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SCRUM GUIDE 2020: Can only PO manage the Product Backlog

Last post 10:18 am January 27, 2021 by Nitin Mukesh
8 replies
06:06 am January 26, 2021

I was attempting the online assessment (practice) based on SG 2020.

The question asked if "PO is the sole person who can manage PB"

I answered it false as my understanding is this responsibility can be delegated to anyone within or outside ST. The PO will however remain accountable.

Scrum says that there could be only 1 PO per product. Sometime the PO may have to go on Leave/Vacation so the product will not be stopped for that duration. So a person other than PO will be asked to backfill for PO and that person will be managing the PB.

Kindly confirm my understanding.

12:42 pm January 26, 2021

What you have said sounds reasonable. Which assessment was this, exactly?

03:21 pm January 26, 2021

03:42 pm January 26, 2021

PO is the only person who can manage the Product Backlog. If other team members want to add items to the Product backlog, then they need to run it past the PO first - and after the POs approval, it can be added to the Product Backlog. So in that way, it's the PO ONLY who can manage the PB.

This is my understanding :)

05:36 pm January 26, 2021

I'd be wary of those assessments.  Just because they say it is based on the 2020 Scrum Guide does not mean that their questions are correct.  Many of the 3rd party assessments I have seen do not accurately reflect the Scrum Guide. They are based upon someone's interpretation and that interpretation does not necessarily reflect that of the Scrum Guide's authors. 

I have difficulty trusting the assessments from that site since no where on the site does it provide any information on the organization. How do we know that the people creating the assessments actually know anything about Scrum? I also found this in their "terms"

We are not responsible if information made available on this site is not accurate, complete or current. The material on this site is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making decisions without consulting primary, more accurate, more complete or more timely sources of information. Any reliance on the material on this site is at your own risk.

Based on the two latest revisions of the Scrum Guide (2017 and 2020) I would agree with your answer.  Seeing their answer makes me mistrust that assessment even more.

07:00 am January 27, 2021

@Be de Souza

From what I understand

1. Management

PO primarily manages the PB but in his absence or for any other reason, anyone within ST or outside ST can manage the PB. It is OK that before adding/modifying any items in PB they run it past PO.

2. Accountability

PO is always accountable for PB.


Based on above comments can I safely assume that

PO is the sole person to manage PB. - FALSE

PO is the sole person accountable for PB. - TRUE

07:06 am January 27, 2021

@Daniel Wilhite

I agree with you. I however have observed that digesting SG and attempting Open assessment is not sufficient to pass the certificate even it is said so. I have arrived to this understanding by read several posts where people passed the assessment and mentioned how they prepared for it.

I am happy that at least some free resources are made available for study purposes. Also it is helping me to have in depth understanding and that's how I may point out the mistake(s).

Good thing is we have experts here in this forum to clarify our doubts.

08:13 am January 27, 2021

I'd suggest that when credence is afforded to third party tests, doubts are not clarified but created. In your case you already knew what the answer was. Others do not and are more vulnerable.

10:18 am January 27, 2021

Thank you Ian.

After almost 18 years I am attempting some certification/exam so slightly confused or say not too confident, hence trying to double check. Appreciate all your and others guidance.

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