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As a Scrum Master and Agile Coach I have been assigned to a team of engineers with little or mixed experience with agile delivery which I aim to address through workshops and training etc.

The engineers are highly experienced career programmers and very expensive which makes sense this is a critical project but have mixed agile experience. Their core skill, engineering, is sound.

However the Product Owner has zero experience and has been working for only 2 years and has zero agile experience.

Is it reasonable for me to be expected to ‘make the PO agile’ or are we starting on the wrong foot?

My view is that we need experienced product management. Good PO’s become good through experience and it just seems logical that we need an experienced PO. We have experienced engineers why wouldn’t we have an experienced PO.

  • Would you be able to ask senior management (or whoever assigned the people to the project) the rationale for such? Maybe there's other reasons on this decision you're not aware of. Assume for a moment you're wrong... How'd approach the situation? Leave some potential bias out of the equation. – Tiago Cardoso Feb 26 at 7:55
  • Who would you expect to be responsible to train the future PO if not the organizations "Agile Coach"? – nvoigt Feb 26 at 16:07
  • I have no idea what is mean spirited about an obvious question. You said you would delegate the training to others (experienced PO, official course), I understood a coach to be the person doing the actual coaching. I guess we just have different pictures of what a coach does. – nvoigt Feb 26 at 16:23
  • I feel like there are two questions here: 1. Should the Scrum Master "train" the PO in Agile? - to which I think the answer is broadly "yes". 2: How can I raise my concerns about the business experience of the Product Owner? - to which the answer is raise it discreetly with the appropriate higher authority but don't expect them to change anything. So which is the real question here? – Baracus Mar 6 at 13:08
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The direct answer to your question should be "yes", it is the job of the Scrum Master to train the PO as per Scrum Guide:

The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.

At the same time, the organization should have reasonable expectations of the results of choosing an inexperienced PO and it seems both fair and important for you to raise those without any rose-tinted lenses.

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I believe that your organization is responsible to train the PO as per scrum guide. The hiring team should be aware that the selected PO may not have any experience in scrum framework. So it is their responsibility to give proper training. And it is not mandatory to hire an experienced Scrum PO. He can expertise in scrum framework through practice and deliver more than experienced PO's. The thoughts and ideas will be unique

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