Refer to the blog “Writing a book – how Agile can it be”.  In that project context, Salma Sultana, an artist in Bangalore was hired to draw the illustrations for the book working with the developer (author) and the Product Owner all in Bangalore. Salma came with strong references on her previous work and showed stuff that she had done earlier for a website – good ones. In this project, Salma was to read the book, take inputs on depicting the various characters and scenarios in the book to develop the illustrations. The illustrations had to be incorporated in the book production process managed by the publisher located in Chennai with their own creative team headed by Jennifer Nelson (Jenny).

The author (a sort of self-managing team member) expected that the two artists would engage in healthy conflicts and great illustrations would emerge as a result. However, the reality was that there were frequent clashes between the two artists and the author was dragged in to adjudicate every minor aspect. Salma told the author that Jenny did not understand the book as she should have, coming up with bizarre ideas and getting picky about Salma’s work. Jenny on her part told the author that she was much more experienced than Salma in book illustrations but she (Salma) was very opinionated and did not listen to her ideas with an open mind. Much time was being frittered away in unproductive discussions and back & forth. Neither party seemed to keep in mind the time-to-launch objective for the book.

The frustrated author not wanting these distractions wanted the PO to step in and manage the situation.

If you were the PO, would you sign up for this? If not, why not? If yes, what would you do to alleviate?