Bring Product Owner & Team Closer, While Also Letting the Team Focus

Last post 12:53 pm October 30, 2018
by Grant Gadomski
5 replies
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03:59 pm October 25, 2018

Hello Scrum savants,

I'm looking for a bit of guiding advice. One key idea of Scrum is bringing the Product Owner and team closer, getting them to work together on a daily basis. Although I'm 100% on board with this idea, my team has complained about frequent interruptions and not being able to focus deeply on their tasks.

Any rules you enforce or traditions you uphold to facilitate frequent PO conversation, while still protecting your team's time & focus?

Thank you!

06:11 pm October 25, 2018

Does the Product Owner understand which of his or her behaviors are appreciated as being helpful and which are not?

07:04 pm October 25, 2018

The 4th Agile principle does state:

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

However, it doesn't state that they need to work together throughout the business day.

If the team is complaining about frequent interruptions, is the PO interpreting this principle as somehow being embedded within the Development Team?

"Working together daily" could mean anywhere from consistent daily interaction to a single daily touch point.   Work with the rest of your Scrum Team to determine what the right balance is for all parties.

07:16 pm October 25, 2018

Not sure if i am true but in my opinion should be other way around, team asking PO if something is not 100 % clear and to sync. Normally sprint planning and grooming should clear all the questions, i would focus on this part so all is clear on this stages so team is not intorupped then after too much. So basic training PO and Team to get most of the grooming and sprint planning. SCRUM master responsibility that information flow is correct and understand.

07:32 pm October 25, 2018

I think @Ian has asked the right question and @Timothy is right in his interpretation.  While @Denis' point is valid, I don't think that planning and refinement is enough interaction.

I would also turn this around on the Dev Team. I would ask them if they have helped the PO know what is helpful?  Getting to a point of "high efficiency" requires communication.  Which by the way is also covered by more than one of the Agile Principles and is also included in the Scrum Values. 

This can't be a one way conversation.  The team needs to have the courage to bring up the topic with the PO. The PO has to have the respect to the team to listen.  They all must be open (openness) to compromise. 

12:53 pm October 30, 2018

Thank you everyone for the responses!

@Ian not yet, that's a great action item for us to take. The team's just recently dove into Scrum's practices and ideas, and we're coming from an environment where the business could add requirements as desired and call them all "top priority", so quantifying the negative impact of that tendency would go a long way towards letting the team focus.

@Daniel I agree with you that the solution should come from the development team and PO. I'll work with my team and the POs to create a respectful environment where developers feel empowered to speak their mind and suggest changes.

Thanks Again!