Product Owner Team

... the Product Owner wants to improve the effectiveness of the value stream.

A single Product Owner is accountable for the return on investment and should handle market analysis, product discovery, stakeholder management, customer feedback, etc.

✥      ✥      ✥

The Product Owner has more to handle than a single person can do adequately.

The Product Owner may ask the Development Team to help her, but that would only shift the burden to the developers. It will also take away capacity from actual development. There is no incentive for the Product Owner to improve and learn how to become a better Product Owner.

Failing to get the Product Backlog Items ready may result in the Development Team to build the wrong things. It will also create additional communication with the Product Owner, which slows the development team down.

Development Teams that do not have enough Product Backlog Items waste capacity. If the team doesn't receive enough Enabling Specifications for the market window targeted by the upcoming Sprint, it invites the Development Team to work on lower value Product Backlog Items or start working on Product Backlog Items that are not ready.

Having sufficient time to reflect on Product Backlog Items helps to understand their relative value, identify dependencies and gives possibility to capitalize on market opportunities.

One way to assist a Product Owner with many tasks is to hire a team of specialists. However, this leads to problems of handoff and communication. This can result in reduced understanding of customer problems and inadequate solutions.

The developers can help by clarifying details with other stakeholders as long as it does not contradict the Product Owner’s direction. It is important to maintain the single point of accountability for success and failure; not by a committee.


Create a Product Owner Team, led by the Chief Product Owner that together carries out product ownership.

A Product Owner Team gathers several Product Owners responsible for guiding the Scrum Team(s) in creating the Product Backlog. When creating a Product Owner Team, it is important that there is a Chief Product Owner (CPO) who has final authority over the ordering of the Product Backlog. The CPO plus the Product Owners at the team level is what we call the Product Owner Team. The CPO is the “single wringable neck” responsible for the success of the product.

The CPO clearly communicates the strategy and the Product Backlog Items. The CPO works with the Product Owners to select and order backlog items for the teams. The Product Owners at the team level need the help of the Development Team to break the backlog into small Product Backlog Items for execution.

Experience suggests that this usually should be a collocated team. Splitting the Product Owner function across organizational boundaries (particularly across corporate boundaries) may make things worse than just having a single Product Owner on one side or the other.

✥      ✥      ✥

The Product Owner Team carries out the Product Ownership for large products.

The Product Owner Team realizes the Vision by ordering the Product Backlog Items through a single Product Backlog.

Most Product Owner Team members come from a business background. However, product ownership means more than owning just the Value Streams. The Product Owner Team also produces Enabling Specifications for the Development Team, which sometimes requires research into low-level technologies or development approaches that are key to the product strategy. The Product Owner Team may explore these areas through Set-Based Designs to support an Enabling Specification for the Development Team.

Like the Product Owner, the entire Product Owner Team should be energized by an attitude of Product Pride.

Picture from: