Sunday, 9 March 2014

Will the real Product Owner please stand up?

I repeat, will the real Product Owner please stand up?? Hello, I can't hear you…we're gonna have a problem here...where's the real product owner, the pig in the team that has influence and ownership across the board (represents the development team-on-the-ground and at the same time influences senior management)??

What's that then?? Huh, That's not how you roll? The Exec, king-of-the-throne speaks, and we scramble to deliver, deadlines can't be changed, we mere chickens are not empowered to influence at that level dude…Hey man, we operate Agile/Scrum localised to just our development team, we're not cross-functional yet, and we still have to respect the notion of downstream SI/QA teams. We manage our backlog as best as we can, but we know the roadmap can change in any quarter, so we adapt and go with the flow, despite our best intentions of reaching a steady velocity that can be used to better track, commit, and help influence the roadmap. We are like the blades of grass in the wind, we bend wherever the wind blows, sometimes, more often than not, the team hardly has a chance to catch their breadth before the next roadmap change that puts pressure on the existing team structures... Sound familiar??

A roadmap is not a commitment for delivery then. It's just an indication of ideas to consider, sure the team understands that, but when the grand executive sees the roadmap, all they see is committed dates - next to near impossible to get this mindset changed, because it is only us, in our little development world that are intoxicated with Agile/Scrum, but nobody in upper echelons of management seem to get it! What to do...

Instead of writing a long blog post on this, especially the typical challenges of a young outfit experimenting with Agile/Scrum adoption deals with the ambiguity of having just too many people involved with product management - making it hard to see who the Real Product Owner is...which should trigger conversations around really understanding the worlds of product ownership, and whether there is hope in achieving the nirvana of the Agile Product Owner, the one-and-only, unambiguous, owner and driver, champion for the product itself, but also protector of the foot soldiers (dev team)...

I'm experimenting with visual notes as an alternative to writing long articles. This is just take one, first draft. I'm a little rusty drawing freehand (but I used to be quite creative), so I used the PC to knock this poster together. I have set myself a goal for 2014 to sketch visual notes proper...
Will the Real Product Owner please stand up? Download full poster

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