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Real-world Agile: The advantage of Product Owner demos

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During a discussion about Scrum at the Boulder Agile User Group (BAUG) meeting recently, Paul Quarles of Oppenheimer Funds shared his experience as a  Product Owner demoing to the business in a Scrum environment. I’ll share that story and my take on the moniker, Agilists, in this post.

There are no speakers or formal presentations at BAUG meetings. This is more of a casual sharing of experiences and dilemmas that people are experiencing as they use agile at their workplaces. What’s cool about this group is that people describe what’s happening in the real world — not necessarily what the books tell you or what the classes teach you, but what is really happening. As we all know, real life rarely works out exactly as the books describe. This may be why many people think that software development is not something you can learn from a text book or a class, but something you must experience.

Of the many topics discussed that evening, the use of Scrum came up most often. Everyone was very positive about their experiences with Scrum and were strong supporters of agile. I’ve been hearing the word “agilist” to describe agile supporters; but, being a bit of a wordsmith, I’ve decided the word “evagilist” might be a better way to describe these evangelists.

I asked the group if I might take back a “real world agile story” for Software Quality Insights, and that’s when Paul Quarles shared his Product Owner experiences.

In Scrum, there’s a Product Owner, Scrum Master, and a Team, comprised of developers and testers.   Scrum uses short iterations ending in a deliverable piece of code that can be demoed.  The books say that it’s the Team’s responsibility to demo the work results to the Product Owner. However, Paul — the Product Owner for his Scrum project — says that he is the person that demos the code for the business users.  Listen to his accounting of why this works well for his group.

I plan to gather more of these Real World Agile stories each month. Maybe I could even make a Reagility TV Series!