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Recently my wife and I hiked the Jinshangling portion of the Great Wall of China, which was originally built during early in the Ming Dynasty. It was then later restored into what we now recognize as one of the most iconic portion of the Wall under Ming General Qi Jiquang. While the project to build the great wall was not exactly Agile and probably did not foster participatory management, this section of Wall is said to reflect the vision of Qi Jiquang, its product owner, which was different than other sections of the Great Wall. According to guides in the area, Qi Jiquang was based in the area and used his well-fed troops to build the wall (rather than other forms of staffing/servitude elsewhere). Qi Jiquang lived and interacted with his men on a daily basis in other sections of the Wall absentee product owners prevalent. Absentee product owners can’t provide their vision or motivate the team something that the great general knew.

Looking out at the some of the most iconic views of the Great Wall drives home the point that when IT and business work together to achieve a well-crafted vision, great things can happen.