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Sep 21, 2021

“Combining Product Ownership with line management? Hold my beer.”

Agilists focus on program performance; line management focuses on functional excellence and control. Agilists preach a focus on product outcome, while line management tends to maximize output. Just two obvious stereotypes between the two groups. Sander Nienkemper looks forward to visiting Agile@Scale, because he combines both roles (as well as a third!) at insurance company Vivat.

Sander Nienkemper has come to fill three roles simultaneously at Vivat. Firstly, he’s the IT manager for Vivat’s Individual Life ART. Secondly, he’s also Product Owner for Vivat’s Lean-Agile Center of Excellence (LACE). Finally, he’s also a Business Owner for the Requirements-to-Deployment part of the company’s development regime. No shortage of interesting perspectives on Agility at Scale, in short.

Three roles? How?

“My first role is a line management role; the ‘Individual Life’ ART originates from our conventional IT department. The transformation is very much ongoing, in that sense. Then, secondly, when we started implementing SAFe I was part of the pioneering team, which eventually grew into the Lean-Agile Center of Excellence. When we discovered that name and how suitable it was for us, we decided I should become the Product Owner for the LACE.

Finally, I own the ‘requirements to deploy’ part of our development regime. This last role allows me to focus on guardrails throughout our development organization: from the first requirements in the Epic, to deployment in the iterative production cascade of plan & design, develop, test and deploy. I work closely with our Compliance and Audit department to ensure they understand and agree with our approach to quality management.

Conflicts and alignments

The combination of roles results in seemingly internal conflicts of interest. For my ART I want to secure a high level of autonomy, but as a business owner I also strive for organizationally universal practices. Requirements by design, data by design, security by design, that kind of coherence. It’s not always easy to cede autonomy to a higher goal, but ultimately our interests will align of course.

My talk at Agile@Scale will be about the juggling of roles and interests. It isn’t all conflict, mind you: sometimes the duality strengthens each role. As a PO for the LACE for example, I can also introduce the focus on built-in-quality that my involvement in requirements to deployment brings.

Upcoming Product Owner Courses

Programs
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Jan 30

Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)

€1,495
Start gegarandeerd! Training op locatie - dagelijks 09:00 - 17:00 CET
SAFe
Dutch
Amsterdam
Start gegarandeerd! Training op locatie - dagelijks 09:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
Dutch
Amsterdam
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Feb 15

Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)

€1,495
Classroom training - each day 09:00 - 17:00 CET
SAFe
English
Amsterdam
Classroom training - each day 09:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
English
Amsterdam
Show more
Feb 15

Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)

€1,495
Online Training - each day from 09:00 - 17:00 CET
SAFe
English
Virtual Course Germany
Online Training - each day from 09:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
English
Virtual Course Germany
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Feb 16

Professional Scrum Product Owner I (PSPO I)

€1,495
Online training - each day from 09:00 - 17:00 CET
Scrum.org
English
Virtual Course Germany
Online training - each day from 09:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
English
Virtual Course Germany
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Feb 23

Professional Scrum Product Owner I (PSPO I)

€1,495
Op locatie - dagelijks van 09:00 - 17:00 CET
Scrum.org
Dutch
Amsterdam
Op locatie - dagelijks van 09:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
Dutch
Amsterdam
Show more
Mar 2

Professional Scrum Product Owner I (PSPO I)

€1,495
Remote training - each day 9:00 - 17:00 CET
Scrum.org
English
Virtual Course EU
Remote training - each day 9:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
English
Virtual Course EU
Show more
Mar 13

Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)

€1,495
Remote training - each day 8:30-17:30 CET
SAFe
French
Virtual Course FR
Remote training - each day 8:30-17:30 CET
€1,495
French
Virtual Course FR
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Mar 13

Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)

€1,495
Classroom training - each day 09:00 - 17:00 CET
SAFe
English
Brussels
Classroom training - each day 09:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
English
Brussels
Show more
Mar 20

Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM)

€1,495
Remote training - each day 09:00 - 17:00 CET
SAFe
English
Virtual Course EU
Remote training - each day 09:00 - 17:00 CET
€1,495
English
Virtual Course EU
Show more
Apr 24

Professional Scrum Product Owner I (PSPO I)

€1,495
Remote training - each day 9:00 - 17:00 CEST
Scrum.org
English
Virtual Course EU
Remote training - each day 9:00 - 17:00 CEST
€1,495
English
Virtual Course EU
Show more
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