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How often do the product owner and the team leader/manager typically meet for discussing the product and the vision as well as the roadmap?
Additionally are the skills that each member of the team brings something that the product owner cares about or is it only the responsibility and concern of our manager=scrum master?

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    You're using the term "Product Owner", which is a set of accountabilities on a Scrum Team. However, your question doesn't mention Scrum and you also mention having a "team leader/manager", which is inconsistent with Scrum. Are you using the Scrum framework or not? If not, are you basing your methodology on any common framework or would a generic answer where "Product Owner" is more like a product manager or on-site customer be suitable?
    – Thomas Owens
    Jun 11 at 22:35
  • @ThomasOwens: yes we are using scrum. The manager is the scrum master.
    – smith
    Jun 12 at 8:42
  • The "Product Owner" role translates product requirements to development tasks. The "Product Manager" owns the roadmap and that's a managerial role. Jun 13 at 4:39

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How often does the product owner and the team leader/manager typically meet for discussing the product and the vision as well as the roadmap?

There is no team leader/manager role defined in the Scrum framework, so there is no guidance around how often they should be meeting with the Product Owner.

Looking outside of Scrum, but with agile principles in mind, it would make sense for the team leader/manager along with the team to be meeting frequently with the Product Owner.

Alignment between the product needs and delivery are crucial to maintaining agility. We want to be focusing on delivering the most valuable features and on responding quickly to change when necessary.

are the skills that each member of the team brings something that the product owner cares about or is it only the manager's responsibility and concern?

A good Product Owner will want to understand the capabilities and limitiations of the delivery team. They want this information for two main reasons:

  • So that they can recognise how easy/difficult it is for the team to deliver against their product roadmap
  • In case they want to request more resources from the organisation to ensure the timely delivery of the product roadmap
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  • "meeting frequently with the Product Owner". Can you define "frequently"?
    – smith
    Jun 12 at 11:02
  • That would depend on a lot of factors such as team size, if the Product Owner works with more than one team and experience level of the team. It would not be unusual for a Product Owner to speak with the team every day on Slack/Teams and in meetings like the standup or backlog refinement. The best approach would be to experiment with different frequencies until both the team and the Product Owner feel comfortable. Jun 12 at 12:28
  • For simplicity lets assume the PO works with only one team.
    – smith
    Jun 12 at 22:37
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Looking at this through the lens of the Scrum framework, the question isn't entirely clear. There is no "team leader/manager" role defined within Scrum. Having such a strongly-defined role on the team is also approaching a definitively not Scrum approach, since "within a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies" and having a team leader/manager on the team likely implies a hierarchy.

This doesn't mean that there isn't a place for management on teams using the Scrum framework. The management functions and responsibilities will often either exist outside of the Scrum Team or be shared among all of the individual members of the Scrum Team, depending on the aspect of management. Making sure that the team has the knowledge and skills needed to carry out the work is something that the Developers are responsible for, perhaps engaging with the Scrum Master to make sure that the team has the external support needed to develop or obtain missing skills - this falls under helping to remove impediments to the team's success.

More generally, the key touchpoints regarding the product, the product vision, the roadmap between the Product Owner and other stakeholders (including the rest of the team) are the ongoing activity of Product Backlog Refinement and the Sprint Review.

Although the Product Owner may update the Product Backlog at any point in time, based on communication with various stakeholders, refinement is where the team is reviewing the Product Backlog and working with the Product Backlog Items to break them down into small, deliverable items and add the necessary details for design, implementation, and delivery. Although there are many ways for a team to carry out refinement, there are aspects that involve the whole team in understanding the work that is desired.

Even though communication may happen at any time, the Sprint Review is an explicit touchpoint between the Scrum Team and stakeholders. A key objective is to collaborate and make decisions on what to do next and reflect these decisions in the state of the Product Backlog, including the Product Goal. This happens at the end of every Sprint. Since a maximum Sprint length is one month, the Sprint Review should be occurring at least monthly. Two-week Sprints are very common.

Even more generally than the Scrum framework, all of the different stakeholders should be working together frequently. One of the principles of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development is that business people and developers work together every day. DevOps is about tearing down the silos and eliminating hand-offs between developers and operations, which often requires development and operations working together. Nearly all of the agile methods and frameworks call for a "whole team" approach, which puts as many skills as possible onto a self-organizing, self-managing, and highly collaborative team. The people doing the work should meet with each other as often as necessary to be effective at determining the right work to do and getting that work done to maximize the ability of stakeholders to achieve their objectives.

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