With the adoption of Scrum project management and Agile engineering practices, I’m observing that most teams I work with are out-pacing business’ ability to keep up on requirements identification and prioritization. In Scrum, a “product owner” acts as a single authoritative focal point, prioritizing the product backlog and taking ultimate responsibility for the product direction and requirements. This single point of responsibility is an important feature of the Scrum process, which emphasizes clearly defining responsibility amongst the parties involved.
In practice, this single focal point for business direction leads to some challenging problems. Consider large projects with diverse stakeholders and competing needs. How does the Product Owner manage many competing inputs when short-term dollars and cents are not the only issues at play?
At the November 2005 Closed Scrum Gathering, I hope to engage with my colleagues in the industry on this topic and formulate processes for synthesizing stakeholder needs and setting clear direction considering the prospect of ever faster development teams. For a list of topics under considerations, including this one, check out the Fall Closed Scrum Gathering wiki.