Agile Needs a Product Owner

June 20, 2006 — Posted by Al Shalloway

Listen to the podcastWhy you need a product owner for Agile

The Voice of the Customer should set the priorities and vision for the product you seek to deliver. But getting a handle on that Voice can be really hard. Customers can be hard to pin down. They may feel like they are too busy to talk to you or too far away to engage with them successfully. Often, there is more than one customer with a variety of demands – even conflicting demands. And then how do you decide who to listen to?

Have you ever found yourself in that situation? Have you found yourself having to guess what customers want? Or, even worse, having to rely on the Marketing department to guess for you? Has that worked well for you?

Guessing never works well for me. And it violates one of my fundamental rules for project management: Assume Nothing. Never assume you know what the customer is wanting. Never assume an impediment is too hard to overcome. Never assume a requirement is written in stone. Assume Nothing. Ask someone who knows.

The Lean-Agile solution to this challenge is the “Product Owner” role. We discussed this in the Product Owner as part of the Product Development Team podcast. But because the Product Owner is so central to Lean-Agile approaches, it seemed good to get an additional perspective. So, I am turning to Alan Shalloway to get his take.

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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Al Shalloway
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Cory Foy
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Guy Beaver
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Israel Gat
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Steve Thomas
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Tom Grant
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