The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.


Scrum Product Owner

Posted by admin under Scrum Basics

There are three roles in the Scrum method of agile software development: the Product Owner, the ScrumMaster, and the team.

In Scrum, the Product Owner is the one person ultimately responsible for the return on investment (ROI) of the product development effort. The Product Owner influences the development effort by conveying his vision to the team(s) and prioritizing the Product Backlog. The Product Owner must have the authority to make real business decisions, vision about what the product could be, and availability to the team(s). In bad implementations of Scrum, one of these elements is usually missing. For example, if I don’t have the authority to cancel product development entirely (an important ROI decision), it’s misleading to call me “Product Owner.”

This combination of authority and availability to the development team makes it hard for the Scrum Product Owner not to micro-manage. Since Scrum is team self-organization, the Product Owner must respect the team’s ability to create its own plan of action. A Product Owner doesn’t demand additional work in the middle of the sprint. The Scrum Product Owner is discouraged from adding work to the sprint until the next Sprint Planning Meeting. However, the Product Owner may cancel a Sprint when necessary. One Product Owner I know cancels Sprints once or twice per year tops.

It is the Product Owner’s responsibility to consider which activities will produce the most business value. This means making tough decisions about what not to do.

In Large Scale Scrum, one Product Owner prioritizes a single Product Backlog for multiple teams. Multiple backlogs for one product — and multiple Product Owners — cause localized optimizations (detracting from a whole product focus), longer work-in-progress queues, thus are harmful to agility. Large Scale Scrum encourages teams to become truly cross functional and take greater responsibility for their own requirements clarifications. Cross functional doesn’t mean only dev + test, it also includes learning the requirements domain.

The responsibilities of the Product Owner are also described about halfway through this video module:
Introduction To Scrum video

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