As we always say, every new training is a new experience, and you never stop to learn something, which is the exciting part of the job… at Ericsson has been another very interesting experience, and again we learned something together
Author: Andrea Tomasini, Certified Scrum Coach and Founder of agile42, www.agile42.com
Negotiation is the key, talk to the Product Owner…
Ericsson team negotiating the content of the Product Backlog… The Product Owner prepares the Requirements and Stories and put them into the Product Backlog, sorted by Business Value, so that the items more valuable are considered first. Some times the Product Backlog is misunderstood to be a Plan, given from the Product Owner to the Team, as a Project Manager would plan for a projet… it is not – at least literally not – it represent the order in which the Product Owner would like to deliver value in form of product features.
This is not the case in Scrum, and in any other Agile method, where the Development Team has to negotiate and discuss Stories, until they are clear enough and understood by the whole team. One important goal to reach at the Sprint Planning Meeting, is for the Product Owner and the Team to make sure that there is a common understanding about the content of the Backlog, to maximize the advantage of having a full-bandwidth-communication instead of a Specification sign-off.
The Development Team can than ask the Product Owner to change, split, reorganize, partition each Backlog item, to better fit their Sprint capacity, without altering the Product Owner needs.
Never take the Product Backlog as given, the Development Team is responsible to deliver an high quality product, and this includes under many aspects also functional consistency, usability, performance, security… all things that have a direct impact on Stories, for this reason the Development Team must be sure that what is build is not breaking the “Product”.
Of course the Product Owner is the ultimate person who will have to make a decision, but the Development Team has the responsibility to advice, notify and sometimes “refuse” Stories which are going to hurt in one way or another the Product. Scrum it’s all about common sense, and finding the right way to deliver value and quality consistently at every iteration, this entails a learning process that often needs to be strongly supported by the Scrum Master
Ericsson guys & lads started to negotiate already at the first Sprint Planning, demonstrating an high level of commitment and an attitude to collaborate and propose alternative solutions.