Collective Product Owner
"CEO & Team: Collective Product Ownership at Oxygen Media"
Presenter: Ken H. Judy, CSM, CSPO, CSP, Oxygen Media, USA
Scrum describes a separation of roles; the Product Owner is accountable for achieving business objectives and the team for technical execution. The agile manifesto values conversations over contracts. However, not all collaboration is equal. A collegial relationship between a Product Owner and team can skim the surface of agile practice while barely touching the possibilities of a project and its participants. In this presentation, I establish that deep, unbounded collaboration is at the heart of agile values. That partnerships of high trust and shared risk support value return and innovation. I describe how shared ownership over vision, priorities and execution evolved between our Scrum/XP development team and our CEO/Product Owner – an innovator in the cable television industry and new to software development. Finally, I describe how trust building and reliable performance has begun to change in our organization.
There’s a lot written about roles and core practices. Not so much is written about how a product owner leverages the knowledge and passion of all participants towards the vision and features of their product. This experience report is a 1-1/2 year example of just this kind of leadership. Gerry Laybourne is a significant figure in the history of television, largely responsible for the success of Nickelodeon. She has taken a risk in championing a new mission for her company in software based on research into women’s needs and preferences. This report draws on analyses of collaboration and knowledge creation to describe a process in which Gerry worked with a broad cross section of her company to brainstorm a product, learn about software and the role of product owner, and along the way grew to love her development team and the agile principles they espouse. It is also an example of introduction of agile practices bottom up in a company and how, under the right circumstances, our ways of working can influence the larger organization.