Tag Archives: reference

What do I need to know to start being a Product Owner?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes


What is the basic role of the Product Owner?

http://blog.crisp.se/2012/10/25/henrikkniberg/agile-product-ownership-in-a-nutshell (New)


Starting with user stories:

User stories are the most common way to handle requirements in the agile world. One of the first things you’ll need to do as a product owner is familiarize yourself with them, and start to provide them to the delivery team.

Mike Cohn on Effective User Stories – http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentations/42-effective-user-stories-for-agile-requirements

User Stories Primer http://trailridgeconsulting.com/files/user-story-primer.pdf

Recommended Book – User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/books/2 Cover

User Stories Advanced Techniques

After you got the basics nailed down, go to some advanced techniques for managing and manipulating user stories:

  1. Techniques for splitting user stories http://www.richardlawrence.info/2009/10/28/patterns-for-splitting-user-stories/
  2. Story Mapping Technique  http://www.agileproductdesign.com/downloads/patton_user_story_mapping.ppt
  3. http://scalingsoftwareagility.wordpress.com/category/agile-requirements/

Some material on Agile Release Planning:

  1. http://www.agileproductdesign.com/downloads/patton_incremental_releases.zip
  2. http://www.agileproductdesign.com/presentations/index.html (Patton in general)

Some process-related material:

Product owning also requires effective interaction with the agile process. Concepts like READY and Flow and how to effectively interact with teams are as important as the quality of the requirements themselves. Actually, in some cases, having the right process will help focus on doing the right things at the right time and solve some conflicts and problems product owners have.

  1. Practical tools for the Product Owner: Focus, Value, Flow – http://www.scrumalliance.org/resource_download/1249
  2. The importance of READY Product Backlog for effective teams – http://scrum.jeffsutherland.com/2009/07/ready-dynamic-model-of-scrum.html

Scaling the Product Owner

If you are working in a complex enterprise environment, you might need to look at some advanced materials regarding scaling. I would recommend reading and understanding some ideas, and also seeking professional help by those experienced in these environments.

  1. http://blog.versionone.net/blog/2009/03/the-product-owner-team.html
  2. http://www.westborosystems.com/2010/02/onsite-product-owner/
  3. http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/OfficialHuitaleBlog/~3/q_19u5mfYog/single-product-owner-model-is-broken.html



In general, I recommend to all Product Owners/Managers I’m talking to these days to look at “Lean Startup”  to start thinking about the iterative learning associated with the Product Discovery process. Jeff Patton’s session above is a good introduction into this, but the whole body of work around “Lean Startups” is very interesting to Product people in general. You cannot afford to manage products these days and not be aware of it IMO.



I’m sure there are other great references out there, and I’d love to hear about them. But in the meantime, this is a reasonably comprehensive list, with the risk being a little too comprehensive. I would suggest you go top to bottom unless you have specific burning issues you need to skip to.

If you find this useful, tell your friends (and me!)

If you don’t, I’d appreciate hearing why!

Happy Reading!


Added the “Discovery” section on Feb 2012

Added Henrik’s brilliant short animated movie about Agile Product Ownership – October 2012

You’ve been asked to do/be X? Here is my recommended reading list

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute

I'm frequently asked "What do I need to learn in order to start being/doing X effectively?"

In addition, when I go into organizations and want to drive an effective transition, I want to give the people in the organization some background material and reference materials, that can accompany training and coaching activities I'm doing. I believe most of the people I'm dealing with are intelligent and motivated, and can learn a lot on their own. Some of them even learn better this way. 

This can also be useful for people trying to learn and improve on their own, without the benefit of coaching/consulting. 

I'll start to blog here recommended reading/activity lists for various topics related to agile, so that I can refer people here (instead of forwarding an old email…) as well as provide it as a resource for the community. 

The materials will be a mix of articles, blog items, books, podcasts. Some of them from Agilesparks, some what I found effective material out there. 

First item – what do I need to know to start being a product owner? coming up…

Ideas I have after that:

– What do I need to know to start doing Agile Testing? 

– What do I need to know to start being a real Scrum Master?

– What do I need to know to be an effective manager in an Agile environment?

– How do I run effective retrospectives? 


Feel free to send in requests for lists you are interested in… via comments or find me on twitter (@yuvalyeret) or elsewhere.