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Product Owner Team

... you have a Scrum team in place and want to optimize flow of requirements through to product. You have a Product Owner who is accountable for ROI, but there is more analysis, market hand-holding, and business work than a single person can handle.

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Sometimes a single Product Owner can't handle it all.

The Product Owner is accountable for many functions. Though Scrum keeps the description of a Product Owner simple, we can compare Scrum with other project management frameworks that delineate specific responsibilities for a multitude of roles. For example, all of the following PRINCE2 responsibilities fall on the Product Owner:

Set project and sprint tolerances, manage and approve supplier contracts, start the project, approve product descriptions and specify the desired outcome, close down the project, set acceptance criteria, develop business cases, secure funding, control strategic progress, oversee overall business assurance, handle escalated items and resolve requirements issues, advise user management, project assurance, make sure that resources are available, resolve requirements and priority conflicts, authorizes work packages, liaise with external suppliers, lead and motivate the team, make sure the right people are involved in writing product descriptions, bring in right people for quality inspection, monitor project viability and business alignment, check supplier/contractor payments, monitor progress against tolerances, ensure that specifications are enabling, assure that the product meets user needs, review change requests and approve or reject...

It is good that there be one boss and that the developers can listen to one voice (Radio Product Owner), but that person still needs support in doing all the work. And that support can't come from the Team because the Product Owner may not draw on the team's availability except during short, pre-allocated periods.

Therefore:
Create a Product Owner Team that together formulates the Product Backlog for all the teams.

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If the create of the Product Backlog to much time or expertise for one person, a Product Owner team needs to be formed with a Chief Product Owner that has final authority over the sequencing of the product backlog. If there are multiple products, the Chief Product Owner has to manage a portfolio of backlog items and prioritize across products for each sprint or each release. The Chief Product Owner has a team of Product Owners working on pieces of the global product backlog.

Use Chief Product Owner to sustain a single point of accountability for ROI.

Rosetta Stone has a Product Owner Team of over 30 people.
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