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Re: Why does Scrum has a role for PO?

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  • woynam
    For us, a project is a collection of features that must be deployed together. It takes the systems from version 1.2 to 1.3. The budget process revolves
    Message 1 of 44 , Oct 1, 2010
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      For us, a "project" is a collection of features that must be deployed together. It takes the systems from version 1.2 to 1.3.

      The budget process revolves around projects. The backlog is essentially a collection of prioritized projects. One could probably say that our project is more or less an epic.

      We execute ~200 projects in a year. I'm sure it's possible, but I can't imagine managing a backlog of >10,000 features, given that each project is comprised of ~10 to 50 features.

      As an example, we were required by the SEC to implement new short-sale rules. This project cut across numerous groups, numerous systems, and numerous business units. At some point, we have to be able to tell the SEC that we've finished implementing the new rules. Using a project as a container for these changes is one way to handle it.

      That said, I agree with you in general. The concept of the *big* project goes away. Small projects and epics begin to look the same.

      One sticking point is the Accounting Department. Some projects are capitalized, and provide some accounting benefit. (Don't ask me what, as I'm not an accountant). They need to know when a project is done, so they can start writing off the investment. If you only have a continuously churning backlog of features, it's fairly difficult to say "this represents a capital expense", especially when the rules for capitalization are fairly narrowly defined.

      Mark

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
      >
      > IMO, the problem is not the existence of a role called "Project Manager" but
      > the notion of a project itself. The existence of the former could be seen to
      > be a symptom of the latter. If you have a project focus then it makes sense
      > to have someone responsible for managing the budget and resources of that
      > project.
      >
      > Still, having a project focus will limit what you can achieve in the long
      > run. Agile teams benefit from focusing on creating, developing, and
      > sustaining products that provide value to their customers. Products don't
      > have defined start and end dates nor fixed budgets. Products have lifecycles
      > that may last many years and that go through various phases and take various
      > amounts of investment to sustain.
      >
      > On Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 4:28 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > Hello, Peter. On Thursday, September 30, 2010, at 3:40:54 AM, you
      > >
      > > wrote:
      > >
      > > >> There are many successful Scrum projects. They would NOT have a
      > > >> project manager, and WOULD have a Product Owner. The other cases are
      > > >> all "not Scrum" but some adapted process with Scrum elements.
      > > >>
      > >
      > > > Why wouldn't they have a Product Manager? The Product Manager, both as a
      > > > role (set of rights and obligations) and as a Job Description, is quite
      > > > well established, probably in most if not all product companies. Chances
      > > > are good that most of your customers have one, regardless of whether
      > > > they are doing Scrum or XP.
      > >
      > > Note that I said /project/ manager. I would call a team using Scrum
      > > practices, but with a project manager "Scrum-like", but not pure
      > > Scrum. That could be OK.
      > >
      > > But you said /product manager/. Yes, the /company/ might have a
      > > Product Manager. As you say, most do ...
      > >
      > >
      > > > The Product Owner is a role in a Scrum Team - a set of rights and
      > > > obligations, but not a priori a job title. As a new role, the chances
      > > > are rather poor that companies already have one.
      > >
      > > Yes ...
      > >
      > >
      > > > The overlap in responsibilites of the two is so high, that the Product
      > > > Manager is a logical candidate to take on the Product Owner role. If
      > > > someone else, say a development manager, takes on that role, the chances
      > > > are good that what you end up with is a kind business analyst who lacks
      > > > the credibility and authority you wrote about earlier, and becomes
      > > > merely an interface - a source of information loss and distortion whose
      > > > decisions are liable to be overruled by higher management or the
      > > > customer/"business" side.
      > >
      > > Yes, for the reasons you state and more, a development-side PO is
      > > not a good thing. However ...
      > >
      > >
      > > > So it is entirely possible, and I would say, desirable for a company to
      > > > have both roles, preferably as one and the same person.
      > >
      > > ... what I see more often is that the Product Manager has many
      > > outside responsibilities, marketing, sales interfacing, customer
      > > contact, and more, which is already a full-time job. The result,
      > > often, is that the PO job is too much for the real PM ... and again,
      > > it gets delegated.
      > >
      > > Scrum (and XP for that matter) asks for a fully-empowered PO.
      > > Business organization often calls for separate business and
      > > development agencies, which then requires a strong relationship back
      > > to the Product Manager or equivalent. It's not always easy to set up
      > > the right thing.
      > >
      > >
      > > Ron Jeffries
      > > www.XProgramming.com
      > > www.xprogramming.com/blog
      > > Everything elegant is simple, not everything simple is elegant and
      > > nothing complex is ever elegant. --John Streiff
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Don MacIntyre
      ... Hi Greg, Thanks. No, I have not found the time to do any writing but it is certainly something I d love to find time for. (But then if I was really writing
      Message 44 of 44 , Oct 5, 2010
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        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "gregc" <greg@...> wrote:
        >You must have some great stories to tell. Have you ever written any of it down?

        Hi Greg, Thanks. No, I have not found the time to do any writing but it is certainly something I'd love to find time for.

        (But then if I was really writing I wouldn't be able to start sentences with 'but' and end with prepositions. ;)

        -don
        http://www.scrumalliance.org/profiles/26043-don-macintyre
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