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Let's say that our Product Owner decides to take the path of User Centered Design (UCD). So, instead of looking at what the client wants he looks at what the end user wants.

How do you convince the client that what he wants is not what the company, project, or users really need?

  • Hi @MEM. What is the client's perspective on the UCD approach? Did they ask/agree to do it this way or is the product owner enforcing UCD simply because they think it is the right way to do things? – Willl Jun 18 '13 at 9:42
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    What has this got to do with Scrum? The question boils down to "how do we convince our client to adopt UCD?" – Sklivvz Jun 18 '13 at 11:53
  • It's hard to tell what your real question is. Is this about managing client expectations, or about the user perspective in the Scrum framework? Or is it just about workplace politics? Please clarify. – Todd A. Jacobs Jun 18 '13 at 16:47
  • @Will Client don't know nothing about UCD what so ever. The product owner does believes this is a good principle to follow. The client, afaik, no nothing about this. – MEM Jun 18 '13 at 17:41
  • @Sklivvz This IS about the product owner activity. This IS about SCRUM, because product owners as a role just exist on SCRUM. So, I revert the title. – MEM Jun 18 '13 at 17:44
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TL;DR

The Agile Manifesto explicitly values customer collaboration. Taking an oppositional role is contrary to the spirit of the Scrum framework. The Product Owner should instead be facilitating the client's informed decisions.

Relative Roles of the Product Owner and the Stakeholders

The role of the Product Owner is to proxy the interests of the stakeholders, which in this case is the client. To the extent that he believes that the project's deliverables will not serve the interests of the stakeholders, his responsibility is to communicate with them, offer possible alternatives, and educate them about the costs and trade-offs involved with their decisions.

In the end, however, the Product Owner is there to empower the stakeholders and drive the project, not to dictate objectives to them. It is up to the client to determine whether a project's methodologies or deliverables will provide value to them.

Enable and Respect Informed Decisions

If the client is making an informed decision, then your company should respect that if it wants to continue doing business with that client. If the client is not making an informed decision, then that represents a failure on the part of your organization or methodology to effectively communicate with the client, and you should carefully re-evaluate how you engage with the client going forward.

This is an opportunity to inspect and adapt your organization's engagement practices. Collaboration and communication are essential components of any successful Scrum project, so seize this chance to improve in those areas!

  • Where are you referring to when saying: "The role of the Product Owner is to proxy the interests of the stakeholders, which in this case is the client." I can't find it in the ScrumGuides and I don't think it is an accurate presentation of Product Owner. – sheidaei May 24 '17 at 17:14
  • @sheidaei You're welcome to disagree, but if you do you aren't truly understanding the organizational function of the Product Owner. If you have a question about how the Product Owner is a stakeholder proxy, please ask it as a separate question. – Todd A. Jacobs May 24 '17 at 17:36
  • @CodoeGnome I am just basically stating that I haven't seen what you have mentioned as the role of Product Owner in Scrum literature. I am not asking a new question. I am saying that to me your answer is not completely right. It might be useful in one or two environments that you worked in and have experience with, but you can't generalize it to all based on that. I might be wrong though, so please tell me on what basis you are saying that so that I can learn. – sheidaei May 24 '17 at 18:13
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When it comes to Scrum, I believe the best (and only) reference to look at would be ScrumGuides. I would suggest you look at it http://www.scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html#team-po

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

The main responsibility of the PO is to maximize the value. Scrum is vague in many aspects. What is the value? Is it the value to end customer or the client? If you ask me, it is the PO's job to find the sweet spot to answer that question.

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