What is the product owner role? Is it different in the federal space and the commercial space? What are the challenges that the PO face? If we were to define a PO persona, what would it look like? Does a conventional PO role work in the government? What changes are needed to enable the PO in the government? How would the PO role apply in the government settings? Does the organizational structure affect the PO role?

The product owner role is one of the most demanding and critical roles on agile projects. The PO is engaged with the stakeholders (those who will be impacted by the product) as well as the development (delivery) team (those who will be delivering the product).

The PO drives the vision of what needs to be built. The PO describes the vision to the team that is translated into chunks of value (or user stories) that makes up the Product backlog (a “to do” list of what needs to be built). The team works with the PO to clarify questions. Once the team build a chunk of value, they demonstrate it to the PO who then accept it or provide feedback that then get translated into more user stories.

Common challenges include: proxy PO, part time PO, supporting multiple teams, misconceptions of the PO role and limited empowerment among other challenges.

In this session, Salah and Darren will share stories about the challenges of the PO role in the government, explore different approaches through a collaborative session that will give participants ideas on what to look for to make the PO role successful in the government.

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