Certified Product Owner

The Product Owner is the strong — or weak — link in successful Scrum products. Do you know how to write an enabling specification? Do you know how to drive your team to success?


A Product Owner embodies the vision for their product, has the final say over product content, and is accountable for the value generated by the product. From this perspective the Product Owner is the CEO of an autonomous corporation comprising one or more Scrum Teams.

This course will immerse you in the vision that Scrum holds for the Product Owner role, taking its foundations from Scrum principles. The Product Owner role is not just a re-tread Product Manager: he or she specifies tests, and builds working prototypes, may specify wireframes and navigation trees. The Product Owner must ensure that the team understands each imminent product increment to the point of having an Enabling Specification— otherwise, the team gets to make it visible that the specs are inadequate and "go to the beach." The Product Owner is held accountable for value from the product. Great Product Owners can realize immense satisfaction from guiding a product to add value to some constituency, and to watch their teams respond to their inspirational leadership.

We will cover both the Product Owner's interactions with stakeholders such as the market and end users, and also with the Development Team. There is a special emphasis on value stream thinking and on tools such as decision structure matrices for managing the flow of value to the market. We will also emphasize the Scrum way of running business, with its essential paradoxes such as the tradeoff between agility and certainty. The course looks at value more broadly than just ROI, taking corporate reputation, team autonomy, and workplace quality into account.

The course is divided into 8 modules: Scrum Introduction; Your Job Managing Products—And More; The Sprint; The Vision & Building the Scrum Organization; How the Product Backlog Works; Life in the Sprint; Putting the Product Backlog to Work; and Running the Business with a Product Backlog.


The agenda will be chosen by the class from the following items (* = required for certification):

    1. Scrum Introduction

        • Agile

        • The Roles, the Artefacts, and the Events

        • Risk Management

    2. Your Job as a Product Owner

        • Optimizing Value

        • What and When — but not How

        • Backlog Refinement

        • Definition of Ready

        • Sprint Planning

        • Definition of Done

        • Emergency Procedure

        • Sprint Review

        • Sprint Retrospective

        • The PO as Firewall

        • Stakeholder Relationships

    3. The Product Vision

        • The "big vision" and the "operational vision"

        • The roadmap

        • Prototypes

        • Securing funcing

    4. Building the Scrum Organization

        • The PO Team

        • The Development Team

        • Hire a ScrumMaster

        • The basic flow of work and process improvement

        • The Meta Scrum

    5. How the Product Backlog Works

        • The Life Cycle of an idea

        • The Product Backlog

        • Relationship with the Dev Team

        • Burn-down Charts

        • Swarming

        • Responsive Deployment

        • The Daily Scrum

        • Sprint Goals, and Sprint Goals as the initial Product Backlog Items

        • Good Product Backlog Items — by example

            • Vision

            • Motivation

            • Consolidation

        • Enabling Specifications

        • The Structure of the Product Backlog

        • Estimation

    6. Running the Business with a Product Backlog

        • Working with Stakeholders

        • The Last Responsible Moment and decision structure matrices

        • The Product Backlog breakdown

        • The Sprint Backlog

        • Defect / emergent requirement escalation: normal and advanced versions

        • Emergency Procedure

        • Fixed-Date PBIs

        • Release Planning

        • Agile Contracts

    7. Kaizen Mind

        • Kaizen Pulse

        • Process Improvement

        • Increasing value versus increasing productivity

    8. Miscellaneous Topics

Upcoming offerings:

Europe via Zoom

14-15 January 2021

€1,800 plus VAT (€1,200 before 21 December)