Gunnar Ahlberg - Into software home


Published 2012-12-19 - Stockholm

The great teachers Mary and Tom Poppendieck mentioned the “Product Champion” in their book “Leading Lean”. Now, much has been written and this topic has been mentioned before. But what prevents us as software developers to pick up the torch and start running?


Ok, so what is the “Product Champion” anyway? It’s the combination of a Scrum Master and Product Owner in one person. It’s the role of a visionary, controller of priority. Basically, the one that gets software done.

A product champion, much like an entrepreneur, has business responsibility for the success or failure of the product. This means that for a product with a profit-and-loss statement (P&L), they are responsible for the P&L of that product. This is why the product champion leads the ideation effort—if ideation is not done well, the product will not be successful Poppendieck, Portrait: Product Champion, Take 1

So, IT systems should be built like Apple? No! People over process, remember? Agile manifest first command.

Move on

So, in IT land, we are currently about to move from process X to process Y. Any of Waterfall, Scrum, XP, Agile - all of them come and go. And ironically, you can get good at any process. So, again, people over process. It’s the people that make good software, not the process.

What would happen if you know the person or role responsible for the vision, profit & loss, GUI appeal, responsivness, usability, usefulness, all the details of your application? I’ve worked with people who have all these skills under their belt. It makes a huge difference. Johan Rahm, architect for the PUST project nominated as one of the four most successful IT projects 2012 had many of these qualities. He could make decisions on a morning meeting on the directions. As well, what need to have more discussion with the stakeholders. That was one of the success factors of that project.


On a end note, make sure someone is responsible for the success of the product. Maybe you are able to make good software. But who ensures it is successful? Read more on the need for successful software by Gojko Adzic, Redefining software quality