Since the last presentation at the German developer day in Frankfurt, I shared some learnings about having a common understanding for agile transitions. This lead me to the idea to write down an overview and understanding of the role of product owners. I’ve read so much and work so long in this role, that the first step is collecting sources and finding dimensions to re-write it down again.
The Product Owner Overview as Mindmap
Today I’ve tried to create a first mindmap as an overview and outcome of the following sources (open picture in new tab to read or download other sources from below):
Download mindmap as compressed *.xmind
Download mindmap as compressed *.html
Download as compressed *.txt
Sources of Product Owner role definitions and responsibilities
One of the biggest challenge is the different understanding about the role of a product owner. Check the Product Owner definitions from various sources:
- Scrum Alliance: https://www.agilealliance.org/glossary/product-owner/
- Scrum Guide: http://scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html#team-po
- SAFe: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/product-owner/
- LeSS: https://less.works/less/framework/product-owner.html
- Scrum.org: https://www.scrum.org/resources/what-is-a-product-owner
- Mike Cohn: https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/scrum/roles/product-owner
- Jeff Patton: https://jpattonassociates.com/scrum-product-owner-role/
- John Cutler: https://medium.com/@johnpcutler/7-product-manager-product-owner-archetypes-db4b484e134d
- Roman Pichler
- The agile PO responsibilities: http://www.romanpichler.com/blog/the-product-owner-responsibilities/
- What is product management: http://www.romanpichler.com/blog/romans-product-management-framework/
- KBP: https://www.kbp.media/product-owner/
- DZONE: https://dzone.com/articles/product-owner-top-10
- Henrik Knieberg video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=502ILHjX9EE
Scaling product ownership
The idea is then to have proxies like area or team POs. LeSS introduced an example for scaling product owner into areas which can be found here: https://less.works/less/less-huge/area-product-owner.html
Roman Pichler again gave a framework and introduction into scaling product owners called scaling the product owner role: http://www.romanpichler.com/blog/scaling-the-product-owner/
Differentiation between product owners, product managers and program managers
Another challenge is a clear distinction between Product Owners and other roles like Product or Program Managers.
- Marty Cagan: https://svpg.com/product-manager-vs-product-owner-revisited/
- SAFe Product & Solution management: http://www.scaledagileframework.com/product-and-solution-management/
- Roman Pichler about Product Manager vs Product owner: https://www.romanpichler.com/blog/product-manager-vs-product-owner/
Missing empowerment for product owners
Reading all this about product owners, sure they come with different responsibilities and evolutions in time. You will read about “small product owners and big” ones from Roman, which leads me to my main question: How much power and freedom do product owners need?
Roman Pichler wrote about this one here: http://www.romanpichler.com/blog/avoiding-common-product-owner-mistake/
Marty Cagan is asking a similar question about this:
Are you just administering the backlog, or are you actually tackling and solving difficult problems for your customers and your business?
Another one to understand the role of the product owner:
Are you able to quit the product tomorow? Are you able to change the business focus tomorrow?
If the answer is no, how much empowered are you? What are you missing? Do you really “own the product”? Is it the product, feature or component?
Something to add? Different views? Let me know.