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The Professional Product Owner: Leveraging Scrum as a Competitive Advantage, First Edition

Book Description

The Entrepreneurial Product Owner’s Guide to Maximizing Value with Scrum


“This book presents a method of communicating our desires, cogently, coherently, and with a minimum of fuss and bother.”

—Ken Schwaber, Chairman & Founder, Scrum.org

The role of the Product Owner is more crucial than ever. But it’s about much more than mechanics: it’s about taking accountability and refocusing on value as the primary objective of all you do. In The Professional Product Owner, two leading experts in successful Scrum product ownership show exactly how to do this. You’ll learn how to identify where value can be found, measure it, and maximize it throughout your entire product lifecycle.


Drawing on their combined 40+ years of experience in using agile and Scrum in product management, Don McGreal and Ralph Jocham guide you through all facets of envisioning, emerging, and maturing a product using the Scrum framework.
McGreal and Jocham discuss strategy, showing how to connect Vision, Value, and Validation in ROI-focused agile product management. They lay out Scrum best-practices for managing complexity and continuously delivering value, and they define the concrete practices and tools you can use to manage Product Backlogs and release plans, all with the goal of making you a more successful Product Owner. Throughout, the authors share revealing personal experiences that illuminate obstacles to success and show how they can be overcome.

  • Define success from the “outside in,” using external customer-driven measurements to guide development and maximize value
  • Fill the “product management vacuum” by bringing empowerment and entrepreneurship to the Product Owner’s role
  • Align everyone behind a shared model of how to create, deliver, and capture value
  • Use Evidence-Based Management (EBMgt) to invest in the right places, make smarter decisions, and reduce risk
  • Effectively apply Scrum’s Product Owner role, artifacts, and events
  • Populate and manage Product Backlogs, and use just-in-time specifications
  • Plan and manage releases, improve transparency, and reduce technical debt
  • Scale your product, not your Scrum
  • Use Scrum to inject autonomy, mastery, and purpose into your product team’s work

Whatever your role in product management or agile development, this guide will help you deliver products that offer more value, more rapidly, and more often.

Register your product at informit.com/register for convenient access to downloads, updates, and/or corrections as they become available.

Table of Contents

  1. Contents
  2. Foreword
    1. Communication, Intentionality, and Fulfillment
  3. Introduction
    1. How to Read This Book
  4. Part I: Strategy
    1. Chapter 1. Agile Product Management
      1. Quiz
      2. Product Mindset versus Project Mindset
      3. What Is Product Management?
      4. The Product Management Vacuum and the Three Vs
      5. Product Management and Scrum
      6. The Product Owner
      7. Defining a Product
      8. Quiz Review
    2. Chapter 2. Vision
      1. Quiz
      2. Business Modeling
      3. Product Vision
      4. Technical Strategy
      5. Quiz Review
    3. Chapter 3. Value
      1. Quiz
      2. Value Defined
      3. Delivering Value
      4. Value Metrics
      5. Evidence-Based Management
      6. Tracking Metrics
      7. Where Your Money Goes
      8. Negative Value
      9. Value Neutrality
      10. Quiz Review
    4. Chapter 4. Validation
      1. Quiz
      2. Stakeholder Feedback
      3. Marketplace Feedback
      4. Pivot or Persevere
      5. Quiz Review
  5. Part II: Scrum
    1. Chapter 5. Empiricism
      1. Quiz
      2. It’s a Complex Problem
      3. Certainty Quiz?
      4. Visualizing Complexity
      5. Cynefin
      6. Types of Complexity
      7. Managing Risk
      8. Quiz Review
    2. Chapter 6. Scrum
      1. Quiz
      2. Why a Framework?
      3. The Pillars of Scrum
      4. Scrum Roles
      5. Scrum Artifacts
      6. Scrum Events
      7. Iterative and Incremental
      8. Agile Manifesto for Software Development
      9. Quiz Review
  6. Part III: Tactics
    1. Chapter 7. Product Backlog Management
      1. Quiz
      2. What Is a Requirement?
      3. Product Backlog Ordering
      4. “Done”
      5. “Ready” Is a Mindset
      6. Story Mapping
      7. Impact Mapping
      8. Success Criteria
      9. Specification by Example
      10. Quiz Review
    2. Chapter 8. Release Management
      1. Quiz
      2. Reasons to Release
      3. Release Strategy
      4. Estimation and Velocity
      5. Scaling Products
      6. Reporting
      7. Budgeting
      8. Governance and Compliance
      9. Kickoff
      10. Quality
      11. Quiz Review
    3. Chapter 9. The Professional Product Owner
      1. Understanding Product Owner Success
      2. Skills and Traits
      3. Measuring Success