The ScrumMaster Files: Product Owner to Co-Product Owner, do you copy?

Pat and Paul have made the announcement to the Development Team, to you, the ScrumMaster and to the Organization, that going forward they will be Co-Product Owners for the initiative kicking off with this release.

Paul is a newer employee to the organization but has lots of drive and subject matter expertise.  Pat is very senior in the company.  Her judgement is trusted and she is respected by all levels of the organization.

As the Development Team begins working with the “Co-Product Owners”, there appears to be lots of confusion.

Pat and Paul get their wires crossed in terms of who is expected to be at Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Reviews and Sprint Retrospectives.  Sometimes neither of them attends and you have to try to chase them down or the Development Team is left to guess in terms of what the work priority is or what “done” looks like for backlog items.

Sometimes they both show up.  When questions are raised, everyone looks to Pat, the more senior P.O., to answer questions.  Even when questions are asked directly of Paul, he looks to Pat before he answers.

Pat and Paul also lose track of who is supposed to be developing Definition of Done on Product Backlog Items, ordering Product Backlog Items based on stakeholder and user interaction and discussions so that items are ready for the Development Team to commit to at Sprint Planning.

This initiative is 3 Sprints in and there is nothing considered “done” or acceptable for the new product.  The stakeholders and leadership are starting to say things like “I thought Scrum meant delivering value faster.  Why isn’t it working?”

You are the ScrumMaster in this situation.

What would be your first step in correcting the dysfunction?  What are your coaching opportunities for the Product Owners?  The Development Team?  The Organization?

Want to learn more?

Click here to view our upcoming classes and register for our next CSM or CSPO course.