What is the basic role of the Product Owner?
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
User Stories Advanced Techniques
After you got the basics nailed down, go to some advanced techniques for managing and manipulating user stories:
Some material on Agile Release Planning:
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.
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.
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!
Added the “Discovery” section on Feb 2012
Added Henrik’s brilliant short animated movie about Agile Product Ownership – October 2012