Product Owners Manual


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What every Product Owner should know agile coaching and training Advice for new product owners Contents Introduction! The Product Owner Role! The Vision! Scrum Communication Model! Working with the team! The Sprint Review! The Sprint Goal! 3 3 3 5 6 8 9 Story Writing Principles! Definition of Ready! User Experience (UX) and User Centered Design (UCD)! What about bugs?! Less is more! The Full Story! Small is beautiful! Incremental is Inevitable! The details are in the tests! Non-Functional R
  What every ProductOwner should know agile coaching and training  Contents Introduction ! 3The Product Owner Role ! 3 The Vision  ! 3 Scrum Communication Model  ! 5 Working with the team  ! 6 The Sprint Review  ! 8 The Sprint Goal  ! 9  Story Writing Principles ! 9 Definition of Ready  ! 9 User Experience (UX) and User Centered Design (UCD)  ! 10 What about bugs?  ! 10 Less is more  ! 11The Full Story  ! 12 Small is beautiful  ! 12 Incremental is Inevitable  ! 13 The details are in the tests  ! 14 Non-Functional Requirements  ! 15 Technical Debt  ! 16  Release Planning ! 19 What is Business Value?  ! 19 Real Option Theory (not started)  ! 19 Impacts of batch size (not started)  ! 21Story Mapping  ! 22 Release planning with a story map  ! 23 Calculating the team  ʼ   s velocity  ! 24 Producing the release plan  ! 25  Recommended Reading List: ! 26 Advice for new product ownersScrumSense © 2  Introduction  Agile software development and Scrum has seen explosive growth since the signing ofthe Agile Manifesto in 2001. Yet the understanding of what the core values, principles andpractises continue to be debated and discussed.In my own growth as a coach I have had the opportunity to work with many teams andtheir product owners. Reflecting on my experience and analysing the Scrum frameworkand the challenges associated with its implementation has led me to the belief that theProduct Owner role is one of the core innovations within the framework. Some havedescribed the Product Owner role as a single point of failure. This has been reflected inmy coaching engagements. Frequently I find that identifying the correct person for theProduct Owner role and empowering them is a significant impediment to theimplementation of good Scrum.If we contrast the traditional project manager role with that of the Product Owner whatstands out is the emphasis on empowering a single individual with the authority to decideboth scope and schedule. The project manager is usually forced to emphasise the cost ofchange and limit it to de-risk the project. This is in stark contrast to the Product Ownerwho must be empowered to decide and influence scope through an understanding of thedomain, value and priority of requirements.The implementation of basic Scrum practises will likely result in a benefit to the businessthrough the mere mechanics of the framework. Focus, commitment and opennessthrough practises like stand ups, planning, sprint goals and sprint burndowns are easy tounderstand and usually not contentious. But it is unlikely that this rote implementation ofthe framework will result in the “hyper-performance” that Jeff Sutherland speaks of in hispresentations and papers.For this level of performance, we need something else. The Product Owner role is the keyto unlocking this level of performance. Their collaboration with their customers and teamallow for better decisions to be made. A good ScrumMaster can take the team to the point of being self-organised andmotivated; they can help the team achieve good Scrum. But to achieve truly great Scrum,an empowered, dedicated Product Owner with a strong vision is crucial. The Product Owner Role The Vision The vision should communicate the essence of the future product in a concise manner and describe a shared goal that provides direction but is broad enough to facilitate creativity.-Roman Pichler   At the core of what powers agile software development, is the principle of self-organisation. Self-organisation occurs whether or not we intend it to. What is critical tosuccess however, is whether the self-organisation occurs with the desired direction orintention. If the Scrum Team is to be successful, they must be aligned and the commonalignment is achieved through the Product Vision. Advice for new product ownersScrumSense © 3  If you worked in corporates through the late 90’s you probably have “vision fatigue”. Atone time, it seemed like everyone was punting the importance of vision throughroadshows and weekends in the bush. This vision is not like that. A significant distinguishing characteristic is that this vision should be arrived at throughcollaboration between the Scrum Team, customers and users. This inclusive process isvital in ensuring alignment and understanding of the vision. Peter Senge said, “A sharedvision isn’t an idea. It’s a force in people’s hearts. An effective product vision should describe your target customer or user and the valueproposition for that customer/user. It should be short and memorable and pass the“elevator test”. A common technique for creating this vision is “The Product Vision Box” which asksteams to come up with the copy for a box in which their product could ship. This includesthe key features which drive purchase and what customers would find compelling. (SeeLuke Hohman’s Innovation Games for more info) The key constraint in the sizing of thebox helps the team to select the 4 or 5 bullet points that constitute the selling points. Thisis a small team, consensus driven activity. An alternative comes from Geoffrey Moore's bookCrossing the Chasm. It follows theform:ãFor (target customer)ãWho (statement of the need or opportunity)ãThe (product name) is a (product category)ãThat (key benefit, compelling reason to buy)ãUnlike (primary competitive alternative)ãOur product (statement of primary differentiation)For example, the iPod’s vision statement might read as:ãFor music loversãWho want their music on the goãThe iPod is an MP3 PlayerãThat offers intuitive playback functionalityãUnlike Sandisk SansaãOur product is easy to use and synchs with our integrated music library iTunesNote, the visioning process should not be a long running one. When starting new Scrumteams, we typically spend 4 hours in building the vision. Typical Mistakes in Product VisioningNo vision This leads to what is sometimes called “feature soup”. Without a strong guiding principleof what they key customer and their needs from the product, the temptation is to build aproduct based on pleasing all potential customers and needs. This checklist drivenapproach results in product bloat. The key value unlocked through an iterativeincremental approach to product development, is not building the things you don’t need.Code that is not written does not produce bugs and does not need to be maintained. Advice for new product ownersScrumSense © 4
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