Urban legends on the product owner

Ecrit par << Paquet Judicaël >>

There are a lot of urban legends on the product owner; it’s the time to know the truth about these legends… I have decided to write this article to explore the urban legends around the product owner.

The product owner is responsible of the team

Sometimes, I hear the product owner is responsible of the scrum team. It’s wrong. The product owner is functional responsible and not more.

In the scrum team :

  • the development team is technical responsible
  • the product owner is functional responsible
  • the scrum master is the guardian of the framework

In a scrum team, we haven’t chief. The whole team is responsible of the result of the product.

product owner chief - Urban legends on the product owner
product owner chief – Urban legends on the product owner

The product owner don’t need to be with the development team

Sometimes, I hear the product owner is on the business side; it’s not necessary he is in the scrum team. It’s wrong. The product owner is one of the third key roles of the scrum; he have to be with the scrum team.

Why it’s necessary that the product owner is in scrum team?

  • he can answer at the questions in live (not by mail or with a delay)
  • he will not be in confrontation with IT team
  • the interactions will be better between him and the dev team
  • he avoids to have 3 projects in parallel
  • he can test the user-story just after the development is finished
product owner vs scrum team
product owner vs scrum team

The product owner have to write the detailed specifications

Sometimes, I hear the product owner have to write the detailed specifications. It’s wrong. It’s not recommended to write the detailed specifications mostly at the beginning at the project.

In agile, we never write the detailed specifications at the beginning of the project. The product owner will create a vision (for example with story-mapping, product vision board…) and he will write the specifications in the user stories later.

Article: Story mapping, a clear understanding of its creation

The user-stories will be wrote at the right time; when is this right time?

The product owner have to write the user-story just before the next sprint. He will put in the necessary specifications so that the developers have everything to develop well the request. We say that the user stories is wrote in just-to-time.

The product owner write the user stories in just-to-time because he will enjoy of the working software to write them; he will be sure that the specifications will be adapted to the last changes.

user story book
user story book

The product owner have to participate at the daily scrum

Even if the product owner is a member of the scrum team, it’s not necessary for him to be at the daily scrum. This ceremony is for the development team and especially not to do a reporting.

Some teams accept the product owner is here but it’s very important that he’s a simple observer. If the development team do reporting, he have to leave the daily scrum.

Conclusion: urban legends on the product owner

A lot of urban legends exists around scrum but a lot of things are wrong. If one people tell you one of this legend, give him the link of this article.

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