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  • Writer's pictureTim Burns

Product Owners and Accountability

I am returning to a Product Owner role on a Scrum team and it excites me.

Scrum is a true software development process and it belongs in the hands of software developers.

At the core is the Agile Manifesto. When I go back to the office, I will always have on my wall to remind me of the foundations.

Two sentences, nine lines, center justified. That's all.

Now for Scrum. Lord, I have to watch myself. with Scrum because it's been such a rocky relationship that I have baggage. I've experienced bully scrum masters, fly-in-shit-all-over-leave.-like-a-seagull "Agile Coaches," Scrum death marches, Zombie Scrum. Yet, I still. believe in Scrum at heart.

The Scrum Guide is 14 pages, including a table of contents, easy-to-read formatting, and acknowledgments.

So, here I am. Contemplating a role as Product Owner. What does the guide say?

A Product Owner orders the work for a complex problem into a Product Backlog.

As the product owner, I will understand the work needed to resolve a complex problem and create a backlog. Got it.

The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team.

I love the word "accountable." As one who is accountable, you are responsible for delegating the work (hence backlog), reviewing for completeness. Accountable is a large word.

As a product owner, I will be accountable for the outcome and the quality of the solution. I'm excited about my role as product owner because I understand the product that I'll be owning, and I feel confident. Does that mean that I know all about it? No way! It does mean that I'll. have the opportunity to research and experiment with solutions to arrive at an understanding of the product in order to drive the highest value.

I love this statement:

The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the Product Backlog. Those wanting to change the Product Backlog can do so by trying to convince the Product Owner.

I like this statement because it loops back to the agile principle, "Individuals and Interactions" over processes and tools. It gives the Product Owner accountability that underpins their goal of producing the best value solution for the stakeholders.

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