Guest blog: in response to “The Five Belts of the Product Owner

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This is a response to Chris Lukassen‘s excellent post titled, “The Five Belts of the Product Owner.” If you haven’t read it, my post won’t make much sense, so go read it before you delve further into my post.

Chris’s post brought up many thoughts and feelings because it hit the intersection of two of the things that are taking up much of my focus as of late, Judo and Product Management.
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ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and Scrum 5 Ways to Make it Less Painful

At some point, you get a nose for things that don’t feel right. Things that sound reasonable when explained, yet you get that gnawing feeling it sort of goes against nature. Working with Scrum and compliance to ISO is one of those things. Here are 5 ways to merge a rigid security standard, without violating Scrum values like focus, openness or its pillars, transparency, adaption and trust.

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The Five Belts Of The Product Owner

What is your level?

What is your level?

One of the cool things that Europeans added to Judo is the belt system. Japanese are patient by nature, they either do or don’t. In fact, they distinguish only the black belt, you either have it or are progressing towards it.

We need a bit more guidance to know we are on the right way, hence we have the different belts (which actually originate from the game of pool.) So what are five distinct levels of Product Ownership that we can observe and what must change before we move on to the next level?

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Help Me Create a Better Way to Prioritise Features

Do you remember the legendary PID? the Project Initiation Document. The famous big binder that we used to create in the beginning of a project to satisfy governance and then bury in a drawer so we could get started. Then agile came and we broke things down. We learned story maps, customer journeys, vision statements, business model canvases. For me it works for the big picture, but when it comes to feature development or epics, it’s not perfect.

Product Samurai use elegant weapons for a clear and effective battle. So what is our weapon of choice? I have not yet seen te ultimate tool. But I’m close and I need your help to complete it.

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Seven Reasons why Darth Vader is a Terrible Product Manager

It’s not that I have run out of Samurai parallels but I ran into this blog called: “Darth Vader – The Best Project Manager in the Galaxy” and since it’s my sincere belief that this sword wielding (see there is a samurai parallel!) manager actually displays some pretty terrible Product Management Skills:

Here are 7 examples, which should help you, gauge in what side of the force your product management skills lay.
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Verbal Aikido for Product Managers

“Well eh ok, I guess so” mumbled the student in the product owner training exercise where he was practicing how to say no to feature gluttony. I decided to give the class an additional exercise to awaken their inner diplomat.

“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” – W.S. Churchill

All sweet and well, but how do we say NO?

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The Purpose Alignment Model

When scaling Agile/Scrum, we invariably run into the alignment vs. autonomy problem. In short, you cannot have autonomous, self-directing teams if they have no clue what direction they should go. Or, even shorter, alignment breeds autonomy.

But how do we create alignment? And what tools can we use to quickly evaluate whether or not what we want to do is part of the mission? Niel Nickolaisen, chief technology officer at OC Tanner, created the purpose alignment model. I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to determine what aspects of innovation to keep, and what to leave to others.

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