described the effects of this situation at the start of this article.
In Dueling Product Owners, both the Product Owner and the Architect have equal ranking power. This is good in that it ensures that feature-oriented work and design work are both taken into consideration, but something is wrong if the Team continually finds themselves facing a work backlog containing "feature stories" and "design stories" of equal priority. The Team may then either prioritize these stories on their own (in effect, becoming another Product Owner), or accept the risk of delivering both at once.
The need for ongoing coordination between the Product Owner and Architect should be readily apparent. Whether setting explicit goals during Sprint Planning for "ability to react" and "eliminate technological debt", or working to eliminate conflicts in the work backlog before they reach the Team, both parties must maintain ongoing conversations.
If the Product Owner, Architect, and Team all strive to be mindful of business value as discussed here, the conversations will be fruitful ones. In all things: balance.
About the Authors
Derek W.Wade is a Partner and Senior Consultant at 3Back LLC, a CSM/CSP (Certified ScrumMaster / Certified Scrum Practitioner), and Agile team coach. He has over 13 years experience across all roles of the software lifecycle in several industries including Aerospace, Distribution, Internet Commerce, Digital Mapping, and most recently Loan Financing and Employment Testing. One of Derek's distinctions is bridging the gaps between developers and business users, and his current focus is the "hard problems" of the psycho-social aspects of team product development in corporate cultures. He has led discussions on software testing and transitioning to Agile, and is currently focused on tools and behaviors which improve agile development for non-collocated teams.
Scott M. Barnes is an Executive Vice President at Persis Consulting Company, a CSM (Certified ScrumMaster) and mentor. He has more than 10 years management experience, working in a myriad of market spaces. Bringing to bear over 13 years of technical expertise in various roles in industries such as Vehicle Telematics, Location Based Services, Digital Mapping and Navigation, and Enterprise Content Management, he has been a catalyst for change in business at all levels. Currently focused on evangelizing Agile at the Executive level, he has been successful at engaging businesses and encouraging growth based on solid results. He has proven success in managing projects, consistently meeting or exceeding expectations. Scott is working within the business community at the C-level to bring to bear the power of Agile practices within businesses that are ready for change.
[i] Shore, James. "Voluntary Technical Debt." http://jamesshore.com/Blog/CardMeeting/Voluntary-Technical-Debt.html. Accessed February 4.
[iv] Darwin, Charles. "The Origin of the Species." Gramercy, 1995.