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Of the 3 artifacts (product backlog, sprint backlog and increment), I am not too sure about the ownership of the Increment.

Can you point me to a resource where it clearly states who the owner is? I am tempeted to say that the whole scrum team is the owner but I thought to ask anyway.

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This is that type of response where if a equals b and b equals c, then a must equal c. The Scrum Guide says that the Product Owner is responsible and accountable for managing the Product Backlog. The backlog in turn is how the Product Owner manages the value, the goals and the mission of the product. They make sure it reflects the next best thing on which the development team must work so that the value is maximized, goals are met, and everyone is moving towards fulfilling the mission of the product.

The Product Owner is also the owner of (duh!) the Product. And the product increment is part of the Product. As the Scrum Guide mentions:

The Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and the value of the increments of all previous Sprints.

At the end of a sprint, the increment must be "Done" and it's the Product Owner that decides if it can be released or not. Even though everyone works to build the increment, it's the Product Owner that has the last word about it being the right thing or not. No one in the Scrum team can release an increment if the Product Owner does not agree to do so.

Going back to a = b, b = c, then a = c, it's the Product Owner that owns the increment. The entire team is responsible for it and the work done to build it, but final accountability is with the Product Owner.

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Interesting question. The PO decides what the increment ought to be; the whole team is responsible for delivering it. Both of those things suggest a degree of ownership.

In the Scrum Guide the only mention of an owner of anything is the Product Owner. If the product increment is understood to be a version of a tangible thing (like some software) then it seems that the increment is "owned" by the PO. I expect the answer depends on what you think ownership entails. Legally speaking, IP ownership is defined by laws and contracts but in Scrum we're usually more interested in accountability and commitment: the whole team is supposed to have skin in the game.

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The role of the Product Owner is, if you will, "the Almighty Customer.™" (S)He represents the organization for which the product is being developed and is the authority for "what, not how," each unit of progress is. Product Owners also often serve as a liaison between the team and the eventual user community.

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  • 3
    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – Danny Schoemann May 24 at 9:10
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    @DannySchoemann ...? Isn't it a direct answer? The Question asks whom owns the increment. The increment is part of the product. The product is owned by the Product Owner. Thus, the PO owns the increment. That being said, while I think this Answer is correct, it doesn't seem to add anything that the existing Answers don't already. – Sarov May 26 at 13:18

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