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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner, Product Champion and one-wringable neck

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  • Paul Hodgetts
    ... I really dislike this concept, and I m also uncomfortable that it seems to have crept into the Scrum community. From the point of view of the one whose
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 26 2:37 PM
      Alan Shalloway wrote:

      > [...]
      > Anyway, what is prompting this email is during the Scrum Gathering
      > in November, I heard the phrase "one wringable neck" applied to the
      > product owner several times - and from several CSTs. It seems that
      > this is not consistent with the philosophies of either Scrum or
      > Lean. It separates teams from their leaders. It also creates
      > fear. I suspect this is just an over-statement of the point that
      > the Product Owner/Champion is accountable for the results to
      > management. But I feel that phrases like this are dangerous and
      > counter-productive because people don't hear just the words they
      > hear the connotations as well (words account only for 7% of the
      > meaning in our language).
      >
      > I guess I am looking for thoughts both on the "one wringable neck"
      > term (is this a Scrum supported phrase?) and people's thoughts on
      > the difference between owning something and being a champion for
      > something.

      I really dislike this concept, and I'm also uncomfortable that
      it seems to have crept into the Scrum community.

      From the point of view of the one whose neck will be wrung, I'd
      make darn sure I was in control of whether it would be wrung or
      not, and wouldn't tend to truly trust my teammates with things
      that would get it wrung. It seems to encourage me to take a
      command and control approach.

      From the point of view of their teammates, it seems way too easy
      for them to say, "It ain't my neck being wrung," and abdicate
      the responsibility for the larger product success.

      As Ron pointed out, it seems to provide those would do the
      wringing with an easy way out from being involved team members,
      and to distance themselves from responsibility.

      I realize these are all in some ways dysfunctional behaviors
      that probably exist with or without the "one wringable neck"
      philosophy. But highlighting this concept seems to just
      encourage these behaviors, and certainly isn't representative
      of the inclusive collective responsibility approach that I've
      found to be far more powerful.

      This isn't to say there aren't leaders, and there aren't people
      on the team that take interest in certain aspects and act as
      the stewards for them. We might even create archetypical roles
      for that leadership/stewardship (i.e., Product Owner). But
      this seems very different to me from someone delegating the
      responsibility (so much so that the punishment is specifically
      delegated as well).

      Paul
      -----
      Paul Hodgetts -- CEO, Coach, Trainer, Consultant
      Agile Logic -- www.agilelogic.com
      Training, Coaching, Consulting -- Agile Processes/Scrum/Lean/XP
      Complete solutions for adopting agile processes, Scrum and XP.
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