Why Product Owners Love Scrum - dummies

Why Product Owners Love Scrum

By Mark C. Layton

Key to moving the gears of change is the product owner. The product owner’s primary job is to take care of the business side of the project. Product owners love scrum for the following reasons:

  • Development and business are now aligned and held accountable as a single unit, rather than being at odds as in historical methodologies.

  • Schedules and costs are empirically forecasted, and you have daily clarity on progress.

  • After every sprint, product owners know that they’ll have the highest‐priority items fully functioning and shippable.

  • Customer feedback is early and continuous.

  • The earliest possible tangible measurement on ROI is available, that is, after every single sprint.

  • Systematic support for changing business needs, thus allowing ­continuing flexibility to adapt to market realities.

  • Reduced product and process waste through an emphasis on prioritized product development over process artifact development (usually documents).

The product owner’s number‐one characteristic should be decisiveness. They will make tough, pragmatic, and uncomfortable decisions every hour of every day. They need to be able to create an environment of trust and pivot when changes are needed. They must begin by doing what they think is right and then change based on empirical evidence.

The scrum product owner’s role is much different than a traditional project manager’s role. Imagine telling a golfer to hit the ball 400 yards and straight into the hole. If he doesn’t succeed, hit him with his club. That’s how the traditional IT world works. With scrum, the golfer hits the ball, assesses the results, and adapts around that reality to achieve the goal in the best possible way given where he is, not where he “should be.”

Small, colocated, cross‐functional teams are cheaper than dislocated teams when the total cost of ownership is viewed, rather than singular per‐person costs.