Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why will your project fail without a PO

How many times have you already heard form your PO about a feature: oh, that is cool, but it's not the way I thought it.
If you hear this statement frequently you should be keen on some improvements to your processes, but if you hear it once in a sprint (by the review) you are definitely in big trouble.

In this case the following questions should come up during the retrospective:

- Do our stories have clearly defined DoD?
If the stories don't have DoD or those are not well defined it is likely to fail the real target of the story. If you have questions on some of the DoD you must request the PO for negotiation. Don't be afraid of discussing on remove or add some criteria to the list, since the DoD should be negotiable anyway. Keep in mind, that detailed discussion during the sprint planing meeting might cover up some details and even led to split up stories (see some patterns on splitting stories).

- Why did our PO not complain about it during the sprint?
It's important to negotiate the stories with your PO. If you/the team has questions about the story or feels uncertain about some DoD the PO must be available for you to clarify the problematic issues. If you have the feeling that the PO is not available for the team, or the team must often wait for a meeting with the PO, it is clearly a big impediment, and your scrum master must take care about it.

After all it is likely to have recent questions about the stories, and the product owner must available for the team.
A good, committed team will depend more on the PO than on the scrum master, whereas new teams are likely need more the scrum master and less the PO.

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