What is the minimum to expect from a product owner on a Scrum team?

January 28, 2022

Author: Daniel José da Silva

product owner using a macbook

I have been discussing with some colleagues and we came with an idea that the Product owner is the hearth of Scrum.

A Product Owner have the responsibility to maximize the value of the product and that is not an easy job.

Product Goal:

The Product Owner is expected to set the product goal and make sure that all the Scrum team and the stakeholder are aware of them.

During Sprint Planning:

The Product Owner is expected to come with a good idea of the goal that we wants to achieve in the Sprint and why that goal will bring value to the Stakeholders. In the end the Scrum team work together to define the goal but the Product Owner starts the conversation.

During Product Refinement/Grooming:

The Product Owner is expected to run the session with the Scrum team going thought the items (User Stories/Bugs/Spikes) that he thinks will bring the most value to the Stakeholders and inputing more information to them so in the next Sprint(s) the team have a good idea of what have to be delivered.

Good practices/knowledge on "BDD", "Gherkins syntax" , "Rules Mapping", "Example Mapping" are essential to archive a good result in the product backlog items grooming.

Product backlog:

The Product Owner is expected to have the "Product Backlog" organised by value in short terms the items that brings more value to the product are close to the top of the backlog that should include user stories, bugs and spikes.

The Product Owner must keep the product backlog health removing unnecessary/irrelevant items such as features that were abandoned, bugs that are duplicated or already fixed. That is crucial to a good administration, when you have a backlog with more than 100 items it starts to be too laborious to maintain it and usually time is money in the Product Owner hands.

There is a formula that could help the Product Owner to find the "ideal number of items in the product backlog":

Maximum number of items in Product Backlog = Number of sprints in the time frame * Average number of completed items per sprint

* timeframe recommended is from 3-6 months

During the Sprint Review - known as Sprint Demo:

The Product Owner is expected to invite stakeholder and the interested parts in the product and go through the items that were completed and not completed in the sprint. It is important to be transparent to show the good work and what was not good as well. A good product owner would navigate in the system showing the new improvements while explaining why that brings value to the stakeholders.

The Product Owner should also be open for product feedback (encouraging them) and give the audience an overview on what the team will be working next based in the information gathered in this ceremony.

Availability:

The Product Owner is expected to be available to the Developers in case of questions about the work to be done in the sprint or in the future, increase in the Sprint scope, priority changes. Not been available will disrupt the Sprint progress and mostly cause the Sprint to fail and the team becoming demotivated.

Did I miss anything that is the minimum expected of a Product Owner? Agree or disagree? Please fell free to give me your feedback.


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