Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

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#81: Unleashing the Power of Visual Storytelling in Product Ownership with Stuart Young

January 17, 2024     39 minutes

Ever wondered how visuals can transform your role as a product owner? Join Brian as he sits down with visual storyteller Stuart Young to unravel the power of visualization in product ownership. Join them on a journey to discover the art and science behind being a successful product owner.


Ever wondered how to elevate your product ownership game? In this episode, we delve into the world of visual storytelling with Stuart Young.

Join Brian and Stuart as they discuss the diverse tools, such as story mapping and the product disposition canvas, that can bring your product visions to life.

From storytelling techniques to the neurodiversity lens, we explore the art and science of communication that transcends traditional boundaries. Listen in to uncover the impactful ways visuals can shape your product strategy.

Learn how being more visual can sharpen your skills, foster collaboration, and create a more inclusive and successful product development journey.

Listen Now to Discover:

[00:23] - Today welcomes Stuart Young, a Certified Scrum Trainer and visual storyteller to discuss storytelling through the product lens and more.
[03:32] - Stuart discusses drawing large-scale pictures at conferences and recommends Visual Meetings and Visual Leaders by David Sibbit.
[06:54] - Stuart emphasizes the impact of visual storytelling on individuals, highlighting the universal language and information retention through visuals.
[08:46] - The benefits of visual representation in capturing the flow of ideas and aiding memory.
[10:26] - The importance of varied methods for engaging different learning styles.
[11:41] - Stuart discusses the value of visualization tools such as roadmaps, post-it notes, and story mapping to provide clarity and a clear narrative.
[12:14] - The importance of blending Stuart references Pixar and Ed Catmull's book Creativity, Inc., discussing the importance of blending exciting elements, like storyboarding, in motivating teams and creating a compelling narrative.
[15:13] - Stuart emphasizes the importance of authentic storytelling, even if it doesn't always have a happy ending, he references TEDxHogeschoolUtrecht - Steve Denning - “Leadership Storytelling" for further inspiration.
[15:25] - Brian recommends Simon Sinek's TED talk on "Start With Why" as an example of effective storytelling despite not being visually polished.
[16:09] - Stuart praises Henrik Kniberg's impactful video on product ownership, acknowledging the simplicity of the drawings but highlighting the potency of storytelling. He recommends the Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rhodes for those interested in delving further into storytelling.
[17:08] - The Agile Mentors Podcast is brought to you by Mountain Goat Software and their Certified Scrum Training Classes. For more information, click on the Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule.
[18:38] - Stuart highlights the significance of visual elements in crafting compelling visions and underscores the value of utilizing available templates, from sources like the Gamestorming book.
[20:06] - Stuart discusses the role of visualization in making the intangible tangible, particularly in the tech space.
[21:50] - Brian emphasizes the imprecision of words. He also discusses the value of showing rather than just telling, especially in product requirements, to enhance understanding and avoid delays caused by miscommunications.
[23:34] - Stuart reflects on how visual communication can enhance inclusivity. He shares, “For people with reading and writing difficulties, pictures and symbols are better. The worst, the most abstract form, of course, is the word.”
[25:22] - The role of a visual storyteller as a "human cursor" connecting diverse conceptual thinkers. Stuart recounts an illustration experience, emphasizing the challenge of visualizing details without clear specifications and underscoring the mantra of "process over art" in product ownership.
[28:06] - Stuart underscores the product owner's role in leveraging the unique skills of team members to converge on a shared understanding of what "good" looks like.
[29:19] - Brian references the episode of the show they did on Navigating Neurodiversity and the importance of understanding and accommodating different communication styles within a team. He highlights the need for product owners to be aware of the preferences of their team members and adjust communication methods accordingly.
[30:54] - Stuart introduces the product disposition canvas and shares a personal revelation.
[32:54] - Brian acknowledges the potential superpowers that come with neurodiversity, sharing his own experience of a late-in-life ADHD diagnosis and the benefits of leveraging the unique qualities each team member brings to a team.
[33:36] - Stuart reflects on the importance of recognizing individual strengths and blind spots, emphasizing that everyone has a valuable contribution.
[34:20] - Stuart encourages recognizing individual strengths for collective success.
[35:23] - Listeners can connect with Stuart on LinkedIn and at Agile Nuggets | Agile Tips
[37:38] - Please share this episode with others if you found it useful. Send feedback and suggestions for future episodes to And don’t forget to subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode.
[38:21] - If this topic was impactful to you and you want to continue the discussion, join the Agile Mentors Community where we have a topic discussion for each podcast episode. You can get a free year-long membership in the community just by taking any class with Mountain Goat Software.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Stuart Young on LinkedIn
Agile Nuggets | Agile Tips | Cprime Learning
Scrum in Under 10 Minutes
#76: Navigating Neurodiversity for High-Performing Teams with Susan Fitzell
David Sibbet
Visual Meetings by David Sibbet
Visual Leaders by David Sibbet
Creativity, Inc.
Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde
TEDxHogeschoolUtrecht - Steve Denning - “Leadership Storytelling"
Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action | TED Talk
Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell by Henrik Kniberg
Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts
Certified ScrumMaster Training and Scrum Certification
Certified Scrum Product Owner Training
Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner®
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster®
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Join the Agile Mentors Community

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Stuart Young, a Certified Scrum Trainer and Visual Storyteller, merges Agile methodologies and design thinking to empower individuals and teams. As a thought leader, he champions Visual Storytelling for engaging stakeholders, addressing customer needs, and expediting learning. Through workshops, Stuart encourages teams to embrace visual methodologies to achieve business success.