Product Ownership

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Product Ownership is very much linked with how we define a Product. In simple organisations, this might be an easy exercise, but in complex organisations that have what we’ll call “Composite Value Streams", Products are the result of complex interconnections of parts of one or more organisations: sequences, synergies, … of different pieces.

We can consider a Value Stream as the journey from an idea to realised customer value. A smaller Value Stream may be served by a single Product Owner. As the Value Stream increases in scale (both in size and in complexity) we reach a point at which a single Product Owner is insufficient.

However, while it might become necessary to increase the number of Product Owners working on a certain composite value stream, it is good practice to keep the decision makers to a minimum. Aim to create a product organisation with the least amount of Product Owners in order to maximise the “Scope of Accountability” of each Product Owner and allow for decisions that have a more holistic impact on the value-chain.

This is also compatible with the idea of delegation: the more Product Owners are involved in a single large development, the more coordination among them is needed, which results in slower, more costly decision making and reduced adaptability.

Products vs. Product Ownership

What is a Product? Especially when considering complex Composite Value Streams? Here is a discussion on The Product Perspective of scaling.


Related Practices