How many Product Owners do you need

What is the ratio of Product Owners / teams in your organization?
Please, let's play a little game: Before reading this post, write your answer in the comment, just a number, you don't need to explain... do you mind taking the challenge?

 

Why am i asking? Well… when Scaling Scrum (using the LeSS = “Large Scale Scrum” framework) there is a rule that there should be only one product owner

“There is one Product Owner and one Product Backlog for the complete shippable product”

Here are 4 reasons that explain why:

  1. ROI over ego
    It is common that managers in big organizations to try pull the product in different directions as a result of technical and/or political constraints, this causes the system to be sub-optimized and reduce its effectiveness.
    Having a single product owner ensures that priorities are driven by business value and not by ego, prestige or other irrelevant aspects, this one person is accountable for the ROI of the product from a whole product customer centric view.

  2. Simplicity over Complexity
    When having multiple product owners, it is still required to have another person often from marketing or a similar business unit that is focused on managing and synchronizing the work of the other product owners, in addition to the extra people we need (multiple Product Owners) coordination roles are wasteful and creates additional and unnecessary complexity which should be avoided.

  3. Direct communication over Proxies.
    Many will agree that when the developers understand customer needs they deliver better products. Given that Product Owner are mostly busy with prioritizing the requirements, having multiple product owners create a situation in which it is very tempting for the product owner to use her free time and “help” with things such as low level clarification of requirements which is the role of the development team.
    This harms the team-customer communication, that can eventually lead developers to develop the wrong requirements, or worst, not care about the customer.

  4. Empowerment over Micro-management
    When having one Product Owner per team, it is common that the Product Owner (as a result of free time and the will to contribute) starts interfering with the team’s work, specifically with execution related decisions such as design choices, team members work distribution and micro-status monitoring.
    This dynamic is bad for your organization and results in teams taking less responsibility and a drop in motivation.

 

These are the main reasons i see.

Got other reasons? Disagree? Please comment.
For more, follow me on twitter @eladsof

 

May the force be with you,

Elad Sofer.

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I read a lot of posts about “what is a good Scrum Master” and thought, these posts are way too positive and friendly.. why not take a more destructive approach and see things from the negative side?

And if you make it to the end of the post, an insightful question awaits. Here goes.. 

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Who cares? I do! Why?

First,  because it offers an opportunity for a blog post (that increase social media presence, etc.… J), second because some of you are using those words in a wrong way which leads to wrong decisions being made which leads to pain and suffering (more commonly known as poor performance). 

I am not trying to find right or wrong answers, or which is better, my aim is just to clarify meaning. Let's create some order in this confusion.

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I often get asked: Why does the certified LeSS Practitioner training require 3 days?
I thought it would be beneficial to write a short post explaining.

I understand the question.

I really do. 3 days for a training is not very common for these types of trainings, partly because during the last years, the Scrum Alliance had set the standard for scrum related trainings for 2 days (See CSM , CSPO).

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