- organizational values and beliefs ndash; whether to value command and control over collaboration and active sharing, whether to promote trust over apprehension, whether to foster creativity and innovation over accepting the status quo ( this is the way things are done around here ) etc. Sadly, most agile adoptions are however short-sighted; the teams are eager to introduce the practices without complete understanding and appreciation of the principles behind them.
Traditionally, the Product Management division of any organization is responsible for defining the ldquo;what and whenrdquo; while the technology divisions takes care of the ldquo;howrdquo;. With the introduction of agile, product managers are now challenged to address the dual requirements of defining the strategic product road-map (what and when) and also simultaneously balancing the sprint level constraints of resources and budgets (how). So, product ownership in an agile environment demands a blend of diverse skill sets ndash; something which is unusual to find in one single person. Thus itrsquo;s more critical for a product owner to constantly collaborate with the team to plug those holes and adopt agile practices to iteratively execute, inspect and adapt based on constant feedback. This replaces the conventional Power Culture[iv] and Role Culture [v] themes and hence traditional product owners run the risk of becoming the limiting factor to an agile teamrsquo;s collaboration and feedback culture.
As part of being in a start-up, Jeff took upon himself to be responsible for an Entrepreneurial Culture [vi] ndash; a culture which spawns value creation through innovation and provided enough freedom to everyone to grow and to fail. Jeff clearly understands that as part of nurturing a start-up, he is also growing a new business and a new corporation and hence he will need everyonersquo;s help to make it happen. He let the team choose technology and development practices and got him involved in providing guidance with constant business prioritization. This type of participation without controlling fosters trust and accountability in the team and hence more commitment to deliver success.[vii]
Contrast this with the behavioral patterns displayed by Ryan. Though he is also running a start-up, his actions are definitely not championing working together. Rather, his is more conformist approach to role based culture. While Role Culture definitely has its advantages in specific scenarios, itrsquo;s not the best approach in start-up environments. Role based culture[viii] works best in military, baseball teams and other situations where specialized skills determines your position in the team and the person is limited by the skill set ndash; which is not true in a start-up situation where you are looking to have more generalists than specialists.
Agile fosters a collaborative, interactive development environment that believes in providing high value business solutions early and often with a group of motivated individuals. The goal of the leadership in such an environment is to remove all the obstacles that hinder the pace and quality of work and provide all the support the team needs. Obviously, this stems from a deep level of trust between the leadership and the team which in turn fosters more trust. However, both the business and IT in most organizations strongly suffer from ldquo; this is the way things get done around here rdquo; belief resulting in low levels of trust and slow pace - a significant trait of Process Culture.
Forrester Research is actually focusing a lot on building lsquo;product centric teamsrsquo; within organizations. A ldquo;Product-centricrdquo; development team is a distinctive, value-based approach to software development; these teams support their companyrsquo;s value chain, partner with both their customers and business stakeholders, and own the business results that their