development team for functionality over quality to make the build deadline. This is dangerous and as the guardians of code quality, the development team must stand firm. The development team must always follow the sashimi rule - where every piece of functionality delivered by the developers is fully tested and re-factored. [i] This positive tension and collaboration is what make Agile projects so special.
The bottom line is that product owners are absolutely necessary and have one of the most difficult jobs to do. Candidates must be evaluated with the right criteria for the role. They have skin in the game with all levels of the project - developers, managers, executives, outsourcing providers, etc. In order to do this job properly, product owners need to have strong confidence, teamwork and collaboration skills, and discipline. Tools, processes, and metrics can help with the discipline but the other attributes require a certain type of person.
About the author
David Webb currently serves as Agile Practice Lead and Engagement Manager for Exigen Services. He has been working with distributed Agile teams for more than five years, establishing practices and metrics to effectively manage and execute offshore Agile projects. David lives in London, England.
[i] See "Agile Project Management with Scrum" by Ken Schwaber, p. 55, for a discussion of the sashimi rule.