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User Story Mapping by Peter Economy, Jeff Patton

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Chapter 12. Rock Breakers

There’s a nasty misassumption in common Agile practice: that there’s a single person responsible for writing stories and conducting all these story conversations. In the Agile process Scrum, that person is called the product owner. There are two big reasons, however, why this logic doesn’t work, and probably a lot of smaller reasons, too.

Big reason #1
There are too many conversations to have to move a story along its journey from vague idea to small, specific things to build. One person isn’t enough to cover all these conversations. And, if you set up your process so that one person has to be there, you’ll quickly see what a bottleneck that person can be, and likely will become.
Big reason #2
One person can’t come into the conversation with the expertise and diverse viewpoints it takes to arrive at a best solution. It takes the collaboration of people with different skills to really arrive at best solutions.

Requiring a single product owner to write all of the stories and be present for all story conversations doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong here. In my vision of good product development, the product owner is a critical leader. He keeps the product and whole team focused on moving the same direction.

The alternative is design by committee—a seriously bad anti-pattern where everyone gets an equal say in what we do. In a committee, when we only have time and resources to do one thing, we compromise. My ex-wife and I would often do this when choosing a ...

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