Product Owner: what it means to ‘own’ a product

Engagement + Availability = Trust

I am tempted to just post the above with nothing more, but of course there is more to being a successful Product Owner than this.  That said, engagement plus availability are certainly key!  Not only should the Product Owner be engaged and available to the customer or stakeholders, but also to the development team that is actually making this product possible.  Keep in mind, in this post I’m referring to the Product Owner (PO) being product management in the software development world.  I’m sure some of this applies to the marketing world or other, but I’m no expert in those areas.

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Forecasting timelines for Stakeholders

There has been a lot of great movement towards agile software development over the last decade or so. However, there are still a few struggles or gaps you’ll find in most organization today that claim to be agile. That is with the dilemma of how to forecast updated timelines to the customer and or stakeholders.

Product t-shirt sizing chunks of work, or forecasting based on a well-groomed backlog ?

If you ask a typical agile dev team member how they would handle providing timelines of work to be completed, you might be surprised by the answer. They might just not care about what we may or might not do six months to a year from now but more about continuously delivering what the customer wants now:

Project Plan Gantt charts and Product Roadmaps with far out timelines and Roadmaps are the old way of doing things. A constant feedback loop with the customer is the new way to do things in the agile software development world.

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People > Process

In the past, one of my dev teams had some disagreements on how product was interacting with them during sprint sessions and day-to-day as well there were some frustrations around who was owning the tools we were using for tracking teams epics, user stories, in preparation for backlog grooming, etc. Several people in a network connected by arrows

After many retrospectives and after pulling both parties aside to help guide and coach them in the right direction, myself and the dev team manager got in a room and discussed what could be done to move forward in the right direction with both product and dev on the same page.

After racking our brains, I remembered something very fundamental, it’s more about people over process which is called out in the Agile Manifesto.   Continue reading “People > Process”

Jack of All Trades, Master of Scrum

Master of Scrum, or Scrum Master, is my professional title.  Of course, I’m not silly enough to think I know all there is to know about Scrum or Agile Methodologies.  I have been fortunate to get to where I am today as a Scrum Master through previous experiences and those around me as I went through the “ranks”.

Speaking of experiences, as you can see from the About the Author section, I’ve had my fair share of different positions throughout my career.   Continue reading “Jack of All Trades, Master of Scrum”

How I got my Agile wings

        I’m currently a ScrumMaster working on three local Scrum teams, which when I started was only one small team. My first day on the team was coincidentally sprint planning day, when I was asked to hit the ground running as the new ScrumMaster. Without hesitation, I eagerly took on the challenge. From then on, I helped build and coach the team to its current size of three Scrum teams.
Thrown into a Sprint…    thrown into a sprint

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A Step into the Agile world

stepIntoAgile.jpgFor some, the term Agile may be a foreign concept. Like me, early on in my career, many are thrown into the agile way of doing software development. There will obviously be many who start their careers working in predominantly an adaptive agile way (e.g. less up front planning and more development early on), as opposed to the more traditional waterfall approach (e.g. heavier on planning the work to be done before starting the actual development).  I was initially introduced to agile methodologies when I was an intern back in college.

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