Archive for the ‘doubt’ Category

I have earlier argumented that a Product Owner and a Product Manager is not the same thing. I believe that the Product Owner role as defined by the developer community is one role that has some of the Product Management in it, but by no way all of it. Now its time to show that this is true.

I our latest reorganization (they are always latest, never last, believe me) we split the role. I will head back to Product Management territory and hand over my developer teams to dedicated Product Owners. I will work more with customers, analysts, sales and marketing to define what we call the “what and why” and the Product Owners will then work with the developer teams work on the “how” (this is hugely simplified off course). So now its time to split the roles and make the boundaries clear. 

I will get back to that as we get on with it. But for now I intend to spend more time on

  • What should we do, and what should we not do
  • Why should we do it
  • What are my requirements when we do it
  • What innovative options do I have
  • What is must have and what is nice to have

I will then leave to others to answer the questions about

  • What is the detailed design
  • Who does it
  • How is the error messages formulated

Interesting items to pick up when you change roles and responsibilities are:

  • Where does my responsibility end and the Product Owners start?
  • What is the deliverable from me?
  • What does the Product Owner deliver back, and when?

These questions need answers. Previously I did both roles, and before that waterfall. It will he exciting to now try Agile with separated Product Management and Product Ownership .

Stay tuned for updates….


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Scope creep is a long established phenomenon in software development. Sooner or later we all do it, with various results.

But doing agile you will also meet the “out of scope creep”.

You have epics, broken down to smaller stories, estimated, planned in sprints. Then in mid sprint the time is not enough. Well its easy to fix, just agree to have some feature in the  story declared out of scope. You will deal with it later, and for now you can live without it.

Continue some sprints, reiterate and replan. Finally you will find that the out of scope debt is huge. You are at a point where the accumulated out of scope is more than a sprint.

In order to avoid it you have 2 options

1. Write really good user stories, crystal clear.
2. Dont do the out of scope creep. Fail the sprint.

We all aim for the first, but sometimes we have to settle for the second. Yes its not fun to fail a sprint, but sometimes its the only honest thing to do. And doing it early let you replan in a more honest way. And better yest, to do it early in the game. With an out of scope creep the replan will come late and be bigger than anticipated.

So stay honest, fail a sprint that should fail. Stop being nice, it’s not nice it is just a way of deceiving yourself and the team. (Product management is never about being nice, and product owners are in the same boat).

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Today I read The Telegraph about the London 2012 Olympics in 3D (well I read it in a sewdish newspaper but needed an english link)

London 2012 Olympics: Games to be broadcast in 3D for up to 10 hours a day

The London 2012 Olympic Games will be broadcast in 3D for up to ten hours a day in a UK and worldwide broadcast first.

My first question is where is the product manager?

If we look into this 3D hype that we have had since the movie Avatar I think we can conclude.

  1. It’s still the same glasses as when we were kids in the 70s, but they look better now.
  2. The boom on home television did not arrive; at the moment they blame these glasses and the fact that every manufacturer has their own standard.
  3. People with ordinary glasses have a lot of trouble getting the 3D at all.
  4. You will lose resolution by going into 3D. By adding depth you lose in the other two. No magic here.

So my question remains, where is the product manager, and whose errand boy is it?


The consumer does not have the capability to see in 3D as the home television for 3D markets are not that big yet.

The consumer does not even have the money to buy all these glasses that is needed

Sport is often something where millimeters and hundreds of a second matters. Do we want to get worse resolution then? Give us real HD so we can use our 50 inch screen in full HD instead.


So if the product manager is not in touch with the audience who is the product manager in touch with?

Who would really want this?


My suspicion is that what we see is that the TV manufacturers are now flooding the Olympics with sponsor money to get this. Al in order to sell more television sets with 3D.


Then the question will be who the customer for the product manager is? For a one time influx of money they sell out the repeat customer’s experience. If you do that over and over again the repeat customer will be a non customer.


Thank god that the Olympics is not sent only in 3D. That way we can still watch the old fashioned 2D broadcast, and the television manufacturers can sponsor their 3D broadcast.


And the product manager has secured a great deal of money that will ultimately not give much to anyone.


I still think it was a wrong move, but if short term money is what you want it might be exact the way to behave. (and they got some free press out of it)



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I recently read a blog by Charles Bradley over at Scrum Crazy where he dissected the new version of the SCRUM guide. One item in the new SCRUM guide is funny

Scrum is free and offered in this guide. Scrum’s roles, artifacts, events, and rules are immutable and although implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum. Scrum exists only in its entirety and functions well as a container for other techniques, methodologies, and practices.

Yes, the high priests of SCRUM close the door for everyone who does not follow all commandments to 100%. Don’t bother to come here if you change anything. The holy truth is the only truth.

Am I the only one who thinks that there is theory and then there is adaptations we have to do to make it work in the real world?

I have been doing SCRUM:ish last year, and it works. We go along and do sprints, we do the reviews, retrospectives, planning and backlog grooming. But we also adapt to changing reality, need to fix things and need to steer away from the everyday obstacles.

I see SCRUM as a theory and a template. And as with all theories and templates I take them and change them to suit my reality.

So come on, lets do SCRUM:ish and be proud of it.

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As I have written I have my doubts about Agile and SCRUM, but will use it and try it out. Now we have started a new team with developers that I am product owner for. My intention is to time to time report here my observations and thoughts about it.

Yesterday the Sprint zero started with a planning meeting where the team committed to one story and tentatively committed to another. Hey are at the same time doing a lot of setup and induction so we don’t really know the teams velocity.

Today they started investigation the story they yesterday tentatively committed to. I guess that is a good sign. On today’s daily standup some progress was communicated. Before that I had answered a lot of question from our QA resource. Questions that was good.

So yes we are in the beginning of a journey here. But with a dedicated team I think we can make it work. The matter that we are 2 product owners at the moment for the same team is just a matter of coordination. The fact that we are spread in 2 continents and 3 countries just makes it interesting communication a must.

But if I can’t communicate I should not be a product manager, right?

As you can see we are started, and for me it’s a new start leaving waterfall behind and doing agile. Join me on the journey here on the blog and in my tweets. I will surely need input from all of those with more agile experience.

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OK, my colleagues in Düsseldorf told me they will be going to product camp in Amsterdam now in November. A quick check shows that my flight costs would be over 500 euro. Sometimes it sucks to live in Stockholm.

Could we organize a product camp here in Sweden? I have never been to one, but if someone else that has been to one or is just a creative person get in contact with me we could probably work together. We need to find interesting people to connect with so we can get a schedule together. We need somewhere to be and decide on the timing.

So if you want to do this in Stockholm, get in touch and we can talk about it

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The right tool to use

Over at Leading Agile Mike Cottmeyer posted about that its about the context, People! and I could not agree more. As a fairly new SCRUM Product Owner I posted my doubts last week. I also think that we have a toolbox with different tools in it and we should make sure to use the right tool at the right time. The real trouble is then

  1. What tool to use
  2. Should we use it without tweaking it
  3. Make sure the whole team/organisation use the same tool

If you use SCRUM and make changes (and you are allowed to do that) make sure that everyone involved are aware of the changes and that you use the same procedures. If you make changes and not everyone knows it you will end up in confusion.

When assessing what tool to use you should consider:

  • If what you are building is totally new or an enhancement on something existing
  • Do you really know exactly what the end goal is (or are you just fooling yourself?)
  • What tools does the team have exprience in? Is it worth the effort of introducing a new one?
  • What kind of customer/user participation do you have/expect to have?

It may just be that you end up saying that some other tool than SCRUM is what you need. You may have a 100% clear picture of the goal, a customer that does not want to be disturbed before delivery and a team that knows the code and are able to work independently from a clear specification. If thats true just consider that there are other options beside using SCRUM.

But also make sure that you are not fooling yourself. You may just think you know the goal. And just maybe the notion that the customer do not want to be disturbed is you who do not want the customer to “disturb” you. And your developers may now be these aces you think they are.

So make really sure that you select the right tool and that you do it from the FACTS not your feelings about what you want to select.

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