Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner models for distributed teams?
- Hello allison,
I have been in a very similar situation (twice with the same
product!), although our PO was only one hour behind us.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 5:33:12 PM, you wrote:
> We have a distributed team where everyone but the business residesSomeone needs to designate a new PO for you. period. That has to
> and works together in one state and the business is in another
> state, 2 hours later. There has been a significant change in
> personnel in the business and there is very little in terms of
> 'subject matter expertness' and/or agile Product Ownership skills.
> Conversely, the development/testing team has had very little
> turnover recently. While they are not complete business SME's,
> there is a lot of product knowledge on the team.
> Any suggestions on how to fill our product owner role in this environment?
It is essential to get face-to-face time with your new PO.
By far the best is to have her visit you at your site for a couple
of days, to start. During that time there are several things you can
do to begin building the kind of relationship needed between the team
and the PO.
Have her tell you how she is used to working with her former/other
development teams, and then help her understand how you are willing
to work with her. Help her understand that the team's primary goal is
to make her and the product wildly successful. Let her know that she
has control of what you are working on, and if a business priority
comes up, she can change what you are working on every two weeks (or
whatever your sprint length is) if necessary.
Have her attend a morning meeting. Invite/Encourage her to attend every
day by phone, or at least weekly.
Sit down with her for a "product strategy session". This session
should include all the developers and testers, so that she begins to
understand the dynamics, and value, of how the team works together. In
this session give her an overview of what the team has delivered in
the recent past, what you're working on right now, and what major
features are sitting in the product backlog from the previous PO. It's
great if various team members can do this overview. If she really has
little domain knowledge, be sure to include a demo of the whole
product. Have her give an overview of any ideas she has for product
enhancements. Offer to help her create and groom PBIs. The goal of
this session is to help her gain some domain knowledge and build her
trust that you as a team will do your best to support her.
Have testers talk to her about how they can work together to create
acceptance criteria for PBIs chosen for a sprint.
Ask her "What is the "perfect" way for us to work together?".
As Scrummaster, schedule time with her at least once a week to
keep each other up-to-date on sprint progress and backlog changes.
These scheduled times are good times for team members to demo
completed work to her via LiveMeeting or VNC.
Encourage her to visit absolutely as often as possible.
You are clearly aware that you are working with multiple handicaps.
And, it's a lot of work to attempt to overcome them. In this case it
is very good that your development team has a lot of domain knowledge.
Remember that it is important to ensure that you help the PO leverage
the team's expertise, rather than having that expertise used to steer
the PO. It is the PO's job to drive, not the development team's. And,
yes, I speak from guilty experience on this point. :)