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Scaling the Product Owner Accountability – This article is completely updated and rewritten on 18 Jan 2024

Scrum Guide says, “The Product Owner is one person, not a committee.” However, as the Product starts to grow in size and complexity it becomes increasingly difficult for one Person to do justice to the Product Owner Accountability. Read this article to understand some ways we can scale up the Product Owner Accountability. 

As suggested by the diagram above, two important ways of Scaling the Product Owner Accountability are as below.

  1. Having Multiple Team focused on the Same Product Backlog
  2. Creating Smaller Independent but connected Products – also known as Value Stream Forking.

Multiple Teams focused on Same Product Backlog

In the diagram above product P1 has one product backlog and one Product Owner. Teams T1.1, T1.2 and T1.3 are working as independent Self-Managed Scrum Teams and Share the Product Backlog and the Product owner. This product Owner can then help the three scrum teams to work in a synchronized manner. However, Please do note that the three teams share a product owner. It is NOT ok to have multiple product owners for the same product backlog. You can read our article to understand why Product Owner is a Single Person and not a committee.

Some points to keep in mind when operating in such a structure are as below.

  1. Avoid having multiple teams work on the Same Product backlog item at the same time. If input by multiple teams is necessary for any Product Backlog Item, consider splitting the Item so that each Scrum Team can work independntly
  2. Consider having an attribute for each Product Backlog Item that indicates which team is /will be working on the same.