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56188Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Product Owner and retrospectives

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  • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSP CSM PSM
    Nov 2, 2012
      Along the theme of the last few posts, the only time I've found it even remotely useful to not have the PO in the retro is when the PO was very dysfunctional in performing their role, and that was only on a short term basis.  In that one experience, the PO was fired, but not all teams are going to have that luxury. 

      Having a dysfunctional PO(or any other command and control influence, as George alluded to) is an impediment and should be prioritized alongside all other impediments, and the dev team and/or SM should work to have it removed.  Worst case scenario, if removing that impediment doesn't work, try to do everything else correct wrt Scrum.  Then, hope for a day when that PO(or person) is no longer on the team.  :-)
      Focus on the "art of the possible," try your darnedest, and then remember that not everything is possible.

      Charles Bradley

      From: George Dinwiddie <lists@...>
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 3:42 PM
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Product Owner and retrospectives


      On 10/31/12 5:13 PM, banshee858 wrote:
      >>> MJ - that was not the question: should the PO always attend every
      >>> Team meeting.
      >>> IMO, the PO should go to the Retrospective.  They were part of the
      >>> dynamic that created the Sprint results.  They should participate in
      >>> the Retrospective and offer their feedback to the Team and receive
      >>> the Team's feedback.
      >> I've see POs who were very participatory and part of the team. I've seen
      >> POs who were formerly called Managers and who felt their contribution
      >> was to wring as much work out of the development team as possible. And
      >> I've seen a lot of different things in between.
      >> Having a retrospective with a "command and control product owner" might
      >> be useful, but unless facilitated by someone who can defuse the power
      >> games, might be damaging. I suspect you've not been in that sort of
      >> situation.
      > All of what you say is true from your experience.  I imagine in these
      > situations you describe, the SM was less than useful as a
      > facilitator?  It is correct that I have not participated in a
      > Retrospective where I was intimidated by command-and-control PO.

      What about one where other "participants" were intimidated?

      > The PO and the Team have the tightest relationship in Scrum.  It is a
      > relationship based on collaboration, trust and respect.  If the Team
      > is having a conversation about the impact of the actions of the PO
      > and cannot tell this person to their face the impact of their
      > behaviors, what is the point of doing Scrum if we exclude that PO
      > from the Retrospective?

      Is that tantamount to saying what is the point of doing something if we
      don't already know how to do it? Sometimes it takes time to build
      relationships based on collaboration, trust, and respect because they've
      not been doing that previously. Helping in such circumstances is
      difficult, and the best path is not always clear.

      > I am not saying that this is an either-or situation, but if the Team
      > is intimidated by the PO, Scrum is not going to work in the long run.

      If the team is intimidated in the long run.

      > The command-and-control behavior and lack of respect for the Team has
      > to stop eventually.  So why not use the Retrospective as the neutral
      > ground where both parties can build can learn each other's
      > perspectives, trust each other's thinking and collaborate on making
      > the Team better?

      In my experience, in such situations the team has to find its own voice
      before much can happen. Your mileage may vary.

        - George

        * George Dinwiddie *                      http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development                    http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach                    http://www.agilemaryland.org


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