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In this fourth episode of my video series, I explore how to Engage your Business Owners in a wide sense not limited to a specific event.

I will also wrap up the entire video series by summarizing what I have covered and giving you some Tips.

Release train engineer
Join this training to explore the topic of this article further from the RTE perspective

Shifting Leadership style

Let us revisit the title for this video series – “Improving collaboration between Business Owners and Teams”.

We do that to better align work in the teams to corporate objectives and to create more value from the train. The style of leadership that we require to get there is different from a traditional style that has been successful in the past decades.

I am reminded about this difference when talking to Business Owners, especially those new in that role or new to lean-agile thinking.

They tell me they are now expected to step back from the teams and move out of their way. What they should do instead may not always be sufficiently clear to them. I’ve seen examples of leaders misinterpreting this and becoming too invisible and inaccessible to the teams.

A thinking tool that has supported me well in these discussions is this matrix, created by Henrik Kniberg for the “Engineering Culture at Spotify”.

I explain the various leadership styles in the video. The style in upper right corner has proven superior in dynamic, complex and uncertain environments.

It supports us to align our work towards corporate objectives and to maximize value.

By consistently applying that mindset, a Business Owner promotes good collaboration with the teams.

More ways for the Business Owner to engage

In what other ways can a Business Owner be engaged in a train and contribute to collaboration with Teams?

They can serve the teams and help out with impediments or prioritization requiring executive support.

Let me give you one example on Prioritization.

This story is from an organization in which the BO meets with the Teams mid-PI to have an informal chat for 10 minutes about their objectives.

The Business Owners get a chance to see first-hand real progress and also to help out.

At one occasion the team shares the insight that working on all three remaining Objectives may result in none of them being met due to something unexpected having happened.

By collaboratively discussing this with the Business Owners, they see the option to meet two of the objectives given they may stop working on the third.

As a result of this collaboration with Business Owners, the team met those two objectives and delivered a higher value to the business.

Summary of entire video series

Now it’s time to summary the entire video series and put it in a nutshell!


Overview of elements contributing to a good collaboration

To the right, we see the initiative to define PI Objectives with a clear state and also
with clarity on how it contributes to the organization. In the PI Planning that initiative helps us to align all teams towards Corporate Objectives.

In the upper left we see the balanced use of Uncommitted Objectives. That helps us to increase Predictability, so that Business Owner feel that teams actually Do what they Say. That in turn creates trust between Business Owners and Team.

To the left we see engaged Business Owners ready to help the Team when they really need it. That builds even more Trust between them. It also helps the train to create more value.

In the very center we have a collaborative relationship built on mutual trust.


Are you also interested to improve the collaboration between Business Owners and Team to create even more value from the train?

Let me give you a few tips for your coaching


Compilation of key tips from the entire Video series

  1.  Coach the teams to define PI Objectives with a clear state and clarity on how it contributes to the business.
    How engaged are the Business Owners when seeing the PI Objectives for the first time?
    How can you make them more appealing?
  2. Have a balanced use of Uncommitted Objectives.
    Use my card deck if you like – download them here
    Make sure you get to a shared understanding of what is preventing the train from delivering more value.
  3. Be clear on what mindset and behavior you would like to see from both Business Owners and Teams in their collaboration.
    Use my coaching cards as inspiration – download them here
    Praise the right behavior when you see it.
  4. Support Business Owners in aligning on what Business Value is to them.
    Also support them in deciding on how to use the 1-10 range of Business Value
  5. Find ways for Business Owners to stay engaged with the Teams outside PI Planning

Those were my tips to you on your journey.

Good Luck!


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at BDD Academy

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