Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner, Product Champion and one-wringable neck
- Alan Shalloway wrote:
> [...]I really dislike this concept, and I'm also uncomfortable that
> 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
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 Hodgetts -- CEO, Coach, Trainer, Consultant
Agile Logic -- www.agilelogic.com
Training, Coaching, Consulting -- Agile Processes/Scrum/Lean/XP
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