Dear Future Product Owner,

Congratulations on your new job.  I want you to play a strong Product Owner role. I am excited about this. We haven’t had a strong Product Owner.

The backlog is yours. You define it: you tell us what you want, and you understand what our customers want. You prioritize it: you tell us the rank-ordered business value of the backlog items. You arrange and lead weekly backlog grooming sessions.

The release plan is yours. You understand the business goals and desired delivery dates. You understand when our customers want what they want. Given the team’s estimate of the velocity at which they can complete backlog items, you assemble the time line, understand its consequences, and collaborate with the team and the customers to reconcile differences. (Our ScrumMaster will assist you with the team’s estimates and velocity.)

Here is some relevant guidance from the Nokia Test:

  • Product Owner has clear product backlog estimated by team before Sprint Planning meeting
  • PO has release roadmap with dates based on team velocity
  • PO motivates team
  • Product Backlog clearly specified and prioritized by ROI before Sprint Planning Meeting (READY)
  • PO has release burndown with release date based on velocity
  • PO can measure ROI based on real revenue, cost per story point, or other metrics
  • PO release plan based on known velocity