Skip to main content
Back
X
Back

Scrum Forum

Internal delegated Product owner

Last post 09:12 am May 9, 2014
by Ian Mitchell
5 replies
Author
Messages
04:56 am May 6, 2014

What if your company is in a buyer-seller construction where the Product Owner is actually an external client who understands agile scrum, but doesn’t have the time to attend all scrum meetings.

Would assigning an “delegated Product Owner” (perhaps an internal business analyst or functional designer) be an option? If yes, what would be the criteria of this person?

10:50 am May 6, 2014

The Product Owner should be someone who has a high interest in the product, is accepted by the stakeholders an can spend an appropriate amount of time with the development team to make the product succeed.
Of course you can assign a Product Owner from your company if you find someone appropriate. But just call him "Product Owner" and not "delegated" or "Proxy". It has to be transparent to your client that he no longer is the Product Owner, but becomes a stakeholder.
He has to decide if he wants to be pig or chicken (committed or involved).

11:42 am May 6, 2014

Of course you can assign a Product Owner from your company if you find someone appropriate. But just call him "Product Owner" and not "delegated" or "Proxy". It has to be transparent to your client that he no longer is the Product Owner, but becomes a stakeholder.
He has to decide if he wants to be pig or chicken (committed or involved).

Unless your PO is a team member, the PO should never be a pig right?
Thanks for the tip.

05:03 am May 7, 2014

In my opinion, the whole Scrum Team consists of pigs. The PO and SM should also be committed to the product. If the PO feels only involved, it becomes hard for the Dev Team to succeed. The PO of your external client is an example for that.

05:53 am May 7, 2014

Would assigning an “delegated Product Owner” (perhaps an internal business analyst or functional designer) be an option?

Yes that would be fine

If yes, what would be the criteria of this person?

I would look for the following criteria
1) Should be willing to be the 'single wring-able neck' for the PBIs assigned to the scrum team
2) The person should be well versed with the change required
3) She/he should be able to answer all the queries raised by the development team
4) She/he does not have to keep referring to someone else to resolve issues raised by the development team

Ideally I would refrain from 'assigning' a Product Owner - I would ask the person if they are willing to take up the role of a Product Owner and make them aware of the responsibilities. This should help bring about the level of commitment and involvement required for from a Product Owner.

09:12 am May 9, 2014

> Ideally I would refrain from 'assigning' a Product Owner

Yes, I think that's the key point. It is certainly possible to use a proxying model for Product Ownership. However, it isn't to be encouraged because the incumbent risks are high. For example:

- There's a danger of ownership being managed by a de facto committee, which is contrary to the purpose of the role. This committee might consist of the PO, one or more proxies, and one or more external stakeholders who find they are not being adequately represented. This is an antipattern.
- There is a danger of the person "assigned" being a disinterested party (i.e. a chicken as far as the product is concerned). It's incredibly difficult to assign pigs; they either come to the trough or they don't. Attempts to assign them are common, especially with product ownership. Although normed this is also an antipattern.