The popular agile software development approach SCRUM defines a role called a "product owner" to provide the development team with business guidance and direction. The product owner is responsible for providing strategic vision for the solution (the "product"), tactical definition and prioritization of requirements ("stories"), coordinating testing and acceptance efforts, coordinating business resources, aligning stakeholders, and a host of other related responsibilities. It is easily the toughest job on the project.
Ideally, the role provides a means for greatly reducing the cacophony of voices that often introduce confusion: the agile team has a single, consistent voice that provides clear direction, allowing the team to focus on delivering superior results. In practice, however, it is rare for one person to fulfill all these responsibilities. The staffing of the role becomes a compromise, and one or more of the responsibilities suffer.
This webinar describes the challenges in staffing the product owner role and provides a model for refactoring the monolithic product owner into a constellation of competencies that need to be satisfied, whether in one person or several. It also provides a collaboration model for coordinating between different people fulfilling different aspects of the refactored product owner role. The result is a framework for successfully staffing and fulfilling the needs for agile projects to obtain the product direction and business support they need.
- The product owner role requires a rare, and nearly heroic, blend of responsibilities.
- Refactoring the role into three sets of competencies provides a means of achieving the goals of the product owner role in a more flexible way.
- These three competencies are change leadership, solution vision, and tactical execution.
- Agile teaming techniques are used to keep these perspectives aligned when fulfilled by more than one person.