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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner models for distributed teams?

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  • daswartz@prodigy
    Hello allison, I have been in a very similar situation (twice with the same product!), although our PO was only one hour behind us. ... Someone needs to
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 15, 2010
      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 resides
      > 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?

      Someone needs to designate a new PO for you. period. That has to
      happen. Then...

      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. :)

      Doug Swartz
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