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Product Owner to be present at the Sprint Retrospective?

Last post 01:45 pm January 31, 2023 by Lexi Blesius
17 replies
01:19 pm April 10, 2018

Is it mandatory that the product owner must be present at the sprint retrospective?


In Product Owner open assessments we have a question as below:


Must the Product Owner be present at the Sprint Retrospective?


Correct Answer: It is mandatory. The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to assess its performance and improve itself.


Query: As per my understanding it is optional that the product owner to be present or not for the Spring Retrospective and the development team and scrum master will be part of this ceremony and they will discuss about the sprint experiences?


So Please clarify on this



08:41 pm April 11, 2018

Why do you have an understanding that Sprint Retrospective attendance is optional for a Product Owner?   The Scrum Guide clearly states that it is a key "inspect and adapt" opportunity for the Scrum Team.

08:45 pm April 11, 2018

A Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements, including to product quality and working relationships. Since the Product Owner is a Scrum Team member, Why do you think that his or her attendance would be optional?

09:39 pm April 18, 2018

It seems like you may be confused about the definition of Scrum Team vs Development Team. As Timothy and Ian pointed out, the Retrospective is an event for the Scrum Team, not just the Development Team. The PO is a member of the Scrum Team and plays a significant role in the sprint, therefore there are certainly things the PO can inspect and adapt that will help the implementation of Scrum.

09:43 pm June 4, 2020

I'm glad I came across this Forum entry as I've now got a long list of doubts after having read Ken Schwabers book "Agile Project Management with Scrum" which I didn't have before reading the book. 

On this topic specifically, it is stated in the rules concerning the Sprint Retrospective   "It is attended only by the Team, the ScrumMaster, and the Product Owner. The Product Owner is optional.

Knowing that in the Open Assessment, this question states that his presence is mandatory, it clears up this doubt as to what I should answer if I come across the question in the PSPO exam. 

However, the book is contradictory to the exam question and so I can understand why he had a doubt about this .

05:20 pm June 5, 2020

After another post I made concerning another doubt, and where Ian Mitchell kindly answered, I should point out that the book I had read dates from 2004, so (and again as he pointed out), the framework hasn't frozen and has evolved since then.

I think we should clearly all base ourselves on what we read in the Scrum Guide as the principal source for guidance on the basics and not be put off track with too many varying opinions, which in many cases may be (or are probably) outdated.  Adapting to our projects in "real life" situations is another matter. 

On this one, of course it makes sense that his presence is mandatory.  The retrospective is a meeting where the whole scrum team inspect their processes and adapt where necessary.

06:36 pm June 5, 2020

Hi Maria,

consider that the most recent and updated literature would be present at!

In terms of book, it is the suggestion of regarding the role of PO

The Guides can be seen as the start points, the suggested reading, as its complementary.

03:48 am June 6, 2020

Hi Olavo, thank you very much !  I will go and have a look at your suggestions .  I must admit I read an outdated e-book, so thak you for updated reading material !

I feel quite confident in the scope of the role but will read up on your suggestions :)

01:29 am February 3, 2022

What about the Retrospective ceremony itself. As we know it is a key opportunity for inspect-and-adopt.

Can we drop/skip it if the team is confidently getting used to the processes and flow of work?

10:05 pm February 3, 2022

We live in a complex and uncertain world for which there is little room for ceremonies. What do you think the consequences would be however of losing a key inspect-and-adapt event?

12:05 am February 4, 2022

Hello Ch Ranga Suresh,

the answer for me is clearly yes. The description for this you can find directly in the ScrumGuide and also above.


Hello Mohammed Ziedan,

I like Scrum because it thinks of 2 regular feedback loops.

  • Product with the Sprint Review and
  • Process with the Retrospective.

There is also one in the Sprint itself that is called Daily, where you have the feedback loop for your daily business towards the Sprint Goal. 

Now its up to you, which one do you want to skip? Which part do you want to keep as it is, and not getting better?

05:17 am February 4, 2022

In case PO is working very closely and have some concerns than only PO can be a part of sprint retrospective, else PO generally provide feedback during sprint review meeting.  Scrum retrospective is meant for Scrum team for inspecting and adapting for future sprints, for the betterment of team, product.

03:06 pm February 4, 2022

Scrum retrospective is meant for Scrum team ...

The Product Owner is part of the Scrum Team.  From the Scrum Guide

The fundamental unit of Scrum is a small team of people, a Scrum Team. The Scrum Team consists of one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers.


09:14 pm May 16, 2022

"Agile Project Management with Scrum" was published in 2004. A lot has been updated in the Scrum Guide since then, including that the "Product Owner is optional."

10:30 am December 12, 2022

I haven't found a part in Scrum Guide that would state that Product Owner's presence is optional.

I can see numbers of consequences that a scrum team will have if they don't have PO present during retrospective.

05:14 pm December 12, 2022

I don't see any mention in scrum guide that Product Owner is optional during retrospective. It's a scrum team meeting, and of course anyone can be unavailable, however there will be some consequences if PO isn't present on a meeting. 

How to address interactions, revisit DoD without Product Owner - this can just bounce back to having dev team and scrum team not really collaborating and improving together.

So as I read it his presence is mandatory. 

01:48 pm January 30, 2023

As a scrum team member, I believed it required the Product Owner to be present in the sprint retrospective.

01:45 pm January 31, 2023

Why shouldn't the Product Owner be present in the Sprint Retrospective? Reading the Scrum Guide, especially the sections on the Retrospective and the Product Owner, neither gives an indication why they should not be part of it. I reference the 2020 version.

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