I just read a truly interesting HBR article that focused on the role of management versus team members themselves in fostering an environment of creativity and innovation.
Most of the discussions today in this space, at least in my experience, are focused towards leadership or management being responsible for innovation. That is – in setting up the environment
Very little of the focus is team ward. In that, the team bears some responsibility for its own behavior, energy, and focus towards innovation.
The HBR article had some survey data that puts “the blame” squarely on both shoulders – that of “management” and the “team” in establishing the right climate.
In my view, that’s the right focus since we all play a part in creating an environment of experimentation, innovation, and creativity.
Often agile organizations take the position that the Managers, Leaders, or the Scrum Masters are responsible for keeping the team focused and energized towards their work. And yes, these roles can play a part in keeping the teams passion and energy focused towards doing great work.
But I’ve found that another role can really make a difference here as well. One that is rarely suggested for this sort of nuance. That role is the Product Owner.
To make my point, I’d like to share a dozen “opportunities” for a Scrum Product Owner to make a difference within their teams. Is the list exhaustive? Probably not. But that’s not the intent. The intent is to get Product Owners thinking outside the role of backlogs, user stories, and delivery. And instead thinking about ways where they can play a key role in the engagement, joy, energy, passion, focus, and results of their teams.
Yes, I just added another large responsibility to an already overwhelming role. Sorry about that.