9.04.2022

In Scrum: The Product, is not a Product

 

Welcome back my friends! Today we are going to cut the "product" in two !




In our series of exploring the Product Owner profile (to not call it a role), in the context of my certification process at scrum.org, I want to share with you today one personal reflection that I had when I was studying for the assessments: 

 


In Scrum: the Product, is not a Product

This is the point why I believe / understand that a Product Owner is not a "Product Manager". 

And I can bet, that in the future, this accountability will be renamed in the scrum guide, because both words creates confusion. The word "product", and the word "owner". 

...but let's focus on the point...

I have had an "aha" moment, while making an assessment, with an important question: 

"when should a Product Owner decide to split the product into two products?" 

The point behind this discussion, arrived to the conclusion that: 

  • If a Product is used by two different segments, in two different ways, then it should be split up into two products. 

 


How to Split the Product into two

Of course, we are not talking about taking a handsaw, and saw the product by the half. The product, as device, remains intact, the same. Maybe we could change aspect or colors, if each segment has different culture or age. But the "physical product" is the same. 

  • The physical product is the same, but now we have two "product backlogs"
  • ...then is it possible to assign these backlogs to two different Product Owners? 
  • Bingo! yes, of course. 

 

But then... what are they "owning"? 
 

Beautiful question. In this situation, I think, that the PO is owning a "value channel", that represents the relation between the customer and the product. When two different channels appears, then two backlogs and POs are needed. Its also possible that one PO can handle both backlogs. 

There is no product without a customer. There is no customer without the product. It's a co-related unity "customer-product" (Maturana smiles back). This is a systemic perspective. 

This unity, I think, is what the PO is owning. Is where its accountability focus on. 

That's why makes non-sense to have a "product manager", or "customer relation manager"... 

That's why the PO is not a user story writer. 

That's why the PO is not a product manager. 

That's why is not about "customer centricity". 

That's why is not about "product experts" or "technology experts".

Is not about "experts" at all. 

It's about user experience. Customer impact, as value. 

It's about empiricism focused on the customer-product relation. 

Not in the product, not in the customer. 


The Product Owner as a "Value" expert.

 

This way, the PO become an expert in "value", and "value" is the impact relation  between customer and product artifact. The "product artifact", then, is the "vehicle" where value is transported.

 

What you think? I love disagreements and divergent ideas. Please share with everybody. 

I hope to read you soon, and keep connected! 

Happy "aha" moments, 

Daniel


PS: a big thanks to Scrum.org and Joel Francia Huambachano for such a golden standards. 

 


 


8.14.2022

The Product Owner, is a Coach

Hello my friends. Yes, maybe you feel strange with this title... exactly this concept, is what I want to share with you today.

Until today (year 2022) is still difficult for many people to understand that, a Scrum Master is a "coach" role, and that Coaching (ontological, systemic) is the main competence to have for a senior scrum master. If that is difficult, imagine how difficult will be to explain, that the Product Owner is also a Coach. And many others will react by thinking like:

  • common! this is about money! this is business!
  • mindset, self-organization and more "blah blah blah"
  • mambo jambo! 
  • okey, another smoke seller

Like Lennon said in his immortal song: 

"you may think I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"

On our last post, we review the certification processes... now I'm exploring the Product Owner certification by Scrum.org. 

And I will try to explain you why, I understand, the Product Owner is a Coach. But not only based on my ideas, but also into the community and the golden standards of Scrum.org, which I learnt during the certification process.


 

As I told you, this exploration is a box full of surprises. And many of mine assumptions and conclusions I made through years, were confirmed; many others not. This is one really hard to explain, because the PO accountability is usually confused with a Project Manager, Product Manager, Team Lead... some kind of a Boss with hiring and firing power, or usually as a "product expert", who's authority is his own knowledge and experience. 

Let's check first "what is not" a Product Owner. And later on, we will check why it's a Coach profile.

Regarding scrum.org, these are the typical PO anti-patterns:

As usual, the typical misunderstand about agility, is the PO profile (to not call it role). 

"The clerk" is the typical "pizza boy", that will bring you everything you ask for, if you are a stakeholder. Specially if you are above him in the command line or hierarchy. 

Similar to this, we can find the "Story writer". This PO believes that his job is to write user stories. 

The "manager" and the "project manager" stereotypes, are just inheritance from the old school. These people are just maintaining old practices (like controlling and reporting). Those are like "supervisors" or "vigilantes".

Maybe the most dangerous anti-pattern for a Product Owner, is the "subject matter expert". This profile, believes that he or she is the "truth owner", and do not accepts other opinions, innovations or proposals. Its expertise, provides "authority".  This profile could become toxic, and dangerous, by disrupting all conversations and ideas flow. Reducing the space for learning, brainstorming and collaboration. 

In this case, is recommended, that the "experts" should be the Product Owner's assistants and advisors, and not to sit in the PO chair.  

The "gate keeper" is the typical PO, that monopolize the flow of conversations and interactions. Becoming the single point of contact with the developers.

All these profiles has in common, a waste of time and effort, in irrelevant tasks and duties, and a danger: to not focus on the real accountability, which is the decision making, the innovation and the collaboration.  

Good? ok, where are the good ones?


Product Owner as a motivator 

When a PO is describing a vision, it not only leads, but also inspires, motivates and creates the space for commitment. 

Active Listening 

Conversations facilitator

Emotional intelligence

Evidence based decisions

Product Owner as a motivator: the visionary



7.30.2022

Demystifying Certifications

Today we are going to talk about certifications.

 


 After 15 years working in Scrum and Agile, coaching agile teams and facilitating cultural change, it was difficult for me to think that a certification could teach me something new. How much biased was my expectation!

Now again I was wrong... the scrum.org certifications were a complete process of Self-discovery... A huge learning and awakening flourish inside of me. I found out in the way, that I had many false assumptions, maybe created by bad experiences. After many months reading, studying and discussing topics, I found out a lot of gaps, and now I can say that my Mindset has a new displacement.

I had bad experiences with certifications, that were only attending a 3 day course, and then you get a certificate, without even making a test. This is really not recommendable. 

Also with another type of certification, I was required to pay 200 dollars to renew the certification. But the only one requirement was: to pay. No exam, no updates... nothing. So I was really disappointed with the certification world. 

 On the other hand, during the last year, I had a lot of great experiences with certifications. First of all with my ACC from ICF. Which I'm really proud of! 

 


 

Acredicted Certified Coach - International Coach Federation 

It was more than 3 years, practicing hard, and attending 3 trainings, to achieve this certification, and its the basic level in ICF. The process involved a deep mindset reframing, and profound self-discovery, and transformation process. 

To be an ICF coach, part of your new way of being, is to incarnate very high ethic standards.  

 

 



Professional Scrum Master 2 - Scrum.org 

Scrum.org works with three levels for certification: 

  • fundamental - PSM I
  • advanced - PSM II 
  • distinguished - PSM III

The first level, you can achieve by well knowing the basic elements, and holding diverse field experience. The PSM II, is more harder. Is usual that people has to take the assessment many times to pass it. Scrum.org requires 85% of accuracy to approve, and the questions really put your mindset to the test, with hard real scenarios where you have to show how much are you aligned with the scrum values, the empiricism principles and agility. 

During the certification process, I validated many of my own assumptions, and fixed some of them that were wrong. So after certifying, I can say, I'm more sure about  what is real or false, in terms of scrum and agility. 

I also expanded much more my vision to the other roles, not only the scrum master one. 

I can say, If I were working with certified people, I would have much more less misunderstandings in the past. 

So I totally recommend to follow scrum.org certification processes, to ensure you have a minimul of awareness and mindset in your professional squad. 

Not only on knowledge, experience, but also in ethic standars and values (scrum, agile) 

I hope this article was informative for you, for any question feel free to write me. 

Happy certifying! 

Daniel



6.28.2022

Demystifying Cultural Change

 

Hi, this is our third deliver in our "demystifying series". 

Among all these pandemic, viral and addictive fancy things that are propagating in the "agility market", such like "scale frameworks" and other type of unicorns... there is also the buzzwords of "cultural change". 

Today my goal is to help you to differentiate between "smoke sellers" and real "cultural change agents". (if I can) 

 


What is a "culture"? 

Regarding Humberto Maturana, Human culture is defined in the various networks of conversation. We can speculate that the human lineage arose when languaging arose in our manner of living and it would have arisen out of coordinations of behaviour in the context of our emotioning. 

Is a set of collective believes, emotions and the consequential behaviour. We can say that something is "cultural" when we can observe it among the majority of a social group, and not only in one individual.  

We as humans, we are cultural, because we have language. But also we are alive beings, so we are biological. That's why Maturana made studies about Cultural-Biology. And Culture as a phenomenon, we can say is a biological adaptive process. Is a social behaviour. 

Its our "learned way of being". 

so... 

 


 

How does a culture change?

As an adaptive biological-linguistic pehnomenon (cuack!) (what!?) ... 

Ok, wait... we said we, as humans, are alive beings. (biological) 

And... we have language. The combination between our biological condition and our language skills, makes us cultural beings. 

The culture, as social group behaviour, has no other mean than to survive and conservation our alive status. 

So... as a biological feature, culture has many basic functions: to be conservative, and to be adaptive. 

When we learn some way to survive, we have the instinct to conserve that learning. Because if we loose it, we could die... 

Also, when environment changes, activates in us an instinct of being adaptive. To change and adapt to the new conditions. 

So then if culture would be a "material", it has the hability to keep its structure, and to change it when is needed. Something like plastic, that can be rigid, but it can change the shape, and became rigid again... 


 

 Culture is changing all the time. Actually is better to say, it is "transforming". There is not such a thing like immutation. What we cannot do is to "manipulate it", or at least makes non-sense... because if its an adaptive phenomenon, if we manipulate it, when we leave it alone, will re-adapt again to its original position. 

Makes non-sense to be "driving" a cultural change process. How could we know, and design what culture is the right one? 

Non-sense! 

The culture will be always the right one, the question is if our culture is able to adapt to our environment, or it is in "conservative mode" and loosing adaptive opportunities. (like conserving a hierarchical culture in 21 century, for software development teams) 

So... culture is created by learning. And by learning will be changed. Also you can fire your conservative employees, and hire fresh ones with better culture than you have... yes it will work also. But here we are talking about natural process. 

After hiring and firing, we have education. Internal Ontological Coaching sessions, with external coaches is the best option. Because Ontological Coaching is the art of reflection. And individual reflection is the key path to cultural change. 

After hiring and firing, education and coaching. We can change environment. We cannot manipulate culture (or we shouldn't) but we can change the environment, rules, bonuses, hierarchies, reports, communication styles, command and control processes... 

When I am trying to facilitate cultural change processes, many leaders tells me: "don't change that meeting", "don't remove those reports".... 

 


 

 ...dude... that is exactly what we need to do... If we don't remove the reports and the reporting meetings, we will never get rid off the "reporting culture". 

How can we develop a more "self-orgnaize culture"? 

... the answer is in the question. Let people self-organize and fail safely. That way they will learn. They will cultivate themselves that culture. 

- "oh but we are not fail friendly" 

Let people fail and learn.


 

 

 


How many quantum physicians do we need? 

None. You don't need even any kind of scientists. Please leave scientist to do science. Remember: culture is about biology, learning, language, emotions and adaptation. 

  • Just create the environment to enable cultural adaptation. 
  • Open coaching spaces for individual reflection with external systemic coaches.
  • Open education spaces everywhere (communities, trainings, open spaces)

 Let it happens... and avoid the temptation to try to manipulate culture.

  • Identify your need to acquire a cultural shift (or not) 
  • try to find what are your adaptive obstacles or suppressors 
  • work on them to let your culture flow... and flourish



Happy Flow! Happy Cultural transformations! 

At your service

Daniel Ceillan


4.30.2022

Agile is Love

 


Have a good day dears agilers! 


At this point of my learning trip, I started to connect two cables that make sense to share here. 


In the beginning of my Agile experience (around 2007), some people expressed their interpretations about agility saying "agile is love". In that moment they were target of jokes and mockery. 

 


I also heard some famous speakers bluffing about this in conferences... saying something like "this is about business", "agile is about money". 

In that moment, I believed it. It make sense, at the end we are inside business processes.

 Humberto Maturana - Biologist - (1928 - 2021)

Today, after learning so many different perspectives, and moreover after learning the Cultural-Biology from Humberto Maturana... I'm in the position to say with fundaments:

Agile Is Love 

Maybe I will suffer mockery because of this. But its ok, someone's mockery, is a sign of its maturity and neuro-plasticity. 

Humberto Maturana, defined our species as Homo-sapiens amans-amans, what means basically that we are loving creatures. That sounds really romantic, but its more deep than a cultural thing: its inside our isntincts level.

Love vs Fear 

Taking more into biological phenomenons, we will find emotions. Inside the emotional world, there is two main hemispheres: Love or Fear. 

In the sense that:

  • If you are loving you are not fearing
  • if you are fearing, you cannot love. 

We are abandoning and demanteling an old FEAR-BASED leadership and management paradigm.

if we are abandoning a fear-based relation system, where are we going?

Bingo: to a love-based one. 

We are going into a paradigm of respect.

Also into more care and empathy. (love?) 

(yes, love) 

We move more and more into self-organized, self-managed and self-developed teams. Teams that release all their passion (love?) to what they are doing. 

Yes, love. 

but then... 


 

What is Love?

"...baby don't heart me, don't heart me... no more..."

 Sorry, could not resist... 

 Regarding neuro-science, love is one instinct, that helps us to survive, reproduce, asociate and cooperate. In our human society, love manifest in many forms, like romance, solidarity, charity, passion, volunteer, commitment, generosity, education, coaching, mentoring, politics, democracy... and a big etcetera. 

So you don't want to see in your organization, collaboration, commitment, solidarity, generosity, assitance, openess, passion, sharing, caring and supporting? 

Well, my friend, all that is composed by love. 

You don't want your customers to "love your product"? 

You don't want your employees and partners to "love their job"? 

Let's understand Love as a phenomenon... So, Maturana comes to our rescue. 

 

"to love, is to let others appears" 
Humberto Maturana
 
If you let others appears, then all together are going to transform in the coexistance. 
 
  • How do I implement Love in my organization? 

To "let others appears", is simple. 
 
Add more of these: 
  • listen
  • Let them be their self, their way. 
  • let others contribute and co-create decisions and strategies
  • Accept them as they are, without wanting to change them. 
  • Give them space to express their self. 
  • Recognize their achievements
  • Thank them for what they are contributing, for their effort and time. 
  • really and honestly CARE about them. 
  • Accept diversity as part of the echosystem
 Avoid these: 
  • Competition 
  • Secrets 
  • Expectations 
  • Perfectionism 
  • Judgements 
  • Gossip 
  • Standardization  



 

 

What about you? 

Do you allow your colleagues to appear? 

Your environment allows you to appear and to "be your self"? 

How is your Feedback methodology?  You allow each other to appears?

To close this article... I would like to drop a very arrogant assumption. 

I'm pretty sure, that you, my dear reader... as a Human Being:

...you want to be loved. 

Good night and sweet dreams. I wish you can "appears" in your working environment, and to be "your self". 

Thanks for reading.



 

3.25.2022

A Paradigms comparison: Resources vs Systemic

 Hello readers, 

I hope you are safe and healthy in this crazy World. 





Today I want to share here a reflection about Paradigms. I will start to talk more about "paradigms" and "culture", because the word "mindset" is becoming short to the phenomenon that we try to describe. Cause the limits are not inside "one mind". But among the entire System... and even among entire Society. As long as there is no company disconnected from society...