Thursday, June 12, 2014

Power to the Product Owner

We call the Product Owner "single wringable neck" of any agile project.
It's a good thing to have one person who is responsible for leading the product to success.

But what happens when you don't let the Product Owner lead the product to success?

The situation has been explored by many agilists, such as in this blog or in this presentation.

My team was tasked to deliver B2B Interface platform.
The team did the coding and got the solution tested. Then, we hit a brick wall: IT Operations.
The department was making issues with topics like firewall clearance, hardware, maintenance windows, capacity management and ... don't even ask. It wouldn't even be right to say that they were wrong with their reservations.
Anyways - we had a delivery date, we had potentially shippable software, but no server connected to the other side.

Long story short, when the CTO realized that this was endangering the product launch, he simply declared "Use whatever resources you need, you have complete control over the department's processes and priorities".
It didn't even take 2 days and the server was up and running!

Lesson Learned

It's not enough to have a PO who understands the product and grooms the backlog. The PO needs to have the full power to make the product successful.
If your organization brickwalls the success of the product with politics, structures or anything else, then don't strangle the PO for not delivering. You need to have a PO who can make the calls whenever necessary, whereever necessary.

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