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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner on the dev team

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  • William Wake
    On Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 6:03 PM, James Bumgarner ... James - You have a challenging situation. I don t think it s unusual for small companies. My view is that
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 17, 2008
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      On Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 6:03 PM, James Bumgarner
      <James.Bumgarner@...> wrote:
      > I believe my main issue has been that the president of the company is also
      > my product owner. He also insists on being the UI designer and lead
      > tester. His background is in sales and has no formal training in designing
      > UIs or testing. He does not sit with the team and constantly changes his UI
      > design as development proceeds. He also redefines features mid-sprint as he
      > realizes he forgot something in the original story. His justification for
      > all of this is that waiting for an iteration to finish and addressing the
      > problems in the next sprint takes too long.
      >
      > We have essentially come full circle back to the way we used to do things.
      > We renamed our old process to Scrum and now we fail in three week increments
      > instead of 8 month increments. I am frustrated and my team is talking about
      > mutiny.
      >
      > How do you deal with management that says they want scrum and agrees with
      > you on principle but then refuses to change the way they work?
      >

      James -
      You have a challenging situation. I don't think it's unusual for small
      companies.

      My view is that the company (or the ceo) is basically making a
      tradeoff. He operates intuitively on the UI and testing side, perhaps
      not as capably as some, but presumably makes up for that by being more
      in touch with the market etc.

      There are a couple things I look at here.
      * The team may have (unrealistic) expectations that a PO can propose a
      non-trivial interface and get it right in one swing. Even experienced
      designers iterate. Alistair Cockburn has a nice article on this:
      http://alistair.cockburn.us/Three+cards+for+user+rights

      * The team may have unrealistic expectations about their PO. (You seem
      to have a pattern; what would change it or make people think it will
      have changed?)

      * I think about where the bottlenecks are. It may be that the CEO is
      willing to spend to have "excess" capacity on the programmer side
      because the PO's time is frankly more valuable. It may not feel great
      to know that the team is there explicitly to allow extra iteration (to
      make up for the PO's time and/or skill), but it may help to realize
      it.

      * Can you shorten something? Shorter iterations, smaller stories, etc.?

      * The PO doesn't sit with the team; are they getting sufficient face-time?

      * How would the PO describe the situation? Are they happy or not?
      Aware of the team's frustration or not?

      * Are the problems short-term or long-term? (Does the team ever ship?
      Do they make progress over time?

      --
      Bill Wake William.Wake@... www.xp123.com
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