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Practices of a Great Product Owner

I've noticed in my consulting & agile work that the Scrum Product Owner or XP Customer roles are some of the least understood in agile teams. First, you almost universally hear the complaint that teams don't get enough time from them—that they’re preoccupied and disconnected from the team. On the other hand, the depth and the breadth of their roles require them to be more than Backlog writers, feeding their teams User Stories and answering questions. There are also the business demands the Product Owner needs to contend with. So the role has a lot of breadth, responsibility and yes, tension. Finally, if you look into the agile community, I feel there is insufficient focus and help refining the role of a “Great” Product Owner and providing guidance to that end. In response to this gap, I’ve written a book that I completed in April 2009. This talk will focus on some of the lessons from the book. This will also be an interactive session as I look to mine lessons, both good and bad, from the audience to include in my research & sharing. Bob Galen is an Agile Methodologist, Practitioner & Coach based in Cary, NC. In this role he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other Agile methods and practices. He is President and Principal Consultant for RGCG, LLC and is the Agile Evangelist & Director, R&D for iContact. Bob has held director, manager and contributor level positions in both software development and quality assurance organizations. He has over 25 years of experience working in a wide variety of domains at companies including Bayer, Bowe–Bell & Howell Mail Processing, ChannelAdvisor, EMC, Lucent, Unisys and Thomson. Bob regularly speaks at international conferences and professional groups on topics related to software development, project management, software testing and team leadership. He is a Certified Scrum Master Practicing (CSP) since 2004, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and an active member of the Agile Alliance & Scrum Alliance. In 2005 he published the book Software Endgames – Eliminating Defects, Controlling Change and the Countdown to On-Time Delivery with Dorset House. The books’ focus is how to successfully finish your software projects. He regularly writes for industry leading sources. Bob may be reached directly at – [masked] and for more information – www.rgalen.com

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  • Gerry H.

    The speaker was very interesting.

    November 9, 2009

  • Tim I.

    Great presentation Bob - good interaction too.

    November 4, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I appreciated one of the first slides showing the complex role of the Product Owner, and that it was part BA. As a BA, I am finding that there is definitely a role for BA's in an Agile process - that being, essentially, the Product Owner's "right hand man" who can represent the PO/business when they are not available.

    Very good presentation.

    November 4, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I thought the material was a good brain dump of Bob's POV targeted for people aleady familiar with Scrum/Agile (as was the audience). It provoked a number of comments and questions that was very interesting.

    November 4, 2009

  • Jared

    Bob, as usual, did a great job!

    November 4, 2009

  • Tim K.

    Excellent presentation. Bob is clearly an expert in the field.

    November 3, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    The speaker was enjoyable, stayed on topic, kept it relavent to real life circumstances, and ending on time. Great Job!

    November 3, 2009

  • Jeff B.

    Bob's thoughts and suggestions for a Great Product Owner are insightful. He does a good job of presenting both the demands and the importance this role has to the success of the project.

    November 3, 2009

  • John L.

    Excellent presentation with great participation. A little too much discussion! The time went too long, last slides were rushed!

    November 3, 2009

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