This talk is from Product Camp Portland, April 12th.  (I also presented a similar talk at Cisco…)

I’ve been helping several large software companies wrestle with a product owner/product manager scale-up problem:

  • Large programs with dozens of agile/scrum teams, most of which don’t have a formally assigned product owner (PO).
  • A product management (PM) team 2x-4x too small to handle product-level/portfolio-level work as well as the entire scrum-level PO workload
  • An uninspected sense that PO work can’t be that hard, or take much time, or need specific skills/talents/training/selection.  Little or no specific product owner training for those informally picking up pieces of the work.  Blinkered focus on the engineering process side of agile.
  • No explicit delegation or working agreements between product-level PMs and POs

So this talk makes the case that we really need to choose/allocate POs, train/mentor them, create very tight connections to PM, and avoid cookie-cutter solutions such as “product managers or technical leads will automatically be assigned as the POs for every team.”

And thanks to the PCamp-PDX attendees, who picked this talk as “best of camp.”