March 8, 2018

We Just Need a Global Product Owner

BY :     March 8, 2018

New technologies often have huge positive expectations. Reality turns out to be a bit different most of the time. An overview:

Also currently we see new technologies with huge positive promises. How will that turn out:

Are these just negative side effects? Do we need to take them for granted or should we conclude that in the end technology does not make us happier? Can we do something to keep the positive sides but take away the negative side effects?

A technology which is invented can never be “un-invented”. It is there and even if it doesn’t bring what we expected, we can never get rid of it anymore. But we do not seem to learn from that, always blinded by the positive promises.

Let’s use medical technology as an example:

  • It is very positive as long as it is used to solve problems: medicines, prostheses, surgery to repair things in our body. Sensors in our heads to take away pain or minimize the impact of Alzheimer. Everyone wants those things to be developed.
  • It becomes dubious when it leads to improving things which already function well: cosmetic surgery without any medical reason; doping in sports, sensors in our brains just to make us smarter. Maybe we should just not want those things.

This could be generic guideline:

  • Use technology to solve real problems
  • Don’t use it to improve things which are already pretty okay. Since the side-effects will cause more harm than it will bring us happiness.

But how to arrange that? Who determines what is a real problem and what is just luxury? This is a bit like: how to determine business value? The answer there is: the product owner prioritizes stories on the backlog, based on business value.

So: we need a worldwide scrum backlog and a product owner! The backlog is a list of global user stories. Problems for which a solution must be developed, prioritized by the extend they contribute to “value for the world” or “happiness”. As soon as the problem is solved we don’t develop the technology any further but just focus on the next problem.

Technology-leaders around the globe should commit to solving these issues in short sprints. Scrumming to save our world; why didn’t we think of that earlier?

Just two more questions: who should be the product owner and how do we hold the stand up’s?

André Helderman

About

André Helderman has studied both Business Information Technology and Organizational Sociology which makes clear that he is interested in the impact of technology on human behavior.

More on André Helderman.

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    *Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Sogeti Group