I’ve always liked Dave Landis’s diagram on how Design Thinking, Lean UX, and agile go together. Something, however, always felt a little off. Every iteration of this framework I read about still seems to reflect a linear mindset of design that is somehow then attached to a cyclic (Sprint-like) product development mindset.
It took me til I went to Jeff Patton’s Passionate Product Owner course (CSPO) that I began to know what I didn’t know about agile product management and a view of its integration with Scrum. In essence, it confirmed what I had felt for a long time:
The Product Owner is responsible for the budget and delivering value. They might feel that spending more time doing discovery, thinking and research work is worth investing in (although, this could break the 10% timebox defined in the Scrum Guide by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber).
That’s not to say that Jeff was suggesting people should turn Sprint work into upfront discovery in the way some people do with Sprint 0. Sprint 0 is held by agile professionals, such certified Scrum trainers and coaches, as an anti-pattern:
Many then turn their Sprint 0 design work into a regular activity. Unfortunately, this turns 2-week Sprints into 6-week Sprints before the Product Owner has a potentially releasable Increment.
Jeff Patton painted a picture of two paradigms — “pay to learn” and “pay to build”. At any time, a Scrum Team could be more focussed on one than the other. He also highlighted that through delivery, the Scrum Team (including the Product Owner):
Agile product development is different from traditional, linear, project management. As Product Owners are responsible for budget and the delivery of value to users, the most effective way to achieve this outcome is to combine and integrate experimentation, learning, user feedback into the development process. For many who are used to linear discovery, this presents a challenge – UX people working as a member of the Scrum Team to help the Product Owner steer the product with good design, but also other fellow team members to develop the product according to good, UX practices.
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