Can we have more than one Product Owner?

Can we have more than one Product Owner?

Can we have more than one Product Owner?
via Blog by Johannes Geske

One of the questions about Scrum I’m often asked is, “Can we have more than one Product Owner per product?” In fact, one of the few Scrum rules about the Product Owner role is,

“The Product Owner is one person, not a committee.” (The Scrum Guide)

Instead of responding to the question by simply reciting this rule, I like to use a metaphor to create an understanding of why Scrum requires the Product Owner to be a single person, and why you should require this too:

Imagine that your Scrum Team is a crew of a rowing boat. There are people doing the hard work of rowing, there’s a person who among other things helps these people create and maintain rhythm, and then there’s the person holding the rudder.

The boat is your Scrum Team. The people doing the rowing are your Development Team, the person facilitating rhythm is your Scrum Master, and the person holding the rudder is your Product Owner. The rudder determining the direction of your boat towards a goal is the Product Backlog. The content and order of the Product Backlog make visible the decisions of the Product Owner.

A crew on a rowing boat

With that metaphor established, I like to ask, “What do you think would happen, if more than one person held the rudder?”

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