Single Mediator

...you have a Product Owner in your organization. You might have other roles such as a sales manager or a product manager as well.

If the team communicates directly with the customers, then it is hard to keep focus on priorities (Figure 1). In that case, the customer playing the product owner role is likely to disrupt the team during sprints. In contrary, too many links between the team and the customer create too much noise. The touch to the customer is lost (Figure 2).
Figure 1



Figure 2

If the chain from the customer to the Scrum team lengthens (Fig. 2), feedback loops between the team and the customers slow down. The team struggles to confirm that they are building the right product. Noise also becomes an issue. Messages from the customer to the team gets distorted and misinterpreted.

On the other hand, consider that nobody is in between the customer and the Scrum team; the Product Owner from the customer constantly disrupts the team. If the Product Owner is a customer, they may not take responsibility for which PBIs have the most ROI.

Therefore:


Eliminate all roles between the Scrum team and the customer other than the Product Owner.
The customer, the Product Owner, and the team should form a serial link (Figure 3).


In order to accomplish this, Product Owner Team may be needed in order to facilitate different experts in the organization. This approach also shields the Scrum team from the customers' disruptions.

Use Chief Product Owner to sustain a single point of accountability for ROI when using Product Owner Team

Figure 3


Author: Veli-Pekka Eloranta
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