#197 – Technical Debt and the PO
As a Scrum Team, we’ll quite often find ourselves in a predicament where there’s a deadline to be met as well as Technical Debt to be removed. Here, you, as a Product Owner, are rightfully looked at as the person who orders the Product Backlog and, thus, the high-level priority of upcoming work for the team. Enablers containing infrastructure, refactoring, code optimization or re-architectural work are also part of the Product Backlog.
Therefore, instead of comparing apples (Features) to pears (Enablers), build-in this type of technical work into your Product Backlog Items (e.g., by identifying the work needed to meet the Non-Functional Requirementss). If that’s not feasible or acceptable, having dedicated Enablers is an option, but then, remember to explicitly allocate a rough percentage of the Scrum Team’s capacity to Enablers at Sprint Planning, so you don’t end up having to choose between Features and Enablers and, thus, between delivering business value and ensuring quality.