Posted in Scrum Roles

Product Owner

‘Responsible for maximising the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team’ (1)

Be one mind with the sponsor (2)

Vision keeper (2)

Product Owner Responsibilities

Maximising Value

  • how this is done may vary widely across organisations, Scrum Teams, and individuals (1)

Managing the Product Backlog

  • expressing Product Backlog items and ensuring the Development Team understands them sufficiently
  • ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions and so it is clear what is to be worked on next
  • transparency of the Product Backlog is ensured and it is visible

Product Owner in the Business

Product Owner is One Person 

  • the Product Owner is one person
  • the Product Owner may represent a committee
  • those wanting to change a Product Backlog item’s priority must address the Product Owner (1)

Stakeholder Mapping (3, page 178)

  1. With the PO (and identified stakeholders) try and think of every person in the organisation who has a vested interest in the outcome.
    • Where is the money coming from?
    • Who’s job is going to change because of this product?
    • Who might interact with a customer differently as a result of what we are building?
    • Who might be angry if they don’t know what is going on with the product?
  2. Put the following categories on the wall and put each stakeholder inside a category
    • Required for the Sprint Review: these people must inspect and provide feedback on the product increment to enable the Scrum Team to make informed decisions
    • Keep informed of progress: they don’t need to inspect every increment but need to know what progress has been made
    • Monitor: should receive updates periodically (check with them how often they would like these)

Product Owner’s Decisions

Overview (1)

  • the entire organisation must respect the Product Owner’s decisions
  • the content and ordering of the Product Backlog makes the decisions visible to all
  • no one can force the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements

Decentralise Economic Control (4)

  • Have a rule where anyone can spend up to £300 for example to increase target by 1%
  • Boeing example of this on page 42 (up to $300 to save 1lb of weight)

Product Owner Not Empowered Exercise (3)

  1. Create 4 quadrants on a board (Stakeholder, Customer, Development Team, Management)
  2. For each quadrant write the interactions the Product Owner is having now with each group on a sticky and put it in the quadrant
  3. For each quadrant write the interactions the Product Owner is not having with each group on a different coloured sticky and put it in the quadrant
  4. Discuss and work towards removing the stickies (which are impediments) from step #3

Helping the decision maker to understand the number of decisions (6) 

  • Look at the decisions that they have to make for the team but that they can’t make
  • Maybe book a meeting with the person/ people that have to make those decisions every day to get their input into the decisions
  • By the fourth day the person will probably be wanting to change as it is a large overhead
  • Then it makes it easier to have the conversation that the PO should take all decisions that have an impact of less than £10,000, for example


Product Owner Behaviours


  • Committed
  • Responsible (outcome)
  • Authorised (to make decisions)
  • Collaborative
  • Knowledgable (about the business)

Essential Product Owner Characteristics (5, page 179)

  1. PO needs to be knowledgeable about the domain (both Scrum and product domain) 
  2. PO must be empowered to make decisions
  3. PO has to be available to the team
  4. PO needs to be accountable for value

Product Owner’s Relationship with the Development Team

Tips from Lyssa Adkins (2)

  • No micromanaging
  • Hold the team to account
  • Show genuine disappointment
  • Be present


  1. The Scrum Guide
  2. Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins
  3. Fixing Your Scrum by Ryan Ripley and Todd Miller
  4. The Principles of Product Development Flow by Donald G. Reinertsen
  5. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland
  6. Fixing Your Scrum webinar through on 26th March 2020

Explore more Scrum

Scrum TheoryScrum ValuesDevelopment TeamScrum MasterDefinition of Done

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