All roles are important in Scrum, but one of them gets a lot less attention than all the others.
I am talking about the Product Owner.
For most implementations of Scrum, we pay a lot of attention to setting up a team – no longer than 9 and no smaller than 3 without SM and PO – and getting the best Scrum Master possible to help the team reach their goals. But the product owner is put on the side.
This happens because, in many organizations consider the role of the Product Owner as part of the business or product. They are not part of a technology or development organization where the Dev team and S.M. exist.
So what is the P.O. role, and what does he/she need to do their job?
- The P.O., as the name says, needs to be the OWNER of the product. This means all product-related decisions need to be made by the P.O. and no one else.
- The P.O. answers to his/her stakeholders and whatever hierarchy the organization has at the top. But, he/she must have the power to decide by itself what is more important to do, and also what is more important to NOT do.
- The P.O. is the sole keeper of the backlog. This means ordering it (prioritized). Make sure it’s groomed and ready for the team. Optimize the value the backlog delivers.
- The P.O. can delegate/collaborate on any of these tasks. He/she is autonomous and should have all the power to make those decisions. He is also the one accountable for whatever decision is made related to the points above.
So in a quick summary. The P.O. has the responsibility for the value the team will produce, and needs to have the power to make those decisions.