For those of you who aren’t glued to their TV screens during the Six Nations the title of this post is a reference to the instructions given by a referee in rugby before each and every scrum. Why am I talking about rugby? Well as a part of my job I find myself being introduced to all sorts of new ideas and the latest of these is using the Scrum methodology for running projects.
Scrum is an agile methodology that, at least in theory, looks like a god send for those of us more used to the forest destroying, will sapping, momentum stalling Prince2 system of running projects (and yes I know Prince doesn’t have to be like that but in my experience its how it always ends up!). Scrum aims to empower the developers and also be flexible enough to realise that specifications change over time and creates a framework that can evolve with that but also regularly deliver solid outcomes. It seems that I am going to take the role of Product Owner for Beanbag, which after some background reading seems to suit me fine. As far as I can tell the role of the Product Owner is to act as the voice of the user/customer, set priorities for each ‘sprint’ (a short, in our case 3 week, period of work with deliverables at the end), make sure that the priorities are also supporting the business needs and then to get out of the way and let the developers do their work. To maintain the rugby theme its kind of a scrum half role, pointing the guys who do the hard graft in the right direction but leaving them to do the nitty gritty then grab the glory at the end!
According to some of my reading it has quite a bit in common with the Product Manager role that alot of web and software companies have and this makes sense and this kind of role seems to be a bit part of what my job is settling down to become (with a chunk of what Tara Hunt used to call Pinko Marketing as well).
This week will be the first time I really get involved in this aspect and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it works out. 3 weeks in and the job is still pretty exiting as it evolves round me and the more time I spend on Beanbag the more sure I am of its potential and this Product Owner role will give me a real opportunity to start influencing the direction of things a bit which is something I have missed since leaving JISC.