Explore Product Owner / Team responsibilities Exercise

I wanted to share an exercise I created in a workshop last week

One of the topics we wanted to explore was the responsibilities/activities of Product Owners and the Agile Team and how do they relate.

The objective of the exercise was to understand the various activities and how they map in the continuum between PO and Team and across the product development life cycle.

The steps of the exercise are the following:

  1. Map all the activities related to the life cycle – typically this will be the lifecycle of a Feature. I came with a set of predefined steps but I think it can be useful to let the participants come up with the activities as a digesting activity.
  2. Where does each activity lie in the lifecycle? Use horizontal team estimation game – this means coming up with a continuum of activities where starting point is to the left side, ending point is to the right side (to be compatible with a typical Kanban Story Board)
  3. divide the time continuum to a couple of key phases (this can be used to be a starting point for a Kanban board btw, or you can use the existing kanban board the team uses if applicable )
  4. Which activity is associated with Product, Which with R&D? Use vertical team estimation game to drive a consensus among the team. The meaning of vertical is that you don’t touch the left-right placement, just the top-bottom. Top should be solely Product, Bottom solely R&D. Identify a middle area where work is done in collaboration. Even within that area it makes sense to discuss who is “leading” the activity.
  5. Debrief – Have a discussion about what this means, what are the surprises, does this make sense, what you would like to experiment with.

This exercise can of course be generalized to any interface between groups – Dev-Ops, Dev-Test, and outside of Product Development altogether… I’ll be glad to hear about interesting uses of the exercise.






A possible activity list (provided AS IS, no warranty attached… ;-):

  • Decide how much to pull into sprint
  • Estimate effort for stories
  • Write ATDD Scenarios
  • Estimate effort for MMFs
  • Write confirmation DoD for Stories
  • Break MMF to Stories
  • Decide which Stories should stay in the MMF
  • Approve Test Plan for Story
  • Approve Test Plan for MMF
  • Decide how much to pull into Release
  • Decide which MMFs get priority
  • Commit to delivery date of an MMF
  • Decide delivery date of a Release
  • Prioritize MMFs
  • Break Feature to MMFs
  • Guide UX Design
  • Break PRD to Features
  • Accept/Reject Stories


Exploring interfaces exercise

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