We’ve talked about before how important product owners are in the whole agile process. This is still true. This will always be true!
These product owners are Very Important People as the PO is the person responsible for determining what the team is going to build. This is an important construct in Scrum because it unifies the voice of the business for the team. They are also the ones that set the priorities for the team as well. When there are changes in requirements, the PO continuously makes the decisions and gives the latest information to the team about the changing priorities. Development teams are always asking the questions: “What do you want me to build? What is the business priority?” – The PO tells us!
Product owners also gain consensus and commitment in that the PO is the main person that is responsible for giving the team unambiguous direction and ensures they don’t have to worry about conflicting business priorities or other distractions. They are the first line of support to the team from the business, as well as a first line of support from the customer. The PO is in a position that accurately represents the real customer and needs to be readily available to participate in the project proactively and continuously. As a driving force behind any project they must be visible, vocal, and objective.
Finally, (and this is up for debate) PO’s write the stories. I’ve found that in different companies and clients the PO can either write it or not. I am of the opinion that since the the PO is the owner of what goes in the backlog then they write the user stories, acceptance tests, and priorities them by business value.
Regardless of client, I always have conversations around the involvement of their product owners. They are a very valuable resource in making sure the business priorities are set as well as the direction the team needs to build what the business wants.
Product owners are VIP!
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