We’ve conducted four Product Owner courses at Scrum.org. These are the new courses. They are aimed at teaching a customer, product manager, or any manager how to be Agile. Scrum is a tool that they use with the development organization and their Scrum teams, but their responsibilities go beyond that. They are responsible for markets, prospects, customers and the rest of the business organization. I had a feeling that the old Product Owner course that I initiated in 2004 was too much from the developer’s point of view. It posited, what can the person in the Product Owner’s role do for the developers?
Two Product Owner assessments are available. The first, PSPO I, is multiple-choice. It tests if the person taking the assessment knows Scrum and the role of the Product Owner. The second, PSPO II, is essay and multiple-choice. It tests if the person thinks like a Product Owner and knows how to create business agility.
The results are starting to flow in. Most people do well on the PSPO I assessment. However, only one person has passed the PSPO II assessment. His origins were business consulting. Everyone else answered the questions from the point of view of the development organizations. These people are some of the best Scrum Masters that I know, but they are entrenched in development thinking.
We have to pull our Scrum Masters back so they help the developers on the Scrum team use Scrum, and to help the Product Owners on the Scrum Team bring agility to the organization.
I am commonly asked, “How do I sell Scrum to senior management.” A good way to do so is to show them how they will benefit from agility, and the ability to take advantage of opportunities. If we simply tell them what they have to do for the development organization, they have much more pressing issues.