Make Your Work Visible

Kanban progress board

One of the Product Owner’s most important roles is to make the development team’s work visible within the organization. Developers may too easily become self-contained with no view outside of the work they’re doing.

Lifting the curtain and making others aware of what’s being built reminds the engineering team that their work affects actual people: customers who are paying for an end product.

Showcasing a team’s work also provides a sense of accomplishment for your team, allowing them to take pride in a product that was built with love and attention to detail.

Showcase your team’s work by sending emails to your entire organization or the department that’s affected by a new release. Hang a progress board on the wall with old school sticky notes or index cards. And celebrate when quality work is released.

Avoiding Frankenstein Software

Every company struggles to avoid Frankenstein syndrome. If your company isn’t at least thinking about avoiding it, maybe you’ve never even thought about it.

Frankenstein syndrome is a disease that makes your software looked cobbled together and is the result of not focusing on your product vision and roadmap. No matter how you build your product roadmap, the purpose is to help you visualize the future. Each release is a small part of a larger organism.

Think about your product like a 500-piece puzzle: it’s much easier to put the pieces in place if you know what your final outcome will be. Often it’s easiest to assemble the border first. In our example, this is the first release.

Now imagine only receiving a glimpse of the puzzle box and being told to put it together. You’ll still be ahead of the person who has no clue what they’re building. That person will easily become frustrated and may even try pounding a piece to make it fit. You may have found yourself here with your product.

Understanding what you want to build allows you start with the important parts first and then fill in the rest. Creating product visions and roadmaps is the best way to avoid Frankenstein software.