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Should the Product Owner Be Part of the Daily Stand-up?

7 April 2017


Many clients ask me if they should bring a product owner to their daily stand-ups. My answer is no . . . and yes.
 

No, the product owner is not part of the daily stand-up

During the planning event the team makes a commitment for the sprint ahead, and it inspects the results during the sprint review. Similarly, the daily stand-up is about the self-organized team making a commitment for the day and inspecting the results from the previous day.

According to the Scrum Guide, "The Scrum Master enforces the rule that only Development Team members participate in the Daily Scrum."1 Mike Cohn also states, "The Daily Scrum meeting is not used as a problem-solving or issue resolution meeting."2 Having a product owner in the room invites a discussion that could easily cause the stand-up to extend beyond its allotted 15 minutes. Once a technical discussion begins, it is the ScrumMaster's job to wrap it up and make it a "parking lot" issue.
 

Yes, invite the product owner immediately after a daily stand-up

Often a mature team finishes a daily stand-up with a number of open "parking lot" issues. "Issues that are raised are taken offline and usually dealt with by the relevant subgroup immediately after the meeting."2 These could be purely technical issues as well as functional issues; the latter requires the product owner’s input. Though in general a team should be mindful of people's time and limit participants of the discussion to those who are directly interested and can contribute, it is important to have a product owner present to be a part of this discussion. Moreover, not having a product owner immediately available to help resolve functional issues can become an impediment. Avoid the anti-pattern of limited availability of the product owner.

I'd recommend that a product owner block 30 minutes to one hour on the calendar during a team stand-up, and stay at their desk doing normal activities. After a team is done with a stand-up and moves over the parking lot issues, they can invite the product owner to join them if necessary, using one of many modern communication channels, such as phone, instant messaging, or whatever they agree on. In this way, neither the team members nor the product owner wastes any time.

References

1. "The Scrum Guide," Scrumguides.org, accessed March 31, 2017, http://www.scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html.

2. "Daily Scrum Meeting," Mountain Goat Software, accessed March 31, 2017, https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/scrum/meetings/daily-scrum.


 

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



Article Rating

Current rating: 4.5 (4 ratings)

Comments

Shivkumar Sankaran, CSM, 5/16/2017 3:20:29 PM
We have had great results by having PO as part of the daily stand up but just listening in. This helps the PO stay in sync and know what's coming his way that day. It also helps to have any post stand up clarification as teams don't have to repeat some stuff they brought up during the stand up.
Jai Singh, CSM,CSPO, 5/19/2017 2:14:30 PM
Alex, I have to agree with you that the product owner should not be part of the daily stand as he is not a member of the development team. At one of my federal clients, the product owner wanted to be part of the daily stand up and I had to ask him to not come on several occasions. Finally we made an exception that he call in to the call, however, would not speak during the call. After the call ended the PM and I would brief him and he may raise any concerns at that point. Its difficult at times but a satisfied product owner who feels like they are part of the core team will result in a better product as they would be more motivated to provide feedback along the way. Another technique that we tried was that the product owner will provide office hours daily at which point they will entertain questions from the development team.
Barry Smith, CSM, 6/12/2017 3:22:20 PM
I understand that a misbehaving PO at daily Scrum can be disruptive... but I expect that to be the exception, and not a good reason to default to "No." Here's why:

1) Honoring the Scrum value of transparency, the daily Scrum is typically open to anyone who cares to attend - POs included. True, the Scrum Master may need to remind non-Team-members (including the PO) that only the Team may actively participate in Scrum, but that's a matter of education.

2) "Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project." In Scrum the PO is the primary representative of the business. Why not have her/him attend the regularly-scheduled daily meeting, to be readily accessible to the Team? Also, in some cases the Team members may not realize they need PO input - such as to clarify a misunderstanding about an A.C. - but the PO can pick it up while listening, and offer feedback that may prevent wasted time & effort.

3) The PO, as backlog-owner and primary liaison to the rest of the business, is fully entitled to understand how the Team's progress is faring during a Sprint. It's a two-way street: if Team wants the PO to be available whenever they have questions, they don't have a right to ban the PO from Scrum.
Rick Wingender, CSPO, 7/16/2017 1:24:52 PM
I agree with Barry, 100%. The PO IS part of the scrum team, and should usually be there. I prefer to be there, and to be multitasking; that way, I can ignore what I don't need to be involved with, but I'm also accessible to the rest of the team, and I also get information that may be important to the business, information that the team may not think is that important, especially if there is something THEY are not aware of.
Sathish Kumar, CSM, 8/8/2017 7:32:07 AM
I agree with Barry's 3 point that as a backlog owner and the person responsible for the Business value his presence is needed in the Daily Scrum at the same time it is entitled to the Dev teams decision on when they need him to clear their doubts rather attending everyday he can make himself available twice in a week and make himself available on reach to solve functional doubts immediately.

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