Thursday, February 01, 2018

Is your Product owner, owns a project or product ?

The Scrum Guide says,
Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products.
The role of the product owner says,
The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team.
Now, when you get back to work next week ask the following questions.
  1. What is your Product?
2. Are you applying Scrum to Product development or ad-hoc projects?
3. Is your product owner, owns the product or a business person who has been given budget to build some ad-hoc features?
I have been observing for the last several years that, organizations who "say" are applying "Scrum" have no clear definition of a "Product."  Pretty much any work that CEO or the senior folks decides is added to a so-called "Product Backlog." Since there is a Product Backlog, they will catch hold of a business person, giving him/her a title "Product Owner." 
Since each department is given a budget to burn every year, each business person chooses a bunch of ideas, stuffs them into a "Jira" board calling it "Product Backlog."  
I know purists might scream at my above statements and say, we are doing agile, and we can customize in whatever way we want. This reminds me of Larman's laws(especially 3rd one below)

1. Organizations are implicitly optimized to avoid changing the status quo middle- and first-level manager and “specialist” positions & power structures.

2. As a corollary to (1), any change initiative will be reduced to redefining or overloading the new terminology to mean basically the same as status quo.

3. As a corollary to (1), any change initiative will be derided as “purist”, “theoretical”, “revolutionary”, "religion", and “needing pragmatic customization for local concerns” — which deflects from addressing weaknesses and manager/specialist status quo.

4. As a corollary to (1), if after changing the change some managers and single-specialists are still displaced, they become “coaches/trainers” for the change, frequently reinforcing (2) and (3).

5. Culture follows structure.

If an organisation wants to apply Scrum or LeSS, then they need to follow Shu-Ha-Ri . Without really following the rules(SHU), don't customize(HA). In order to follow the rules, you need to understand the rules first.
I have shared this in many forums. I have started gathering the data since several years about the number of CSMs who have actually read the Scrum guide. My stats has shown that, on an average it is 10%. That is for every 10 Certified Scrum Masters, only 1 has actually read the Scrum guide.
If the above trend continues, people will keep failing at applying Scrum, and they will never realise the benefits and values of Scrum.
Last but not least
My upcoming Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane courses details are as below and you can buy the tickets using the links below: Feel free to reach out to me for group discounts or questions.

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