The P4-Dev framework provides a comprehensive approach to product development, particularly one that leverages pragmatic, lean, and agile practices. The three key roles within this framework are the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the System Engineer, each of which has distinct responsibilities but also have to work in harmony to ensure the successful execution of product development. The three roles are present on each of the P4-Dev hierarchy levels (Team, Cluster and Organization) and together compose the Management Circle of that level.
The Product Owner is the key stakeholder who bridges the gap between the team (i.e. Team, Cluster, Org) and the business, ensuring that the team is working on the most valuable products, applications or features first. Their role is multifaceted, combining elements of business strategy, product design, and product management. Product Owners define and prioritize the backlogs, clearly articulate the vision and goals for the product, and make critical decisions about what features to build and when. They maintain a continuous dialogue with both the team and stakeholders, ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding of what is being built and why.
The Scrum Master, on the other hand, serves as a servant manager, facilitator and coach for the team. They work to remove any impediments that may be obstructing the team’s progress, fostering an environment where the team can perform at its best. The Scrum Master also ensures adherence to the lean and agile principles, mentors the team in the pragmatic methodology, and shields them from external disruptions. They are the champion of the process, working to ensure the team’s productivity and effectiveness.
The System Engineer is a technically-focused role within the P4-Dev framework. Their primary responsibilities lie in designing, implementing, and maintaining the technical infrastructure and architecture necessary for the product’s development. System Engineers ensure that the developed systems are reliable, efficient, and meet both the design specifications and the users’ needs. They tackle technical challenges, keep up-to-date with relevant technologies, and often work closely with the Product Owner to understand the product’s technical requirements.
While each of these roles has distinct responsibilities, they need to work together closely for the team to be successful. The Product Owner sets the vision, the Scrum Master facilitates the process and the team’s progress towards that vision, and the System Engineer ensures the technical feasibility and implementation of that vision. In this way, the P4-Dev framework highlights the need for a balance between business acumen, process adherence, and technical expertise in successful project management.
All three roles together form the Management Circle of the Team, Cluster or the entire Organization.
Although, we recognize the hierarchical simplicity of having a single manager per team, we think that a management team is better, for the following reasons:
- Every human has strengths and weaknesses. In x-functional management teams everyone can act the role of his/her strength.
- Different perspectives complement each other,
- Diversity reinforces this,
- Separation of powers enforces it.
- Team members correct each other.
- Sympathies and antipathies to certain topics or persons have less effect.
- By focusing on specific tasks, each individual person in the management team has less to do and less stress.
- Each member of the management team is allowed to take time off or vacation.
- Parttime work as manager is possible.
- Employees do not have to rely on the sympathy of a single manager when the disciplinary supervisor and the functional supervisor are two different people.
Next article: Is there an agile milestone process?
Title picture by rawpixel.com on freepik.