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Re: [scrumdevelopment] techie as Product Owner?

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  • Peter Stevens (cal)
    Hi mj, I worked on Basic way back when when I was a SW engineer at Microsoft (In the cash cow phase, after Bill and Steve had lost most interest in the project
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 1, 2009
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      Hi mj,

      I worked on Basic way back when when I was a SW engineer at Microsoft (In the cash cow phase, after Bill and Steve had lost most interest in the project to focus on hotter prospects for the future, like windows and what become known as Microsoft Office). Improving BillG's code was a non-trivial task.

      I don't agree Daniel Lyons interpretation, simply because SteveB was calling the business shots from the beginning. I remember trying to get him interested in doing a Simula compiler. "If it ain't gonna make a million dollars, I'm not interested' was the response. And "Microsoft can afford to let others do the initial innovation, and then jump in when the market is clear". This was 1982 or 1983.

      I think being big and dominant leads to complacency, or worse focussing on the wrong things (how do we dominate this market, instead what are great, cool ideas?). Add an Antitrust Suit to get you looking over your shoulder constantly, and the edge is not there anymore.

      Cheers,
      Peter


      On 11/1/09 10:21 PM, Michael James wrote:
       

      We often say the Product Owner must have *vision* if we are to succeed
      at innovation. I stumbled upon a slashdot article questioning whether
      someone like Steve Ballmer (relatively non technical) can lead
      innovation as well as someone like Bill Gates (who you may recall
      wrote the most popular BASIC interpreters for early microcomputers) : http://slashdot. org/story/ 09/10/31/ 2134237/Microsof ts-Lost-Decade

      Other than those great Z80/8080/6502 BASIC interpreters, I haven't
      been exposed to enough Microsoft products to judge the claims in the
      article. I'm mentioning it here because so many companies either lack
      visionary leadership, or inject unimaginative project management
      layers that come between the visionary leadership and the
      implementors. People without any real love for building things have
      joined our industry, sometimes creating a short-term risk-averse focus
      leading to boring products.

      The Product Owner role doesn't *require* any technical skills. But
      would you expect more innovation when the PO had previously
      demonstrated love for product development by getting his hands dirty
      in it himself at some point? Or is there no correlation?

      --mj


    • Roman
      Hi Michael, I recommend that a product owner takes an interest in how the product is developed w/o generally having to have a technical background. I do think
      Message 2 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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        Hi Michael,

        I recommend that a product owner takes an interest in how the product is developed w/o generally having to have a technical background. I do think it is important to carefully select product owners. Being the product owner for a new compiler will require different skills from being the product owner for a new stock broker system, for instance. I have worked with customers, users, business line managers, product managers, project managers, business analysts, and architects who filled the product owner role well in the given circumstances.

        A key innovation ingredient for me is collaboration within the the Scrum team and with customers, users and other stakeholders.

        Best regards,
        Roman

        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Michael James <michael@...> wrote:
        >
        > We often say the Product Owner must have *vision* if we are to succeed
        > at innovation. I stumbled upon a slashdot article questioning whether
        > someone like Steve Ballmer (relatively non technical) can lead
        > innovation as well as someone like Bill Gates (who you may recall
        > wrote the most popular BASIC interpreters for early microcomputers): http://slashdot.org/story/09/10/31/2134237/Microsofts-Lost-Decade
        >
        > Other than those great Z80/8080/6502 BASIC interpreters, I haven't
        > been exposed to enough Microsoft products to judge the claims in the
        > article. I'm mentioning it here because so many companies either lack
        > visionary leadership, or inject unimaginative project management
        > layers that come between the visionary leadership and the
        > implementors. People without any real love for building things have
        > joined our industry, sometimes creating a short-term risk-averse focus
        > leading to boring products.
        >
        > The Product Owner role doesn't *require* any technical skills. But
        > would you expect more innovation when the PO had previously
        > demonstrated love for product development by getting his hands dirty
        > in it himself at some point? Or is there no correlation?
        >
        > --mj
        >
      • Adam Sroka
        ... If the product is a technical product for technical customers then the PO better have a technical background. Most of the things that MS sells fall into
        Message 3 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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          On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 1:21 PM, Michael James <michael@...> wrote:
          >
          > The Product Owner role doesn't *require* any technical skills. But
          > would you expect more innovation when the PO had previously
          > demonstrated love for product development by getting his hands dirty
          > in it himself at some point? Or is there no correlation?
          >

          If the product is a technical product for technical customers then the
          PO better have a technical background. Most of the things that MS
          sells fall into that category (Operating systems, development tools,
          etc.) If the product is financial then the PO should know something
          about finance. If the product is website that sells dinnerware, the PO
          should know something about selling dinnerware...

          I believe that there is a correlation when there is a correlation in
          the product, but sometimes no such correlation exists. It's not always
          clear cut, however. For example, the website that sells dinnerware
          could benefit from a PO who had knowledge of e-commerce, online
          advertising, SEO, etc. An application for internal business use
          probably requires little technical knowledge and lots of domain
          knowledge.

          In short, it depends ;-)
        • jamesjhawkins
          One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in that. In my
          Message 4 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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            One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in that.

            In my experience, the PO does have to make some technical decisions. For example, they may have to set a relative priority on stories where there are technical dependencies. Even if they don't understand the details, POs need at least enough technical knowledge to understand the explanations given by engineers in the Scrum. Put simply, they must be able to speak Geek.

            In this, I see the PO as something like a requirements analyst. In other words, they mediate between the technical and marketing people.

            Cheers, Jim

            P.S. Here's my blog post on Market vs Technology
            http://unmethodical.posterous.com/market-led-vs-technology-led-an-interlude
            In summary:
            The Market knows what it wants, but not what it can have
            Technology can innovate radically, but cannot place its innovations within easy reach
          • Dan Rawsthorne
            Well, the PO is who the PO is - the team member who has the last say on the priorities of what the team does. If this person is technical, that s cool. But
            Message 5 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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              Well, the PO is who the PO is - the team member who has the "last say"
              on the priorities of what the team does. If this person is technical,
              that's cool. But whoever it is must empowered to make decisions when the
              team needs them to be made. Many teams have no such person, so they are
              doing ScrumBut (I don't have a PO). If you have the luxury of choosing
              what type of person the Business will empower, then go ahead and choose
              a techie or a BO, or whatever makes sense to you. But it's the
              empowerment that counts, not the skillset.

              Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, CST
              Senior Coach, Danube Technologies
              dan@..., 425-269-8628



              jamesjhawkins wrote:
              >
              >
              > One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge
              > between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in that.
              >
              > In my experience, the PO does have to make some technical decisions.
              > For example, they may have to set a relative priority on stories where
              > there are technical dependencies. Even if they don't understand the
              > details, POs need at least enough technical knowledge to understand
              > the explanations given by engineers in the Scrum. Put simply, they
              > must be able to speak Geek.
              >
              > In this, I see the PO as something like a requirements analyst. In
              > other words, they mediate between the technical and marketing people.
              >
              > Cheers, Jim
              >
              > P.S. Here's my blog post on Market vs Technology
              > http://unmethodical.posterous.com/market-led-vs-technology-led-an-interlude
              > In summary:
              > The Market knows what it wants, but not what it can have
              > Technology can innovate radically, but cannot place its innovations
              > within easy reach
              >
              >
            • Michael James
              I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the organization. But which
              Message 6 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people
                *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the
                organization. But which choices have we seen lead to innovation?

                --mj

                On Nov 2, 2009, at 12:02 PM, Dan Rawsthorne wrote:

                > Well, the PO is who the PO is - the team member who has the "last say"
                > on the priorities of what the team does. If this person is technical,
                > that's cool. But whoever it is must empowered to make decisions when
                > the
                > team needs them to be made. Many teams have no such person, so they
                > are
                > doing ScrumBut (I don't have a PO). If you have the luxury of choosing
                > what type of person the Business will empower, then go ahead and
                > choose
                > a techie or a BO, or whatever makes sense to you. But it's the
                > empowerment that counts, not the skillset.
                >
                > Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, CST
                > Senior Coach, Danube Technologies
                > dan@..., 425-269-8628
                >
                >
                >
                > jamesjhawkins wrote:
                >>
                >>
                >> One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge
                >> between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in
                >> that.
                >>
                >> In my experience, the PO does have to make some technical decisions.
                >> For example, they may have to set a relative priority on stories
                >> where
                >> there are technical dependencies. Even if they don't understand the
                >> details, POs need at least enough technical knowledge to understand
                >> the explanations given by engineers in the Scrum. Put simply, they
                >> must be able to speak Geek.
                >>
                >> In this, I see the PO as something like a requirements analyst. In
                >> other words, they mediate between the technical and marketing people.
                >>
                >> Cheers, Jim
                >>
                >> P.S. Here's my blog post on Market vs Technology
                >> http://unmethodical.posterous.com/market-led-vs-technology-led-an-interlude
                >> In summary:
                >> The Market knows what it wants, but not what it can have
                >> Technology can innovate radically, but cannot place its innovations
                >> within easy reach
                >>
                >>
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
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                >
                >
                >
              • Mark Levison
                I ve seen innovation come from all sorts of PO s (or Product Management in the old world). I don t think a technical background matters in the least (unless
                Message 7 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                  I've seen innovation come from all sorts of PO's (or Product Management in the old world). I don't think a technical background matters in the least (unless you're trying to produce the next Basic). Vision is far more important.

                  Cheers
                  Mark

                  On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 3:46 PM, Michael James <michael@...> wrote:
                   

                  I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people
                  *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the
                  organization. But which choices have we seen lead to innovation?

                  --mj



                  On Nov 2, 2009, at 12:02 PM, Dan Rawsthorne wrote:

                  > Well, the PO is who the PO is - the team member who has the "last say"
                  > on the priorities of what the team does. If this person is technical,
                  > that's cool. But whoever it is must empowered to make decisions when
                  > the
                  > team needs them to be made. Many teams have no such person, so they
                  > are
                  > doing ScrumBut (I don't have a PO). If you have the luxury of choosing
                  > what type of person the Business will empower, then go ahead and
                  > choose
                  > a techie or a BO, or whatever makes sense to you. But it's the
                  > empowerment that counts, not the skillset.
                  >
                  > Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, CST
                  > Senior Coach, Danube Technologies
                  > dan@..., 425-269-8628
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > jamesjhawkins wrote:
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge
                  >> between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in
                  >> that.
                  >>
                  >> In my experience, the PO does have to make some technical decisions.
                  >> For example, they may have to set a relative priority on stories
                  >> where
                  >> there are technical dependencies. Even if they don't understand the
                  >> details, POs need at least enough technical knowledge to understand
                  >> the explanations given by engineers in the Scrum. Put simply, they
                  >> must be able to speak Geek.
                  >>
                  >> In this, I see the PO as something like a requirements analyst. In
                  >> other words, they mediate between the technical and marketing people.
                  >>
                  >> Cheers, Jim
                  >>
                  >> P.S. Here's my blog post on Market vs Technology
                  >> http://unmethodical.posterous.com/market-led-vs-technology-led-an-interlude
                  >> In summary:
                  >> The Market knows what it wants, but not what it can have
                  >> Technology can innovate radically, but cannot place its innovations
                  >> within easy reach
                  >>
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------

                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
                  > ! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >



                  Blog | Twitter | Office: (613) 761-9821
                • Adam Sroka
                  ... I got your point ;-) I am writing this from my desk at my client s site. I am not writing this from my yacht. It follows that I have not discovered the
                  Message 8 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                    On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 12:46 PM, Michael James <michael@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people
                    > *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the
                    > organization. But which choices have we seen lead to innovation?
                    >

                    I got your point ;-)

                    I am writing this from my desk at my client's site. I am not writing
                    this from my yacht. It follows that I have not discovered the magic
                    formula for innovation.

                    The fact is that most organizations that are wildly successful are
                    every bit as dysfunctional as the ones that aren't. I think that Agile
                    can help to produce higher, more consistent quality, rapid discovery,
                    and adapting to change in the market and within the organization.

                    If an Agile team is able to innovate they will discover more quickly
                    if their innovations are successful or not. However, Agile will not
                    cause you to innovate. I don't know how to do that. If I did, I
                    wouldn't tell you until I bought that yacht :-)

                    I also don't think that the PO should be the single point of
                    innovation. As a programmer I'm not a fan of a single point of
                    anything. When I hear the phrase "single wring-able neck" my brain
                    translates that to "single point of failure." The fact is that POs,
                    team members, and stakeholders should be talking to each other. If
                    there is an opportunity to innovate in the market hopefully they will
                    see that. If there is an opportunity to innovate technically hopefully
                    they will see that as well. In either case it takes the whole team
                    working together to take an innovative idea and capitalize on it in a
                    meaningful way.
                  • Tony Elmore
                    Personal opinion... I think the PO should not be a techie. I want someone who knows the business (preferably has real work experience in the business area
                    Message 9 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                      Personal opinion... I think the PO should not be a techie.  I want someone who knows the business (preferably has real work experience in the business area affected by the system), still has their finger on the pulse of what is really going on, and has enough respect / authority / attitude / whatever to either make decisions that will hold up or get the decisions made quickly.

                      I'd prefer my techies be able to 'speak business' over the PO being able to 'speak geek'... Oh, and I want my techies to respect the PO enough to explain the geek speak in a way the PO can understand it.  

                      I think when the PO has that kind of relationship with the team, you see real differences...

                      Tony


                      On Nov 2, 2009, at 2:46 PM, Michael James wrote:

                      I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people 
                      *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the 
                      organization. But which choices have we seen lead to innovation?

                      --mj

                      On Nov 2, 2009, at 12:02 PM, Dan Rawsthorne wrote:

                      > Well, the PO is who the PO is - the team member who has the "last say"
                      > on the priorities of what the team does. If this person is technical,
                      > that's cool. But whoever it is must empowered to make decisions when 
                      > the
                      > team needs them to be made. Many teams have no such person, so they 
                      > are
                      > doing ScrumBut (I don't have a PO). If you have the luxury of choosing
                      > what type of person the Business will empower, then go ahead and 
                      > choose
                      > a techie or a BO, or whatever makes sense to you. But it's the
                      > empowerment that counts, not the skillset.
                      >
                      > Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, CST
                      > Senior Coach, Danube Technologies
                      > dan@..., 425-269-8628
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > jamesjhawkins wrote:
                      >>
                      >>
                      >> One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge
                      >> between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in 
                      >> that.
                      >>
                      >> In my experience, the PO does have to make some technical decisions.
                      >> For example, they may have to set a relative priority on stories 
                      >> where
                      >> there are technical dependencies. Even if they don't understand the
                      >> details, POs need at least enough technical knowledge to understand
                      >> the explanations given by engineers in the Scrum. Put simply, they
                      >> must be able to speak Geek.
                      >>
                      >> In this, I see the PO as something like a requirements analyst. In
                      >> other words, they mediate between the technical and marketing people.
                      >>
                      >> Cheers, Jim
                      >>
                      >> P.S. Here's my blog post on Market vs Technology
                      >> http://unmethodical .posterous. com/market- led-vs-technolog y-led-an- interlude
                      >> In summary:
                      >> The Market knows what it wants, but not what it can have
                      >> Technology can innovate radically, but cannot place its innovations
                      >> within easy reach
                      >>
                      >>
                      >
                      >
                      > ------------ --------- --------- ------
                      >
                      > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@ eGroups.com
                      > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment- unsubscribe@ eGroups.comYahoo 
                      > ! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >


                    • Tony Elmore
                      In the old world, technical background prevented team members from pulling the wool over the eyes ... In Scrum, they are accountable to each other - so it is
                      Message 10 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                        In the old world, technical background prevented team members from 'pulling the wool over the eyes'...  In Scrum, they are accountable to each other - so it is much more difficult to do that.

                        "Vision is far more important" 
                        Indeed...

                        Tony


                        On Nov 2, 2009, at 3:07 PM, Mark Levison wrote:

                        I've seen innovation come from all sorts of PO's (or Product Management in the old world). I don't think a technical background matters in the least (unless you're trying to produce the next Basic). Vision is far more important.

                        Cheers
                        Mark

                        On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 3:46 PM, Michael James <michael@danube. com> wrote:
                         

                        I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people 
                        *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the 
                        organization. But which choices have we seen lead to innovation?

                        --mj



                        On Nov 2, 2009, at 12:02 PM, Dan Rawsthorne wrote:

                        > Well, the PO is who the PO is - the team member who has the "last say"
                        > on the priorities of what the team does. If this person is technical,
                        > that's cool. But whoever it is must empowered to make decisions when 
                        > the
                        > team needs them to be made. Many teams have no such person, so they 
                        > are
                        > doing ScrumBut (I don't have a PO). If you have the luxury of choosing
                        > what type of person the Business will empower, then go ahead and 
                        > choose
                        > a techie or a BO, or whatever makes sense to you. But it's the
                        > empowerment that counts, not the skillset.
                        >
                        > Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, CST
                        > Senior Coach, Danube Technologies
                        > dan@..., 425-269-8628
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > jamesjhawkins wrote:
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge
                        >> between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in 
                        >> that.
                        >>
                        >> In my experience, the PO does have to make some technical decisions.
                        >> For example, they may have to set a relative priority on stories 
                        >> where
                        >> there are technical dependencies. Even if they don't understand the
                        >> details, POs need at least enough technical knowledge to understand
                        >> the explanations given by engineers in the Scrum. Put simply, they
                        >> must be able to speak Geek.
                        >>
                        >> In this, I see the PO as something like a requirements analyst. In
                        >> other words, they mediate between the technical and marketing people.
                        >>
                        >> Cheers, Jim
                        >>
                        >> P.S. Here's my blog post on Market vs Technology
                        >> http://unmethodical .posterous. com/market- led-vs-technolog y-led-an- interlude
                        >> In summary:
                        >> The Market knows what it wants, but not what it can have
                        >> Technology can innovate radically, but cannot place its innovations
                        >> within easy reach
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------ --------- --------- ------

                        >
                        > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@ eGroups.com
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment- unsubscribe@ eGroups.comYahoo 
                        > ! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >



                        Blog | Twitter | Office: (613) 761-9821


                      • simons.online
                        Most say, vision in some form is essential for a competent product person. Required technical background? It can t hurt to have a familiarity with the material
                        Message 11 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                          Most say, vision in some form is essential for a competent product person. Required technical background? It can't hurt to have a familiarity with the material that you're working with; similar to when an architect (one that designs buildings) knows wood, concrete, glass and steel. Depending on the product, tech knowledge makes more or less of a difference. It's probably not required in most cases, but beneficial. However, technology expertise must be involved in someway; if the product person doesn't have the tech expertise s/he should at least have some quality feedback loops with someone that does.

                          Regarding your statement about "unimaginative project management layers," I can't disagree with that. Off the cuff, every place that worked (from enterprise level to start up environment) had too much project management (both processes and people.) The solution to bettering the overall situations was in working a little more sensibly versus adding more people and process.



                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Michael James <michael@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > We often say the Product Owner must have *vision* if we are to succeed
                          > at innovation. I stumbled upon a slashdot article questioning whether
                          > someone like Steve Ballmer (relatively non technical) can lead
                          > innovation as well as someone like Bill Gates (who you may recall
                          > wrote the most popular BASIC interpreters for early microcomputers): http://slashdot.org/story/09/10/31/2134237/Microsofts-Lost-Decade
                          >
                          > Other than those great Z80/8080/6502 BASIC interpreters, I haven't
                          > been exposed to enough Microsoft products to judge the claims in the
                          > article. I'm mentioning it here because so many companies either lack
                          > visionary leadership, or inject unimaginative project management
                          > layers that come between the visionary leadership and the
                          > implementors. People without any real love for building things have
                          > joined our industry, sometimes creating a short-term risk-averse focus
                          > leading to boring products.
                          >
                          > The Product Owner role doesn't *require* any technical skills. But
                          > would you expect more innovation when the PO had previously
                          > demonstrated love for product development by getting his hands dirty
                          > in it himself at some point? Or is there no correlation?
                          >
                          > --mj
                          >
                        • Roy Morien
                          I see no reason why a techie can t be PO, except for the fact that a techie may not come from the user community and so probably is inappropriate on that
                          Message 12 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                            I see no reason why a 'techie' can't be PO, except for the fact that a 'techie' may not come from the user community and so probably is inappropriate on that basis alone.
                             
                            I have seen techies who can 'speak business', and I have seen PO 'candidates' who 'speak geek'. Equally I have seen techies who hold all things 'business' in contempt and derision, and PO guys who think techies are no more than beasts of burden and know enough about the technology to be dangerous (like the self-taught client who specified a specific memory size for his computers because he had calculated that his biggest file size was about that size and needed that amount of RAM to be able to be sorted). 
                             
                            It's the person who is important, and their attitudes, including willingness to learn and willingness to accept advice, and give advice where appropriate. AND their good understanding of requirements, priorities, business value etc.
                             
                            I speak from a position of having a foot in each camp, so to speak ... law, management, accounting background, and 30 years involved in developing systems and teaching about developing systems. I will say that this combination of experience and knowledge was not particularly acknowledged as being relevant until the late 90's. Up to that time I perceived a distinct separation of interests into the geek camp on one side and the business-side in the opposite corner.
                             
                            Regards,
                            Roy Morien
                             

                             

                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                            From: tony@...
                            Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 15:41:20 -0600
                            Subject: Re: [!! SPAM] [scrumdevelopment] Re: techie as Product Owner?

                             
                            Personal opinion... I think the PO should not be a techie.  I want someone who knows the business (preferably has real work experience in the business area affected by the system), still has their finger on the pulse of what is really going on, and has enough respect / authority / attitude / whatever to either make decisions that will hold up or get the decisions made quickly.

                            I'd prefer my techies be able to 'speak business' over the PO being able to 'speak geek'... Oh, and I want my techies to respect the PO enough to explain the geek speak in a way the PO can understand it.  

                            I think when the PO has that kind of relationship with the team, you see real differences. ..

                            Tony


                            On Nov 2, 2009, at 2:46 PM, Michael James wrote:

                            I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people 
                            *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the 
                            organization. But which choices have we seen lead to innovation?

                            --mj

                            On Nov 2, 2009, at 12:02 PM, Dan Rawsthorne wrote:

                            > Well, the PO is who the PO is - the team member who has the "last say"
                            > on the priorities of what the team does. If this person is technical,
                            > that's cool. But whoever it is must empowered to make decisions when 
                            > the
                            > team needs them to be made. Many teams have no such person, so they 
                            > are
                            > doing ScrumBut (I don't have a PO). If you have the luxury of choosing
                            > what type of person the Business will empower, then go ahead and 
                            > choose
                            > a techie or a BO, or whatever makes sense to you. But it's the
                            > empowerment that counts, not the skillset.
                            >
                            > Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, CST
                            > Senior Coach, Danube Technologies
                            > dan@..., 425-269-8628
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > jamesjhawkins wrote:
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> One of the principles of Agile as explained to me is Shared Knowledge
                            >> between team members. It seems to me that the PO must take part in 
                            >> that.
                            >>
                            >> In my experience, the PO does have to make some technical decisions.
                            >> For example, they may have to set a relative priority on stories 
                            >> where
                            >> there are technical dependencies. Even if they don't understand the
                            >> details, POs need at least enough technical knowledge to understand
                            >> the explanations given by engineers in the Scrum. Put simply, they
                            >> must be able to speak Geek.
                            >>
                            >> In this, I see the PO as something like a requirements analyst. In
                            >> other words, they mediate between the technical and marketing people.
                            >>
                            >> Cheers, Jim
                            >>
                            >> P.S. Here's my blog post on Market vs Technology
                            >> http://unmethodical .posterous. com/market- led-vs-technolog y-led-an- interlude
                            >> In summary:
                            >> The Market knows what it wants, but not what it can have
                            >> Technology can innovate radically, but cannot place its innovations
                            >> within easy reach
                            >>
                            >>
                            >
                            >
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                          • Roy Morien
                            Is Steve Jobs a techie? Is he the PO of developments such as iPhone etc.? Has he provided the vision? Regards, Roy Morien To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                            Message 13 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                              Is Steve Jobs a techie? Is he the PO of developments such as iPhone etc.? Has he provided the vision?
                               
                              Regards,
                              Roy Morien
                               

                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                              From: simons.online@...
                              Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 22:53:26 +0000
                              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: techie as Product Owner?

                               
                              Most say, vision in some form is essential for a competent product person. Required technical background? It can't hurt to have a familiarity with the material that you're working with; similar to when an architect (one that designs buildings) knows wood, concrete, glass and steel. Depending on the product, tech knowledge makes more or less of a difference. It's probably not required in most cases, but beneficial. However, technology expertise must be involved in someway; if the product person doesn't have the tech expertise s/he should at least have some quality feedback loops with someone that does.

                              Regarding your statement about "unimaginative project management layers," I can't disagree with that. Off the cuff, every place that worked (from enterprise level to start up environment) had too much project management (both processes and people.) The solution to bettering the overall situations was in working a little more sensibly versus adding more people and process.

                              --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, Michael James <michael@... > wrote:
                              >
                              > We often say the Product Owner must have *vision* if we are to succeed
                              > at innovation. I stumbled upon a slashdot article questioning whether
                              > someone like Steve Ballmer (relatively non technical) can lead
                              > innovation as well as someone like Bill Gates (who you may recall
                              > wrote the most popular BASIC interpreters for early microcomputers) : http://slashdot. org/story/ 09/10/31/ 2134237/Microsof ts-Lost-Decade
                              >
                              > Other than those great Z80/8080/6502 BASIC interpreters, I haven't
                              > been exposed to enough Microsoft products to judge the claims in the
                              > article. I'm mentioning it here because so many companies either lack
                              > visionary leadership, or inject unimaginative project management
                              > layers that come between the visionary leadership and the
                              > implementors. People without any real love for building things have
                              > joined our industry, sometimes creating a short-term risk-averse focus
                              > leading to boring products.
                              >
                              > The Product Owner role doesn't *require* any technical skills. But
                              > would you expect more innovation when the PO had previously
                              > demonstrated love for product development by getting his hands dirty
                              > in it himself at some point? Or is there no correlation?
                              >
                              > --mj
                              >




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                            • Adam Sroka
                              ... It would be an exceptionally bad idea to try to model your organization after Apple. If they are the model of anything it is of an organization that
                              Message 14 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                                On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 9:12 PM, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Is Steve Jobs a techie? Is he the PO of developments such as iPhone etc.? Has he provided the vision?
                                >

                                It would be an exceptionally bad idea to try to model your
                                organization after Apple. If they are the model of anything it is of
                                an organization that continues to succeed despite itself. Arguably,
                                they are also a model of an organization that values technical
                                excellence over their own customers.

                                Steve Jobs is brilliant. Ask anybody who has worked for him and they
                                will agree. Then ask them whether you should model his behavior and
                                see what they say :D
                              • Adam Sroka
                                P.S. Mac user since 1985. This message was written on a Mac.
                                Message 15 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                                  P.S. Mac user since 1985. This message was written on a Mac.

                                  On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 9:23 PM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                                  > On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 9:12 PM, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >> Is Steve Jobs a techie? Is he the PO of developments such as iPhone etc.? Has he provided the vision?
                                  >>
                                  >
                                  > It would be an exceptionally bad idea to try to model your
                                  > organization after Apple. If they are the model of anything it is of
                                  > an organization that continues to succeed despite itself. Arguably,
                                  > they are also a model of an organization that values technical
                                  > excellence over their own customers.
                                  >
                                  > Steve Jobs is brilliant. Ask anybody who has worked for him and they
                                  > will agree. Then ask them whether you should model his behavior and
                                  > see what they say :D
                                  >
                                • Roy Morien
                                  hmmmm ... it looked just the same to me as if it had been written on my HP laptop with Vista :) To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com From: adam.sroka@gmail.com
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Nov 2, 2009
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                                    hmmmm ... it looked just the same to me as if it had been written on my HP laptop with Vista :) 
                                     
                                     

                                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                    From: adam.sroka@...
                                    Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 21:25:40 -0800
                                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: techie as Product Owner?

                                     
                                    P.S. Mac user since 1985. This message was written on a Mac.

                                    On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 9:23 PM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@gmail. com> wrote:
                                    > On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 9:12 PM, Roy Morien <roymorien@hotmail. com> wrote:
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >> Is Steve Jobs a techie? Is he the PO of developments such as iPhone etc.? Has he provided the vision?
                                    >>
                                    >
                                    > It would be an exceptionally bad idea to try to model your
                                    > organization after Apple. If they are the model of anything it is of
                                    > an organization that continues to succeed despite itself. Arguably,
                                    > they are also a model of an organization that values technical
                                    > excellence over their own customers.
                                    >
                                    > Steve Jobs is brilliant. Ask anybody who has worked for him and they
                                    > will agree. Then ask them whether you should model his behavior and
                                    > see what they say :D
                                    >



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                                  • simons.online
                                    Agile by itself is no guarantee for innovation, but a necessary condition? Maybe not agile, but some form of no nonsense process format is needed for effective
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Nov 3, 2009
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                                      Agile by itself is no guarantee for innovation, but a necessary condition? Maybe not agile, but some form of no nonsense process format is needed for effective collaboration to take place which often plays a role in successful innovations (this assumes that the product dev and technical implementation processes are integrated as they are sometimes separate cycles.)

                                      According to some bios, Ken Schwaber has a background in product development. I wonder if any of that experience inspired/influenced the development of scrum. In my experience with product design, there is often an emphasis placed on small collaborative teams. It's not agile(scrum,) but I noticed some parallels.


                                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 12:46 PM, Michael James <michael@...> wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > I think people are missing the point of my topic. Lots of people
                                      > > *can* do the PO role, and it will appear to go smoothly inside the
                                      > > organization. But which choices have we seen lead to innovation?
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      > I got your point ;-)
                                      >
                                      > I am writing this from my desk at my client's site. I am not writing
                                      > this from my yacht. It follows that I have not discovered the magic
                                      > formula for innovation.
                                      >
                                      > The fact is that most organizations that are wildly successful are
                                      > every bit as dysfunctional as the ones that aren't. I think that Agile
                                      > can help to produce higher, more consistent quality, rapid discovery,
                                      > and adapting to change in the market and within the organization.
                                      >
                                      > If an Agile team is able to innovate they will discover more quickly
                                      > if their innovations are successful or not. However, Agile will not
                                      > cause you to innovate. I don't know how to do that. If I did, I
                                      > wouldn't tell you until I bought that yacht :-)
                                      >
                                      > I also don't think that the PO should be the single point of
                                      > innovation. As a programmer I'm not a fan of a single point of
                                      > anything. When I hear the phrase "single wring-able neck" my brain
                                      > translates that to "single point of failure." The fact is that POs,
                                      > team members, and stakeholders should be talking to each other. If
                                      > there is an opportunity to innovate in the market hopefully they will
                                      > see that. If there is an opportunity to innovate technically hopefully
                                      > they will see that as well. In either case it takes the whole team
                                      > working together to take an innovative idea and capitalize on it in a
                                      > meaningful way.
                                      >
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