When Twerking Aliens Abduct Your Product Owner!

The Aliens got him.

Our brave PO.

Innocently tucking into a Pret egg mayo .

I think he was eating the slim Pret Sandwich because it was in one of those thin sandwich boxes, shouldn’t they be called half sandwiches?

Another blog.

But Our PO- he  is an athlete, he doesnt need to eat slim Pret Sandwiches.

Maybe he is watching his weight. Preparing for that little black dress with the xmas party in sight?

That is his business.

But yes.

As I was saying

Holborn station.

It was flattened by this  giant, swirling, golden Frisbee packed with Twerking Aliens.

The frisbee, it had a texture, I think it was Mat.

(Golden Mat is a good choice of  body work if you’re going for that pimp my unidentified Flying Object look)

This bright blinding beam of light shot out towards our Product Owner,sucking him in as he shouted out “Yes! At last annual leave!”

He was taken.

Liam Neeson‘s phone was going to voicemail.

The developers screamed.

I continued to drink my smoothie, partly upset, partly happy because the PO kinda deserved the abduction because he recently tried to abuse the concept of velocity, accidentally on purpose. Resentments a bitch.

We were in trouble.

Our Sprint Planning Meeting was due that morning.

Around Terrence’s desk, we opened the Scrum guide.

We searched.



“Assholes & Scrum”

“No, we’ve got lots of experience with those, keeping scrolling” I nudged Terrence.




The Scrum team looked at me, with tears in their eyes.

“It’s over! If there is no Product Backlog, and there is no Product Owner, we have no sprint, we will have to go home and play GTA”

With my wedding due this summer, I needed to think fast.

That Turkish wedding with 5,000 guests is not going to pay itself!

I grabbed the cards.

I grabbed the Sharpees.

I grabbed the post it notes.

I grabbed the team.

And we looked for stakeholders

Head of Sales.


Head of Marketing.




“Hello, we have 2 weeks to do some awesome stuff for our product – can you tell us what you think should be delivered?”

Lots of competing priorities.

No problem – it’s not an ideal situation but it’s a high quality problem – we have ideas!

Objective cases put forward as to why their story should make it into the Sprint.

Business value understood.

50% of AC understood.

Now we need to decide on what stories to go after first.

“Do it and ask for forgiveness” -> we borrow XP Techniques all the time, why stop there?

This is the mindset we HAD to adopt.

And guess, what after a little bit of moaning (understandable) I’ve never seen a team self-organise and REALLY take charge as much as the guys did that day -> it kinda empowered ’em, knowing the sprint was on the line.

A problem was presented, and they had to figure it out.

A la Scrum ‘esque scenario.


So yes, we lost a day out of our sprint.

We needed to act on behalf of our PO.

Is that ideal?


But is it completely absurd?


Our Scrum team have members who have dealt with the Product for some time, right?

SURELY they have a gauge of what competing stories, spikes & defects are of value to that Product, right?

Yes Scrum says it’s for the PO to prioritise business value – BUT when the unexpected happens – we NEED to be creative and pragmatic!

No one loves Scrum more than me.

Ok maybe, Schwaber.

But, if your PO is out of action.

Don’t let that put your Scrum team out of action.

And yes.

Those Aliens were Twerking.


Miley fast.


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