The Essential Product Owner - Partnering with the team


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Bob Galen shares real-world stories where he’s seen “effectively partnered” teams and Product Owners truly deliver balanced value for their business stakeholders. In this session he’ll show you how story mapping and release planning can truly set the stage for effective team workflow—establishing a “Big Picture” for everyone to shoot for. How establishing shared goals, both at the iteration and release levels, truly cements the partnership between team and Product Owner. And finally, how setting a tempo of regular, focused backlog grooming sessions establishes a mechanism for the team and Product Owner to explore well-nuanced and high value backlogs.

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The Essential Product Owner - Partnering with the team

  1. 1. The Essential Product Owner Partnering with the Team Bob Galen President & Principal Consultant RGCG, LLC © 2013 cPrime Inc., All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. Introduction: Bob Galen• Somewhere ‘north’ of 30 years experience • Various lifecycles – Waterfall variants, RUP, Agile, Chaos…• Various domains – SaaS, Medical, Financial Services, Computer & Storage Systems, eCommerce, and Telecommunications• Developer first, then Project Management / Leadership, then Testing• Leveraged ‘pieces’ of Scrum in late 90’s; before ‘agile’ was ‘Agile’• Agility @ Lucent in 2000 – 2001 using Extreme Programming• Formally using Scrum since 2000• Currently independent Agile Coach at RGCG, LLC and Director of Agile Solutions at Zenergy Technologies• From Cary, North Carolina• Connect w/ me via LinkedIn and Twitter if you wish… Bias Disclaimer: Agile is THE BEST Methodology for Software Development… However, NOT a Silver Bullet! 2
  3. 3. When I say Product Owner…? Customer Business Analyst Stakeholder Product Manager Requirement ProviderAnyone tasked with describing and accepting business facing value produced by an agile team Clearly the reference is Scrum-centric 3
  4. 4. Audience?Truly not Product Owner centricAgile methodology agnosticI‘m trying to imply a whole-team view, where the entireteam: – Collaborates on the work – Elaborates stories – Delivers on value – Delivers on quality 4
  5. 5. My focus:Simple Patterns vs. Essential Patterns Simple Patterns – Good! Essential Patterns – Collaborative & Better! Stories from the ‘Trenches’ Some patterns, some anti-patterns 5
  6. 6. Who owns the Backlog?Simple pattern: The Product Owner ‗Owns‘ the Product Backlog Essential pattern It Takes a Village to ‗Own‘ the Backlog 6
  7. 7. It Takes a Village to ‗Own‘ the Backlog Product Organization – Product Owners Stakeholders Executives Business Analysts Testers Software Programmers, Developers, Engineers Scrum Masters Project Managers 7
  8. 8. Injection / Influence Points• Active in Sprint Reviews• Sit with or visit the team; daily interactions!• Have courage to ―Tell Truth‖ to Leadership & the Team• Working code…reviewed…accepted…deployed• Shared vision, goals, ownership, challenges, successes & failuresBut importantly a singular, decisive voice!Is there only one? 8
  9. 9. Goal Setting? Simple pattern: Defining a Sprint Goal Essential pattern Leading with your Goals 9
  10. 10. Leading with Goal Setting Release Goals Sprint Goals Feature Acceptance Over Features, Stories, and Tasks Value-driven Envisioning Chartering 10
  11. 11. Goal Setting StoriesA Survival Goal (Michael) – Startup, first Scrum sprint, early financing, successful DEMOA Quality Goal (Jon) – Complex errors, $$$, explore ATDD, correct business logic, ‘Stretch’ -- innovationRelease Goals (Rob) – New message creation engine; intuitive for SMB customers, – Release #1 – MMF / Entry, Release #2 – Stabilization & Templates and Release #3 – Complex Editing 11
  12. 12. Backlog Management? Simple pattern: Backlog Grooming Essential pattern Active & Congruent Backlog Grooming 12
  13. 13. Influencing Grooming Dynamics ProductPO Influence (Max) Owner – eCommerce company – PO was incredibly well-liked; Founder influential – Team was there to please…to a faultLeadership Influence (Todd) – Start-up – CTO was founder, architect, developer Team – Planning poker with a ‘twist’ 13
  14. 14. Active Backlog Grooming• Bring goals & stories to the table; but be open to change• Listen actively• Don‘t predetermine size nor complexity; trust your team• Don‘t negotiate…collaborate• Organic explorations of scope and options as you get closer to execution• Explore execution dynamics – architecture & design, testing, non-functional, deployment, and risk• Apply pressure on – value flow, quality & sustainable pace 14
  15. 15. Active Backlog Grooming Remembering that the backlog is a sharedconstruct that represents a workflow. It‘s notsimply a set of features, but teams need to be able to see the ―big picture‖ and flow from here-to-there as well. Visit it often; take your time to gather understanding and determine your path 15
  16. 16. Big Picture? Simple pattern: Release Planning Essential pattern Multi-threaded Look Ahead 16
  17. 17. A Tapestry that Includes Threads for…Things to do… Deployment RegulatoryFeatures DependencyValue increments RiskArchitecture FeedbackDesign CustomerProcess timingQuality TempoTesting …Guiding usIn a Context- towardsBased fashion… customer value 17
  18. 18. Unhealthy Backlogs - Anti-patterns• PO drops off a list• Overloaded priority• Too short-sighted (small) or too robust (long)• Dependencies trivialized or not there• Simplistic testing assumed• No consideration for technical debt – Development, testing, legacy code, defect backlogs, etc.• Ignore value• Trivialize deployment• Miss the opportunity for investigation 18
  19. 19. Healthy Postures in Creating the Backlog• Allow the solution to emerge; just-in-time; KISS• Look-ahead, but not too far; iterate• Quality / Debt recovery should result in stories• Thoughtful workflow matters; so trust your teams‘ input• Think in terms of ‗Delivery‘ to your customer and ‗Done‘ 19
  20. 20. Big Picture? Innovation? Simple pattern: Work With The Team Essential pattern Cementing a ―Creative Partnership‖ Between PO and Team 20
  21. 21. Partnership StoryLink was a Product Owner in an eCommerce company – Conversations around the competitive landscape – Technology innovation that might be useful – Quarterly presentation on long term strategy; inclusive of teams’ ideas – Team included in corporate strategy sessionsWhat do you think it drove? – Shared ‘Ownership’ – True, Wisdom of Crowds innovation & creativity from the team – Teams’ understanding of value and problem domain – KISS solutions 21
  22. 22. Round-trip Exposure• Allow the team time to Explore• Allow the team to Experiment, Stretch, and Fail – Proudly share failures; stretch points; innovative efforts• Always draw learning from Retrospective,• Know when to ‗Push‘ and when to ‗Pull‘• Share your ‗Pressures‘ 22
  23. 23. Built to Last? Simple pattern: Of Course, Quality Essential pattern Build it Right & Keep it Clean— No Matter the Cost 23
  24. 24. Who Decides on Quality?• Of Course, Quality isn‘t a simple pattern, it‘s a façade• Jim Coplien responding to a point on Scrum Alliance leadership (paraphrased)… Value doesn’t matter when examining technical debt. Rather, that cleaning up after yourself transcended the normal determination of business value and was simply an inherent part of delivering software. That it is our responsibility and is non-negotiable. The decision-making wasn’t FOR the business-side, but instead resides within the team.• Listen to your team!• Ask the ‗Right‘ questions! 24
  25. 25. Technical DebtIntentional vs. – We don’t have the time, you’re simply gold-plating, I don’t trust you or your overreactingUnintentional – Mistakes, M&A activity, poor design choices, skill gaps, etc.Warning signs & terms – Hacking, Crufty Code, Over complexity – Fear Factor (FUD), Estimate InflationAnnual pilgrimage for debt relief (Mark) 25
  26. 26. Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship As aspiring Software Craftsmen we are raising the bar of professional software development by practicing it and helping others learn the craft. Through this work we have come to value:Not only working software, but also well-crafted softwareNot only responding to change, but also steadily adding valueNot only individuals and interactions, but also a community ofprofessionalsNot only customer collaboration, but also productive partnershipsThat is, in pursuit of the items on the left we have found the items on the right to be indispensable. 26
  27. 27. Wrapping UpEssential Patterns Review1. It Takes a Village to ‗Own‘ the Backlog2. Leading with your Goals3. Active & Congruent Backlog Grooming4. Multi-threaded Look Ahead5. Cementing a ―Creative Partnership‖ Between PO and Team6. Build it Right & Keep it Clean—No Matter the Cost 27
  28. 28. Wrap-up• What were the most compelling ideas, stories, or lessons?• What adjustments will you make in your Product Ownership?• What ideas did I miss?• Final questions or discussion? Thank you! 28
  29. 29. Contact Info Bob Galen Principal Consultant, RGalen Consulting Group, L.L.C. Experience-driven agile focused training, coaching & consulting Contact: (919) 272-0719 BlogsProject Times - Times - on all things ‗agile‘ - 29