Immediately after I wrote the article “5 Books to Read for a Young ScrumMaster” people started to ask me “And what about a young Product Owner, Anton?”. So I think it’s time to answer this question too. Please fasten your seatbelt and let’s go!
#0 will not surprise people who saw my previous article. But why The Scrum Guide for Product Owners also? Because all players should know the rules of the game we play. Just imagine that different football players play following different rules — you get chaos. So let me present it again. The Scrum Guide is the official Scrum Body of Knowledge. It was written by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum. It’s the must prerequisite for everyone inside of Scrum Team.
A book that tells you much more than its title promises. In fact, its title says nothing about its content. This book will give you all essential and some advanced product ownership spells which will make your and your team’s life much easier and help to build outstanding products. How to manage your backlog? How to use user stories format correctly? How to create quick & shared mental models around a potential product? All of these is there.
For me, a good Product Owner is an entrepreneur. It’s her primary duty to maximize ROI. Old approach “gather all requirements and build it right from the beginning” fails miserably under conditions of extreme uncertainty which obviously often leads to no ROI at all. This book teaches an alternative way how through a constant experimenting process build a successful product.
How do you increase your product ROI? Obviously by hoping that certain features will have an impact on something meaningful. You increase ROI through understanding where to put your efforts to make this impact while trying to minimize efforts. This book teaches you how to do that. Go, read and do. As a bonus, this book helps you to go deeper in your inner transformation into an entrepreneur.
You still believe that you build a successful product by building awesome features? Sorry, it’s not the way. Many companies died because they believed in that approach, but in the end, just no-one used their products. The trick is not to build awesome features but to find your customer. Then you identify his problems and try to understand business potential of a discovered market. Only after that, you actually invest in a product. Do you want to know more about this approach? This book will teach & guide you!
Yes. You are right. I treat your ScrumMaster as the 5th book because one of the ScrumMaster’s duties should be to be a walking-talking encyclopedia about Agile. Sharing techniques, approaches, methods, tips, tricks, philosophies and much more to help your organization (and you as a Product Owner are a part of it) to be Agile. So please drink coffee with your ScrumMaster on a regular basis and allow him to do his job 😉
Of course, there are a lot more books for Product Owners that you can find easily but this 5 I think are essential.
Wish you a pleasant product ownership!
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Do more with less and may the force be with you!
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Anton Zotin is an independent trainer, speaker, mentor and change agent since 2010. Anton started his career in the IT industry in 2002. He has worked in a wide variety of companies holding a wide variety of positions: from garage startups to “bloody” enterprises; from a manual QA to a C-level position. He did his first Scrum transformation in 2004.