and goals, they may not have fully understood the urgency of the situation and the potential consequences of not meeting the product milestone.
  9. It's important to keep in mind that the Developers may not have been fully aware of the problem and its implications, and that it's important to work together to find a solution that meets everyone's needs and the survival of the company.”

    Comment: This answer is a mixed box. The organization is running out of money; it is not a question of product quality, technical expertise, communication among the parties, or the principle of the Definition of Done. Also, I don't consider the last three points to be negligence on the part of the developers. On the other side, suggesting an early involvement of the Developers in the fundraising process is an excellent idea. The same applies to creating transparency regarding the company’s finances.

    Conclusion

    While we can observe a decline in answer quality from the Scrum Master to the Developer scenario, nevertheless, it is remarkable how iterating on prompts can increase the utility of ChatGPT. Think twice if you still believe this technology is a fad or a trend. OpenAI’s next LLM is about to hit the ground running.

    What ChatGPT prompts have you used successfully? Please share your experience with us in the comments.

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