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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Tips for hiring a Product Owner

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  • Rob Park
    Why do you feel that you have to have a person/team for product owner? Could you challenge that thinking and get the whole team to discover the stories and
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 1, 2008
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      Why do you feel that you have to have a person/team for product owner?  Could you challenge that thinking and get the "whole team" to discover the stories and priorities from the right people, but as a team?
       
      .rob.

      On Fri, May 30, 2008 at 10:21 AM, Markus Silpala <msilpala@...> wrote:

      Greetings all. I wonder whether anyone here has tips on how to hire a
      Scrum Product Owner from outside the company.

      Background: a client of mine is implementing Scrum for their software
      development. One clearly missing ingredient is a person or even
      appropriate group of people to play the role of Product Owner.
      Different sub-products have champions, but the job of prioritizing
      work often falls to or is driven through the CIO and the rest of the
      executive management team. That group doesn't often produce a clear
      vision and never has enough time to properly steer the team building
      the software.

      Bringing Scrum to the IT side has made the issue visible to the execs,
      so now they're looking to fill that role. Because there is no clear
      internal candidate, they may want to hire from outside. Any tips,
      pointers to content, or anecdotes would be appreciated. Thanks in
      advance!

      -Markus Silpala
      Coach/CSM/Developer in Minneapolis, MN


    • Markus Silpala
      ... I ve tried to do that in the past, but did not find much success. It led to some goldplating and discussions that went too easily into the weeds as the
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 2, 2008
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        On Jun 1, 2008, at 12:25 PM, Rob Park wrote:

        Why do you feel that you have to have a person/team for product owner?  Could you challenge that thinking and get the "whole team" to discover the stories and priorities from the right people, but as a team?

        I've tried to do that in the past, but did not find much success. It led to some goldplating and discussions that went too easily into the weeds as the team argued over their differing guesses at business needs. Have you succeeded with that approach in the past or present? I'd be interested to hear of some positive cases.

        Tangential side-question: were you in the Sunday morning discussion of this at Agile Coach Camp?

        -Markus

      • Mike Sutton
        Hey Rob, It does challenge current thinking, but its not so far fetched! Although in my experience - where teams have had to do this (and many have to when
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 3, 2008
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          Hey Rob,

          It does challenge current thinking, but its not so far fetched!
          Although in my experience - where teams have had to do this (and many
          have to when they suffer from 'the absent PO' smell), realise that
          they do not have the skills (business/communication etc) to

          a) elicit criteria from the stakeholders
          b) facilitate discussion amongst stakeholders in a way that doesn't
          impede the team (remember when the team is negotiating story discovery
          it isnt doing anything else - although I have seen teams send a pair
          as story scouts!)
          c) fight the corporate judo that is often required to ensure that the
          business value is properly appreciated by stakeholders and management.


          Markus - my suggestion would be get someone from the helpdesk (if
          there is one!) and make them the product owner. They know the product
          domain better than most, they have more than enough of the user
          experience (good and bad) to represent the user and they are motivated
          by getting the product built right so that they don't have to face
          angry customers when version 2 comes out! Look for someone untainted
          closer to first line (not technical resolution!).

          If you do look at an external PO, my suggestion would be to find
          someone (preferably a user!)in the same industry, so for a product for
          the common cold, get someone with who gets lots of colds!


          cheers
          mike.csm.csp.cspo.certified.certifiable.

          ps. I really enjoyed meeting you guys (rob and Markus) at
          agileCoachCamp!!! It was bloody awesome.


          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Rob Park"
          <robert.d.park@...> wrote:
          >
          > Why do you feel that you have to have a person/team for product owner?
          > Could you challenge that thinking and get the "whole team" to
          discover the
          > stories and priorities from the right people, but as a team?
          >
          > .rob.
          >
          > On Fri, May 30, 2008 at 10:21 AM, Markus Silpala <msilpala@...> wrote:
          >
          > > Greetings all. I wonder whether anyone here has tips on how to
          hire a
          > > Scrum Product Owner from outside the company.
          > >
          > > Background: a client of mine is implementing Scrum for their software
          > > development. One clearly missing ingredient is a person or even
          > > appropriate group of people to play the role of Product Owner.
          > > Different sub-products have champions, but the job of prioritizing
          > > work often falls to or is driven through the CIO and the rest of the
          > > executive management team. That group doesn't often produce a clear
          > > vision and never has enough time to properly steer the team building
          > > the software.
          > >
          > > Bringing Scrum to the IT side has made the issue visible to the execs,
          > > so now they're looking to fill that role. Because there is no clear
          > > internal candidate, they may want to hire from outside. Any tips,
          > > pointers to content, or anecdotes would be appreciated. Thanks in
          > > advance!
          > >
          > > -Markus Silpala
          > > Coach/CSM/Developer in Minneapolis, MN
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Rob Park
          Yep I was in that discussion at camp :) I have had success with this more than once. In 2 cases, there is someone that I normally refer to as the product
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 3, 2008
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            Yep I was in that discussion at "camp" :)
             
            I have had success with this more than once.  In 2 cases, there is someone that I normally refer to as the product owner, but he is not always present and doesn't do all the deciding... he is always the "persona" that we use to qualify team choices however.
             
            What I'm against is the team trying to pass the buck in saying it's his fault or it's not our fault, we just don't have a product owner.  The healthier the team the more they are all thinking like the customer regularly anyway.
             
            .rob.

            On Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 10:40 PM, Markus Silpala <msilpala@...> wrote:

            On Jun 1, 2008, at 12:25 PM, Rob Park wrote:

            Why do you feel that you have to have a person/team for product owner?  Could you challenge that thinking and get the "whole team" to discover the stories and priorities from the right people, but as a team?

            I've tried to do that in the past, but did not find much success. It led to some goldplating and discussions that went too easily into the weeds as the team argued over their differing guesses at business needs. Have you succeeded with that approach in the past or present? I'd be interested to hear of some positive cases.

            Tangential side-question: were you in the Sunday morning discussion of this at Agile Coach Camp?

            -Markus


          • Rob Park
            In my case, when I m on a team, I generally have the skills you refer to and will jump and do that myself, but I don t try to own it, but rather get it done
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 3, 2008
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              In my case, when I'm on a team, I generally have the skills you refer to and will jump and do that myself, but I don't try to "own" it, but rather get it done and push it to others as much as possible, since I actually would prefer to be coding. :)
               
              .rob.

              On Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 5:34 AM, Mike Sutton <mike.sutton@...> wrote:

              Hey Rob,

              It does challenge current thinking, but its not so far fetched!
              Although in my experience - where teams have had to do this (and many
              have to when they suffer from 'the absent PO' smell), realise that
              they do not have the skills (business/communication etc) to

              a) elicit criteria from the stakeholders
              b) facilitate discussion amongst stakeholders in a way that doesn't
              impede the team (remember when the team is negotiating story discovery
              it isnt doing anything else - although I have seen teams send a pair
              as story scouts!)
              c) fight the corporate judo that is often required to ensure that the
              business value is properly appreciated by stakeholders and management.

              Markus - my suggestion would be get someone from the helpdesk (if
              there is one!) and make them the product owner. They know the product
              domain better than most, they have more than enough of the user
              experience (good and bad) to represent the user and they are motivated
              by getting the product built right so that they don't have to face
              angry customers when version 2 comes out! Look for someone untainted
              closer to first line (not technical resolution!).

              If you do look at an external PO, my suggestion would be to find
              someone (preferably a user!)in the same industry, so for a product for
              the common cold, get someone with who gets lots of colds!

              cheers
              mike.csm.csp.cspo.certified.certifiable.

              ps. I really enjoyed meeting you guys (rob and Markus) at
              agileCoachCamp!!! It was bloody awesome.

              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Rob Park"


              <robert.d.park@...> wrote:
              >
              > Why do you feel that you have to have a person/team for product owner?
              > Could you challenge that thinking and get the "whole team" to
              discover the
              > stories and priorities from the right people, but as a team?
              >
              > .rob.
              >
              > On Fri, May 30, 2008 at 10:21 AM, Markus Silpala <msilpala@...> wrote:
              >
              > > Greetings all. I wonder whether anyone here has tips on how to
              hire a
              > > Scrum Product Owner from outside the company.
              > >
              > > Background: a client of mine is implementing Scrum for their software
              > > development. One clearly missing ingredient is a person or even
              > > appropriate group of people to play the role of Product Owner.
              > > Different sub-products have champions, but the job of prioritizing
              > > work often falls to or is driven through the CIO and the rest of the
              > > executive management team. That group doesn't often produce a clear
              > > vision and never has enough time to properly steer the team building
              > > the software.
              > >
              > > Bringing Scrum to the IT side has made the issue visible to the execs,
              > > so now they're looking to fill that role. Because there is no clear
              > > internal candidate, they may want to hire from outside. Any tips,
              > > pointers to content, or anecdotes would be appreciated. Thanks in
              > > advance!
              > >
              > > -Markus Silpala
              > > Coach/CSM/Developer in Minneapolis, MN
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >


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