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A new PO was hired to the company, he has some experience in the role but he doesn't have experience in the product's area (financial).

How can he owns the product and make definitions to it if he knows less about his product's intentions/customers/stakeholders than the people involved around him?

  • What is it that you think a Scrum Product Owner does? And why do you think this PO lacks context or domain expertise? – Todd A. Jacobs Jan 13 '18 at 20:28
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There are three key things that a PO should have to be successful: Authority, Time, and Knowledge. So, to your point, without having domain knowledge, the Product Owner's job becomes very difficult.

I've worked with some very good Product Owners who are great at connecting to people with the knowledge and asking the right questions. This can bridge the knowledge gap while they learn for themselves. Half of this is they having the skills to do that. The other half is making people with the knowledge available to the product owner.

  • During his initial steps he should then just work as a background member in the team to gather information and then gradually start taking ownership of the product? Just to see if I understood correctly your point :) – Leonardo Pires Jan 12 '18 at 14:59
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    I wouldn't go that far. He can take ownership of the product immediately and act like a proper PO, but he should be humble about his knowledge. Kind of like if a new developer joined, there is no reason he can't just start working, but he probably should talk to team members before making design changes. – Daniel Jan 12 '18 at 17:19
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    I would add that interviewing past PO(s) of the product as well as targeted clients should help going up to speed. – Alex Jean Jan 17 '18 at 7:50
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Let's look at The Scrum Guide, especially the expectations for the role of Product Owner.

The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.

Working with a Product Owner who does not have domain or market knowledge and experience is key. Who is responsible for assisting the Product Owner? For one, the Scrum Master.

The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways, including:

  • Ensuring the Product Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value

This does not, and should not, exclude the Development Team and others from assisting. However, the effort cannot grind to a halt. The value of Focus should be kept in mind: the Development Team should continue to provide valuable increments.

Just as when any other Scrum Team member is added, work together to integrate them.

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