The Yin Yang of Projects: Roles in hybrid management

Postado por admin em 07/Mar/2019 - 1 Comentário

In this third article about the hybrid project management series, I will talk about the roles and responsibilities of each project stakeholder and how they relate to each other, control and develop their activities to ensure project success. To read the previous article of this series, access it here.

According to the ancient Chinese, there are 5 celestial creatures. They are the Azure Dragon of the east, the Vermilion Bird of the south, the White Tiger of the west, the Black Tortoise of the north, and the Yellow Dragon of the center. Each one has its characteristics and origins, representing the seasons of the year, the elements of nature and the cardinal directions. The legend says that if the 5 creatures are in balance and harmony, their energies will bring luck and riches to the emperor.

In the hybrid project management, we have 5 stakeholders that are relevant to the success of the project. The Product Owner (PO), Client or Sponsor (CL), Scrum Master (SM), Project Manager (PM) and Team Members (TM). Each stakeholder has its functions and responsibilities within the project, which when added together contribute to its success. Let’s take a look at each of these functions and their strategic position.

The Product Owner (East Azure Dragon)

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The Dragon of the East, represents creativity, power and birth. Its element is wood and its season is spring. Just like the Dragon, the Product owner has the power over creating the product that the client wants. He must have the autonomy and authority to play his role and is responsible for understanding the client’s needs, desires, and expectations to create a product that fits him. Their main activities are to understand the requirements collected by the project manager and break them into pieces that can be better managed and estimated, called user stories. In addition, it acts in the prioritization and optimization of these user stories in the product backlog, clearly communicate the acceptance criteria and approve what is delivered.

Raw wood does not add much value, but when it is refined, it becomes an excellent building material, as well as turning into useful objects and tools with higher value to the client.

The Client (South Vermilion Bird)

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The Vermilion bird or Chinese phoenix, is the representation of the future, transformation and passion. Its element is fire and its season the summer. I reference the Chinese phoenix to the client, because all demands to create or transform something into a project, comes from a need brought by the client. Their expectations are set with passion and always focused on the future, whether to explore an opportunity or solve a problem. The client is responsible for defining his vision and aligning his expectations with the entire project team. The client will always have the support from the Product Owner to turn their ideas into reality and their main activities are communication and research.

just as the fire engulfs and spreads, an ever engaged and active Client, strengthens the project team, as he will facilitate the understanding of his vision and spreading his expectations to increase the chance of a successful delivery.

The Scrum Master (West White Tiger)

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The White Tiger of the West, represents protection, progression and persistence. Its element is metal and its season is autumn. The Scrum master is the guardian of the SCRUM values and good practices, just as the white tiger is the protector of the celestial animals. therefore his main responsibility, is to disseminate his knowledge about the Agile process, by training and capacitating all the members of the project. He is a leader that serves, by motivating the project team, removing obstacles to keep the work flow and stablishing a good communication with the project manager about the progress, risks and quality. His main activities as a communicator agent, is promoting the daily meetings and Sprint reviews and also integrating all the stakeholders of the project.

The metal must always be rigid, in order to be able to carry the water and its nutrients to better serve the emperor.

The Project Manager ( North Black Tortoise)

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The Black Tortoise of the north represents support, agile mind and mental strength. Its element is water and its season winter. The project manager plays a supporting role for the project. He is the thinking and supportive figure of the team, as he plans, analyzes and controls the whole project. His main activities are to plan the project, identify and mitigate risks of the project, manage project changes, support the Product Owner in product planning, analyze and control the progression of team work, with the support of the Scrum Master.

As well as its element, the water, the project manager must be flexible and adapt to the changes that will occur in the project, adjusting and balancing the hybrid management process (PMBoK and SCRUM) in the most appropriate way.

Team Members (Center Yellow Dragon)

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The yellow dragon of the center means stability, security and prosperity. Its element is the earth and represents the change of seasons. Team members are the heart of the project and should always be the center of attention. A project can not be delivered without people to execute it and therefore the members of the team are responsible for its stability and prosperity. Because they are part of the changing seasons, a project benefits when all team members participate in all the project cycles, from the initiation phase to the ending. Team members should participate in project planning, user stories definition, support the Scrum Master and attend the ceremonies and meetings, carry out the project activities and celebrate the completion of the cycles with the lessons learned from the project and Sprint retrospectives.

If the earth is well cared and nourished, all will prosper with the fruits it generate.

Interactions Between the Five Elements

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The 5 elements have a relationship between them of generation and control that can change the world. Generating and control are the complementary processes – the yin and yang – of Five Element Theory. Generating processes promote development, while control processes restrict development. By promoting and restraining, systems are harmonized and balance is maintained.

In the hybrid project management, this harmony must be maintained among the stakeholders, so that the project can thrive. With this being said one part can not dominate the other or one process can not be more important than the other. All members are equally influential and responsible for the balance and harmony of the project. If any member has more power than another or tries to dominate him, the project will eventually fail.

The white tiger is the protector of the house but if it gets too powerful, it can devour your home

Generating Interactions

The generating interactions of the five elements are important to the development of their pairs such as wood fuels fire, fire forms earth(Volcanoes), earth contains metal, metal carries water(buckets, pipes) and water feeds wood. These interactions can be worked out as follows:

  • Wood fuels fire: The product owner supports the client in building their product, informs the premises and restrictions that can be applied in his vision and aligns their expectations with the reality of the project.
  • Fire forms earth: Client informs team members of his needs and expectations, communicates what should and should not be done and explains his product acceptance criteria.
  • Earth contains metal: Team members communicate to the Scrum Master about their obstacles and limitations, work progress, and the lessons learned from the project.
  • Metal carries water: Scrum Master feeds the Project Manager with information on team status, iterations of each sprint, and product quality.
  • Water feeds wood: The Project Manager delivers project status reports, risk and corrective actions, and a project forecast to the Product Owner.

Control Interactions

The control interactions of the five elements are important to limit the power of their pairs such as fire melts metal, metal penetrates wood (chopping, sawing), wood separates earth (tree roots breaking up soil/rock), earth absorbs water, water quenches fire. These interactions can limit roles as follows:

  • Fire melts metal: Client interferes with the speed of sprints set by the Scrum Master to increase or decrease its speed.
  • Metal penetrates wood: The Scrum Master influences some changes in the list of priorities defined by the Product Owner.
  • Wood separates earth: The product owner can relocate team members to other projects as needed.
  • Earth absorbs water: Team members can work on activities not planned by the Project Manager, but still adding value to the delivery.
  • Water quenches fire: The project manager can limit the number of changes the customer wants to be included in the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Understanding and respecting the roles and responsibilities of each member is central to any project management process, and in hybrid management this becomes even more important, as some roles are antagonistic and can generate discussion. Each member should be placed side by side and leave these disagreements aside, focusing only on the team collaboration for the success of the project. Without this joint force and harmony between the parties, no project can achieve its ultimate goal.

“We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves.”-Francis J. Braceland

What else can we learn from these celestial creatures? What is your opinion about the harmony of the project stakeholders? Do you think there are other ways to achieve Team balance? Please leave your comments below.

In the next article I’ll talk about the Work Breakdown Structure technique in a hybrid project management. Until next Thursday.