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Product Owner vs. Product Owner Teams

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  • Erin Beierwaltes
    While best practices states a single product owner, I have found that many teams, especially that are transitioning, have many voices that are responsible for
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 7 10:05 AM
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      While best practices states a single product owner, I have found that many teams, especially that are transitioning, have many voices that are responsible for the features/stories. How have others helped these teams find a single “voice”? I have heard of finding someone that will take on the full responsibility that others go through and I have heard of Product Owner Teams or Councils? Thanks in advance for your views and sharing your experiences.

       

      Thanks.

       

      Erin

       

       

       

    • Ron Jeffries
      ... What we used to say in XP is: The [Product Owner] must speak with one voice. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Computers are useless. They can only give
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 7 10:44 AM
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        Hello, Erin. On Monday, March 7, 2011, at 1:05:30 PM, you wrote:

        > While best practices states a single product owner, I have found that many
        > teams, especially that are transitioning, have many voices that are
        > responsible for the features/stories. How have others helped these teams
        > find a single "voice"? I have heard of finding someone that will take on the
        > full responsibility that others go through and I have heard of Product Owner
        > Teams or Councils? Thanks in advance for your views and sharing your
        > experiences.

        What we used to say in XP is: "The [Product Owner] must speak with
        one voice."

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Picasso
      • Erin Beierwaltes
        Ron, Is this meant to say that it can work as one or many as long as they are one voice ? Or are teams that allow teams asking for trouble? Erin From:
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 7 10:49 AM
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          Ron,

           

          Is this meant to say that it can work as one or many as long as they are “one voice”? Or are teams that allow teams asking for trouble?

           

          Erin

           

          From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
          Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 11:44 AM
          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner vs. Product Owner Teams

           

           

          Hello, Erin. On Monday, March 7, 2011, at 1:05:30 PM, you wrote:

          > While best practices states a single product owner, I have found that many
          > teams, especially that are transitioning, have many voices that are
          > responsible for the features/stories. How have others helped these teams
          > find a single "voice"? I have heard of finding someone that will take on the
          > full responsibility that others go through and I have heard of Product Owner
          > Teams or Councils? Thanks in advance for your views and sharing your
          > experiences.

          What we used to say in XP is: "The [Product Owner] must speak with
          one voice."

          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Picasso

        • Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSM PSM I
          I don t think you can have a Product Owner Team that is proxying as the PO for a single Scrum team. Someone has to be the empowered decision maker. What you
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 7 11:24 AM
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            I don't think you can have a "Product Owner Team" that is proxying as the PO for a single Scrum team.  Someone has to be the empowered decision maker.

            What you could do, however, is have a team that influences stories, etc, but one person from that team has to be the ultimate decision maker (allowing the team to "speak as one voice") because there will always be conflicts of interest between people on that team.

            I would call said team someting like a "Product Team" or "Customer Team", and the Product Owner would be the person on the Scrum team who is empowered to lead the "Product Team".  This kind of situation is quite common.  This *can* lead to a Proxy PO of sorts.  Proxy PO's are non-optimum as you say, but they're not always overall bad.  They just come with risks, such as potential waste due to handoffs and proxying.

            I believe this book covers this ("Product Team") subject well:
            http://www.amazon.com/Manage-Your-Project-Portfolio-Programmers/dp/1934356298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299524837&sr=8-1

            An Aside about the term "Product Owner Team"
            Some in the industry use this term to refer to a team made up of actual empowered product owners for multiple teams, usually led hierarchically by a "Chief Product Owner."  See this snippet from Roman Pichler's book for more info on that:  http://bit.ly/i0CqyC
            (I assumed Erin was not asking about this kind of "Product Owner Team")
             
            -------
            Charles Bradley, CSM, PSM I
            Experienced Scrum Coach
            My blog: http://scrumcrazy.wordpress.com/



            From: Erin Beierwaltes <erin@...>
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Mon, March 7, 2011 11:05:30 AM
            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner vs. Product Owner Teams



            While best practices states a single product owner, I have found that many teams, especially that are transitioning, have many voices that are responsible for the features/stories. How have others helped these teams find a single “voice”? I have heard of finding someone that will take on the full responsibility that others go through and I have heard of Product Owner Teams or Councils? Thanks in advance for your views and sharing your experiences.

             

            Thanks.

             

            Erin

             

             

             



          • Erin Beierwaltes
            Thank you Charles, Your comments are very helpful and yes, I was NOT speaking in the context of scaling. Erin From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 7 11:51 AM
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              Thank you Charles,

               

              Your comments are very helpful and yes, I was NOT speaking in the context of scaling.

               

              Erin

               

              From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Charles Bradley - Scrum Coach CSM PSM I
              Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 12:24 PM
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner vs. Product Owner Teams

               

               

              I don't think you can have a "Product Owner Team" that is proxying as the PO for a single Scrum team.  Someone has to be the empowered decision maker.

              What you could do, however, is have a team that influences stories, etc, but one person from that team has to be the ultimate decision maker (allowing the team to "speak as one voice") because there will always be conflicts of interest between people on that team.

              I would call said team someting like a "Product Team" or "Customer Team", and the Product Owner would be the person on the Scrum team who is empowered to lead the "Product Team".  This kind of situation is quite common.  This *can* lead to a Proxy PO of sorts.  Proxy PO's are non-optimum as you say, but they're not always overall bad.  They just come with risks, such as potential waste due to handoffs and proxying.

              I believe this book covers this ("Product Team") subject well:
              http://www.amazon.com/Manage-Your-Project-Portfolio-Programmers/dp/1934356298/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299524837&sr=8-1

              An Aside about the term "Product Owner Team"
              Some in the industry use this term to refer to a team made up of actual empowered product owners for multiple teams, usually led hierarchically by a "Chief Product Owner."  See this snippet from Roman Pichler's book for more info on that:  http://bit.ly/i0CqyC
              (I assumed Erin was not asking about this kind of "Product Owner Team")

               

              -------
              Charles Bradley, CSM, PSM I
              Experienced Scrum Coach
              My blog: http://scrumcrazy.wordpress.com/

               

               


              From: Erin Beierwaltes <erin@...>
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Mon, March 7, 2011 11:05:30 AM
              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner vs. Product Owner Teams


              While best practices states a single product owner, I have found that many teams, especially that are transitioning, have many voices that are responsible for the features/stories. How have others helped these teams find a single “voice”? I have heard of finding someone that will take on the full responsibility that others go through and I have heard of Product Owner Teams or Councils? Thanks in advance for your views and sharing your experiences.

               

              Thanks.

               

              Erin

               

               

               

               

            • Ron Jeffries
              ... Teams are good: few people know enough to do it on their own. And a single stream of official ideas is needed. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com What is
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 7 1:24 PM
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                Hello, Erin. On Monday, March 7, 2011, at 1:49:46 PM, you wrote:

                > Is this meant to say that it can work as one or many as long as they are
                > "one voice"? Or are teams that allow teams asking for trouble?

                Teams are good: few people know enough to do it on their own. And a
                single stream of official ideas is needed.

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                What is your dream? And knowing this, what have you
                done to work towards realizing it today? -- Les Brown
              • Mark Levison
                ... In theory that can be made to work. In practice I find multiple product owners who contradict each other. In that case the team figures out who the top dog
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 7 2:54 PM
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                  On Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 1:49 PM, Erin Beierwaltes <erin@...> wrote:
                   

                  Ron,

                   

                  Is this meant to say that it can work as one or many as long as they are “one voice”? Or are teams that allow teams asking for trouble?


                  In theory that can be made to work. In practice I find multiple product owners who contradict each other. In that case the team figures out who the top dog is and just listens to them.

                  Cheers
                  Mark
                • Erin Beierwaltes
                  Mark, Thanks for your input! It echos the feeling in my gut . Erin From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 7 4:04 PM
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                    Mark,

                     

                    Thanks for your input! It echos the feeling in my “gut”.

                     

                    Erin

                     

                    From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Levison
                    Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 3:55 PM
                    To: scrumdevelopment
                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Product Owner vs. Product Owner Teams

                     

                     

                     

                    On Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 1:49 PM, Erin Beierwaltes <erin@...> wrote:

                     

                    Ron,

                     

                    Is this meant to say that it can work as one or many as long as they are “one voice”? Or are teams that allow teams asking for trouble?

                     

                    In theory that can be made to work. In practice I find multiple product owners who contradict each other. In that case the team figures out who the top dog is and just listens to them.

                     

                    Cheers

                    Mark

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