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Is the product owner always responsible for the budget of the product?

Last post 05:03 pm March 15, 2024 by Panagiotis Timotheatos
10 replies
02:06 am November 1, 2014

Is the product owner always responsible for the budget of the product?

10:51 am November 3, 2014


I think you need to give us some context here as your question is very shallow and narrow. Can you tell us more about where you're coming from? Did you see something in literature that you led this to be true or not true?

07:32 pm November 3, 2014

Thanks for the reply! I have not found this topic mentioned anywhere.
I just went to a PSPO training. On one of the slides had the topic: "A Scrum Product Owner is responsible for many things", then 14 different items were mentioned, but not the budget. I had discussion with the trainers about it and they thought that product owner should be responsible for the budget.
What I think is that it is usually preferably if the product owner is responsible for the budget but in some cases it might be hard enforce or even not preferably to enforce such a rule. I can think of many situations where it will be difficult to let the PO be responsible for the budget, but I can not think of any situation where it is not preferably to let the PO be responsible for the budget, can you?

03:52 pm November 4, 2014

The slide you saw said "A Product Manager is responsible for many things" Note that the Scrum PO role is a subset of "Product Management" or "Product Manager" in a software context.

As part of the class, or after, did you not get a PDF copy or printout of the slides for the course?

11:32 am November 5, 2014

Hi Robert,

Budget is not defined in Scrum. The Dev team is certainly not responsible for the budget, nor is the Scrum master.

However, there is another mechanism managing budget: the product backlog should be prioritized for value and every sprint should deliver the most valuable items first. Management / stakeholders should decide if the sprints are delivering enough additional value to continue the project.

And the PO might be part of management / stakeholders.

12:49 pm November 5, 2014

> Is the product owner always responsible for the budget of the product?

The PO is responsible for maximizing the value of the product...or to put it another way, the return on investment. It is reasonable to expect a PO to have some budgetary responsibilities if he or she is to account for product value and ROI.

More specifically, the Scrum Team must understand the timeline and scope for the next anticipated release, and the extent to which this has been budgeted for. They and other stakeholders will look to the PO for guidance and accountability in these matters.

10:22 pm November 8, 2014

Yes, I got a printout. The slide I am talking about (number 37) did not mention Product Manager, only Scrum Product Owner.

10:38 pm November 8, 2014

Posted By Christiaan Koster on 05 Nov 2014 11:32 AM
Budget is not defined in Scrum.

Thanks for answers!
Ian, I know PO is always responsible for maximizing the value of the product. Since “Gain from investment” is a part of ROI, I guess PO is at least partly always responsible for ROI.
Some sites suggest that PO should be responsible for ROI. If they are, that means they will probably also be responsible for the other part of ROI: “Cost of investment”. I guess that PO many times are also responsible for that, but not always as I understand and agree with you.
Christiaan, I agree, budget is not defined in Scrum.

10:58 pm March 6, 2024

if the budget or any financial info is needed to achieve the product goals then absolutely yes, the PO needs to be at least be informed and more likely be consulted about the financials of the product/team (budget, cost, revenue, etc). If the team and company are financially solvent and knowing the financial ins and outs aren't a factor for the PO to meet their goals, I'd say focus attention on other things.. great topic!

07:39 pm March 7, 2024

If the value of the team is monetary the PO is responsible for indentying and maximising it, preferably using Evidence Based Management (which brings down the current value to teh revenue per employee).

However revenue is NOT ALWAYS a metrics for a value(we had wonderful discussion about this last year).

In cases when value is measured otherwise(like in votes for Scrum team helping political party, or in scientific data) then of course PO is not responsable for actual budget of teh project

So its not "always". But mostly

04:45 pm March 15, 2024

I agree with the comments above. There are cases where the PO is responsible for the costs of the team (e.g. vendor related costs). The PO should have an insightful story to share on these expenses (e.g. related to growth).

However, there are other expenses (e.g. the #of software engineers in a team) that go beyond the scope of the role of the PO. I believe that this decision is with the Product & Engineering leadership that collectively decide the budget (i.e. resources) of each Product based on multiple factors internal or external to the business.

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