Product Owner: Practices

Here are the main practices of the Product Owner:

  • Integrating into the development team
    • Being available to the team, colocating with the team as much as possible. Ideally, there is one team or at most two teams per Product Owner.
    • Driving the team at a sustainable pace,
      • Understand and help to allocate capacity for enabling work
      • Writing stories to represent the requirements and the pace
      • Explaining the stories to the team with “just in time” elaboration
    • Walking the floor and look for issues / delays / improvement opportunities
    • Serving as liaison with the Business and Business SMEs
    • Participating in or observing team meetings
    • Helping the team to resolve or escalate impediments as appropriate, providing the Team Agility Master with status of impediments reported by the team
    • Protecting the team from distractions and outside influences, including loaner requests, multiple projects, and production support (where possible)
  • Integrating the team into the broader value stream (or program)
    • Acting as the designated communicator for the team to the value stream (or program) level, discussing with the Product Manager:
      • Team-level prioritization decisions
      • The implications of implementing the desired value (e.g., team technical challenges)
      • Non-architectural implementation issues
    • Assessing the Business value of the team objectives.
    • Attending planning events and the Product Demonstration and Review events.
  • Managing the team backlog
    • Populating the backlog.
      • Decompose features in the Program Backlog into User Stories that go into the team backlog. Each User Story should be sized to be done in one iteration; preferably in 2-3 days.
    • Prioritizing the backlog.
      • Work with the team to apply a prioritization method such as Weighted Shortest Job First to put the backlog items into order of priority.
      • Assist team in developing estimates for the relative effort expected to be required to implement features and stories
      • Observe the team as it picks stories from the team backlog and adds them to a “commitment list” for the iteration.
      • Observe the team as it chooses additional “stretch objective” stories that they will try to finish in the iteration.
    • Maintaining and modifying the backlog.
      •  Refine the product backlog to maximize ROI
      • Add new items or modify existing items based on feedback from stakeholders and learning by the team.
      • Understand and establish capacity for enabler work
    • Getting ready for the next iteration
  • Monitoring iteration execution
    • Understanding and help setup visual controls.
    • Reviewing information visibility charts.
    • Reading the information visibility boards for signs of problems with the iteration for signs of failing agility.
    • Remaining aware of whether the team’s other responsibilities (changes, internal projects, unplanned work) are reducing their ability to complete the committed backlog items.
    • Note: Using a burn-up chart is recommended, because it shows changes in the team’s capacity (the top, “target” line on the chart) along with completed work.
  • Assessing and accepting product
    • Understanding the priorities of the Product Manager
    • Specifying acceptance criteria for each story in backlog
    • Accepting or rejecting backlog items at the Product Demonstration and Review at the end of the iteration
    • Deciding with team about Carry-Over Work
  • Working with Release Management
    • Working with Release Management to release as appropriate
    • Writing stories required for release