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Topics: Agile
The Product Owner and the "Highlander Principle"

Question to those ones working in projects using an agile framework: What is your practical experience – Do you follow the „Highlander Principle“ regarding the Product Owner (PO) ownership (only one PO who ultimately decides) or do you set-up in practice a Product Owner Team with shared responsibilities, making informed decisions on a collaborative basis? If you have experience with both approaches, which one was more beneficial to the overall project success and what were the main reasons?
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Are you meaning on a single agile project - either a single PO or a team of POs?

Or are you meaning how the POs are managed?

Sounds like you're meaning the former. I've only worked on agile projects with a single PO but our org has projects with multiple POs on a project though each is responsible for a discrete scrum team.

I prefer a single Product Owner. As I like to say, if everyone owns a thing, then nobody owns it. That Product Owner may delegate portions to one or more SME's, but eventually there should be one individual responsible for the overall product.

Peter -

I've experienced the issues with multiple POs on more than one occasion and will always coach to the Highlander principle - there have been times when I'd have like to have decapitated some of the extraneous ones!

This is why a good PO needs to collaborate exceptionally well with a potentially large set of stakeholders who will have needs & wants related to the product.


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