#48 – The PO from the Business

Authors’ Comments:

The Product Owner’s raison d’être is maximizing the value of the work of the development team. It’s not important whether the PO comes from the business-side or the technology-side of things, as long as they really understand their role.

However, knowing the PO’s professional or organizational background can help the Scrum Master in coaching the PO in order to improve their value-add. Slightly generalizing, if the PO comes with a business background, they are potentially stronger in the more outwards facing activities of the role, such as understanding the market, creating product vision and strategy, studying the competitive landscape and having a go-to-market perspective. 

On the other hand, if they come with an engineering or technology background, they probably have their strengths within communicating the requirements to the development team, taking a capabilities-oriented approach to competitors, getting buy-in from technical leaders from around the organization, and having technology trends feed into the development of the product.

If the PO needs to embrace several products for whatever reason, and it is impossible to create product-specific POs and teams, one pragmatic way out of overburdening the PO could be to split up the role into a business-oriented PO and a technical PO. If this is the case, ensure that these two people are best friends and fully aligned on the drivers of ordering the PBIs in the Product Backlog and, of course, that they agree on the order, itself.