Oct. 10, 2011

Tips and Tricks for the beginning Product Owner

Only one Face to a team! It is simple as that. There should be only one Person talking to the development team about priority and things to do and ...

Only one Face to a team!

It is simple as that. There should be only one Person talking to the development team about priority and things to do and that is the Product Owner.

In literature, you will likely find the happy scenario, where the Product Owner and team are working together without the hassles of real life. The Product Owner runs the Sprint Planning meeting and asks the team to commit to certain stories. After the Sprint, the Team will present what they have achieved at the Sprint Review.

So far, so good. But what if you have more than just one Product Owner and more than one team? What happens if one of them is away on holiday or needed on another task? Is it really so important to have one dedicated product owner per team?

The short answer is: YES, it is. No matter how many Product Owners are involved in your organisation and how you elicit the requirements, prioritise them and get your User Stories together. In the end, you want one Product Owner caring for one team. If you have an experienced Product Owner, he might be able to handle more than one team, but from the perspective of the team, there must be only one Product Owner!

The best Product Owners are working in close collaboration with the team. They let the team know in advance what is coming up before the Sprint Planning and also know beforehand what the team will present at the Sprint Review meeting. Don‘t turn your meetings into surprise parties.

During the Sprint, Product Owner and team will discuss the requirements and turn the emergent information into User Stories. Remember that a User Story is only a reference for a conversation that took place. So it does need the conversation and is NOT a specification that holds all the information. When one of the previously discussed User Stories will come up in the next Sprint, it is clear to the team and the PO, but to nobody else. If you change the PO, the User Stories will fail as with the PO, a part of the essential knowledge is missing.

There is another thing that might be even more important: The trust entailed by a lasting face-to-face relationship. The team does not only learn to self-organize and how to build the best software possible over time, it also builds up trust and learns to trust. The team wants to show its achievements to the same face it committed to in the first place. If the team does not know who that person will be, how are they supposed to trust that their achievement will be fairly judged?

The three most important qualities that a product owner needs: 

  • Authority (to make decisions)
  • Availibility (for the team and stakeholders)
  • Knowledge (about the product and environment)

So don‘t change the team, but that‘s another story ;-) and don‘t change the Product Owner within the Scrum Team. Let there be one Product Owner who is responsible for the priorisation of any User Story or Requirement that the team works on. A Product Owner may be able to care for multiple teams, but a team only wants one!

Image of fivancsich

Franz Ivancsich

blog comments powered by Disqus
Image of fivancsich

Franz Ivancsich

Latest Posts

Food for your soul: the FOODBOOM story

Passion for food and great ideas drove FOODBOOM and when the time came to confront their strategy and build on the vision they asked agile42 for help

Image of apanagiotou

Anna Panagiotou

Dive deep into Cynefin™ for Agile

Advanced Cynefin™ for Agile Masterclass with Dave Snowden in Berlin on September 24 and 25, 2019

Image of apanagiotou

Anna Panagiotou

From Agile to Agility in Lisbon

Andrea Tomasini will talk about ORGANIC agility and the path from Agile to Agility at the eXperience Agile conference in Lisbon on Sep. 30, 2019

Image of andreat

Andrea Tomasini

I am an Agile Coach and Trainer and I am helping customers all around the world to become more Agile. I am more and more keen on adopting adaptive emergent approaches to improve people's quality of life. Through an holistic and pragmatic approach - I consider Lean and Agile very powerful frameworks - it is possible to improve results, performance and also personal satisfaction.

Advanced Agile Team Coaching Course in Berlin and Helsinki

Join agile42 coaches to learn a more structured approach to coaching teams
Image of pascal

Pascal Papathemelis

Pascal has worked as an agile project manager/scrum master/facilitator of various developments in size and type for almost two decades. His focus is on people and practical approaches in order to deliver value. Currently Pascal is working at agile42 as an agile coach on a journey to help organisations and individuals grow, improve and become more efficient in a sustainable way.
Image of javierperez

Javier Pérez

Javier invested his first years of career working as developer and business analyst in Madrid. When Javier moved to Berlin, he discovered his passion: to help teams and organizations in their cultural transformation towards agility working first as Scrum Master and later as Team Coach.
Image of simsab

Simon Sablowski

Simon has spent several years working as a software developer, ScrumMaster and CTO. He is dedicated to shortening feedback loops to accelerate learning and strengthening team collaboration to maximise synergies. At agile42, Simon enjoys coaching and training teams and organisations that desire to attain higher productivity, continuous innovation and extraordinary performance.

Cynefin, Wardley Maps and ORGANIC agility in Stockholm

Workshop by Dave Snowden and Simon Wardley “Navigate uncertainty: Strategy and innovation with Cynefin™ & Wardley Maps” is coming to Stockholm

Image of sofia.svanback

Sofia Svanbäck

I am the Business Relationship Manager of agile42 in Finland and Sweden. I started working at agile42 in May 2018 and haven’t done anything so interesting before. The decision to join agile42 is a decision I am proud of today. My days are filled with customer related things, like negotiations, offers, and training / coaching bookings to mention a few.