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Can a PO be the customer himself?

Last post 10:18 am December 1, 2016 by Faisal Salam
9 replies
04:44 am October 4, 2016

Can the customer/stakeholder play the role of PO?

02:17 pm October 4, 2016


What does the Scrum Guide say about the requirements for a Product Owner? Do you think a customer or stakeholder can fulfill those requirements?

Also, this specific forum is designed for exam and certification discussions. The other forum is for Scrum inquiries and clarifications.

07:04 pm October 4, 2016

I dont think customer or stakeholder can fulfill PO responsibilities. So I understand that customer cannot play the role of PO. I am preparing for PSPO, and hence the question.
thanks for clarifying.

09:42 am November 26, 2016

I think it is possible, why not ?

01:21 pm November 28, 2016

Yes, he can!

The core responsibility of PO is maintaining the PBI with maximizing product value, which is easy for him as he knows his business well.

02:15 pm November 28, 2016

No, (s)he can't be the PO. Just read and try to interpret the Scrum Guide deeply.

02:22 pm November 30, 2016

@Peter, why (s)he can't be the PO?

Who better than user knows in what way PB should be optimalized?

If (s)he can fulfill rest of requirements where is the blocker? Or which requirement block user as PO?

02:43 pm November 30, 2016

Hi Pawel,

customer can't be the PO, because s(he) don't belong to the development organization (mostly) and this situation would generate a conflict of interest. It would mean, that (s)he is stakeholder and Scrum Team member in one person, and it's really likely that (s)he would prefer the interests of the client against the interest of the development organization. As you see, it isn't a healthy situation.


03:51 pm November 30, 2016

If the PO cannot be the customer, that's a new one on me.

It's possible that in certain situations this *might* not be the best arrangement, but in others it will. After all, the PO is accountable for product value and the return on investment. There's nothing in Scrum which says that this role ought to be decoupled in some way from the customer...and to do so may well increase communication overhead and complexity.

10:18 am December 1, 2016

A PO can be a customer. period. A PO can be external or internal to an organization. As long as the customer fulfils the duties and role of a PO, he can fill in those mentioned by Ian above, it can create some impediments but is not forbidden.

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