RE: [scrumdevelopment] RE: Re: Following the rules
- If this was a willful misinterpretation of what you said
[DAB] The Product Owner is definitely not a member of the Team!!!! Scrum is
all about "us/them" :)
Then I will apologize.
But first a word to the wise, invoking Ken can get you put in the penalty
box. I praised him once to often cited him too, and ended up not being able
to say a nice thing about him for three whole months.
That being said, If you have the archive, go read one of your favorite
threads, the march 2005 "Pigs versus Chickens". The logic (like the Holy
Grail Logic) goes like this, Scrums have pigs and chickens, Product
owners who make decisions are pigs and ergo are part of the team. Product
owners who do not make decisions are chickens and ipso factoid are not
members of the team.
My take is that only product owners can make the call as to what they want,
in order to do that they have to be in the pig category - or the teams I
support won't work on it. We have added another level of prioritization
that measures people showing up and participating. You don't show, your
task drops in Priority and we move to the next cause that is the deal, we
only work on what the product owner prioritizes cause we don't waste the
organizations resources doing things we are not sure of.
If you think it is risky then think again. Somebody (the product owner)
convinced other people (stakeholders) who have the ability to approve money
(resources) to be spent.
When the Product Owner doesn't show, then the money was not well allocated
and the stakeholders don't look very good. Hmm. You commit working on high
priority items, you define priority by people making room for the work in
their schedule. Tell me where have you gone astray?
It just takes courage to call the Product Owner a chicken loud enough so
that it is heard.
Michael F. Dwyer
"Planning constantly peers into the future for indications as to where a
solution may emerge."
"A Plan is a complex situation, adapting to an emerging solution."
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of David A Barrett
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 9:59 AM
Subject: [scrumdevelopment] RE: Re: Following the rules
>Interesting. Help me understand how these phrases structure yourapproach.
>Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
>Working software over comprehensive documentation
>Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
>Responding to change over following a plan
>I really need to see this as I am now walking away with is the notion your
>presentation of Scrum is an
> 'us - them game' - not interactions between individuals
>Our way or the highway. we don't collaborate with the customer and they
>not part of the team; we make the rules and they better follow it.the
>We have a plan and we will work it. throw away any life experience we or
>Product Owner have and dogmatically follow a set of rules.Mike,
I can't help but agree strongly with everything you say except for the
exerpt above, which seems like a willful misinterpretation of my comments.
A troll perhaps?
In Scrum, "The Team" has a very specific and important meaning. This is
the group of people that have made the commitment jointly to get some
specific things done. This makes them different from other people
"involved" (chickens?) in the project. This is the group to which all the
other neat things you said in your post ("Just do it", "Don't promise",
etc.) apply. These are the people that are living the Agile Manifesto.
The other people - the Product Owner, the customers, the company
management, whoever - don't really give a damn about Agile methods, don't
understand the techniques and don't want to. You can never forget this.
A big part of Scrum is to insulate the team from the background noise. At
the CSM course I attended, Ken had a specific example of a VP who would
come along and give suggestions to the team about really good ideas that
were "big bang for the buck". He caused chaos with team, and their ability
to deliver on the stuff they had committed to. The "Rules" of Scum prevent
that from happening. Where do you draw the line? How different is a VP
coming with a suggestion in the middle of Sprint from the PO doing the
So I don't have any problem what-so-ever about treating the Team as a
special group and encouraging an "us - them" attitude in certain respects.
At the same time, I expect the Team to collaborate with "them" vigorously,
to do their best to make "them" happy, to draw "them" into the process as
appropriate and to live up to their commitments to "them".
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- I don't think you are far off, and that we are about to become violent in our agreement, but are separated by a common misuse of the language.If the PO is the person accountable to the organization for the decisions about how the product works and they rely on SME's to act in their behest and as proxies, then IMO, the PO is a person who has delegated their authority to the SME. If this is the case then we are in agreement on all but the moot issue as to is the PO a person or a persona /role.IF however the degree to which the SME's decisions are independent of the PO is recognized and the SME is held accountable for the product's functionality, then I agree with your concept of the PO as a role.The only point I wonder about is if this situation wanders around between the two and your teams are, in fact, making the business decisions and then moving the person or the role to agree with them. I would be concerned if that were the case.You stated:To some degree, many of those SME's act as the PO's proxy from time to time, and we try to establish the understanding with those SME's that it is up to them to make sure that they keep their PO's up to date on decisions that they
have made, and to follow up with the PO if they need help making decisions
We remind them of this when we discuss something potentially contentious.
If an SME tells us that they are too busy to help us, we'll usually arrange
a meeting with the SME, his supervisor, some Team members and the Scrum
Master. In most cases the supervisor and the PO are the same person, which
simply makes it easier to make a case for the supervisor to clear the SME's
schedule for us.--
Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. ~Walter Elliott, The Spiritual Life
The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground. ~Author Unknown
-------------- Original message --------------
> I think you are confusing the *role* of Product Owner and the person who
> plays that role.
> In Scrum the Product Owner has one task: To prioritize the Product Backlog.
> That's it, nothing else.
> Of course it is useful to have a product owner who at least has some
> influence over the schedules of people outside the Team that the Team needs
> to use as resources. The Product Owner is probably the same person who
> decides whether the product goes live, and is probably involved in core
> business decisions affecting the Product. Its probably a really good thing
> if the Product Owner is what would traditionally be know as the "Corporate
> Project Sponsor". None of those things is particularly Scrummy, however.
> It sounds to me like you're postulating a PO that rolls his sleeves up and
> gets involved with the Team on a day to day basis and acts as a Subject
> Matter Expert to assist the team with the analysis and design of the
> features. That's not a bad idea, but certainly not mandatory to implement
> Scrum. The most important thing, though, is that when the PO does that,
> he's not acting in the role of PO, but simply as a Team member who's skill
> set is that he's an SME.
> As to the other stuff about getting people outside the team to show up and
> participate; that sounds to me like the kind of issue that the Scrum Master
> is supposed to deal with under the heading of "Clearing Impediments".
> In our company, we're using Scrum to manage projects that build and enhance
> systems for internal consumption by a number of departments. We've built a
> database which organizes the PB by department, project and task and is
> maintained by those departments for the most part. At regular intervals,
> the Senior Management Team gets together and goes over the PB (at a high
> level) and hammer out who's projects have the highest priority and should
> get the Team's attention. Then the Team sits down with the various PO's
> for each department and sort out the priorities for the projects on the go.
> It varies from department to department, but we usually don't have a lot of
> interaction with the PO's during the Sprints because the SME's for the
> various SB items are usually other people in their department. To some
> degree, many of those SME's act as the PO's proxy from time to time, and we
> try to establish the understanding with those SME's that it is up to them
> to make sure that they keep their PO's up to date on decisions that they
> have made, and to follow up with the PO if they need help making decisions.
> We remind them of this when we discuss something potentially contentious.
> If an SME tells us that they are too busy to help us, we'll usually arrange
> a meeting with the SME, his supervisor, some Team members and the Scrum
> Master. In most cases the supervisor and the PO are the same person, which
> simply makes it easier to make a case for the supervisor to clear the SME's
> schedule for us.
> By and large, we find that this works very well. The Sr. Mgmt Team ensures
> that we're focused on corporate priorities at a big picture level and the
> PO's handle the details. Most of the PO's have built the confidence in the
> Team that they'll actually deliver what they've committed to by the end of
> each Sprint, which means that they're less likely to meddle with priorities
> during the Sprint. They also have come to realize that, "We'll put that
> suggestion in the PB" doesn't mean that we're saying "No", and that they'll
> have an opportunity to get it inserted into a Sprint in the near future.
> We've been running 30 day Sprints, which fits well with the pace of change
> in our business.
> Dave Barrett,
> Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company
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