Sunday, November 17, 2013

How to be an efficient product owner ?

image Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the two-day Passionate Product Owner workshop with Jeff Patton. As the name states, this workshop is all about equipping product owners (POs) with tools and techniques to do their jobs efficiently. I made tons of notes during those two days and came away with a lot of new ideas to experiment with. Here are some of the key takeaways.

According to Jeff, the role of a product owner is similar to that of the product manager. The product owner is responsible for building a valuable, usable, and feasible product. It is a shame that most product owners in Scrum projects are treated as domain experts, tasked with handling and prioritizing requirements. Forget about usability; many POs in companies don’t even have the visibility about the budget allocated for the project.

Many companies have dedicated production support or “maintenance” teams, whose duty is to focus on quickly fixing the defects from the production systems. Many companies run like this—like a factory. The green field teams keep churning code, deploy it to production, and then hand it over to the support team for further maintenance.

This separation of the coding and maintenance teams is a highly dysfunctional way to work. The above system absolves the PO from ownership, thus orphaning the product. The real ownership is generated when the team developing the code maintains it as well.

Backlog grooming was discussed in the workshop as well. These grooming sessions are popularly used by product owners and the Scrum team to plan the next sprint.

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Saturday, November 02, 2013

What makes a healthy self organizing team ?

image Any conversation about self-organizing teams will always generate a crowd response, as this LinkedIn discussion shows with more than 330 comments. If you Google the phrase “building self-organizing teams,” you will see nearly 45 million results. Some of the results show articles with captivating headlines like “How to Build Super Star Self Organizing Teams” to articles addressing the typical myths and misconceptions of self-organizing (SO) teams.

It seems there are several ingredients that everyone seems to agree on for building SO teams.

A good leader is an essential ingredient in SO teams. Mike Cohn shares some vivid examples of how leaders should monitor the behavior and fix team issues. Giving a free hand to the team members or allowing them to do whatever they want won’t result in an effective SO team.

The leader should have servant-leadership qualities, as well. As Jim Highsmith says, implementing a light-touch-leadership style is essential, and decision making should be delegated to the lowest level possible.

Read the rest of the article here