Vision – or the lack of communicated vision – is a problem I’ve been trying to tackle on multiple teams for the last several months. The specific problem is caused by Product Owners (or Customers) who do not have a vision for the system they own.
It’s not that there isn’t anyone in the organization who has a vision for the system–that’s often the Product Owner’s boss. Rather, the troubles start when the boss delegates responsibility for product ownership but doesn’t take the time to instill that same individual with his or her desires and dreams for the system.
And what is the result of this failure to delegate vision with product ownership?
- Teams focusing on less, and even unimportant, features such as sophisticated admin functionality that only benefits Product Owner.
- An undercurrent of doubt within that team that the development path is not directed toward an overarching, understood, and meaningful goal. (This undercurrent will, at best, draw away productivity and, at worst, foster team-wide infighting over the development direction.)
- A completed system that does not deliver business value.
In one word, it’s waste.