How many POs for multiple teams?

Last post 09:12 am August 25, 2014
by Ian Mitchell
5 replies
11:29 am August 7, 2014

Hi there,

preparing for the PSMI I have a question concerning The Scrum Guide.
On Page 5 it says "The Product Owner is one person, not a committee." and "The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog."
However, the Scrum Open Assessment implies that when multiple teams are working together, they can share a common Product Backlog.

Does this mean that when multiple teams are working together, these teams consist only of a Scrum Master and a Development Team while sharing the Product Owner with the other teams?

Thank you for sharing your points of view!

Best regards,

01:23 pm August 7, 2014

No, it just means that each Development Team is in no doubt about who their PO is, and that each team's PO is competent to do the job.

It's certainly possible for teams to share their PO. But there's also nothing to stop multiple products, and their clear owners, from being aggregated into a larger product which also has a clear owner. Each collaborating team could thereby have its own PO.

04:08 am August 13, 2014

Thanks, that was a pellucid argument.

Just out of curiosity: does Scrum Theory say anything about how multiple POs should organize their shared Product Backlog and their collaboration in general?

Oh, never mind my contemporary question, I've already found some information on the topic "Prioritizing a Backlog with multiple Products in it" ( Sorry!

02:21 am August 25, 2014

Each product has only one Product Backlog
Each Product Backlog is managed my only one PO.

=> That mean each product has only one PO even it is incharge by multi team.

08:44 am August 25, 2014

Hi Bui,

that is the same trap, I've walked in at first.
Now I think, it's wrong to say it restricted and in general like that.

If the product is so big that the development work is split - why shouldn't it be allowed to split the Product Backlog, too, and get one Product Owner for every part of the Product Backlog? The essentials are that every Product Owner is solely responsible for his Product Backlog items.

So, both options are compatible with Scrum:
- 1 big product, unsplit Product Backlog, 1 Product Owner, 1 Scrum Master, multiple Development Teams
- 1 big product, split Product Backlog, multiple Product Owners, multiple Scrum Masters, multiple Development Teams.

09:12 am August 25, 2014

Each product should have a single Product Backlog that is managed by exactly one Product Owner.

However a product may be composed of multiple other products. The backlogs of component products can thereby be aggregated and held to be team views upon a larger single Product Backlog. How this is managed, and at what level of granularity, is a matter for collaboration between the Product Owners themselves. The important thing is that each Scrum Team has a clear view of its own Product Backlog and is in no doubt about who their Product Owner is.