Scrum Product Owner — Checklist

Feb 17, 2018 18:44 · 1031 words · 5 minute read scrum checklist

Asses and improve your product owner’s skills. This checklist contains key points that you need as a product owner to maximize the effectiveness of your scrum team. Consider this list as a reminder of the best practices.

Product vision

  • I know the purpose and motivation of creating the product

I understand and can explain why the product should be developed. There is a written document that describes the reasons for why this product should exist. The team is aware of and shares the vision as well.

Thing to do now. Grab a piece of paper and write down few sentences about answering why the product exists. Gather the team and tell them what you wrote.
  • I know the value of the product to the customers

There is defined customer segment that the product serves to. I know what type of the customers are interested in it.

At least, there are some assumptions regarding the possible users. The product has clear and defined values it creates for specific people. The value proposition has been written down too.

Thing to do now. Make a list of the values that truly make life of your customers easier. Pin point the problems your customers may have and can resolve with your product.
  • I can answer questions about the product business model

Whenever someone inside or outside the team asks about the business model, I can give a concise and motivating answer immediately.

  • I can express the essence of the product in one short sentence. E.g. “One powerful phone” of iPhone 6S

I have all the information needed to explain what it does and why via short sentence. It is clean and easy to understand.

Stakeholders

  • I appreciate the needs of the stakeholders

I know and understand key priorities and requirements of all of my stakeholders. I communicate with them regularly to keep updated on this.

  • I know my stakeholders

There is a clear understanding of who are the stakeholders. I know many of them personally.

  • I maintain a backlog considering stakeholders’ interests

I can answer questions about product backlog and motivate how each backlog item will benefit and create value for stakeholders.

  • Stakeholders trust me

My stakeholders appreciate my work as a product owner and are willing to help me. They believe me, and I can speak with them openly.

  • My stakeholders know current release plan

I keep my stakeholders up to date about the development schedule, and my forecasts are based on the current team’s velocity. All the stakeholders have some access to the backlog information, estimates and so on.

Thing to do now. Identify key stakeholders and ask them if they agree with the current backlog and priorities.

Product backlog

  • I have a clear product backlog

Features I consider to add to the product are outlined and described well. I can add more items to a product development roadmap anytime. I can easily access backlog to make edits.

  • Backlog items are prioritized

My backlog is ordered. Elements in it are structured and organized by priority, estimates, risks, value, etc.

  • I keep Backlog clean

I continually review my backlog to make sure there are no obsolete items. I clean up legacy items that I am not interested in anymore periodically.

  • I update backlog frequently
Thing to do now. Schedule specific time in the week when you devote 30-60 minutes on backlog maintenance.

I have the right to make decisions about it. I revisit it at least once per sprint before each planning meeting. It is fresh and up to date.

  • Product backlog is visible to the team

Anyone in the scrum team can access it anytime.

Scrum team

  • I protect the team from anyone who tries to amend the sprint

I know the importance of keeping sprint’s backlog items unchanged during the sprint. I do everything I can to make sure this rule isn’t breaking.

  • There is only one product owner who makes decisions

My team has only one product owner who defines backlog items and refines sprints. Thus developers know precisely who to listen.

  • I trust my scrum team

I know what my team can do and trust team’s capabilities.

  • I share my vision with the team

I am available to my team. I have time to speak with developers during the sprint to answer their’s questions and clarify requirements.

  • My team and I have a definition of done

We share the understanding of the acceptance criteria. They know how the work will be verified.

Thing to do now. On the next meeting ask the team what they think the definition of done is. Listen carefully to what they say and develop the definition that everyone agree on.

Scrum events

  • I participate in sprint planning meetings

I schedule a sprint planning event with my team where we select backlog items for the next sprint.

  • I participate in demo meetings

After each sprint, I and my team schedule a meeting where we review what has been done, gather feedback and check whether the acceptance criteria were met.

  • I participate in retrospective meetings

We continuously hold a retrospective meeting after each sprint to understand what went well, what didn’t, and what we can improve going forward.

Thing to do now. Create an improvement backlog - the list of actions you and your team may take in the next sprint.
  • I communicate with developers on a daily basis

I am available during scrum meetings or at least later in a day to help them.

  • I schedule events with scrum master

I have a calendar with the events scheduled with the scrum master.

Organization

  • I keep communication between departments and teams

I make sure that development team can communicate with marketing, sales, support, and others to share the product vision. Occasionally, we have inter-team meetings with representatives.

  • My teams have a common goal

Departments and teams serve to the same purpose and help each other.

  • I know the roles of everyone in the organization

Role of every person in the organization is defined and clear. Everyone knows who is responsible for what.

PDF version for print

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