Saturday, February 7, 2009

Should we invest in a better Product Owner?

I won't bore you with the calculation, but...

If you assume that a better Product Owner can:
* increase the value of Product Backlog items (stories) by 20% on average
* identify the Pareto curve partially in the Product Backlog, so that an 85-33 rule applies
* and if we assume that the team costs about $1,000,000 per year (all-in) and delivers, before the better PO, about $3,000,000 per year...

...then, what happens?

The team is now able to deliver $3,000,000 "projects" three times per year. Thus, this new PO has tripled the business value delivered by the team.

So, how much could you afford to invest in that better PO to get those results? Probably more than $1,500 (eg, for a Certified Product Owner course). And, while the course is good, I suspect that most Product Owners need more than just the course to get those results (eg, perhaps some coaching from someone really good).

So, what's the first impediment to doing this?

What I find is that most firms think of their IT department as a cost center. And thus they have no concept of BV delivered by IT, much less metrics around that. So, I am suggesting that just getting estimates of BV (and telling the team) and then measuring (even if only roughly) the BV actually delivered would be a big step in the right direction.

BV does not have to be measured in money. At least not initially. Depending on your firm, other direct metrics would be more meaningful. Then you need some experts to give you a rough estimate of the money value of those benefits.

Knowing the BV delivered of each team might be kind of important right now. In more ways than one. Go talk to your Product Owner about that today.

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