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Is your PO role working for the business?

I've never met a Scrum team that was highly performant (one commonly stated end goal) that did not have a highly engaged and participatory Product Owner.  I've also not met one person that can do all that that role requires for Scrum teams and the business.  Yes, Scrum's model simplification may mislead organizations into believing that the role is one and only one person.  It was designed this way for very valid reasons - to quit thrashing teams and increasing focus, also a form of limiting work in process, the concept of the PO as the one-ringable-neck responsible for the ROI of the team.

However this simplification rarely addresses the needs of the total business.  Here's a great article on the expansion of this simplification.

The Product Manager vs Product Owner by John Peltier

I've worked with numerous teams in my 10 years of guiding Agile transitions.  And reflecting upon all those teams, there success levels, the customer & team satisfaction with the product & process, and then generalizing a common pattern - the one key success factor is an engaged person playing the Scrum role of Product Owner.  The anti-pattern also holds true.  When there is a lack of Scrum's Product Ownership, the teams suffer, the product suffers, the adoption of the process suffers and therefore the original intent of the Agile transition sponsor reason for changing to an agile process such as Scrum will suffer.

At Navteq I saw an engaged product manager take on the role of Scrum PO in the very first session of a 3 day workshop to launch the new team & project.  The activity was for the group to write their elevator statement.  This person engaged with the activity, intuitively understood that this very abstract vision of the product would set a tone for how the team would understand the value they could deliver to the organization.  He did not dictate the statement, but facilitated receiving and sharing the visions he had and integrating the words and phrases that the newly forming team created.  After that activity, the group was well upon it's way toward becoming a team.  The next day, the PO had committed to memory the elevator statement and could recite it, as well as elaborate upon any of it's aspects.  He created a highly aligned team to the purpose they were to deliver for the organization.

See Also:
20 Product Owner Anti-Patterns in Scrum by Luis Goncalves
Do you need a Product Manager AND a Product Owner?

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David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

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What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

What is your Engagement Model?

What must an Agile Transformation initiative have to be reasonably assured of success?

We "change agents" or Agilist, or Organizational Development peeps, or Trouble Makers, or Agile Coaches have been at this for nearly two decades now... one would think we have some idea of the prerequisites for one of these Transformations to actually occur.  Wonder if eight Agile Coaches in a group could come up with ONE list of necessary and sufficient conditions - an interesting experiment.  Will that list contain an "engagement model"?  I venture to assert that it will not.  When asked very few Agile Coaches, thought leaders, and change agents mention much about employee engagement in their plans, models, and "frameworks".  Stop and ask yourselves ... why?

Now good Organizational Development peeps know this is crucial, so I purposely omitted them from that list to query.

One, central very important aspect of your Agile Transformation will be your Engagement model.  

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Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?



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But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, …

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What metrics do you collect to analyze your scrum team?

We live in a world of data and information.  Some people have a mindset that numbers will diagnose all problems – “just show me the data.”  Therefore many directors and senior managers wish to see some list of metrics that should indicate the productivity and efficiency of the Scrum team.  I personally believe this is something that can be felt, that human intuition is much better in this decision realm than the data that can be collected.  However, one would have to actually spend time and carefully observe the team in action to get this powerful connection to the energy in a high-performing team space.  Few leaders are willing to take this time, they delegate this information synthesis task to managers via the typical report/dashboard request.  Therefore we are asked to collect data, to condense this data into information, all while ignoring the intangible obvious signals (read Honest Signals by Sandy Pentland of MIT).
What if …